Grad Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores (And Why You Should Apply!)

If you’re ready to apply to graduate school, but your GRE scores are less than average, check out the graduate schools that accept low GRE scores — or waive GRE requirements altogether.

The table below shows some partner universities to help get you started.

List of Graduate Schools that Accept LOW GRE Scores

Grad Schools That Accepts Low GREGRE Requirements
1. Loyola University Chicago310 Combined Score on Revised GRE (but other factors considered)
2. Johns Hopkins UniversityMA in Teaching requires 297 score, many programs do not list a minimum score
3. The University of ScrantonMost programs do not require GRE
4. Walden UniversityVary by program - many do not require GRE or do require GRE but no minimum needed
5. Rochester Institute of TechnologyVaries - GRE Optional for many programs
6. Liberty UniversityMany programs do not require GRE
7. Georgia State UniversityNo GRE Required for 22 Master's Degree Programs
8. California Southern UniversityNo programs require GRE
9. Northcentral UniversityGRE Not Required
10. Purdue UniversityMany programs don't require GRE
11. Colorado Technical UniversityNo GRE or other admissions tests required
12. American UniversityNo GRE for all PhD Programs and Many Master's Programs
13. Argosy UniversityNo GRE for Many Programs
14. Lewis UniversityNo GRE for Many programs
15. George Mason UniversityNo GRE for Many Programs

We’ve put together a list of U.S. universities that may have low GRE score requirements (or no score required at all!) for some or all of their graduate programs. Click on any of the partner links below to learn more about what programs each graduate school has to offer. Or, scroll down for more info on what to do if your scores are not up to par.

List of 15 Grad Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores

1. Loyola University Chicago

GRE Requirement: 310 Combined Score (Other factors considered)

Loyola University Chicago is a Jesuit university with several campuses throughout the Chicago area. They serve roughly 16,673 students from a variety of faiths, backgrounds, and goals. And, while the GREs are generally required for graduate admissions, some programs may waive these scores.

About the GRE at Loyola

Loyola looks for a combined score of 310 on the revised GRE. However, they advise students not to be discouraged if their GRE scores are not high, since Loyola considers many criteria for admissions besides test scores.

Tip for Applying

Pursuing a business degree? Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business considers potential GMAT/GRE waiver requests for students meeting certain conditions. For example, MBA applicants with at least 7 years of full-time, relevant professional experience may be considered for a waiver.

Popular Graduate Programs at Loyola

2. Johns Hopkins University

low gre scores - Graduate Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores

GRE Requirement: MAT Requires 297 (Many Other Programs Don’t List Score)

America’s first research university, Johns Hopkins has been a leader in higher education for over 140 years. They are based in Baltimore, Maryland, but have multiple campus locations as well as online programs across many areas of study.

About the GRE at JHU

Johns Hopkins is home to multiple graduate schools and programs, each with slightly different requirements. For example, part-time programs at Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals do not require GRE scores.

Some, but not all, of the graduate programs offered by the School of Education require GRE scores. Case in point: The Master of Arts in Teaching programs require a minimum combined score of 297. Other programs require the GRE but do not list a minimum score. Confused yet? Your best bet is to check the specifics for the program you’re interested in.

Popular Graduate Programs at JHU

3. The University of Scranton

GRE Requirement: Most Programs Don’t Require GRE

The University of Scranton is a private Catholic, Jesuit university founded in 1888. The university offers 29 master’s programs and several doctorate programs, serving over 1500 graduate learners. Students can study on campus in Scranton, Pennsylvania, or pursue some programs online.

About the GRE at Scranton

Most or all graduate programs at the University of Scranton do not require the GRE. However, it’s important to check the specifics for the program you are interested in, as requirements can vary or change.

Popular Graduate Programs at Scranton

4. Walden University

GRE Requirement: Many Programs Don’t Require GRE

Walden University is a higher education institution dedicated to serving adult learners. In addition to undergraduate and certificate programs, they offer a variety of master’s and doctoral degree programs in an online format.

About the GRE at Walden

GRE requirements at Walden may vary by program. For example, Walden’s PhD completion program requires GRE or GMAT scores, but there is no minimum score. However, many programs at Walden do not require test scores.

Popular Graduate Programs at Walden

5. Rochester Institute of Technology

GRE Requirement: GRE Optional for Many Programs (Varies)

Rochester Institute of Technology is a technological institution home to over 100 master’s, doctoral, and advanced certificate programs. R.I.T. also offers online education, including graduate programs.

About the GRE RIT

Some programs at R.I.T. require GRE scores, but many don’t. For example, the Film and Animation MFA program evaluates students based on materials such as a portfolio of work and a two-to-three-minute self-portrait video.

And, test scores are completely optional for the Master of Science in Applied Statistics program. Check your program of interest for more specifics!

Popular Graduate Programs at RIT

6. Liberty University

GRE Requirement: Many Programs Don’t Require the GRE

Liberty University offers a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation and strives to teach the values, knowledge, and skills you’ll need for success in every aspect of your life.

About the GRE at Liberty

Many of the online graduate programs at Liberty, including master’s and doctoral-level programs, have no GRE requirement. There are other admissions requirements that vary from program to program, but usually include a bachelor’s degree and official transcripts.

Other programs, such as the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), include specific course prerequisites that you will need to take before enrolling if you haven’t already completed. In addition, the MSN requires that you have your RN license and at least one year of nursing practice.

Popular Graduate Programs at Liberty

7. Georgia State University

GRE Requirement: No GRE for 22 Master’s Programs

Georgia State University is a public research university with seven campuses throughout the Atlanta area. They serve over 51,000 students from diverse backgrounds. And, they offer a variety of graduate programs with varying GRE requirements, including programs that do not require the GRE.

About the GRE at Georgia State

The College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State recently removed the GRE requirement for 22 master’s degree programs. Instead, the university evaluates students based on measures that may include undergraduate GPA, previous experience, and the goals statement or writing sample.

Popular Graduate Programs at GSU

8. California Southern University

GRE Requirement: No GRE Required

California Southern University is a regionally accredited university with programs that take place completely online. They offer a variety of degree paths, including master’s and doctoral programs, aimed at busy, working adults in need of flexibility.

About the GRE at Cal Southern

CalSouthern does not require entrance exams, like the GRE or GMAT, for any of its graduate programs. Instead, the admissions process requires your transcripts, a personal statement, and other materials.

Popular Graduate Programs at Cal Southern

9. Northcentral University

GRE Requirement: No GRE Required

Northcentral University is a regionally-accredited online university that serves students from around the world. Northcentral focuses on graduate programs in a variety of areas, from Business Administration to Cybersecurity.

About the GRE at NCU

Northcentral does not require GRE scores for admission. However, each graduate program may have slightly different admissions requirements. Therefore, check with the school before applying.

Popular Graduate Programs at NCU

10. Purdue University

GRE Requirement: Some Programs Have No Requirement (Varies from program to program)

Purdue University is where tradition, history, and achievements meet to offer distinct educational opportunities for those looking to further their education.

About the GRE at Purdue

The specific GRE requirements at Purdue vary from program to program. For instance, some programs, such as the Engineering Technology program, requires that you score in the top 50% of the GRE percentile.

On the other hand, other programs, including all of those listed below, have no minimum GRE score set.

Popular Graduate Programs at Purdue

11. Colorado Technical University

GRE Requirement: No GRE Required

Colorado Technical University is an open enrollment private university offering career-focused education, including programs at the master’s and doctorate levels. Students can study online or at campuses in Colorado Springs and Aurora, Colorado.

About the GRE at CTU

CTU does not require GRE scores or other standardized tests for admissions. However, there is an exception is for non-native speakers of English, who have to submit proof of English proficiency such as TOEFL scores. Admissions requirements include an application, transcripts, interview, and in some cases, an essay.

Popular Graduate Programs at CTU

12. American University

GRE Requirement: No GRE Required for all PhD programs and most Master’s programs

According to university President Sylvia Burwell, American University considers themselves a university of strivers and dreamers, and is a student-centered research institution with a reputation for creating meaningful change in the world.

About the GRE at American

The GRE is not required for all of the doctoral degrees at American and for many of the master’s programs. Other graduate admissions requirements include a statement of purpose, resume, and letters of recommendation.

Popular Graduate Programs at American

13. Argosy University

GRE Requirement: No Requirement Listed for Many Programs

Argosy University is proud to support one of the largest communities of graduate students in the nation. Each of their programs are designed to instill knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills required to foster values of social responsibility.

About the GRE at Argosy

Many of the graduate programs at Argosy do not require the GRE. There are usually minimum GPA requirements, such as a 3.0 for the MA in Educational Psychology. However, the school may consider applicants with a lower GPA who demonstrate strong academic and professional potential.

Other admissions requirements include personal/professional goal statement, resume, and letters of recommendation.

Popular Graduate Programs at Argosy

14. Lewis University

GRE Requirement: No GRE Requirement Listed for Many Programs

Located in the Midwest, and offering online programs to students around the world, Lewis University is a comprehensive, Catholic university that combines the traditions of liberal learning, values, and preparation.

About the GRE at Lewis

Many of the career-focused graduate programs at Lewis do not require the GRE. However, the other admissions requirements include transcripts, personal statement, and recommendations.

Popular Graduate Programs at Lewis

15. George Mason University

GRE Requirement: Many Graduate Programs Don’t Require GRE

In just a short amount of time, George Mason University has made impressive strides in size, stature, and influence. Now, as Virginia’s largest public research university, GMU sets the benchmark for a bold, progressive education.

About the GRE at George Mason

Many of the graduate programs at George Mason do not require the GRE, but do require official transcripts, goals statement, letters of recommendation, and a resume.

However, the specific requirements vary from program to program so be sure to check with the school before applying.

Popular Graduate Programs at George Mason

What Is a Good GRE Score?

The good news is that “good” may vary widely from school to school. The GRE score that gets you rejected from one grad school or program may lead to an acceptance from another, meaning the quality of your score could be in the eye of the beholder.

Before applying, you’ll need to find out the minimum GRE score for admission to the school and program you are considering, so you can compare your personal results against that lower limit.

Average GRE Scores

That said, the average Verbal and Quantitative scores for the GRE are both roughly 150-152, while the average Analytical Writing score is about 3.5. Pay attention to your percentile for each section of the test, which tells you the percentage of examinees who received a lower score than you.

For example, if your Verbal Reasoning score was in the 60th percentile, that means you got a better score than 60% of test-takers.

You may also find it useful to check mean scores based on your graduate major. Educational Testing Services (ETS), the company that develops, administers, and scores the GRE, provides data on scores by subject area.

Humanities and Arts graduate students, for example, had a higher mean score (156) on Verbal Reasoning. And, relatively unsurprisingly, Engineering students had a higher mean score (159) in Quantitative Reasoning.

How Important Is the GRE?

The importance placed on GRE scores depends on the school and the program. Some graduate schools do not require GRE scores at all, whereas for others, a low score can be a deal-breaker.

However, don't despair, there do exist graduate schools that accept low GRE scores. In addition to examining the range of scores accepted by the grad schools and programs you are interested in, try chatting with a program representative about what they are looking for beyond test scores.

You may learn that other aspects of your application – like your past education, your writing sample, or your letters of recommendation – matter more than the GRE.

I Got a Low GRE Score. Now What? Can I Find Graduate Schools That Accept Low GRE Scores?

Yes, getting a low GRE score can be disappointing. But it doesn’t necessarily mean your plans to attend graduate school are over. Below are three ways you can overcome your low GRE scores.

1. Retake the Test

According to ETS, you can take the GRE once every 21 days, up to five times within a 12-month period. So, one potential option is to study harder and try again.

2. Focus on Other Areas of Your Application

If your test falls on the low end of what your prospective graduate school is willing to accept, you might still be able to wow admissions with other components of your application, like your Statement of Purpose or your interview.

3. Find Graduate Schools with No GRE Requirement

In addition to the graduate schools that accept low GRE scores, there are plenty of grad schools with no GRE requirement.

Remember that GRE requirements may vary by program, though. Just because the Computer Science program at a particular university waives GRE scores doesn’t mean the Engineering program has the same policy.

And applying to low GRE universities doesn’t mean other admissions requirements won’t be stringent. So be sure to check all of the admissions requirements before applying.

Find Universities That May Accept Low GRE Scores

Browse our sponsored listings for universities that may accept low GRE scores (or waive the GRE score altogether). See a school that looks perfect? Click to learn more about the programs on offer.

Or continue reading about grad schools that accept low GPA or graduate schools that don’t require letters of recommendation.

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