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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

Students interested in the GEAR program should answer “yes” to the application prompt on either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. You will be required to submit a supplemental essay indicating your interest in the program, which will be considered along with the rest of your application and supporting documents.

Applicants who indicate an interest in being considered for the GEAR Program will be evaluated for the program along with their overall admission to the College. If selected to be part of GEAR, your invitation will be sent along with your formal admission decision. Students interested in GEAR may apply to the College through either Early Decision I, Early Decision II, or Regular Decision.

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 the appropriate deadlines associated with your desired admission plan (Early Decision I, Early Decision II, or Regular Decision).

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 a 3.3 GPA overall by the time you apply to the graduate program
  • 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

Sophomore year

BME 201 & 201P Biomechanics & MATLAB
MTH 165 Differential Equations
BIO 110 Biology
PHY 122 Physics II Electricity & Magnetism
BME 210 Biosystems & Circuits
MTH 164 Multidimensional Calculus
Humanities / Social Science & WRT 273 Prof Identity
ME 226 Solid Mechanics

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

Senior year

BME 295 Design Seminar
BME 260 Quantitative Physiology
ME 225 Fluid Dynamics
BME 212
BME 296 Senior Design Project
Humanities / Social Science
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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