Success, Opportunity, and Access in Research (SOAR)

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See below for an overview, benefits of participation, eligibility, and details on applying.

Check our Frequently Asked Questions and contact Antonio Williams with any concerns.


The Success, Opportunity, and Access in Research Program at University of Rochester (SOAR @Rochester) provides prospective graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to visit campus prior to submitting an application.

A select number of the applicants are invited to this three-day visit program typically held September. The visit includes round-trip travel, room, and meals, all paid for by the Dean for Diversity in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester.

The University of Rochester is a top-tier research-intensive institution that houses cutting-edge research in a variety of fields. Graduate students work closely with faculty members with many opportunities for interdisciplinary work. In Arts, Sciences & Engineering (AS&E), all PhD students are fully funded.

Students interested in PhD programs in any of AS&E’s departments should apply to SOAR the spring before they plan to apply for doctoral programs.


During the SOAR @Rochester weekend, visiting students:

  • Meet with faculty to deepen their understanding of the department of interest
  • Network with current students and learn about Rochester experiences
  • Tour campus, libraries, departments, and labs
  • Review the graduate admissions process and receive individual guidance on strengthening the application


  • Must be US citizen, permanent resident, or DACA students
  • Must be from a racial or cultural background underrepresented in higher education (African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latinx; women in most engineering disciplines) or a low-income, first-generation college student
  • May be in junior year at time of application and senior year by date of visit
  • Prior research experience is strongly encouraged

If you meet the eligibility criteria above and want to learn and grow as a scholar in the tradition of UR’s motto Meliora (ever better), see the application instructions below.


Complete application requires:

  • Two letters of Recommendation
  • Statement focused on research
  • Biographical paragraph
  • Transcript (unofficial copy is fine)
  • CV or resume

This is a selective program and applicants should have a strong interest in a PhD program at Rochester.

Note: The University is divided into 6 graduate schools, not all of which participate in this program. Be sure the PhD program of interest is one of the 23 programs offered in Arts, Sciences & Engineering graduate studies.

About the University of Rochester

University and Graduate Studies Office

  • Understand that advancing fields of knowledge must evolve from, and incorporate, diverse experiences and ways of knowing
  • Embrace diversity in mission and vision
  • Believe in the University’s motto “Meliora” and seeks students who wish to be ever better

Arts, Sciences & Engineering at Rochester

  • Offers opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close relationships with faculty
  • Has more graduate students than any of the other 5 graduate schools at the University of Rochester
  • Includes state of the art facilities and resources

The David T. Kearns Center

The David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity at the University of Rochester strives to expand the educational pipeline through the doctoral degree for low-income, first-generation college, and underrepresented minority students. Learn more about the center.