URM Students and Students with Disabilities/Disadvantaged Backgrounds

Graph showing URM or DIS Trainee Representation

Diversity is a vision, not a checklist. Our increasingly complex world needs a breadth of talents, voices, and unique perspectives.

Diversity enhancement is vital to Rensselaer’s mission. We vigorously strive to identify, recruit, and mentor members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, and persons from disadvantaged groups. Our students thrive in a nurturing environment that offers not only a spirit of community, but also personalized support for every individual.

We have a strong history of making scientific and engineering education available to anyone with extraordinary talent and determination. Rensselaer admitted its first women students and lecturers in 1828 (four years after the Institute’s founding) and produced its first Hispanic and African-American graduates in 1850 and 1881, respectively.

In the 21st century, Rensselaer strives towards greater diversity at all levels of the Institute, and in particular at the Ph.D. level in the science and engineering disciplines. These strategies make an impact.

The Training Program strives to attract underrepresented minorities to basic and applied sciences and engineering. Despite the Training Program’s limited size, we enthusiastically support underrepresented minorities and women, and will eagerly facilitate their successful graduation into industry, academic positions, and postdoctoral work.

Rensselaer’s outreach to underrepresented minority students vastly exceeds traditional student recruitment. The Training Program's research's diversity efforts will be enhanced by interaction with several ongoing minority recruitment and retention efforts already in place at Rensselaer.

We have established positive working partnerships with leading historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and engage in a specialized visitation program.

Rensselaer is an active participant in national and regional events targeting underrepresented students interested in graduate studies.


We understand the importance a proactive and personable approach to attracting individuals from underrepresented groups. Early counseling and funded visits are provided to qualified candidates during annual recruiting initiatives coordinated through The Division of Enrollment.

A critical aspect of mentoring is to guarantee successful career performance. This depends on a host of professional skills that are seldom explicitly taught in graduate school, such as succeeding in academia, planning a career; using electronic sources, and writing research proposals.

We will continue to actively recruit potential Trainees in a “need-blind” manner. The recruitment of both disadvantaged and disabled applicants will be simultaneous with the recruitment of underrepresented and non-underrepresented students.

The Training Program is highly diverse: 29% of our current and past Trainees are URMs and 48% are women.

During the period of Training Program support, minority applicants seeking admission to the graduate programs of Rensselaer’s four participating departments increased by 270%, which resulted in a 140% increase in graduate minority enrollment over a five-year period.

The Training Program’s retention rate for URMs is 100%, and 92% in the four participating departments. We have retained all URM Trainnees and all women Trainees in the Training Program.

During the past decade, Rensselaer’s women and minority faculty members have increased by 47% and 150% respectively. Among faculty participating in the training grant, 45% of the faculty are women or minorities.

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