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).

GEAR 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)

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.


Applying to the GEAR Program

First-year GEAR applicants must submit through the Common Application or Universal College Application by December 1. Indicate your interest in GEAR on your application in order to be considered.

If you’re a transfer applicant intending to begin in the fall semester, you can also apply for GEAR. Submit your application by March 15.

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. These interviews will take place February 12–13, 2018. You must be invited to interview via finalist notification. Your final GEAR decision will be sent by March 1, 2018.

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

The perks of GEAR include:

  • 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

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

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.

Learn more about the Hajim School.

Sample Schedule

Biomedical engineering major with a concentration in biomechanics:

First Year 
(Transferred AP credit for EES103 and MTH161 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 toward 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.

Note: 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 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

“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