Information for Prospective and Accepted Students
We welcome prospective and accepted students and their families to the Computer Science Department at Rensselaer! Use this webpage to familiarize yourself with our department and get your questions answered.
About the Department
The undergraduate program in computer science prepares students to solve real-world problems and carry out fundamental research. Our undergraduates distinguish themselves by landing high-income jobs at such companies as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Epic Systems, Facebook, Amazon, and numerous other companies both large and small. Many of our students go on to prominent graduate schools. Given our strengths and successes, for the last few years, our incoming class of first-year students has increased and been among the largest ever in our 37-year history. And recently, in the Fall 2018 semester, computer science became the largest undergraduate major at Rensselaer.
Our undergraduate program is both rigorous and flexible. Our rigor makes our students highly desirable for employment after graduation, with the average starting salary for computer science students graduating in 2020 just over $96,000. Our program's flexibility enables our students to earn dual majors in computer science and another discipline, including various fields of engineering (e.g., computer and systems engineering), as well as mathematics (MATH), information technology and web science (ITWS), business and management (BMGT), games and simulation arts and sciences (GSAS), electronic media arts and communication (EMAC), and many more. Close to 40% of our majors are dual majors, and many students also pursue minors in other fields.
Select the URLs below for more specific information (all URLs open in a new browser window):
- Welcome Letter for Computer Science
- Curriculum template for students entering Fall 2021 or Spring 2022
- Answer to frequently asked questions from prospective students
- Faculty research interests (also check out the computer science faculty page)
- Class of 2020 computer science reported salary information and employers
- Computer Science website (for more curriculum information)
Upcoming 2021 Events
Upcoming 2021 events for prospective and accepted students are detailed below. Also be sure to scroll down for faculty information sessions. More events and URLs will be posted soon, so keep checking back!
- Accepted Students Celebration #1 [Sunday, February 28]: Professor Chuck Stewart, CS Department Head, introduced the department, our curriculum, our students, and the many activities students get involved with. Click here to view a recording of this past event.
- Alumni Panel and Q&A Session [Monday, March 15]: Network with ACM-W (ACM's Women in Computing) alumni in an informal social event. Learn why these students joined ACM-W, where they are now, and what advice they might have for you!
- CS Student Webinar [Tuesday, March 16]: Meet a panel of current students, ask questions, and learn about their experiences at Rensselaer. Click here to view a recording of this past event.
- Trivia Game Night on Discord [Friday, March 19]: Join the ACM-W (ACM's Women in Computing) for this informal social event. Chat and test your trivia skills with a range of topics. This event is a crossover event with the ACM-W Mentorship Program, so join in and also learn more about the mentorship program!
- Women at Rensselaer Instagram Takeover [Wednesday, March 24]: Join us on the @RPIAdmissions Instagram to learn about the community of women in CS here at RPI. You'll also meet the student leaders of ACM-W (ACM's Women in Computing).
- CS/ITWS Webinar [Wednesday, March 24]: Talk with faculty, staff, and students in both the CS and Information Technology and Web Science (ITWS) departments to learn about the similarities and differences between the two majors. Click here to view a recording of this past event.
- Women in Computer Science Webinar [Wednesday, March 31]: Meet female student leaders and learn about the student-organized mentorship program, Rensselaer's Women in Computing chapter ACM-W, and other resources for women in the department.
- Accepted Students Celebration #2 [Sunday, April 11 at 4:00PM ET]: Live online presentation followed by additional sessions and a meet-and-greet with CS students. Professor Chuck Stewart, CS Department Head, will introduce the department, our curriculum, our students, and the many activities students get involved with. Admissions will then host a virtual meet-and-greet with current CS students at 6:50PM ET.
- CS Virtual Club Fair and One-on-one Student Meetings [Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00PM ET]: Meet with club leaders to learn about the missions and events of their organizations, also how to get involved. Represented clubs will include RPISEC (our security club), ACM-W (women in CS chapter), HackRPI, and several more! Access the Club Fair Discord server by clicking here at 7:00PM ET on April 20. You can also speak with current students one-on-one during this time via an app developed by one of our CS juniors. Students will answer your questions and share their experiences as a CS major. Sign into the Accepted Students Matching app here between 7:00PM and 8:30PM ET on April 20! You can also find instructions for using the app here.
- Accepted Students Celebration #3 [Sunday, April 25 at 4:00PM ET]: Live online presentation followed by additional sessions and a virtual club fair. Professor Chuck Stewart, CS Department Head, will introduce the department, our curriculum, our students, and the many activities students get involved with. Admissions will then host a virtual club fair that will include all Rensselaer student clubs and organizations at 6:50PM ET. Please read more details and sign up here.
Throughout March and April, some of our computer science professors will be available to meet and discuss the department, their coursework and research, and answer your questions. Dates and registration URLs are below.
- Meet Professor David Goldschmidt [Monday, March 22]: Click here to view a recording of this past event.
- Meet Professor Stacy Patterson [Wednesday, March 31]: This event is over.
- Meet Professor Barb Cutler [Thursday, April 8 at 12:00PM ET]: This event is over.
- Meet Professor Jim Hendler [Tuesday, April 13 at 4:00PM ET]: This event is over.
- Meet Professor Alex Gittens [Wednesday, April 21 at 7:00PM ET]: Please sign up for this event here.
- Meet Professor Malik Magdon-Ismail [Thursday, April 29 at 12:00PM ET]: Please sign up for this event here.
CS Clubs and Organizations
Our students are very active in extracurricular activities. Within our department, students participate in the RPI Computing Club, Upsilon Pi Epsilon (or UPE, the computer science honor society), RPISEC (the computer security club), ACM-W (women in computing), HackRPI, and Coding&&Community. With well over 200 student organizations on campus, students find many opportunities to pursue their extracurricular interests.
Select the URLs below for flyers and/or links to websites for these organization (all URLs open in a new browser window):
A few recent news and articles involving our students and faculty are included below (all URLs open in a new browser window). Also consider following our Twitter feed (click here)!
- Federation of American Scientists (FAS) announces COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force, including Professor Jim Hendler
- Student-Built Program (Submitty) Supports Thousands During Remote Learning Experience
- App Developed at Rensselaer Can Help Guide COVID-19 Management on Any Campus
- RCOS Member Mallory Gaspard is a finalist in the Red Hat Open Source Woman of the Year award
- Coding&&Community featured in recent alumni magazine
- CS sophomore and RCOS coordinator, Frank Matranga, was interviewed by GitHub for his RCOS project, LATE
- CS Professor Carlos Varela was named an Associate Editor of the IEEE Internet of Things Journal (IoT-J)
- Fall 2018 Call for Code hackathon focused on disaster response
- Fall 2018 Call for Code first-prize winner Jonah Mudse
- CS Professor George Slota selected for SIAM Science Policy Fellowship
- RPISEC takes home top honors at the Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) 2018 event
- Introducing AiMOS, one of the world's most powerful supercomputers
- Rensselaer offers AiMOS supercomputing capabilities to battle COVID-19
Past (2020) Events
All 2020 events have ended. Below is a summary of past events specific to computer science for which we have recordings. Use the URLs below to navigate to these events.
- Meet a Professor [April] Our computer science professors were available to meet and discuss the department, their coursework and research, and answer your questions. Of the six sessions we held, we did record one of them, so feel free to watch and listen in below.
- Professor Barb Cutler [April 29 6:00-7:00PM EDT] Click here to view a video-recording of this session on YouTube!
- Women in Computer Science Panel [April 6, 2020 at 6:00PM EDT] At this session, female student leaders talked about their experiences, in particular with our student-organized mentorship program, Rensselaer's women in computing chapter ACM-W, informal gatherings, and other resources specifically for women in the department. Click here to watch a video of this past event.
- Accepted Students Day (ASD) Celebration [April 4, 2020 at 11:00AM EDT] Professor and Department Head Chuck Stewart introduced our department, our curriculum, and our students via a live online presentation that also included a Q&A session. Click here to watch a video of this past event.
- Computer Science Student Webinar [March 26, 2020 at 6:00PM EDT] At this session, a panel of current students were available to answer questions and describe their experiences at Rensselaer. Click here to watch a video of this past event.