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General Information


The University of Rochester, founded in 1850, is one of the most innovative of the leading private research universities in the country—and for undergraduates, it’s a university in perfect balance.

Rochester offers the choices and intellectual excitement of a large research university with the intimacy and opportunities for personal involvement of a small liberal arts college. More than 95 percent of classes are taught by faculty, not teaching assistants, and it’s not uncommon for senior faculty to teach introductory courses. There’s no separation between researching and teaching, between faculty’s own professional excellence and the excellence they bring to the classroom.

Rochester students live on a lively, self-contained campus, just minutes from metropolitan Rochester—a dynamic city that offers a mix of commerce, culture, and history.

Rochester balances its innovative spirit and responsiveness to individual needs with a commitment to the lasting values of a classic liberal arts education.

The results of the Rochester experience are self-evident in the track record of its alumni—in their careers and in their personal lives. “To put it simply,” says one student, “Rochester opens doors.”

For many undergraduates, the Rochester experience means surrounding a chosen major with clusters of related courses that contribute to a broad liberal education, or with a minor or two in areas distinct from the major. Others choose double majors or earn certificates in complementary fields. Still others individually design their own interdepartmental programs.

And Rochester students can also benefit from the offerings of other schools and departments. For example, undergraduates can enroll in graduate courses, in classes at the medical school or the business school, or take lessons at the Eastman School of Music; future engineers can diversify their studies with an advanced course in Chaucer.

Unique Opportunities 

Rochester’s opportunities are outlined in this publication. They include:

The Rochester Curriculum
Students have the freedom to define their own academic paths, driven by interest and curiosity. At Rochester, we believe that excellence requires freedom.

The Take Five Scholars Program
Cited as one of the more innovative liberal arts programs in the country, undergraduates may apply for a fifth year of courses tuition free to follow their intellectual passion.

The Senior Scholars Program
Selected undergraduates devote at least half of their entire senior year to a creative project, whether in the form of scholarly research, a scientific experiment, or a literary or artistic endeavor.

The Fifth Year in Teaching Program
A limited number of undergraduates pursue a fifth year of study tuition free in a master’s program at the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development to prepare as urban school teachers.

The Guaranteed Rochester Accelerated Degree in Education (GRADE)
A five-year BA/BS + MS education program assures students admitted to the University of Rochester who are interested in becoming educators admission to the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

The e5 (formerly known as KEY) Program
Selected undergraduates devote a tuition-free fifth year to the study or practice of entrepreneurship: transforming an idea into an enterprise that generates value.

The Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) Program
Selected Rochester freshmen receive a conditional acceptance to the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry when they finish the bachelor’s degree. The program frees these students to develop their intellects broadly before they launch into their medical studies.

The Graduate Engineering at Rochester (GEAR) Program
A select number of freshman applicants are given an assurance of admission into one of seven engineering and computer science master’s degree programs at the University of Rochester.

The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Engineering
Recognizing the need for broadly educated decision makers who are well versed in engineering, this program gives a student substantial technological knowledge and competence in at least two areas of engineering while also providing the opportunity for a liberal arts education.

Academic Life

There are approximately 5,900 full-time undergraduates including 500 or so at the Eastman School and 3,500 full-time graduate students at the University. The great majority of classes are small in size, enabling all students to work closely with their teachers. There is a single faculty for all students; some of the most distinguished senior professors teach beginning courses. Reflecting the personal scale of Rochester’s programs, undergraduates are encouraged to work where possible with individual faculty members in the pursuit of original scholarship.

College students must make two major transitions in their first two years. In their first year, they make the important leap from high school to college. As sophomores, they choose their major. The College’s Dean of Freshmen takes special responsibility for those two important years in students’ careers at the University.

Professional advisors also offer support, starting with an orientation program on campus before the beginning of freshman year. They are also available to supply advice on course and major requirements; to help students find paying internships and employment opportunities; and to assist in the development of post-college plans.

Students can’t expect to gain a “Rochester education” simply by studying and attending class. Out-of-class activities—whether they’re intramural sports, political clubs, community service, or movies and concerts—are a major part of undergraduate life.