GEARS in North Carolina

Global Education, Academics, and Research Skills

The GEARS program is a unique academic-research-cultural exchange program that enables academically gifted domestic and international undergraduate students to experience campus life and academic research at universities across North Carolina. Originally started at NC State University in Raleigh, GEARS has grown to include a consortium of host universities across the state. Participants in this non-degree and non-credit program have a rich on-campus experience, participate in a variety of cultural and social programs, and explore research relevant to programs at their home institution. 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 COVID-19 outbreak, universities across North Carolina have reduced operations and limited the number of students, faculty, and staff on campus. The GEARS program will continue through 2020 and the Winter of 2021 in an online/virtual format. Please click the project links below for a list of online offerings. Applications for the Fall 2020 Program [August 24 – September 25, 2020] are now open.

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, 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.

Creating Cross-Cultural Exchange

Read more about the program’s success 

Online Fall GEARS Program Application

Applications for the Fall 2020 Program [August 24 – September 25, 2020] have closed.

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 English language ability, are in good academic standing at one of our partner institutions overseas. 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
  • Duolingo: 100

Click here for a list of possible online research lab projects. Students can choose up to 3 topics of interest during their initial application. This list will continue to be updated throughout the year.

If you are interested in participating in this program as a research mentor or workshop presenter, please contact us at for more information regarding benefits, processes, and expectations.

Click here to register your lab details after confirming your participation as a faculty mentor with a GTI team member.