Foreign language options for Rensselaer students


Foreign language study at Rensselaer

The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences offers a series of innovative courses in Mandarin Chinese. These courses help students develop fluency in the Chinese language while gaining competence in Chinese culture and intercultural communication, according to the standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). For current semester information, students should refer to the Class Schedule in the Student Information System under Languages for a listing of available courses.  


Cross registration for foreign languages

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offers students the option to enroll at local colleges and research universities to study courses in foreign languages as part of their coursework in the humanities.  Students are allowed to register for courses at the institutions listed below at no additional cost.  Enrollment is based on space availability at each individual institution. 


The following schools offer foreign languages to Rensselaer students (distance from the Rensselaer campus is noted in parentheses):

Russell Sage College (0.5 mile):  French, Spanish

Hudson Valley Community College (2.4 miles):  American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Spanish

Siena College (3.3 miles):  American Sign Language, Arabic, French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish

The College of St. Rose (7 miles):  Arabic, French, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish

University at Albany (7.7 miles):  Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Union College (13.9 miles):  Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, Spanish

Schenectady County Community College (14.7 miles):  American Sign Language, French, Italian, Spanish

Skidmore College (25.7 miles):  Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish

Courses taken at these schools are entered into the student's record in the same manner as courses taken at Rensselaer and thus carry term and cumulative credit hours and grade points.  Regulations governing the interchange of students, forms, and information concerning the program are available at the Office of the Registrar.  

Please note that Rensselaer offer a minor in Chinese Language only.

Transportation to these colleges and universities is available via the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) bus system, which is free for Rensselaer students.  For schedules and route information, please visit

Transferring foreign languages

Rensselaer students are allowed to take foreign languages at colleges and universities not mentioned above to transfer the credit into Rensselaer.  If a student wishes to explore this option, the course must be approved prior to enrollment.  Students should provide a copy of the course description to the Manager of Student Services in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.  Courses are only transferable if the student earns a final grade of C- or better.  The course will appear on the transcript as a transfer course and will not calculate into grade point average.