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About Clarkson University

Clarkson is a nationally ranked research university offering comprehensive programs in business, engineering, arts and sciences, and health sciences. As a student-centered institution, Clarkson emphasizes a dynamic collaborative approach to learning through programs that span boundaries across disciplines and outstanding, focused research.

Graduates are known for their innovative thinking and problem-solving skills as well as their ability to create, adapt and manage technology for the benefit of society. One Clarkson graduate in seven is a president, CEO, vice president, or owner of a company.

The University was founded in 1896 as a memorial to Thomas S. Clarkson, a northern New York businessman with a deep concern for humanity. Today the University continues to reflect his fundamental values: a commitment to professional skill and competence coupled with personal integrity and human understanding. The University is known as a friendly school where students benefit from personal attention and close interaction with our distinguished faculty of teacher/scholars.

Clarkson is located on a 640-acre wooded campus in the historic village of Potsdam (pop. 9,500), where the rolling foothills of the Adirondack Mountains meet the St. Lawrence River Valley. The school attracts high-ability students who seek a rigorous comprehensive education in a scenic, friendly environment. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy recreational opportunities in the nearby Adirondack Park (six million acres) and Thousand Islands region. Lake Placid and international attractions in Ottawa and Montreal are a short drive away.

Clarkson is recognized for both teaching and research. Undergraduate programs provide excellent preparation for advanced degrees and for immediate career opportunities. Placement rates are consistently high and an active alumni network fosters success.

Admission is highly selective and most entering first-year students have graduated in the top 20 percent of their high school classes. The Honors Program annually accepts approximately 30 exceptionally talented students who enrich their degree programs through a sequence of seminars focused on technological issues and challenges confronting contemporary society.

Students develop skills in teamwork, communication, leadership and creative problem solving, in addition to mastery of fundamentals and evolving technologies. Open-ended, hands-on projects connect business, engineering, and arts and sciences through an emphasis on boundary-spanning solutions and practical applications.

The University offers degrees in traditional academic fields, along with majors that cut across and combine disciplines such as biomolecular science, environmental science and policy, information technology, software engineering, and digital arts and sciences.

National recognition of educational quality at Clarkson includes:

  • listed among the top research universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report 2010;
  • business program in supply chain management ranked #14 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, America's Best Colleges 2010;
  • environmental engineering graduate program ranked in the top 35 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, America's Best Graduate Schools 2010;
  • listed among the best undergraduate engineering programs (where the highest degree is a doctorate) by U.S. News & World Report 2010;
  • rated 95 out of 99 points in the Green Rating Category by The Princeton Review, Best 371 Colleges 2010;
  • ROTC service ranked #3 in the nation by Washington Monthly College Guide 2009;
  • listed among the best 368 colleges by The Princeton Review 2009;
  • business program in operations management ranked in the top 15 in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine 2009.  
  • listed among the Top 100 National Universities, America's Most Popular Schools by U.S. News & World Report 2009;
  • listed among the best 282 business schools in the nation by The Princeton Review 2007;
  • top 25 in the nation in Innovation and Entrepreneurship by The Princeton Review/Entrepreneur magazine 2007;
  • listed among the Top 20 Most Wired Colleges by PC Magazine/The Princeton Review 2007;
  • one of the top 50 entrepreneurial schools by Entrepreneur magazine (2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002); and,
  • winner of the IBM Linux Scholar Challenge (2005, 2004, 2001).

Collaborative projects to solve real-world problems prepare students in all majors for the team-oriented global workplace. Some 400 undergraduates a year perform faculty-mentored research or participate in national academic team competitions through Clarkson’s award-winning program called SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design). Competition projects range from environmental problem solving to Mini-Baja vehicle racing to FIRST Robotics. All business students work on entrepreneurial teams that create and run actual companies. More than 35 study abroad programs in 19 countries, as well as internships, workplace co-ops, and research fellowships, broaden the undergraduate educational experience.

Clarkson’s major organizational units are the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering, the Center for Health Sciences, the Graduate School, the Division of Research, and The Clarkson School, a distinctive program through which accelerated high school students begin college studies.

Clarkson’s campus includes several academic research centers that leverage the University’s scholarly strengths. The Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), which is also a New York State Center for Advanced Technology, contains more than 70 state-of-the-art research laboratories. Such facilities enable faculty to pursue cutting-edge research and are also accessible to undergraduates and graduate students for collaborative projects.

The Institute for a Sustainable Environment is home to the University’s environmental research activities; graduate and undergraduate degree programs with a focus on environmental science, public policy and engineering; campus environmental initiatives; and outreach programs. Related research units include the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES) and the Great Rivers Center.

The Center for Rehabilitation Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) serves to integrate biomedical engineering and science with assistive and adaptive technologies and physical therapy to improve lives affected by disease or injury.

Bertrand H. Snell Hall houses the School of Business, the administrative offices of the School of Arts & Sciences, the humanities and social sciences faculty, and the Division of Research. Fully networked classrooms and study spaces, collaborative centers for team projects, and videoconferencing capabilities are among state-of-the-art features that enhance student learning. The building includes three academic centers available to students in all majors: the Shipley Center for Innovation, the Center for Global Competitiveness, and the Eastman Kodak Center for Excellence in Communication. Bertrand H. Snell Hall is connected to the Cora and Bayard Clarkson Science Center by the third story Petersen Passageway.

The Center for Health Sciences at Clarkson is a regional center of excellence for education, treatment and research in physical rehabilitation and other health sciences. The center houses both Clarkson’s Ph.D. program in physical therapy and Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s Physical Rehabilitation Services.

Clarkson’s physical facilities are valued at $186.5 million. They comprise approximately 1,344,064 square feet of assignable space, of which almost 90 percent has been built since 1970. More than 355,744 sq. ft. are dedicated exclusively to academic programs, including 53,607 sq. ft. in traditional classrooms and 174,303 sq. ft. assigned in laboratory areas.

Retention studies of independent institutions in New York State show on average that 68.7 percent of students who enter as freshmen complete their degrees within six years, and 56.4 percent in four years. At these same schools, the sampling of transfer students shows 64 percent completing their degrees in four years and 68.6 percent in six years.

At Clarkson the retention rate is well above the norm: averaged among those completing degrees over the past three years, 73.9 percent of freshmen completed their studies for a bachelor’s degree within six years; 70.7 percent in five years; and 56.2 percent in four years or less. Among transfer students, 47 percent complete their bachelor’s degrees in two years and 83.4 percent in four years.*

*Under the Student Right to Know Act, the federal government requires the University to publish the six-year graduation rate for students who have enrolled as first-time freshmen. Clarkson operates a unique program known as The Clarkson School, which allows students to begin their college career one year early (see Undergraduate Admission). This program attracts some students who may not intend to remain at Clarkson for four years and inclusion of these students in the total has the effect of making that published rate misleading. The inclusion of Clarkson School students makes the University’s six-year graduation rate 69.4 percent.