Student Orientation

Welcome to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute!

We are excited to welcome you to campus and have you join our community. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Hub is your starting point for understanding your academics.

As part of Student Orientation, we developed this guide to support you with your first college course registration! Each of you are coming to Rensselaer at a different place based on your credits and we want you to feel confident with your course selection for the Fall Semester.

Student Services and Transferring Credits

Students are assigned both a faculty and Hub advisor. Your faculty advisor will concentrate on your four year academic plan, research, and career aspirations. Your Hub advisor will assist with questions regarding institute policies, regulations, and course enrollment, as well as provide information for other campus resources. 

To set up an appointment with a HASS Hub staff member, please visit the HASS Hub.

If you are coming in with AP or IB courses, you should use the Office of Admissions website to help you determine how those courses will fit into your curriculum plan here at RPI. Specific information regarding AP scores can be found here and specific information regarding IB credit can be found here.

If you think you are going to earn credit for AP or IB courses, you can register for a course the next level up; i.e., if you believe you’re going to earn a 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam, you will earn 4 credits for MATH 1010: Calculus I, and you should consider registering for MATH 1020: Calculus II. You may want to take this test, designed by the School of Science, to help you prepare for calculus.

When you arrive for Student Orientation, your packet will contain a letter stating which Rensselaer courses you have received credit for (if your scores were sent to RPI). You will have a chance to discuss this at Student Orientation if you have questions or need to make changes.

If you plan to transfer other college courses in to Rensselaer, you will need to have the course evaluated by the Office of the Registrar. Catalog course descriptions and Incoming Freshmen Transfer Credit Procedure/High School Certification Form must be sent to the Office of the Registrar by June 25 for each course. Transfer credit will not be given for any college course that was used to obtain your high school diploma.

“Just the Facts”

  • Use the Office of the Admissions website
  • Maximum of 32 transfer credits allowed; only 20 of which may be AP/IB credits or other equivalent credits.
  • AP exams need at least a 5 to earn you credit

Curriculum planning

Major requirements are dictated by your department. These generally consist of a core set of courses that range from a total of 36 to 56 credits. These requirements include several named (mandatory) courses, as well as a selection of other named electives within the major.

The Rensselaer Catalog lays out the required courses for your major, as well as provides you with a suggestion on the sequence of your courses. 

HASS first-semester: To see what you should register for in the fall semester, we recommend reviewing this document. 

If you have any questions in regard to transferring credits, please review the information above. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with questions as well.

  • 24 credits total; no more than 8 transfer credits(Transfer credit limit may be waived for transfer students if courses were taken at the previous institution, however, the limit for AP/IB credits still applies.)
  • Maximum 8 credits Pass/No Credit
  • Math, Hard Science, or Computer Science
  • Check the Rensselaer Catalog for any mandatory courses 

Specific questions regarding the Science Core can be answered by the School of Science Hub.


  • 24 credits; maximum of 8 transfer credits (Transfer credit limit may be waived for transfer students if courses were taken at the previous institution, however, the limit for AP/IB credits still applies.)
  • Engineering majors must complete 20 credits of HASS courses in addition to the credits earned associated with the three-course sequence of professional development (PD) courses
  • Architecture majors must complete 20 credits of HASS courses. Four credits of the HASS core requirements are embedded within the Architectural Genealogy and Cloud Atlas
  • One Communication Intensive course- this must be taken within the first 3 semesters
  • One HASS Inquiry course- this must be taken in the first 2 semesters
  • Approved 12-credit integrative pathway
  • One 4000-level course

The following presentations contain detailed information about the HASS Core requirements and Integrative Pathways: 

Students may also find the HASS Core Checklist to be useful when determining how their courses/credits will count towards their HASS Core requirements. Specific questions regarding the HASS Core can be answered by the HASS Hub.



These courses can be used to explore new ideas and content. Feel free to use them to earn a minor in a field of interest or to complete a dual major.

  • Summer Here – summer between sophomore and junior year
  • Away Semester – fall or spring semester away during junior year 

Specific questions can be answered by The Arch website or by the HASS Hub.

Planning your Fall Semester

  • Register via Student Information System (SIS) 
  • Your SIS User ID will be your Rensselaer Identification Number (RIN)
  • Your SIS PIN will be your 6-digit birthday (MMDDYY)
  • Review your financial responsibility agreement 
  • Remember to update your emergency contact information (RPI Alert system)

Sample schedules are a great way to help you decide on what to take in your first semester. 

Specific questions regarding registration can be answered by First-Year Advising and Registration or the HASS Hub.

Continued support from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Advising Hub!

Download video links and passwords for each topic

The HASS Hub recently hosted webinars focused on the following topics:

  • Economics Program
  • Cognitive Science Programs (Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Psychological Science majors)
  • Arts Programs (Electronic Arts and Music majors)
  • Science and Technology Studies Programs (Design, Innovation, and Society, Sustainability Studies, and Science and Technology Studies majors)
  • Communication and Media Programs (Communication and Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications majors)
  • Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences Program
  • HASS Core, including HASS Inquiry and Integrative Pathways Requirements
  • Dual majors with HASS

Most importantly, please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns! We are here to help.

The following links can help support you with registration and your academic career here at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:

Rensselaer Catalog:  Course details, Degree Templates, etc.

Student Information System (SIS) : Register for courses, view your transcript, see degree audits, etc.

HASS Student Services Hub : FAQs answered, contact academic advisors, etc.

Office of the Registrar : Transfer credits, enrollment policies, course policies, forms, etc.

Advising & Learning Assistance Center : Tutoring, advising, intervention for struggling students, etc.

The Arch : Summer semester, away experience, etc.


The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 4307, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-2576

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