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Graduate Engineering at Rochester (GEAR)

About GEAR

To begin a career in engineering, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and perhaps even a master’s degree, which comes to at least six years of higher education. Admission to an engineering master’s program usually requires a strong score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

The Graduate Engineering at Rochester (GEAR) program allows you to skip the GRE exam before entering into your fifth year as a master’s candidate at Rochester. When accepted to the GEAR program as an undergraduate, you’re assured admission to the University’s Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences (located right on Rochester’s main campus) in one of nine master’s programs:

  • Biomedical engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Computer science
  • Electrical and computer engineering
  • Materials science
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Optics
  • Technical entrepreneurship and management (TEAM)
  • Data science

Students in GEAR may receive a 50% tuition scholarship, and may be asked to TA during their final year as part of the GEAR program. The program also provides advising by GEAR mentors, opportunities for research and internships, and access to first-rate research facilities.


A student solders a component as another student assists.

Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

The Hajim School is one of the nation’s top engineering schools. Learning from and working alongside award-winning faculty, you’ll use state-of-the-art technology and facilities to support your unique and self-driven education.

Learn more about Hajim

Applying to Gear

GEAR finalist interviews

You will be notified of your finalist/non-finalist status in January.

Finalists will interview with a member of admissions and a member of the Hajim School. Historically, these interviews have taken place at a GEAR event on campus during the month of February. But due to uncertainty associated with COVID-19, this interview event may be held virtually moving forward. Your final GEAR decision will be sent in March.

If you are not offered a finalist interview, you may still have your application reviewed for general admission to the College without GEAR.

If you are admitted to the College through early decision, you will receive your admit letter in mid-December, but your GEAR application will follow the regular decision process described here.

Accepting our early decision offer cannot be contingent upon your admission to GEAR.

First-year applicants

First-year applicants can apply through the Common Application or the Coalition for College Application by indicating your interest in GEAR on your application. Applications must indicate your interest and be submitted by December 1 in order to be considered.

Transfer applicants

Transfer applicants can apply through the Common Application by indicating your interest in GEAR on your application. Applications should be submitted by March 15 (only for transfers beginning fall semester) to be considered.

Program Perks

Students in the GEAR program receive the following perks:

  • Assured admission to one of Rochester’s engineering MS programs as an entering undergraduate, on the condition of maintaining an overall 3.3 GPA during your undergraduate experience
  • Exemption from qualifying exams for the MS program
  • Up to 50 percent tuition award for the fifth year of study
  • Focused advising by GEAR mentors
  • Extensive research, internship, and professional development opportunities
  • Access to premier research facilities as both an undergraduate and graduate student
A group of students poses for the camera.

Finding flexibility, teamwork, and practice with GEAR

Read about one GEAR student’s experience with doing research, completing internships, and building robots at Rochester.

Read more

Is GEAR For You?

You might be a good fit for GEAR if you:

  • Express an interest in, and knowledge of, engineering programs at the University of Rochester
  • Take challenging classes (honors, AP, IB, college-level classes, etc.), including at least one year of calculus
  • Do well academically (strong GEAR applicants typically have a 3.7 unweighted high school GPA and rank in the top 15 percent of their graduating class)
  • Participate in extracurricular activities related to engineering (e.g., FIRST Robotics, Talent Search, Science/Math Bowl)

Sample schedule

This sample schedule outlines possible courses for a GEAR program student who is majoring in biomedical engineering with a concentration in biomechanics. (Schedule assumes transferred AP credit for EESC 103 and MATH 161 from high school.)

All GEAR students should speak with the undergraduate advising director for the Hajim School and their faculty advisor to plan their own schedule. You must have a 3.3 GPA overall by the time you apply to the graduate program in order to have guaranteed admission.

First year:

  • BME 101: Intro to Biomedical Engineering
  • CHEM 131: CHEM Concepts/Systems/Practicum I
  • MATH 162: Calculus II
  • WRTG 105: Primary Writing
  • CHEM 132: CHEM Concepts/Systems/Practicum II
  • MATH 164: Multidimensional Calculus
  • PHYS 121: Mechanics
  • Elective

Junior year:

  • BME 221: Biomedical Computation
  • BME 283: Biosolid Mechanics
  • ME 110: Intro to CAD and Drawing (two credits)
  • ME 225: Intro to Fluid Dynamics
  • BME 230: BME Signals and Measurements
  • ME 123: Thermodynamics
  • BME 258: Human Anatomy
  • Two electives

Sample master’s program in biomedical engineering

This student would have completed two courses toward their master’s degree during senior year. The rest of the credits needed (22–24) could be divided among the summer, fall, and spring semesters after senior year to complete the master’s degree.

Student profiles

“The GEAR program is an exceptional opportunity to challenge yourself as a student, engineer, and future innovator. One of GEAR’s key highlights is its ability to truncate the amount of time before I can launch myself into my career. With assured acceptance into the master’s program, I know I’ll graduate with the confidence necessary to contribute to the engineering field.”

Taylor Chartier

Hometown: La Porte, IN
Major: Chemical engineering
Minor: Biology
Cluster: African studies

“The GEAR program opens up an extra year of study for students who truly enjoy learning and want to continue their education beyond a bachelor’s degree. Engineers have some of the most rigid schedules, so the extra year really helps, especially when fitting in study abroad.”

Courtney Stewart

Hometown: Oakdale, CT
Major: Chemical engineering
Minor: Biomedical engineering
Cluster: Linguistics

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