Experiential Education

Rensselaer School of Engineering is a leader is experiential learning, where students are exposed to engineering design early in their curriculum.  Excellent laboratories equipped with modern tools, maker/thinker/inventor spaces, and integrated design curricula provide broad experiential learning opportunities for students. Some examples are highlighted below.

The Design Lab

The Design Lab

The O.T. Swanson Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory or the MDL is truly the home of ‘engineering design’ at Rensselaer, where many hundreds of engineering seniors work in teams each year to address some of the world major problems ranging from alternative energy and sustainability, smart grid, and healthcare, to advanced materials. The MDL educates students many engineering disciplines (biomedical, electrical and computer systems, electric power, industrial, materials, mechanical, and aeronautical) on their multidisciplinary capstone design projects, which are typically funded by industry. In addition to technical aspects of engineering design, students learn about teamwork as well as written and oral communication skills.


MILL: Manufacturing Innovation Learning Lab

Manufacturing Innovations Learning Laboratory – or the MILL – is focused on educating the next generation of leaders and pioneers in advanced manufacturing. Located in the George M. Low Center for Industrial Innovation, MILL is a forward-looking manufacturing learning environment supported by experienced instructors, industry-grade equipment, and new maker/tinker tools for our students. It is expanding its reach to micro and nano-manufacturing. MILL is sponsored by many industrial partners and maintains strong ties with top manufacturing companies. MILL student teams have won many top-prizes at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Student Design and Manufacturing Competitions.

Challenge Studio

Rensselaer’s Challenge Studio is a transformative approach to pedagogy through project-oriented, competency-based performance. It is at once a Maker Space and a Thinker Space, challenging students to solve complex problems through multidisciplinary inquiry. Learning is infused with essential elements of leadership and entrepreneurship, with innovation and creativity transcending the “lab” and extending out into the world. Important to the idea of ‘distributed’ Challenge Studio are maker/tinker/inventor spaces through-out the campus. The school of engineering is home to several such spaces including the Douglas Mercer Laboratory for Student Innovation, the ProFab lab in Biomedical Engineering, and the maker lab at the MILL.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research

Many SoE undergraduates participate in research experience. Research exposes our undergraduates to complex open-ended problems, state-of-the art, facilities, and the opportunity to interact with world-class faculty. Through research our students meet and network with bright people from all over the world and expand their academic and cultural horizons. They learn to think critically, analyze data, and communicate their ideas to audiences. Each year we celebrate exceptional undergraduate research at a symposium. The Arch initiative as well as the new externally funded REU programs promise to expand these research opportunities even further. The Biomedical Engineering Department at Rensselaer is leading a prestigious undergraduate research program in the area of Bioengineering and Bio-manufacturing. See more at: http://bme.rpi.edu/reu.

Rensselaer Study Abroad

Study Abroad

In a highly connected and ever-shrinking world, study abroad and other international experiences have become an integral part of a well-rounded undergraduate experience. A period abroad allows students to develop a broader perspective on their chosen academic field of study while earning credit towards a Rensselaer degree, or to gain valuable practical and intercultural experience. Students gain a deeper understanding not only of the culture in which they will be living, but also the culture of the U.S. and its place in today’s global society.