GEARS in North Carolina

Global Education, Academics, and Research Skills

Administered by the NC State University Global Training Initiative (GTI), the GEARS Program is a unique academic, research and cultural exchange program that enables academically gifted domestic and international students to experience campus life and academic research at universities across North Carolina. Participants in this non-degree and non-credit program have a rich on-campus experience, participate in a variety of cultural and social programs, explore research relevant to programs at their home institution and present their work via a judged poster presentation exhibit. There are several sessions to choose from in Winter (January or February), Summer (May to August), and Fall (August to December).

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the GEARS program will continue through Winter 2022 in an online/virtual format. Please click the project links below for a list of online offerings.

2022 Winter GEARS Online Program
January 18 – February 18, 2022 (5 weeks)

This full-time program will:

  1. Introduce students to the life of a graduate student in the U.S.; visiting students can interact with local students, faculty, and researchers
  2. Introduce students to different aspects of studying at a U.S. graduate institution; as a visiting student you will have the opportunity to engage in various workshops, visit and use university facilities, and engage in a study project. 
  3. Introduce students to university research (planning experiments, accomplishing research tasks, managing time, ethical issues in research, summarizing results, lab safety, using the library and other campus resources, etc.) Students will not engage in classified research or access research where IP issues are an issue, but we endeavor to pair students with faculty conducting relevant or similar research.
  4. Provide workshops on academic oral and digital presentation skills and various aspects of U.S. American culture.
  5. Support students as they determine if they are truly interested in pursuing a graduate research degree program at a North Carolina university or elsewhere in the U.S.
  6. Explore North Carolina* through a variety of site visits and cultural activities (*in-person GEARS programs when they resume)

2022 Online Winter GEARS Program Application

October 1: Application portal opens
November 7: Application deadline for 1st round placements
December 1: Application deadline for all placements

Possible Online Research Lab Projects

Check this list of possible online research lab projects (updated throughout the year). Students can choose up to 3 topics of interest during their initial application.

This is a competitive full-time (35 hours per week) academic program that does not involve credit or culminate in a degree. It is limited to students with a GPA of 3.0 or above, with a very good command of the English language and who are in good academic standing at their home institution. Acceptance into this program is not guaranteed and also depends on the capacity and interest of relevant faculty and departments. Students are encouraged to apply early.

Please contact your school’s international office, sponsoring agency, or email us for information about the program and application process. This is a very competitive program, so you may not be accepted even if you meet the minimum eligibility requirements. Below is a list of the minimum required test scores for proof of your English ability. You only need to submit ONE test.

  • TOEFL – iBT: 85 total points
  • Previous Paper Version (PBT): 563
  • CET 6: 480
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • TOEIC: 800
  • Duolingo: 100

Price: USD$1320. This price includes:

  • Lab placement and university fees
  • Online E-Poster & Presentation Skills Workshop
  • Research skills workshop
  • Online poster exhibit
  • Live webinar on Tips & Procedures for Graduate Admissions
  • GTI Certificate
  • A formal evaluation from mentoring professor

*Certain partner universities have special conditions and funding opportunities set up for their students. Please contact your university for specific partnership details.


screenshot of academic paper

GEARS Research To Be Presented At Academic Conference

Read more about the program from a faculty mentor’s perspective 

If you are interested in participating in this program as a research mentor, please contact us at gti@ncsu.edu for more information regarding benefits, processes, and expectations.

Click here to sign up and register your project details after confirming your participation as a faculty mentor with a GTI team member.