Meliora letters spelled out in front of Rush Rhees Library

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 college.

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 campus).

The program is designed to offer you a quality liberal arts education and prepare you to become an educator. After completing your undergraduate work, you are expected to complete fifteen months of study at the Warner School (summer, fall, spring, and summer). For the master’s program, you may specialize in counseling, higher education, or elementary or secondary education, with the option of additional certification in special education, literacy, TESOL, or Urban Teaching and Leadership.

You also receive the Steven Harrison Scholarship (covering one third of tuition) for all five years of study, will attend special events, and enjoy extensive opportunities for research and internships.

A young student looking at a computer screen

Margaret Warner School of Education and Human Development

The University of Rochester has a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and Warner 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. Warner graduates are equipped to be exceptional at what they do and to make a difference in their chosen fields of study.

Applying to GRADE

First-Year Applicants

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

GRADE Finalist Interviews

  • You will be notified of your finalist/non-finalist status in January.
  • If you’re a finalist, you must interview with the Warner School.
  • Interviews will take place in February.
  • You must be invited to interview via finalist notification.
  • Your final GRADE 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 GRADE.
  • If you are admitted to the College through Early Decision, you will receive your admit letter in mid-December, but your GRADE application will follow the Regular Decision process described here.
  • Accepting our Early Decision offer cannot be contingent upon your admission to GRADE.

Program Perks

  • Assured admission to the MS program as an entering undergraduate
  • Exemption from the GRE for Counseling, Human Development, Higher Education, and Education Policy. (GRE is required for master’s program with teaching certification)
  • Steven Harrison Scholarship (1/3 of tuition) for all five years
  • Special invitations to book talks and speaker series
  • Focused advising by GRADE mentors, including personalized placement for classes and experiential learning
  • Extensive research, internship, and professional development opportunities

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.

Learning to Embrace Who You Are

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

Sample Schedule

  • You may choose any undergraduate major, but you should include MSEd preparatory classes per 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

Course Description
ASL 101 Beginning American Sign Language I (E)
CAS 105 Reason & Writing in the College (G)
PSY 101 Intro to Psychology (M/G)
PSY 171 Social & Emotional Development (M)

Second Semester

Course Description
CSP 161 Social Psychology & Individual Differences (M)
CSP 278 Adolescent Development (M)
PHY 100 Nature of the Physical World (E/G)
REL 102 Intro to the New Testament (C)

Third Semester

Course Description
AST 105 Intro to the Milky Way Galaxy (E/G)
BCS 110 Neural Foundations of Behavior (M/G)
PSY 211 Intro to Statistical Methods in Psychology (M/G)
REL 102 Intro to the New Testament (C)

Fourth Semester

Course Description
BCS 112 Cognitive Psychology (M/G)
ECO 108 Principles of Economics (Mi)
MTH 141 Calculus I (C/G)
PSY 219W Research Methods of Psychology (M/G)
REL 106 From Confucius to Zen (C/G)

Fifth Semester

Course Description
MTH 142 Calculus II (C/G)
PSY 267 Psychology of Gender (M/G)
PSY 289 Developmental Child Psychopathology (M)

Sixth Semester

Course Description
CSP 282W Abnormal Psychology (M/G)
ECO 207 Intermediate Microeconomics (Mi)
MTH 143 Calculus III (C/G)
PSY 282 Abnormal Psychology (M)
ACC 201 Principles of Accounting (Mi)

Seventh Semester

Course Description
PSY 264 Industrial & Organizational Psychology (M)
ED 447* Principles of Finance (Mi)
FIN 204 Principles of Finance (Mi)
MKT 203 Principles of Marketing (Mi)

Eighth Semester

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

Sample Course Schedule 2

Major: Psychology
Clusters: Brain and cognitive sciences; religion
Graduate major: School counseling

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

First Semester

Course Description
BSC 110 Neural Foundations of Behavior (M/C)
BSC183 Animal Minds (C)
HIS 100 Europe Before 1492 (E)
PSY 181 Theory of Personality & Psychotherapy (M)

Second Semester

Course Description
CAS 105 American Psychos (PWR)
CSP 161 Social Psychology & Individual Differences (M)
CSP 278 Adolescent Development (M)
PSY 113 Biopsychology of Social & Clinical Behavior (M)

Third Semester

Course Description
AH 274 American Architecture (E)
BIO 102 Biology & the Environment (E)
CSP 396 Marital Research Seminar (M)
PSY 267 Psychology of Gender (M)

Fourth Semester

Course Description
BCS 172 Development of Mind & Brain (C)
CSP 391 Relationships Research (M)
PSY 112 Cognitive Psychology (M)
PSY 211 Introductory Statistical Methods in Psychology (M)

Fifth Semester

Course Description
PSY 291W Research Methods of Psychology (M)
PSY 276 Psychology of Parenting (M)
PSY 391 Analysis of Relationship Conflict (M)
REL 103 History of Judaism (C)
SAB 090 Study Abroad Orientation

Sixth Semester

Course Description
AH 341 Architecture of London: 1600-Present Day (E)
CU/SO 352 British Youth Culture: 1950 to the Present (E)
FS 345 Cinematic Representations of British Identity in British Cinema (E)
PS 335 Child Development in the UK Social Context (M)
SO 350 Ethnic Tapestry of Contemporary British Culture (E)

Seventh Semester

Course Description
PSY 289 Development Child Psychopathology (M)
PSY 268W Seminar in Humanistic Psychology (M)
REL 105 Asian Search for Self (C)
ED 429* Theories of Human Development (G)

Eighth Semester

Course Description
PSY 280 Clinical Psychology (M)
PSY 282 Abnormal Psychology (M)
REL 106 From Confucius to Zen (C)
EDU 454* Career Counseling (G)

*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

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? 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!

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 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!

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 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!

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

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.