Meliora letters spelled out in front of Rush Rhees Library

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 totals to at least six years of college. Admission to the master’s program usually also 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:

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

You will serve as a teaching assistant during your final year, which will pay for 50% of your tuition. The program also provides advising by GEAR mentors, plenty of opportunities for research and internships, and access to first-rate research facilities.

Engineering students working on wiring

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.

Applying to Gear

First-Year Applicants

  • Apply through the Common Application or the Coalition for College Application by December 1.
  • Indicate your interest in GEAR on your application in order to be considered.

Transfer Applicants

  • Apply through the Common Application by March 15 (only for transfer’s beginning fall semester).
  • Indicate your interest in GEAR on your application in order to be considered.

GEAR Finalist Interviews

  • You will be notified of your finalist/non-finalist status in January.
  • If you’re a finalist, you must interview with the Hajim School.
  • Interviews will take place in February.
  • 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.

Program Perks

  • Assured admission to the MS program as an entering undergraduate
  • 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

Finding Flexibility, Teamwork, and Practice with GEAR

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

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).

Sample Schedule

Biomedical engineering major with a concentration in biomechanics: (Transferred AP credit for EES103 and MTH161 from high school)

First Year

Fall Course Description
BME 101 Intro to Biomedical Engineering
CHM 131 CHM Concepts/Sys./Pract. I
MTH 162 Calculus II
WRT 105 Primary Writing
Spring Course Description
CHM 132 CHM Concepts/Sys./Pract. II
MTH 164 Multidimensional Calculus
PHY 121 Mechanics

Junior Year

Fall Course Description
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 Description
BME 230 BME Signals & Measurements
ME 123 Thermodynamics
BME 258 Human Anatomy

Sophomore Year

Fall Course Description
BIO 110 Principles of Biology I
BME 201 Fundamentals of Biomechanics
MTH 165 Linear Alg. w/ Diff. Equations
PHY 122 Electricity and Magnetism
Spring Course Description
Study Abroad Student studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, and received credit for BME210, ME226, and two electives.

Senior Year

Fall Course Description
BIO 190 Genetics and the Human Genome
BIO 198P Principles of Genetics Lab
BIO 263 Ecology
BME 260 Quantitative Physiology
BME 295 VME Design Seminar (2 Credits)
ME 204 Mechanical Design
Spring Course Description
BME 296 BME Design Project
Master’s Two master’s-level courses*

Master’s Program in Biomedical Engineering

  • This student would have completed two courses toward his/her master’s degree during his/her 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.
  • All GEAR students should speak with Kelly Johnson 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.

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