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 – February) and Summer (June – August).

This is a competitive full-time (35 hours per week) academic program that does not involve credit or culminate in a degree. 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.

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

2022 Summer GEARS Online Program
July 11 – August 19, 2022 (6 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 Summer GEARS Program Application

The ummer application cycle has closed, the application will re-open in October for the Winter GEARS session.

Possible Online Research Lab Projects

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




Application Requirements

  • CV/Resume in English
  • Official University Transcript in English: Minimum GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale.
  • English Language Test Score in English: Minimum required scores are TOEFL iBT: 85, TOEFL iBT Home Edition: 85, CET 6: 480, ELTS: 6.5, TOEIC: 800, TEM4: 80, Duolingo: 100
    *Native English speakers or students enrolled in a University that teaches in English are exempt
    **You only need to submit ONE test


    Please submit all documentation in English.

    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.
Applicant Process & Timeline
Application opens to new applicants March 10, 2022
1st Round Applicant Review & PlacementApril 27, 2022
Applications Closed and 2nd Round Review & PlacementMay 29, 2022
Program OfferBetween April 28 – June 15
Program Acceptance Deadline*3 Days after Offer
Professor-Student IntroductionsBetween June 8 – June 30
*Applicants who receive an offer have 3 days to confirm their participation in the program and complete their payment. Please check your email frequently during the application process and should you be accepted, monitor your email closely for the duration of the program.

Price: USD$1350. 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.