Graduate Programs & Grad Schools That Don’t Require a GRE

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Graduate Programs & Grad Schools That Don't Require a GRE

Wonder if there are grad schools that don’t require gRE that you could apply to? The short answer is yes!

Although a popular piece of the US graduate admissions process, you don’t always need GRE scores for graduate schools. At the end of the day, there are many graduate schools that don’t require the GRE for specific programs (or, not at all).

Some graduate schools also waive GRE scores should you meet their conditions, or ask that you include it to provide them with a holistic sense of new candidates.

Is the GRE Required for a PhD?

The GRE may or may not be required for PhD programs. To a certain extent, this is determined by the grad school, the type of PhD and the learning format. For instance, some online PhD programs do not require the GRE, such as the institutions below.

written by Rana Waxman

  1. Nursing Practice (DNP) – Simmons College
  2. Information Technology (DIT) – Capella University
  3. Business Administration (DBA) – Walden University
  4. PhD in Developmental Psychology – Capella University
  5. PsyD Clinical Psychology – The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  6. PhD in Information Systems– Nova Southeastern University
  7. PhD in Organizational Leadership– Northcentral University
  8. Health Administration (DHA) – Capella University

Online universities are not the only ones with the ‘No GRE’ policy in place for doctorate programs. Applicants to partner school, John’s Hopkins University’s Doctor of Education (EdD) program, need a Masters degree and other material, but not the GRE.

Is the GRE Test Required for Grad School?

Today, more and more universities have policies in place that do not require applicants to take the GRE. Or, de-emphasize it in specific circumstances. Still others may only require the GRE if you plan to apply for funding or fellowships. This is the case for the MS in Electrical Engineering at partner school, Villanova.

That stated, just because the GRE may be taken out of the admissions equation, it doesn’t mean a grad school has low standards. Fit the pieces of the puzzle together to learn all you need to know about grad schools that don’t require GRE scores.

DID YOU KNOW? In the graduate school admissions process, the level of emphasis that is placed upon GRE scores often varies widely between schools and University departments.

No GRE Required: Five Common Policies That Waive the GRE

There are a few common policies you may find in grad schools that don’t require the GRE. However, as a basic rule, it isn’t a great idea to make sweeping generalizations. Always refer to individual schools to see what their admissions process looks like and speak to an advisor for guidance.

  • Undergraduate GPA Minimum: Universities without GRE requirements often still set minimum requirements for undergraduate GPA. The minimum is both program and school – specific, as each grad school has its own standards. Look for a range from 2.8 to 3.0 on the ‘minimum’ side of things.

The bar could be set higher for science and health programs though. For instance, at partner school, Jefferson University , applicants to the Physician Assistant Studies program do not need the GRE but must have a CASPA calculated cumulative GPA and science GPA of 3.25.

  • Professional Experience: In some universities, work experience may be substituted for the GRE in specific programs – usually at the masters and certificate levels. For instance, at American University, a partner school, the GRE requirement is waived for several programs. This includes the Master of Public Policy (MPP) and MS in Terrorism & Homeland Security Policy.

AU states, “The GRE may be waived for admission to the master’s degree and certificate programs listed if the applicant has five or more years of full-time professional and relevant work experience.”

  • Other Graduate Degree: If you hold another graduate degree, you may find graduate programs where the GRE requirement is waived. One example is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

For example, partner school, Frontier Nursing University’s DNP program, the GRE is not required. Applicants hold a MSN, MPH, Masters in Midwifery or a related Masters degree from a nationally (CCNE or ACEN) accredited nursing program.

  • No GRE Policy With Program Specific GRE Requirements: Some schools such as partner school, Pratt University have a general policy of no GRE but makes exceptions for some grad programs.

At Pratt, the GRE is required only for Art Education, Art History, the combined Art History and Master of Library Science programs, and the Architecture (First Professional) program. In other words, a grad school’s general ‘no GRE’ policy may have some attached fine print.

  • GMAT or GRE: In some cases, applicants may need to take the GMAT instead of the GRE. At partner school, Villanova, the Masters in Finance (MSF) requires the GMAT although they state that the GRE could be submitted in place. Their either/or policy is similar for the Masters in Taxation.

Here is a sample of seventeen grad schools that may have test-optional grad programs across a variety of disciplines. Any list of such schools is bound to change, so refer to the schools below and throughout this article as examples.

  1. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
  2. Western Governors University
  3. Purdue University Global
  4. Strayer University
  5. Capella University
  6. Walden University
  7. Northcentral University
  8. Liberty University
  9. University of Southern California
  10. Simmons University
  11. Nova Southeastern University
  12. University of Scranton
  13. Benedictine University
  14. American University
  15. NYU School of Social Work
  16. Boston University
  17. Antioch University
  18. Utica College

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Masters Programs with No GRE Requirements

Do all Masters programs require the GRE?

Across the board, there are some Masters degree programs that do not generally ask students for their scores, although they may have substitute assessment strategies in place. A portfolio, resume, sample of written work and the like.

MFA Programs: Master of Fine Arts programs generally want to see examples of your best recent work. For instance, partner school Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) doesn’t ask for GRE scores but does have specific guidelines with respect to your portfolio.

The take-away here is you may want to invest more time in art supplies that to study for the GRE if this is your goal.

Executive MBA Programs: Because EMBA programs typically target experienced executives, they do not generally look at GRE requirements. While the number of years vary by program and school, it could range from five to seven.

Said programs usually waive the GRE because they aim to help students expand professional business skills. However, an applicant may need a solid resume and might need to do well in an interview.

Case in point, partner school, Loyola University’s EMBA Admission Committee “looks for a dynamic, talented group of professionals who currently hold mid- to senior-level leadership roles in business or nonprofit organizations.”

Beyond eMBA programs, a fair number of MBA programs also accept no GMAT or GMAT waivers.

Professional Masters Degrees: Some professional Masters degree programs might waive the GRE although they may have their own admissions tests for the field. LSAT for law school, MCAT for medical school, and often, the GMAT for business school. You may not have to take the GRE in addition, though always check.

Regular MBA programs (not EMBA) may not require the GRE, or for that matter, the GMAT. It all depends. For instance, some online MBA programs target students with at least three years of professional work or managerial experience.

See partner school, University of Scranton’s online MBA/MHA for one example. Applicants to University of Denver, another partner school could also apply to have the GMAT waived in the case of significant work experience.

Terminal Masters programs such as the Master of Architecture (MArch) may also favor a portfolio over test scores. This is the case at partner school, Roger Williams University.

Online Masters Programs: While a broad category with many exceptions, many online Masters programs do not require the GRE. This does not necessarily point to lower expectations or less rigorous standards.

What it could indicate is, much like executive programs, such programs usually market to at-work professionals. The online grad student may have scores that are no longer valid, but their experience is of value. In some cases, as well, it may make the platform more accessible to a wider array of students.

For instance, look at online Master’s in Data Science (MS DS) at partner school, Utica University. Another is partner school, Colorado Technical University’s Master of Science in Information Technology degree program. Both could enable students to build advanced foundations in the IT environment.

Also, online programs may be able to admit more students simply because they do not need to vie for a seat in class. Nonetheless, check to see that the school is accredited and values learning over profit. You may prefer a school where you have to submit scores rather than a comparable program that appears to lack quality standards.

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  1. Healthcare Administration – SNHU
  2. Teaching Degrees – Western Governors University
  3. Business Administration (MBA) – Purdue University Global
  4. Human Resource Management – Ashford University
  5. MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Capella University
  6. Executive MBA – Loyola University
  7. Cybersecurity – Strayer University
  8. MS in Social Work (MSW) – Capella University
  9. Public Health (MPH) – California Baptist
  10. MS in Criminal Justice – Capella University
  11. Public Administration (MPA) – Seton Hall

Should I Apply to Grad Schools That Don’t Require GRE Scores?

Grad schools that don’t require GRE scores may be the ticket for you to pursue an advanced degree. Whether or not no GRE necessarily means less highly-ranked schools is going to depend a lot on what you want to study and where you want to earn your grad degree.

The bottom line is to BE PREPARED.

Ultimately, you want to consult the info on graduate program admissions websites, email or call the admissions office to see if the program you want to apply to requires the GRE or if they accept low GRE scores. Make sure as well, to check out admission deadlines so that you could get your paperwork in order well in advance.

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