The Rochester Curriculum is driven by students. There are no required subjects. Undergraduates take responsibility and build their education out of their own interests, goals, and aspirations. At Rochester, students are invited to learn what they love. The unique curriculum allows undergraduates to choose their major from among the three branches of learning natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities and take a cluster of three related courses in each of the other two.
Rochester's distinctive Quest courses offer freshmen the benefits of small classes, mentorship and collaboration, and the opportunity to conduct original research. Students learn the value and skills of independent study through Quest courses, a lesson that serves them both during their undergraduate careers and after.
Through the "Take Five" Scholars Program, selected students may undertake a tuition-free fifth year so that they may pursue their diverse interests.
Exceptional undergraduates interested in studying medicine, engineering, or education may pursue one of the following Combined-Admission Programs (CAPs), which guarantee admission to professional or graduate school upon successful completion of undergraduate studies:
Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS), an eight-year BA/BS–MD program. Admitted students enter the University with a guarantee of admission to the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Graduate Engineering at Rochester (GEAR), a five-year BS-MS program.
Admitted students enter the University with assurance of admission into one of seven engineering master's programs at the Hajim School of Engineering.
Guaranteed Rochester Accelerated Degree in Education (GRADE), a five-year BA/BS-MS program. Admitted students enter the University with a guarantee of admission to the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education.
Dual Degree Programs combine a bachelor's degree with a second bachelor's degree in music or nursing. While attending the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, students pursue a bachelor's degree of their choice while also pursuing a bachelor's degree at the Eastman School of Music or at the School of Nursing.
Rochester students may take advantage of full-year and semester-long opportunities for study abroad; summer and winter trips are also available. In all, Rochester offers more than 60 study abroad programs. Destinations include Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan. Internships are available in Brussels, London, Paris, Berlin, Bonn, and Madrid.
For those interested in an exciting and enlightening domestic field experience, the Department of Political Science directs the Washington Semester Program; this program allows selected undergraduates to participate actively in the national legislative process.
Majors and Degrees Offered
The University of Rochester offers Bachelor of Arts and/or Bachelor of Science programs through the College: available majors include African and African-American Studies; American Sign Language; American studies; anthropology; archaeology, technology, & historical structures; art history; bioethics; biological sciences (biology, biochemistry, cell and developmental biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, microbiology, molecular genetics, or neuroscience); brain and cognitive sciences; business; chemistry; classics; comparative literature; creative writing; digital media studies; East Asian studies; economics; economics and business strategies; English; English literature; environmental science; environmental studies; epidemiology; film and media studies; financial economics; French; geological sciences; geomechanics; German; health, behavior, & society; health policy; history; interdepartmental studies; international relations; Japanese; language, media, & communications; linguistics; Latin American studies; marketing; mathematics; mathematics-applied; mathematics-statistics; music; philosophy; physics; physics and astronomy; political science; psychology; religion; Russian; Russian studies; Spanish; statistics; studio arts; theatre; and women's studies.
The Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences offers study in audio & music engineering biomedical engineering; chemical engineering; computer science; electrical and computer engineering; engineering and applied sciences; engineering science; mechanical engineering; optical engineering; and optics.
Rochester not only offers a Bachelor of Arts in music through the College, but also a Bachelor of Music degree through the Eastman School of Music; available majors include applied music, jazz studies and contemporary media, music composition, music education, and music theory. Private instruction through the Eastman School is available to students in the College.
The College offers certificate programs in actuarial studies, Asian studies, biophysics, biotechnology, leadership, literary translation studies, mathematical modeling in political science and economics medphysics, Polish and Central European studies, and stage management. These programs complement traditional majors.
The University of Rochester ’s “innovative core curriculum, where there are essentially no required classes,” is a strong draw for many students. This flexibility “is extremely rare and truly encourages personal exploration rather than conventional general education.” “Instead of the college telling us what we have to study…students must chart out their own academic paths.” Students agree this key difference ensures that “everyone is passionate about what they study because they get to choose every single class.” The classes students have to choose from are described as “top-notch.” As one student points out, “I definitely perceive the academics at University of Rochester as Ivy League caliber.” U of R is highly regarded as a “cutting-edge research university.” “There’s a spirit of intellectual curiosity and student camaraderie at the U of R.” Although the professors are highly praised for their “uniform brilliance,” among other qualities, some students feel that “their intellectual know-how does not always translate into strong teaching skills.” But most students focus on the strengths of their professors saying they “care about the subjects they teach and are constantly in the process of expanding knowledge in their fields. It is an honor to be influenced by and to influence such incredible minds.” Students are also quick to mention the strong musical influence at the school. This “awesome music scene” is due to the Eastman School of Music, which “brings many interesting and world-famous performers to our little city.” Of the many clubs on campus, the a cappella groups are “immensely popular” at U of R, with four different groups on campus that “easily sell out our biggest auditorium.”