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Guaranteed Rochester Accelerated Degree in Education (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 for College 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.

Get started on your application to Rochester

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

Meet Eliza Bennett (she/they)

Class of 2025 

From: Cleveland, OH

Major: Political Science

Minor: Digital Media Studies

Cluster: American Sign Language

Why did you apply to the GRADE program?

I applied to the GRADE program because I wanted to pursue education in some form throughout my time as a student. GRADE offered flexibility during my time as an undergraduate by allowing me to explore my interests while still being connected to the graduate program. I chose Rochester because of the open curriculum and supporting academic environment. Being a student here has allowed me to explore my interests academically and in my extracurriculars. I have loved my time here as a student and have had very unique and invaluable opportunities.

What events have you attended as a GRADE student?

As a GRADE student, I have had the opportunity to attend study sessions with my fellow GRADE students as well as attend and plan a visit to campus for East High School students. I attended lectures recommended to me by my mentor, Karen DeAngelis, that related to my intended degree of Education Policy. I will continue to be involved with East High School visits and any other events that the program will offer.

What made you interested in studying education?

A portion of my family is involved in education as well as educational equity and they have inspired me to continue this passion. I originally wanted to be a teacher but when I became involved and took classes with GRADE, I realized that I am much more passionate about policy. Education is also a universal issue that places around the world struggle with. Learning more about it and what can be done to solve problems such as equity is extremely important to me.

What professor or teacher has had an impact on your life and education?

Nancy Bernardo, a digital media studies professor here at Rochester, has impacted my life tremendously. She has continually inspired my love for graphic design and encourages me to combine my interests to create things that I am truly passionate about. Her teaching style is heartfelt, caring, and instructional, which are characteristics I aspire to have in my professional life. I will be her TA next semester which attests to how much her presence inspires and encourages me.

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.

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