Skip to main content


Graduate Engineering at Rochester (GEAR)

GEAR is a program that guarantees exceptional undergraduates admission to any of the Engineering and Applied Sciences Master's programs at the University of Rochester. Students are accepted into GEAR as incoming first-year students, and provided they stay in the Hajim School and have a 3.3 GPA in their senior year, will be automatically accepted to the graduate program here as well. They are often able to take graduate courses during their senior year of undergraduate study, allowing them reduced time in graduate school and potentially complete both a BS and MS in five years. This program is valuable for many students because they can spend the time they would have used to apply to graduate school to push themselves further academically, and the chance of finishing both degrees at an accelerated pace allows students to find gainful employment more quickly as well.

GEAR was started in 2008, with the class of 2012 being the first to use their GEAR perks. Students who meet the stated criteria (Hajim School major and 3.3 GPA) receive a 50% tuition waiver for their Master's program. Undergraduate GEAR students are also able to take and transfer up to 10 credits of graduate work towards their Master's program. The graduate programs usually take one year (including a summer), but can vary depending on if students choose the research option.

Applying to Graduate School for GEAR Students

In mid-September, you’ll receive an email from the director of graduate enrollment, detailing the steps that you need to take to complete your graduate school application.

For students at or above a 3.3 GPA, the process is as follows:

  • An application will be created for you, waiving the requirement for GRE scores, application fee, and letters of recommendation
  • To submit the application:
    • Complete the biographical/applicant information
    • Upload an unofficial copy of your transcript
    • List Gretchen Briscoe and Emma Derisi as the recommenders:
    • Write a Personal Statement: This should be a short essay, detailing your current work within the program and your specific interest of focus in your chosen graduate program; this is more for fit and placement than for admissions purposes

Students with a GPA just below 3.3 who can expect to raise their GPA above that threshold by the end of fall semester should wait to upload their transcripts until after their fall grades are in.

Students with a GPA significantly below 3.3 will be unable to apply to graduate programs through GEAR; however, they can still complete the full application including official GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

"As a GEAR student in AME, I will be getting a Master's in ECE with a concentration in signals because that's the closest to a master's in AME that our school offers. Not only does the GEAR program offer benefits in the way of cutting costs and speeding up the process of getting a degree, but it also acts as a wonderful motivator to do well in school with the knowledge that I'm set for graduate school as well. I give credit for my GPA partially to my desire to go to such a prestigious graduate school, especially one whose professors I will have already known/met during my years as an undergraduate."

Adam Meltzer, BS Audio and Music Engineering, 2020

"Being in the GEAR program is extremely valuable, and has opened so many doors for me. As a University of Rochester undergraduate, I have been exposed to world-class research and have learned from highly regarded engineering faculty, and I am so excited to continue learning as a graduate student. Knowing that I was already accepted to a graduate program allowed me to take risks and branch out my studies where I wouldn't have if I was worried about my graduate admissions profile. While other students were applying for graduate programs, I could focus on my studies and my research. I received my summer internships and recently my offers for full time employment in part because employers knew that I would be graduating with a BS and an MS in a relatively short amount of time. I highly recommend the GEAR program to students who are committed to a career in science and engineering."

Kameron Tinkham, BS Optics, 2017