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Guaranteed Rochester Accelerated Degree in Education (GRADE)

About GRADE

To begin a career in education, such as teaching, counseling, or human development, you’ll need both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, which typically takes at least six years of higher education.

The Guaranteed Rochester Accelerated Degree in Education (GRADE) program is a five-year BA/BS + MSEd program for students interested in becoming educators. If admitted, you enter the University with an assurance of admission to the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development (part of Rochester’s main academic campus).

The program offers a quality liberal arts education and prepares students to become educators. After completing undergraduate coursework, students may be eligible to complete their primary program in fifteen months* of study at the Warner School (summer, fall, spring, and summer). For the master’s program, students can specialize in counseling, human development, applied behavior analysis, educational policy, higher education, online teaching, program evaluation, or teaching and curriculum, including elementary or secondary education, with the option of additional certification in special education, literacy, TESOL, urban teaching and leadership, or online teaching and learning. Students may choose any undergraduate major, but should include MSEd preparatory classes as required by New York State Certification guidelines.

* Students who go into the counseling program typically spend two years at the Warner School
after completing their bachelor’s degree.

Official GRADE students receive, at minimum, the Steven Harrison Scholarship (covering one-third of tuition for four years of undergraduate study) and a 50% tuition scholarship during their Warner graduate program.

A graduate student teaching a class.

Warner School of Education

The University of Rochester has a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and the Margaret Warner School of Education and Human Development has a rich history as a part of that excellence. Warner’s programs in teaching and curriculum, counseling and human development, and educational leadership prepare educators to handle today’s challenges in education.

Warner strives to provide teachers, administrators, counselors, and researchers with the tools to be agents of change. Our graduates are equipped to be exceptional at what they do and to make a positive difference in their chosen fields of study.

Learn more about Warner

Applying to GRADE

Students interested in the GRADE 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 GRADE Program will be evaluated for the program along with their overall admission to the College. If selected to be part of GRADE, your invitation will be sent along with your formal admission decision. Students interested in GRADE 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 GRADE 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 their interest in GRADE on their application. Students should submit their application by March 15 (only for transfers beginning fall semester) in order to be considered.

Program perks

Students in the GRADE program receive the following perks:

  • Assured admission to the Warner School’s MS program as an entering undergraduate
  • Can take coursework related to their education interests (beginning second semester sophomore year)
  • Exemption from the GRE for counseling, human development, higher education, and education policy programs (GRE is required for master’s program with teaching certification)
  • Steven Harrison Scholarship (covering one-third of tuition) for four years of undergraduate study and a 50% tuition scholarship during their Warner graduate program
  • Special invitations to attend Warner community events and activities
  • Paired with a Warner mentor, receive advising support, and have access to independent study options, special internships, and the Teacher Immersion Fellows Program (TIF)
  • Extensive research, internship, and professional development opportunities
Student teacher and student opening flour bag.

Learning to embrace who you are

Read about one GRADE student’s journey as she explores different majors, career paths, and opportunities at Rochester.

Read more

Is GRADE for you?

You might be a good fit for GRADE if you:

  • Express a passion for social justice and knowledge of the education programs at the University of Rochester
  • Have clear goals within your subject or specialization area, including coursework and extracurricular activities
  • Take challenging classes (honors, AP, IB, college-level classes, etc.)
  • Do well academically (strong GRADE applicants typically have a 3.7 unweighted GPA and rank in the top 15 percent of their graduating class)
  • Participate in extracurricular activities relevant to education, such as tutoring, teaching, or coaching

Sample schedule

You can choose any undergraduate major, but you should include classes that prepare you to meet New York State certification requirements.

Only credits earned above the undergraduate requirement of 128 can be counted toward the master’s degree; credits cannot count toward both degrees.

Students must complete 30 credits while enrolled as a graduate student (this does not include student teaching or internship experience credits). This rule makes it common for GRADE students to add on a certification because they can take more graduate classes as an undergraduate and still have 30 credits enrolled as a graduate student.

For programs leading to NYS certification, you need to meet prerequisites for admission and submit a required portfolio for review.

Sample Course Schedule 1
Major: Psychology
Minor: Business
Graduate major: Elementary education w/ inclusion

M = major Mi = minor C = cluster
G = GRADE E = elective

First semester:

  • ASLA 101: Beginning American Sign Language I (E)
  • CASC 105: Reason and Writing in the College (G)
  • PSY 101: Intro to Psychology (M/G)
  • PSY 171: Social and Emotional Development (M)

Second semester:

  • CSSP 161: Social Psychology and Individual Differences (M)
  • CSSP 278: Adolescent Development (M)
  • PHYS 100: Nature of the Physical World (E/G)
  • RELC 102: Intro to the New Testament (C)

Third semester:

  • ASTR 105: Intro to the Milky Way Galaxy (E/G)
  • BCSC 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior (M/G)
  • PSY 211: Intro to Statistical Methods in Psychology (M/G)
  • RELC 102: Intro to the New Testament (C)

Fourth semester:

  • BCSC 112: Cognitive Psychology (M/G)
  • ECON 108: Principles of Economics (Mi)
  • MATH 141: Calculus I (C/G)
  • PSY 219W: Research Methods of Psychology (M/G)
  • RELC 106: From Confucius to Zen (C/G)

Fifth semester:

  • MATH 142: Calculus II (C/G)
  • PSY 267: Psychology of Gender (M/G)
  • PSY 289: Developmental Child Psychopathology (M)

Sixth semester:

  • CSSP 282W: Abnormal Psychology (M/G)
  • ECON 207: Intermediate Microeconomics (Mi)
  • MATH 143: Calculus III (C/G)
  • PSY 282: Abnormal Psychology (M)
  • ACC 201: Principles of Accounting (Mi)

Seventh semester:

  • PSY 264: Industrial and Organizational Psychology (M)
  • ED 447: Principles of Finance* (Mi)
  • FIN 204: Principles of Finance (Mi)
  • MKT 203: Principles of Marketing (Mi)

Eighth Semester:

  • ENG 138: Journalism Case Studies (E)
  • PSY 283: Behavioral Medicine (M)
  • ED 404: Teaching, Curriculum, and Change* (G)
  • MKT 213: Marketing Projects and Cases (Mi)

*GRADE students are required to take two courses through Warner before the end of their senior year. These course abbreviations are “ED” or “EDU” and are typically at the 400-level. Students who go into the counseling program typically spend two years at Warner after completing their bachelor’s degree.

Student profiles

Why GRADE? First, the scholarship is a huge factor in helping my family to afford my tuition. Second, I love that I am (almost) guaranteed a master’s degree after I graduate, and in only one year too! All my classmates are worrying about what they are going to do after they graduate, but I already know! And third, the people at Warner are just so nice and I love it here.

Fun fact: I am studying abroad in Spain next semester!


Steph Warsh

Year: Class of 2017, Warner School Class of 2018
Hometown: Lafayette, NJ
Major: Japanese
Minors: Spanish and computer science
Master’s program of interest: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Why GRADE? GRADE provides a great opportunity for students who come into college who want to make a commitment to education. By working with us in our first year and providing specialized advising to help us make the transition between the undergraduate and graduate components of the program, GRADE excels at providing the resources necessary for students to be well-informed and well-connected throughout the program.

Fun fact: I also dance, play music, am involved with theater, and do art on campus!


Alex White

Year: Class of 2017, Warner School Class of 2018
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Major: English literature
Master’s program of interest: Secondary education (teaching track)

Why GRADE? GRADE and the Warner School itself, is committed to instilling a sense of ambition in its students, and that is why I was so interested in Rochester and this program. Now, three years later, being a GRADE student has not only assured me that I want to commit myself to a career in education, but it has exposed me to so many incredible opportunities in the education field that I would have never been exposed to otherwise. I am so incredibly grateful for that.

Fun fact: I love art, and in another life I would have loved to become a professional photographer!


Michael Hogan

Year: Class of 2017, Warner School Class of 2018
Hometown: Marcellus, NY
Majors: English literature and political science
Minors: Creative writing and legal studies
Master’s program of interest: Secondary English education

Why GRADE? GRADE is its own little community. I get to spend time with people that also want to be educators and I am offered opportunities that the typical undergraduate does not usually find. It is a wonderful program for future educators and counselors.

Fun fact: I never had an interest in minoring in psychology until I took a course. I think that is a testament to the benefits of the open curriculum here at Rochester. It allowed me to explore and now I’ve found another subject that I have a passion for.


Emily Trowbridge

Year: Class of 2019, Warner School Class of 2020
Hometown: Stowe, Vermont
Major: English
Minors: Psychology
Master’s program of interest: Secondary education

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