Graduate Engineering at Rochester (GEAR)

To begin a career in engineering, you’ll need both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, which typically takes at least six years of college. Admission to the 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. When accepted to the GEAR program as an undergraduate, you’re also given assurance of admission to the University’s Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (located right on Rochester’s main campus) in one of nine master’s programs:

  • Alternative Energy
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Optics
  • Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (TEAM)

GEAR students serve as teaching assistants during their final year, which pays for 50% of tuition. The program also provides advising by GEAR mentors, plenty of opportunities for research and internships, and access to first-rate research facilities. Students must have a 3.3 GPA overall by the time of application to the graduate program in order to guarantee admission.


Applying to the GEAR Program

Freshman GEAR applications must be submitted through the Common Application or Universal College Application by December 1. Please be sure to indicate your interest in this Professional Degree Program on your application in order to be considered for GEAR.

Transfer applicants intending to begin in the fall semester can also apply for GEAR. Transfer GEAR applications must be submitted by March 15.

GEAR finalist interviews:

GEAR applicants will be notified of their finalist/non-finalist status in January. Although all GEAR applicants receive a full holistic review, those who are not offered a finalist interview may still have their application reviewed for general admission to the College without GEAR. Interviews with the Hajim School, which are required for admission to GEAR, will take place Monday February 9, 2015. You must be invited to interview via finalist notification in January. Your final GEAR decision will be sent by March 1, 2015.

If you are admitted to the College through Early Decision, you will receive your admission letter in mid-December, but your GEAR application will follow the regular decision process described here. Your acceptance of our Early Decision offer cannot be contingent upon your admission to GEAR.


Justine Rumbel
GEAR Coordinator, Assistant Director of Admissions 

Kelly Johnson 
GEAR Advisor

Program Perks

Perks of the Program

The perks of the GEAR program include:

  • Assured admission to the MS program as an entering undergraduate. (Students must have a 3.3 GPA overall by the time of application to the graduate program in order to guarantee admission.)
  • Exemption from qualifying exams for the MS program
  • Up to 50% 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

Is GEAR for You?

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 HS GPA and rank in the top 15 percent of their graduating class).
  • Perform well on SAT Reasoning or ACT exams.
  • Score 650 or higher on math- and science-based SAT Subject Tests (recommended).
  • Participate in extracurricular activities related to engineering (e.g., FIRST Robotics, Talent Search, Science/Math Bowl).

Hajim School

Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Learn more about the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the full spectrum experience at Rochester.

Sample Schedule

Sample Course Schedule

Biomedical engineering major with a concentration in biomechanics, Class of 2012

Freshman Year 
(AP credit for EES103 and MTH161 brought in from high school)

Fall Course


BME 101

Intro to Biomedical Engineering

CHM 131

CHM Concepts/Sys./Pract. I

MTH 162

Calculus II

WRT 105

Primary Writing


Spring Course


CHM 132

CHM Concepts/Sys./Pract. II

MTH 164

Multidimensional Calculus

PHY 121





Sophomore Year

Fall Course


BIO 110

Principles of Biology I

BME 201

Fundamentals of Biomechanics

BME 201P


MTH 165

Linear Alg. w/ Diff. Equations

PHY 122

Electricity and Magnetism


Spring Course


Study Abroad

Student studied abroad in
Sydney, Australia,
and received credit for
BME210, ME226, and two electives.


Junior Year

Fall Course


BME 221

Biomedical Computation

BME 283

Biosolid Mechanics

ME 110

Intro to CAD and Drawing (2 credits)

ME 225

Intro to Fluid Dynamics




Spring Course


BME 230

BME Signals & Measurements

ME 123


BME 258

Human Anatomy




Senior Year

Fall Course


BIO 190

Genetics and the Humane Genome

BIO 198P

Principles of Genetics Lab

BIO 263


BME 260

Quantitative Physiology

 BME 295

BME Design Seminar (2 credits)

 ME 204

 Mechanical Design


Spring Course


BME 296

BME Design Project




Two master’s-level courses*


*Master’s Program in BME: This student would have completed two courses towards his/her master’s degree during his/her senior year; the rest of the credits needed (2224) could be divided among the summer, fall, and spring semesters after senior year to complete the master’s degree. All GEAR students should speak with Kelly Johnson and their faculty advisor to plan their own schedule.

Student Profiles

Student Profiles

“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 ’12
Hometown: Oakdale, CT
Major: Chemical engineering
Minor: Biomedical engineering
Cluster: Linguistics

“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 ’12
Hometown: La Porte, IN
Major: Chemical engineering
Minor: Biology
Cluster: African studies