Information for Incoming
Graduate Students

Welcome to the Graduate Studies Office for Arts, Sciences and Engineering! We will make every attempt to answer your questions and guide you as you make your initial transition to graduate school. The information below, coupled with our communications via email, will start you on the path to success at the University of Rochester.

You are expected to read the current official Graduate Bulletin, paying particular attention to those sections governing your specific degree program and the section “Regulations and University Policies Regarding Graduate Study.” Your individual Department and program are important sources of advice and information, and you should contact the program coordinator listed at the bottom of your offer letter with any questions about your program.

Several important items are discussed below. Additionally, the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants can be downloaded here.

Checklist for incoming graduate students »»


  1. Proof of Degree Completion: Matriculation into a graduate program is contingent upon completion of the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, unless an exception is explicitly noted in the letter of appointment. You must provide proof of degree completion before matriculating into the graduate degree program (by 9/30/2014). Acceptable forms of proof include:
    1. An official transcript that notes the degree conferral and the date of degree conferral.
    2. An official diploma that notes the degree conferral and the date of degree conferral
    Note: If these documents are not in English, an official English translation is also required.
  2. Health History Packet: After accepting admission to the University, you will receive a Health History Packet that must be completed before matriculation. New York State Public Health Law #2165 requires that all full-time and part-time students enrolled for at least six credit hours per semester (or 4 quarter hours per quarter), born on or after January 1, 1957, attending a college or university in New York State, must provide evidence of immunity to Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. The law also mandates that full time students indicate receipt of information about Meningococcal disease and the availability of a vaccination for students. Students from countries where tuberculosis is endemic must be screened for TB using a PPD test. The University of Rochester also requires a tetanus vaccination, preferably containing Pertussis. Students not in compliance with the immunization requirements will be withdrawn from school and required to leave campus. Further information about the immunization requirements is on the University Health Service website in the Student Services section.
  3. Employment Eligibility Verification: All students receiving assistantships from the University must submit proof of their employment eligibility, as required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Failure to complete Form I-9 for employment eligibility verification will result in termination of an assistantship. You can complete the I-9 form upon arrival on campus.
    1. Documents that establish both identity and employment eligibility are (a) a US passport, (b) a certificate of US citizenship, (c) a certificate of naturalization, (d) an unexpired foreign passport with attached employment authorization or (e) an alien registration card with photograph.

    2. b. You can prove your identity by providing a US Military Card, a state-issued driver’s license, or a state-issued ID card with a photograph that includes your name, sex, date of birth, height, weight, and color of eyes. You can establish employment eligibility by producing either an original Social Security number card (other than a card stating it is not valid for employment), a birth certificate issued by a state, country, or municipal authority bearing a seal or other certification, or by an unexpired USCIS Employment Authorization.



All new graduate students are required to attend this orientation, as it will provide important information about your studies at the University of Rochester. Plan your arrival on campus accordingly. After orientation, there will be a barbeque sponsored by the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at Genesee Valley Park. Genesee Valley Park is within walking distance of the University of Rochester.

Arts, Sciences and Engineering Graduate Student Orientation:

Date: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Location: Hutchison Hall, Hubbell Auditorium
Graduate Student Welcome Barbeque: 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Genesee Valley Park - Canalside Shelter and Riverbend Shelter



Classes begin Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Registration must be completed within two weeks from the first day of classes (September 16), or a late registration fee will be charged.

All students holding teaching or research assistantships must register for at least nine credit hours (but not more than twelve credit hours) in order to be considered full-time. Students not holding assistantships must register for at least twelve credit hours (but not more than sixteen credit hours) in order to maintain full-time status; this also includes holders of Fellowships and Traineeships who are not teaching or department assistants.



Information about housing at the University of Rochester can be found on the Residential Life website.

Members of the University of Rochester community can choose from a wide range of living accommodations. Several styles are offered by the University. We attempt to match your rent budget, space needs, wishes with respect to privacy or a more social setting, as well as your need to be close to a particular campus area with one of the pleasant University apartment facilities. The most attractive features of all University apartment housing are convenient locations and reasonable rents. All of our facilities are well maintained and attractive to people in University life. Each complex is staffed with Graduate Community Assistants (GCAs) to assist new residents, provide activities, and to help foster a community atmosphere. The University maintains three apartment complexes that serve graduate students. Each of these complexes has close-by off-street parking, coin-operated laundry facilities, and University bus service. Those with children will find safe playgrounds at University Park and Whipple Park. These two complexes have broad lawn areas nearby for ball playing and other activities. On the other hand, Goler House (high-rise apartment building) is closer to stores, restaurants, and public transportation and has a somewhat more urban atmosphere.



All incoming graduate students whose first language is not English and who will be teaching assistants in the coming year are required to be tested for their English proficiency. Individual oral testing with a language specialist will be held on Monday, August 25, 2014. Students will sign up for a 15 minute timeframe for the testing. Students must ensure that they are on campus and available for the testing.

Students whose language skills are judged to not be satisfactory will be required to take an English as a Second Language course designed specifically for international graduate students (at a cost of $625). This course emphasizes the acquisition of English cultural and linguistic skills needed for clear communication in the university and career environments. Primary areas covered will be accent reduction, pragmatics (culture’s role in language), nonverbal communication, public speaking, and academic and business writing.

Strong English language skills are vital to your success in the program and to your future career. If you have any doubt about your English abilities, you are strongly encouraged to come to Rochester during the summer and take part in the University of Rochester’s 4-week Summer Intensive English Course, which will be held July 21 - August 15, 2014 (at a cost of approximately $850). If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity to improve your English before beginning your program, please let us know as early as possible, so we can work with you to change the start date of your program.



International students who require immigration sponsorship as an F-1 or J-1 student should return the New Student Request for an I-20/DS-2019 form to their Department/Program as soon as possible after the offer of admission has been accepted. Supporting documents may also be required, including a passport copy and proof of financial support, if needed. This form and detailed instructions can be found on the International Services Office (ISO) website. The ISO is unable to issue necessary immigration documents without complete and accurate information.



The University of Rochester, as a member of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, subscribes to the Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants. In accordance with that Resolution, “when a student accepts an offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student must submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made.”

The continuity of all appointments and awards, and the eligibility for reappointment, require that the student make satisfactory academic progress. Any award can be terminated, at any time, if the academic work is regarded as unsatisfactory.



Full-time students holding fellowships, assistantships, or scholarships may not accept other full-time employment.



Merit-based awards are provided by the academic department during the admission process, while federal and private loan funding can be obtained through the Financial Aid Office.

The application required for federal student loans is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available at Students who have completed their application materials will be reviewed for aid eligibility. Eligibility is determined based upon planned enrollment.

Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (800) 881-8234 or visit the website at for additional details on loans and contact information for staff members.



All graduate students matriculated for the PhD degree are required to perform a certain amount of teaching assistance as part of their education. Teaching experience deepens and enriches a student’s understanding of the discipline and provides invaluable professional training and is, therefore, considered to be a vital component of any PhD program. The amount and nature of the teaching varies according to Departments and Programs. This requirement is independent of whether the student is receiving a fellowship, scholarship, or assistantship, although teaching assistants will, by virtue of their assignments, automatically fulfill this requirement.



There will be an all-day TA training workshop on Friday, August 29, 2014. This workshop is open to all first-time teaching assistants. Please check with your specific program to see if attendance at this workshop is mandatory and, if so, plan your arrival on campus accordingly.



The Student Health Program for full-time students has two parts:

Mandatory Health Fee
The mandatory health fee, which is paid by all full-time students through their tuition billing statement, covers the cost of visits with physicians, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses at the University Health Service (UHS), short-term psychotherapy at the University Counseling Center (UCC), health education services, and public health/disease prevention programs. The cost of the mandatory health fee is $492 per year for 2013-2014. Each year the fees are posted on the UHS website.
Health Insurance
In addition to the mandatory health fee, all full-time students must have health insurance. Students can enroll in the University-sponsored health insurance plan offered through the University Health Service or remain on their own health insurance. Each year, all full-time students must complete the online Health Insurance Enrollment/Waiver Process before the start of classes to indicate their health insurance coverage. The link to this online process is in the pink Quick Links box on the UHS website. Health insurance generally covers the cost of services such as hospitalization, surgical procedures, and diagnostic laboratory tests and x-rays; the mandatory health fee does not cover these services. The benefits covered by health insurance will vary depending on the student’s insurance plan. The cost of the health insurance offered through the University Health Service is $2,124 per year for 2013-2014. Students who choose to remain on their own insurance plan can waive this portion of the fee if their insurance plan meets University standards. (The health insurance fee increase is usually within 10% each year.)

Insurance Options for Married Students: Due to the high cost of health care, it is recommended that students have health insurance coverage for their families who are with them in Rochester. Students who enroll in the University-sponsored insurance can also enroll their spouse and dependent children. Spouses who enroll in the insurance plan must also pay the mandatory health fee, which covers their visits to the University Health Service and the University Counseling Center. The cost for the spouse is the same as the cost for the students. In 2013-2014, the cost for one or more children is $3,330. Students with children may want to check Healthy New York, a program available for residents of New York State who meet eligibility criteria. For information about Health New York, check

All non-immigrant international students and their families who are in the United States with them must comply with immigration requirements and University policies governing health insurance.

Further information about the University Health Service and health insurance for students is available on the University Health Service website.


Estimated Expenses

Based on 2012-2013 financial figures, the Financial Aid Office has estimated the following support requirements for your information and planning: (Actual figures listed on immigration documents for 2013-2014 will vary slightly.)

Schedule of Charges for Graduate Students [pdf]

(24 credits)
(32 credits)
Tuition $33,456 $44,608
Health Fee $492 $492
Health Insurance $2,124 $2,124
UHS PT Student Processing Fee $30 $30
Activity Fee $20 $20
Rent $9,540 $9,540
Utilities $750 $750
Food $4,760 $4,760
Books, Supplies, Personal Expenses $1,075 $1,075
International Student Fee $25 $25
Repatriation and Evacuation Fee** $10 $10
Total $52,282 $63,434
Dependent Support $7,000 (spouse) $7,000 (each child)

* Health insurance is for the student. This fee can be waived if the student has his/her own insurance that meets University criteria. Spouses who enroll in the health insurance pay the same fees for health insurance and the mandatory health fee as the student. The fee to cover dependent children is $3,330 in 2012-2013: this fee covers one or more children.

** Repatriation and Evacuation Insurance for Foreign Nationals. This fee is waived for students who are enrolled in the University-sponsored health insurance plan since repatriation insurance is included in the plan.