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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - 2016

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Engineering Information

Degree Requirements

Bachelor's Degree Requirements

The bachelor’s degree is awarded to students who have pursued successfully, as evaluated by the faculty, a Plan of Study that encompasses several disciplines. Each Plan of Study has at least two objectives: first, to reach a preprofessional standing or fundamental mastery in a selected discipline; second, to develop some grounding in knowledge found in liberally educated persons, an appreciation of technology and science, and an openness to ongoing learning.

The requirements of each baccalaureate program are outlined as follows:

The number of courses and credit hours is prescribed by each curriculum. Minimum requirements are124 credit hours for science and for humanities and social sciences majors, 124 for management, 128 for engineering, and 168 for the professional degree in the School of Architecture.
The minimum grade point average (GPA) for entering students is 2.00.
To receive a baccalaureate degree, a student must have been admitted to the curriculum corresponding to the degree, must have satisfied the curriculum requirements, and must be enrolled in that curriculum at the time the degree is granted.
The course content in physical, life, and engineering sciences must total a minimum of 24 credit hours, including at least eight credit hours of mathematics. For information on additional requirements see the School of Science section of this catalog.
The course content in humanities and social sciences must total a minimum of 24 credit hours, including at least eight credit hours in the humanities and eight credit hours in the social sciences. For information on additional requirements see the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences section of this catalog.
Every student is required to take at least two communication-intensive courses. At least one of these must be in the students’ major and at least one of the courses must be writing-intensive and taught in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Courses may not be taken as Pass/No Credit.
The minimum course concentration in the area of the selected discipline is prescribed by each curriculum but cannot be less than 30 credit hours.
At least 24 credit hours are to be elective, of which no less than 12 credit hours are unrestricted electives.
The student must be registered full-time for a minimum of four semesters. Two semesters of part-time study at Rensselaer will be considered equivalent to one semester of full-time study. In addition, the student must complete a minimum of 64 credit hours at Rensselaer, all of which will be applied to the baccalaureate degree. If a transfer student elects to study abroad or enroll in the co-op program, no more than 12 such credits may apply to the 64 needed for the bachelor’s degree. The student’s Plan of Study at Rensselaer must include at least 16 credits of courses above the 1000 level in the major field, or in an approved concentration.
The Institute requires a degree candidate to earn the last 30 credits in courses completed on this campus or through a program formally recognized by the Institute. Transfer courses are limited to two courses or eight credits counting toward the student’s last 30 credits and require approval of the director of the Advising and Learning Assistance Center.

Baccalaureate candidates must have passed all of the prescribed academic work and have satisfied the fee requirements. Candidates must also be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Undergraduate students on probation at the time of completion of course work may be required to meet certain stipulations for removal from probation. However, such requirements may be waived for those students whose cumulative GPAs satisfy the baccalaureate degree requirements. In general, a term’s work with grades of not less than C will be required in programs arranged by the Committee on Academic Standing. The director of the Advising and Learning Assistance Center will state requirements to the students in writing.

Degree candidates must be registered during the semester in which they intend to graduate and must file a degree application with the registrar by the dates specified in the academic calendar. Students who previously applied for graduation but did not complete all their requirements on time must submit a new application specifying the new date of graduation.

Master's Degree Requirements

A candidate for a master’s degree must:

Complete a Plan of Study, approved by the department with satisfactory grades. The master’s requires 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Certain programs have been specifically approved for additional credit hours, (e.g., the MBA requires 45 credit hours and M.F.A. requires 60 credit hours). At least half the total credit hours presented toward the degree must have the suffix numbers 6000-7999, with the further limitation that no more than 15 credits of 4000-4990 courses are to be allowed.
Satisfy residence requirements.
Present an independently written (single author) thesis or project, if required.
Pursue a Plan of Study that will lead to the completion of all requirements, including those of the department, within two and one-half years.
File a degree application with the Registrar’s Office by the date specified in the academic calendar for the semester in which he or she plans to be graduated. If a degree application was filed for a previous semester but the requirements were not fulfilled, a new degree application must be filed for the semester in which the student actually is graduated.
Be in good academic and disciplinary standing.
Satisfy the culminating experience requirement as specified by the department.
Full-time graduate tuition will be paid the entire time a student is matriculated and in residence, except for special cohort programs.

A student pursuing more than one master’s degree at Rensselaer must meet the above requirements for each degree sought.

Residence and Time Limit
A student working for a master’s degree is required to be registered for at least two terms and to complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of resident instruction for each master’s degree sought. Department residency must be met in addition to the Office of Graduate Education requirements. Residency requirements for the Troy campus may also be met within programs offered at certain off-campus sites (branch campuses).

For full-time students, all work for a master’s degree, whether done at Rensselaer or elsewhere, must be completed within two and one-half years of registration for the first credits applied toward the master’s degree. Full-time students not fulfilling the master’s degree requirements by the end of two and one-half years will be dismissed unless the Office of Graduate Education has given advanced approval for additional time to complete the degree. Extensions are granted for only the most compelling reasons and are rare. If approved, the student must register full-time for any additional terms, and tuition is charged at the normal full-time rate. The student must be in good academic standing and have an acceptable Plan of Study. Satisfactory performance is not limited to academic record, but includes other appraisal of the student’s record and ability.

Students engaged in working professional programs (part-time students) must complete all work for the master’s degrees requiring 30 credits within three and one-half calendar years of the original admission date. Those working professionals working on master’s degrees requiring 60 credits must complete the requirements within five years, beginning with the date of the original admission letter. Extensions may only be granted if the student is in good academic standing and has an acceptable Plan of Study. Working professionals must petition and receive approval from the Dean of Graduate Education.

The Office of Graduate Education may initiate an academic review of any student who has accumulated more than 36 credits on a master’s degree program (more than 66 for a 60-credit master’s) without satisfying degree requirements.

A Master’s Plan of Study must contain no more than the minimum number of credits required for the degree, that is, 30 for the M.S., (except the M.S. in Lighting which requires 48), and 45 for the MBA and 60 for the M.F.A. Credits earned in addition to these degree minimums may not be added to the Plan of Study.

Thesis, Projects, and Professional Projects
Certain departments may specify presentation of a thesis or completion of a master’s project as a requirement for a master’s degree. Usually six, and no more than nine, credit hours are allowed for a master’s thesis or multiple semester master’s project. Professional projects are completed in one semester and are limited to four credit hours for each project.

In a department that ordinarily requires a thesis or project, a student may be permitted to substitute additional courses that constitute a comparable culminating experience on recommendation of the adviser and with the approval of the department head.

When a student’s program includes a thesis, the supervision of the course of study and the research for the thesis are entrusted to a committee whose members are selected in consultation with the director of the graduate program. Each committee consists of at least three members of the faculty associated with the student’s graduate program. One non-program member is permitted, but this selection must be approved by the director of the graduate program. No substitutes are permitted. In either case, the student is encouraged to seek advice during the course of study from the graduate director, committee chair, and professor supervising his or her courses. No graduate student should regard a program of study as the mere accumulation of numerical credits and meeting of formal requirements. Progress toward mastery of a discipline depends largely upon the guidance of the professors in charge of the effort and upon the student’s initiative.

The thesis must be approved by the professor in charge and accepted by the other members of the student’s committee. The thesis or project report must be presented to the candidate’s adviser committee for review by the date specified in the academic calendar for the semester in which the degree is to be awarded. Thesis and dissertation credits must be graded S or U at the end of each semester in which they are registered. Professional projects and certain other multiple semester projects receive a standard letter grade.

Thesis Submission

The candidate must provide the Office of Graduate Education with the Record of Master’s Thesis & Oral Presentation form, with original signatures and supporting documents outlined on the Thesis Checklist, no later than by the date specified in the academic calendar for the semester in which the degree is expected to be awarded. Upon receipt of the required materials, the candidate is then required to upload an electronic copy of the thesis and submit the required fee via the ETD Administrator website in order for the official review to begin by The Office of Graduate Education. The Office of Graduate Education must review and approve the thesis before the degree can be awarded.

Publication of Thesis

When the candidate submits his or her thesis through the ETD Administrator website, he or she must pay a fee to cover the costs of printing and binding one original copy for preservation at the Rensselaer Libraries. After the thesis is approved by the Office of Graduate Education, it is made available through Rensselaer Digital Collections and ProQuest’s Dissertations & Theses database. When the thesis is submitted to ProQuest by the Rensselaer Libraries, a microfilm copy of the dissertation is also deposited with the Library of Congress.

A student who wishes to publish or present publicly any portion of his or her dissertation before it has been accepted in fulfillment of his or her degree requirement must have the permission of the adviser or chair of his or her master’s thesis committee. Any dissertation material so presented must include the following statement: “This paper is taken in part from a dissertation to be submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of _______________________ at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.”

The right of conventional publication is in no way abridged by the availability of the thesis through Rensselaer Digital Collections, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database, or the Library of Congress, and the student is urged to seek additional publication in scholarly journals or elsewhere.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

A candidate for the doctorate degree must:

Complete a Plan of Study with satisfactory grades containing a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree including any appropriate work completed toward a master’s degree. Some programs require 90 credits; please check individual departmental policies. In satisfying degree requirements, at least two-thirds of the total credit hours, excluding thesis, must contain the suffix numbers 6000-7999, with the further limitation that no more than 15 credit hours of 4000-4990 courses are to be allowed for a 72-credit-hour doctorate or no more than 21 credit hours of 4000-4999 courses for a 90-credit doctorate.
Satisfy residence requirements.
Form an approved doctoral committee.
Pass a candidacy examination.
Present an independently written (single author) dissertation.
Pass a final examination.
Pursue a Plan of Study that will lead to the completion of all requirements, including those of his or her department, within seven years or if entering with a master’s, five years.
File a degree application with the Registrar’s Office by the date specified in the academic calendar for the semester in which he or she plans to be graduated. If a degree application was filed for a previous semester but the requirements were not fulfilled, a new degree application must be filed for the semester in which the student actually is graduated.
Be in good academic and disciplinary standing.
To be eligible to graduate, degree candidates must maintain registration per the graduate tuition and student support policy.

Residence and Time Limit
By New York State Education Department policy, doctoral programs shall require a minimum of three academic years (consecutive fall and spring semesters) of full-time graduate level study, or their equivalent in part-time study. Rensselaer requires that two of the three academic years are spent as a full-time student, or part-time equivalent, in a Rensselaer doctoral program. A student working for the doctoral degree must earn a minimum of 72 credit hours, and in some programs 90 credit hours, toward their doctoral plan of study. Of these credits, at least 48 credit hours in course and/or thesis work must be taken while in residence at Rensselaer Troy, Rensselaer Hartford, via Advanced Professional Studies (APS), or a combination of these.

All work for the doctorate must be completed within seven years of registration for the first credits applied toward the degree, whether enrolled in a 72- or 90-credit program. All doctoral candidates must pass the appropriate examinations as determined by their department within two years of registration for the first credits applied toward the Ph.D. Full-time students entering with a master’s degree in their field of study must finish all degree requirements for the Ph.D. within a continuous five-year time period. Students who have not met their applicable time limit will be dismissed from the program unless the Office of Graduate Education has given advanced approval for additional time to complete the degree. Extensions are granted for only the most compelling reasons and are extremely rare.

Individuals who leave Rensselaer without obtaining an authorized leave of absence and who have not requested an extension before the seven-year limit will be dismissed from the program. Individuals who do receive authorized leaves because of serious illness, involuntary military service, or maternity leave can, with the submission of the medical or military documentation, request the Office of Graduate Education to exclude up to two years of authorized leave time from the seven-year limit.

Doctoral Committee
The program director of the student’s department assigns an academic adviser to guide the student until a doctoral committee can be appointed. As soon as the student has chosen a dissertation area, he or she must arrange to conduct the dissertation work with an adviser who is a full-time tenure-track member of the faculty. The dissertation adviser then consults with the chair of the student’s department regarding the nomination of a doctoral committee of at least four members. The graduate program director sends the nominations to the Office of Graduate Education for approval.

Each candidate for the doctorate pursues, under faculty direction, an original investigation of a problem or problems in a field of concentration and presents the results of the investigation in a dissertation. The dissertation must be approved by a minimum of three members of a faculty committee of four members. The member of the faculty associated with the program who supervises the student’s investigation becomes chair of the committee. The panel also includes two members or associate members of the faculty associated with the program and an “outside” member, who is appointed by the program director in consultation with the student’s adviser. Whenever possible, “outside” shall be “outside the university,” but in all cases this person must come from outside the program. The outside member is expected to be a recognized authority on the subject of the dissertation. For appointments of committee members who are not members of the faculty, the program director will forward to the Office of Graduate Education a letter appointing the individual to the committee. This letter should explain the basis for the appointment and must include the address of the appointee.

For committees having more than four members, only one non-approval is permitted. Substitutions in committee membership, once it has been determined, are the responsibility of the program director. Replacements will occur only if a member is unable to serve or if a student’s dissertation topic changes, requiring a new dissertation director and/or modification in the committee. In cases other than these, approval for changes in committee membership rests with the Dean of the Office of Graduate Education.

The committee will meet to discuss the candidate’s dissertation proposal once the candidate has developed some preliminary guidelines with the advice of the dissertation supervisor. Whenever possible, the outside member of the committee will be at this initial meeting. Subsequently, the committee must be kept informed of the student’s progress and must agree to follow the candidate’s work and assist in its development. The committee also shall agree to give ample and early warning of any reservations concerning the student’s progress and must specify in writing the changes required for dissertation acceptance.

Plan of Doctoral Study
A prospective candidate for the doctorate ordinarily follows a Plan of Study of a minimum of 72 credit hours, and in certain programs up to 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, including any appropriate work completed toward a master’s degree. Students must list on their Plan of Doctoral Study only the credits that are sufficient to meet the academic requirements for the doctoral degree. Students should list these credits in chronological order of registration, and should stop listing credits once they have listed the minimum number required for the degree, even if they have earned additional credits beyond the minimum.

Candidacy
A student may sit for the candidacy examination, given by his or her doctoral committee, when:

His or her course work nears completion.
The student has an approved doctoral examining committee.
He or she has the approval of his or her doctoral committee to take the candidacy exam.
He or she completes the appropriate Responsible Conduct of Research online training through CITI Program and provides the Office of Graduate Education with a completion report/certificate available for printing at the conclusion of the training.
The candidacy examination must be passed within two years of the date at which the department has formally determined the student is qualified to conduct research (i.e. qualifying or field exams, or the department equivalent).

A student is admitted to candidacy for the doctorate when he or she has passed the candidacy examination and is recommended for such candidacy from his or her doctoral committee and department. The student is admitted to candidacy upon approval by the Office of Graduate Education. All degree requirements, including the dissertation, must be completed within three years of passing the candidacy exam.

Dissertation and Final Examination
The doctoral dissertation demonstrates the candidate’s capacity for independent work. It embodies the results of an original investigation in the candidate’s principal field of study on a subject approved by the student’s doctoral committee. Only work meeting the highest standards of integrity will be accepted for degree requirements at Rensselaer. Academic integrity is a requirement of continued good academic standing and for the awarding of a graduate degree. The field of the dissertation should be chosen as soon as possible after entry upon doctoral study. A Preparation Guide for Dissertation and Theses containing required format specifications is available on the Office of Graduate Education’s website at http://www.rpi.edu/dept/grad/docs/ThesisManual.pdf. Before preparing the final manuscript, please check the Office of Graduate Education website for the most recent formatting and submission guidelines.

The dissertation is presented to the candidate’s dissertation adviser by the date specified in the academic calendar for the semester in which the degree is expected to be awarded. Each member of the doctoral committee must be presented with an unbound copy of the dissertation at least one week before the final examination is scheduled.

Dissertation Defense/Final Examination When the dissertation is completed, the candidate must defend it in a public examination conducted by his or her doctoral committee, which passes on its acceptability. The final examination is to be held by the date listed in the academic calendar for the year. The committee transmits a record of its decision on the dissertation examination to the Office of Graduate Education.

Dissertation Submission After passing the final examination and no later than the date specified in the academic calendar for the semester in which the degree is expected to be awarded, the candidate must provide the Office of Graduate Education with the Record of Dissertation Exam form and supporting documents outlined on the Dissertation Checklist. The Record of Dissertation Exam form, approving both content and format, must include original signatures from all doctoral committee members. Upon receipt of the required materials, the candidate is then required to upload an electronic copy of the dissertation and submit the required fee via the ETD Administrator website in order for the official review to begin by the Office of Graduate Education. The Office of Graduate Education must review and approve the dissertation before the degree can be awarded.

Publication of Dissertation When the candidate submits his or her dissertation through the ETD Administrator website, he or she must pay a fee to cover the costs of printing and binding one original copy for preservation at the Rensselaer Libraries. After the dissertation is approved by the Office of Graduate Education, it is made available through Rensselaer Digital Collections and ProQuest’s Dissertations & Theses database. When the dissertation is submitted to ProQuest by the Rensselaer Libraries, a microfilm copy of the dissertation is also deposited with the Library of Congress.

A student who wishes to publish or present publicly any portion of his or her dissertation before it has been accepted in fulfillment of his or her degree requirement must have the permission of the adviser or chair of his or her doctoral committee. Any dissertation material so presented must include the following statement: “This paper is taken in part from a dissertation to be submitted in partial fulfillment for the degree of _______________________ at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.”

The right of conventional publication is in no way abridged by the availability of the dissertation through Rensselaer Digital Collections, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database, or the Library of Congress, and the student is urged to seek additional publication in technical journals or elsewhere.