Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) - Graduate Admissions
What is the application deadline?
The application deadline for fall admission is January 1st and the deadline for spring admission is August 15th. Applications are reviewed by the ECSE Admissions Committee on a rolling basis but your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and we are in receipt of all required documents. You can find the list of requirements at http://admissions.rpi.edu/graduate/admission/index.html.
Applications submitted or completed after the deadline will be reviewed as long as space is still available in the program but will not receive priority for financial aid .
How do I apply for financial aid?
A separate application is not required nor is one available. The application for admission includes a section that will allow you to indicate your desire for financial aid and your preference for the type of aid you seek. Financial aid is available in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TA), Research Assistantships (RA), and Rensselaer Graduate Fellowships (RGF). Financial aid offers are merit-based and are extended to the strongest applicants. For non-RPI aid, such as external fellowships and federal student loans, please contact the institution offering the aid to apply. For example, if you wish to apply for federal student loans (available to US citizens and permanent residents), go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. The Office of Graduate Education also maintains information on external fellowships.
For incoming students, the Graduate Teaching Assistantship is the most common form of aid. The Department deems this role as a very important one. It is invaluable preparation for any career, for the departmental qualifying examination, and for mastering the subject matter. The Teaching Assistantship consists of a stipend and full tuition.
Research assistantships include a stipend and covers the full cost of tuition. It is another form of aid available to many of our graduate students. The availability of research assistantships depends upon individual research professors and is subject to the needs of contracts and interests of students. Research assistantships are normally extended for the academic year, and in many cases, summer support is also available. It is expected that during the course of a PhD, students admitted with a TA will eventually transition to an RA with their doctoral research advisor.
The admissions committee will automatically consider applicants for the Rensselaer Graduate Fellowships which are funded by the Institute. Students are encouraged to seek their own external fellowship funding as well.
How do I keep my financial aid?
The continuation of your award is contingent upon your successful academic performance and your teaching work in the case of a TA. Graduate students at Rensselaer are expected to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
Is summer support available?
The majority of our students are supported via research assistantships, summer internships, or employment outside of Rensselaer during the summer.
If I wish to pursue a PhD but do not hold a Master’s degree, can I apply directly to the PhD program or would I need to apply for the Master’s program first?
You may apply directly to the PhD program if you hold a bachelor’s degree. If you are interested in earning both the MS and the PhD within our program, you should apply for the PhD program. Do not indicate MS on your application form.You will have the opportunity to add the Master’s degree once you are enrolled as a student.
My undergraduate program was abroad and I am uncertain if it is equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. How would I assess this?
If an applicant is uncertain of the U.S. bachelor’s degree equivalency of his/her degree, he/she may wish to obtain an academic credential evaluation from a U.S. based credential evaluation agency (e.g., WES).
What are the chances I'll be admitted? What are the chances I will be granted financial aid?
For the fall 2015 admissions cycle, 18% of our applicants were admitted and 11% of our applicants received financial aid offers. It is important to note that 62% of our admitted students received offers of financial aid, however.
Is there a minimum GRE requirement?
There isn’t an official minimum GRE requirement or cut-off. Applications are reviewed and considered in its entirety. The average GRE scores of admitted applicants to the ECSE program for Fall 2015 were Verbal 156, Quantitative 165, and Analytical 3.8, however. Please note:
• Strong scores and grades do not guarantee admission. Applicants must also demonstrate research potential.
• An Application is reviewed in its entirety. Having research experience, published work, and presentation experience strengthens one’s application and should be indicated on the resume that is uploaded with your application. These are a few factors that make your application very attractive and can make up for what may appear as a less than desirable GRE score. Often what distinguishes admitted applicants from other highly qualified applicants is in fact one’s research accomplishments. Applicants should be sure to include on their resume all published papers and all presentations given in workshops and conferences.
Is there a minimum TOEFL requirement?
The minimum TOEFL score is 88. If you are required to take the TOEFL and you submit a score that is below 88, your application will be considered incomplete until you re-take the TOEFL and earn a score of at least 88.
Can I visit the Department?