The Summer Arch

The Summer Arch is a unique approach for student development and growth that prepares students to meet the multifaceted challenges of the 21st century. The Summer Arch will augment academic and experiential programs, and provide an even more robust-and transformative-educational experience for undergraduate students.

The Summer Arch is a restructuring of the Rensselaer academic calendar. It creates additional opportunities for experiential learning that complement curricular and co-curricular offerings at Rensselaer.

Rising juniors will attend a full summer semester, the Summer Arch, between their sophomore and junior years, followed by an “away” semester taken during either the fall or spring of the student’s junior year.

This will allow students to take advantage of the numerous experiential learning activities available off campus, including international travel, internships, co-ops, research opportunities, and engagement in community service projects.

Maximizing Strengths

The Summer Arch and the junior year fall or spring away semester will provide an opportunity for meaningful educational experiences and professional developmental opportunities that include the following:

  • Additional experiential learning opportunities to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of other cultures and customs through arrangements with institutions across the globe.
  • Increased opportunities to pursue internships, co-ops, and collaborative research, as well as athletic, entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and community service activities.
  • Increased options for students interested in pursuing dual majors or to accelerate their academic progress, possibly pursuing co-terminal graduate degrees.
  • Availability of diverse intellectual and cultural opportunities over the summer months for you to explore new worlds through myriad on-campus events and programming, to off-campus events across the greater Hudson Mohawk Region and beyond to New York, Montreal, and Boston.

Pilot Programs

In 2017, Rensselaer will launch the first of two pilots of the Summer Arch. Rising juniors (members of the Class of 2019) from the School of Engineering and the Lally School will have the opportunity to stay on campus and participate in the Summer Arch.

In 2018, Rensselaer will launch the second pilot, and rising juniors (members of the Class of 2020) enrolled in all schools will have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Arch.

The ultimate launch will take place in 2019 and will include all members of the Class of 2021.

Share Your Input

Faculty, staff and students are involved in the planning process for the Summer Arch. In addition, recognizing that the Summer Arch will have an impact on student leadership, teams of students are visiting both Dartmouth and Northeastern to gather ideas from other schools with semester away experiences.  

Want to get involved? Please send your ideas and any questions about the Summer Arch to

To review the Summer Arch fact sheet, click the following icon:
The Summer Arch Fact Sheet