Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the country’s oldest technological research university, having been established in 1824 as the Rensselaer School, dedicated mainly to the various sciences and civil engineering. The school later evolved into the Rensselaer Institute in 1833 and then the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1861. Current students can take advantage of more than 145 programs and 34 research centers, leading to degrees ranging in level from baccalaureate to doctoral, and are encouraged to work across disciplines and combine work from several departments or schools for a more rigorous and rewarding educational experience overall.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Accreditation Details

Rensselaer is accredited as a whole by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). As students are encouraged to work in interdisciplinary programs, some courses taken as part of the Computer Science degree program may also be covered by accreditation for business, engineering, or architecture programs, just to name a few. For example, additional, program-specific accreditations include those of the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology, or ABET, for areas of applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Application Requirements

Students seeking to enter as freshmen should be able to show proof of above average performance (grades of A or B) in courses taken as part of a challenging and college preparatory pathway during high school. These courses should include at least four years of English, three years each of mathematics, science, and social studies and/or history. Admission decisions are based in part on a holistic view of what classes were taken in comparison to those offered and how well each student succeeded in his or her classes. A definitive minimum grade point average is not given. In addition, scores from either the SAT, the ACT, or both should be submitted by the application deadline and are considered as part of the decision-making process. Again, minimum scores needed for admission are not provided, although the act of taking these standardized tests in a timely manner is required.

For students seeking admission at the graduate level, for either a Master’s or PhD, requirements include the application with a nonrefundable application fee of $75, official transcripts showing all postsecondary studies, a resume or curriculum vitae, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of background and goals. Once again, admission decisions are made holistically, taking into consideration the academic qualifications of each applicant and the fit between the student’s goals and research background and skills with those of the faculty. Students seeking entry into one of the graduate programs in computer science are required to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) general test only and submit the scores when applying.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition is billed at $25,500 per semester for full-time students and $1,595 per credit hour for part-time students. Graduate tuition is also $25,500 per semester for full-time students taking up to 15 credit hours per semester. Other than that, tuition for graduate level studies is $2,125 per credit hour for part-time students or full-time students taking more than 15 credit hours per semester.

Rensselaer offers a wide variety of financial aid options to help offset the costs of attending, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work programs. Students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as early as possible and to apply directly through Rensselaer for any merit based scholarships that may apply to the student’s situation. The financial aid office at the institute will then coordinate financial aid packages and components that will offer the most benefit to each individual student.

Computer Science Degrees Available at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The computer science degree programs at Rensselaer are housed with the School of Science and are available at all levels ranging from baccalaureate to doctoral. At each level, the emphasis is on training students to solve real-world problems and to conduct research in the computer science field.

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree is one side of the most popular dual major degrees at this school, mainly because of the flexibility that allows students to specialize in multiple topics within this program. This degree requires completion of a minimum of 128 credit hours, which includes the general education requirements for any four-year degree, although heavy on the mathematics and sciences in this case.

Core classes in this major cover such topics as programming languages, operating systems, algorithms, and software principles. Students also have a Capstone requirement that can be fulfilled with a substantial research project, a software development effort, or a series of courses in a chosen concentration. Flexibility is evident in the inclusion of 32 free credit hours within the curriculum, hours that can be used to pursue a dual major or a minor.

The Master of Science degree in Computer Science builds on the undergraduate work and prepares students for advancement into positions of leadership and management within the computer science fields. The program involves completion of 30 credit hours, of which at least 18 must be at the 6000-level for courses. The curriculum involves two theory courses, two systems courses, and either six to nine thesis credit hours or three to four applied project credit hours. In either case, students will work closely with a faculty member who will help complete a plan of study that most reflects each student’s professional goals.

The Ph.D in Computer Science is the highest degree available within this subject and can be obtained with or without first achieving the Master of Science degree. The emphasis within this program is on the ability to do independent, in-depth, and original problem-solving at the highest level, preparing students for careers in upper management in both the private and public sectors or for academic careers in this field in higher education. Requirements involve completion of at least 72 credit hours beyond the undergraduate degree and in advanced coursework. This includes at least 36 hours of coursework and 24 hours of research work toward the thesis and thesis defense.

The field of computer science continues to grow as technology continues to expand into every area of our daily lives. With more jobs than qualified applicants to fill them, this is a career choice that will remain in high demand in the foreseeable future. A degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute could be a solid investment into a very bright future.

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