Experiential Learning at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Four students work together on a design project

Mission: The Experiential Learning Team provides overall support to students engaged in 
experiential learning opportunities. Serving as a bridge between students’ academic preparation and 
their career outcome, through constant communication, we empower students to discover and take 
charge of their long-term career trajectory.

What We Do: We are student, employer, and campus-facing. We strive to help students navigate 
experiential learning opportunities while working with internal and external constituents to ensure 
these opportunities exist and continue to grow.

Experiential Learning

  • Dawn Cairns-Weaver - Associate Director of Experiential Learning - Email: cairnd@rpi.edu
  • Emily Nicholson - Assistant Director of Experiential Learning Email: nichoe3@rpi.edu
  • Stephanie Perry - Experiential Learning Program Assistant - Email: perrys2@rpi.edu

You are about to embark on an exciting journey that will lead to new paths in your career development. Along the way, you will cultivate critical technical and leadership skills, meet great professionals, and learn new things about yourself. We are very pleased to welcome you as a new “co-op,” “intern” and/or “Arch Away” student! 

This Experiential Learning Guide is an important reference for you; it contains important information, so please refer to it often while you are away!

The Arch, Co-op, and Internship

Quick Facts


 The ArchCo-opInternship
Year AvailableJuniorSophomore
Junior (Arch)
Transfers (after first semester)
Junior (Arch)
Transfers (after first semester)
WhenSemesterSemester + summerSemester, summer or both
LengthCan be three to eight months; student is required to work a minimum of 260 hoursSix to eight months; must be full time (at least 520 hours)Approx. three months; minimum of 260 hours
Requirements 2.0 GPA
One full-time semester before graduation
EmploymentFull-time or part-time (minimum of 260 hours)Full-time or parallel (at least 520 hours)Full- or part-time (minimum of 260 hours)
Compensation PaidPaid or unpaid
StatusFull-time student (no tuition)Full-time student (no tuition) 
International Student Visa RestrictionsAllowed to have a semester only internship experience.Utilizes Curricular Practical Training (CPT) time allowed by your VisaMay apply for Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) through the International Services for Students and Scholars Office (ISSS)


Required NoNo
When Semester, summer, or bothSemester, summer or both
Length three to eight monthsApprox. three months
Requirements 3.2 GPA and OGE approval3.2 GPA and OGE approval
Employment Full-timeFull-time
Compensation PaidPaid
Status Full-time student (no tuition) 
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