New, lower tuition for Summer@Rensselaer

Summer program provides opportunities for jobs, research, courses, community activities

This summer shows the return of Summer@Rensselaer for another “third term.” The primary purpose of the program for RPI students is to allow them to “catch up, keep up, and get ahead.”

According to Program Manager for Recruitment Michael Gunther, the program began in 2005 when President Shirley Ann Jackson set a team of faculty and staff to devise a means to allow the Rensselaer community to utilize the many facilities on campus during the summer. This committee has grown to include Senior Program Administrator Kari Bennett, Program Administrator Erin Zumpano, Gunther, and Provost Prabhat Hajela, as well as 14 other individuals.

Of note this year is the dramatic decrease in tuition for the summer program. While non-RPI students and graduate students must pay $1,733 per credit hour, Rensselaer undergraduate students will only be charged $845 per credit hour. Gunther said that this was in large part to Hajela’s involvement in the development of the program and his negotiations with Jackson. Additionally, students can apply for summer housing and a meal plan. Rates for housing depend on the size of the room; singles cost $175 per week while doubles cost $165 per week. RPI will offer the 15-meal and 19-meal plans for $94 per week and $122 per week, respectively.

The courses offered in the summer are arranged within three different sessions. Session I lasts throughout the entire summer from May 21 to August 10. However, only four courses are offered during this session: ARCH-2510 Materials and Design, PSYC-2730 Social Psychology, PSYC-4400 Personality, and MATH-6190 Topics in Topology. Session II offers a much wider selection of classes, and Session III offers many of the classes that follow those offered during Session II. Gunther added that students who wish to take courses not currently offered in the summer should contact their advisors, department heads, or members of the planning committee, such as himself.

Gunther explained the slogan for this year’s Summer@Rensselaer, mentioning that current students may have done poorly in their classes and may need to take a few courses during the summer to “catch up” or “keep up” with their peers in order to graduate on schedule. On the other hand, some students may be considering Cooperative Education (“Co-op”) or graduating early, in which case summer classes can lighten course loads so these students can “get ahead.”

Students can also participate in research and study abroad programs during the summer. During Summer@Rensselaer, the Office of Undergraduate Education will offer a Summer Undergraduate Research Program; positions in the Primarily Undergraduate Institutions Partnership Program will be available at the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures; the Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software Open World has on-campus summer opportunities; and the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy is offering a Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. Gunther added that students may be able to find research from their respective academic departments.

Gunther mentioned that several courses involve learning a particular topic during the spring semester and then traveling to a foreign country for a couple weeks in the summer. Faculty members will also lead travel groups for students who would have participated in study abroad but were unable to fit such a program into their schedules. Students seeking a master’s degree can also engage in the International Scholars Program, which involves traveling between Rome, Italy, and Shanghai, China.

Summer@Rensselaer can also be used as a job opportunity. Students can seek work positions in the Summer@Rensselaer Academic Outreach Programs Office, the Office of Conference Services, the Office of the First-Year Experience, the Dean of Students Office, and the Samaritan-Rensselaer Children’s Center RPI Summer Day Camp.

Gunther also emphasized Rensselaer Community Activities. He explained that the concept behind these is that the students who participate in Summer@Rensselaer could engage themselves in non-credit activities. These could include, but are not limited to, lectures, tours, hobbies, or forums comprised of both students and faculty members.

Interested students can contact Bennett at, Gunther at, or Zumpano at, or visit the Summer@Rensselaer website at for more information.