From the cost of taking the GRE -- $185 as of October 2013 -- to the anxiety over taking a test that can determine the future -- applicants to graduate schools have good reasons to avoid the dreaded exam. Finding a school that doesn't require it for admission isn't easy, however. While many schools have discussed dropping the GRE requirement, most have either kept it or a similar test, or leave the decision up to individual departments. Applicants should check each school department they're considering for the standardized tests it requires, if any.
Schools that offer online graduate programs are the best bet for not requiring the GRE. Many such schools make a point of not asking for the scores. Schools only have so much physical classroom space on campus, so they must be selective about who gets those spots, and the GRE is one way to compare applicants. But online, virtual campuses have no size limitations, so schools can take many more applicants. Villanova University states that it doesn't ask for GRE or GMAT scores.
Yes and No
Many schools that don't require the GRE for admissions -- such as the University of Arizona -- have departments that do require the test. While art history still requires the GRE, the department of art requires a portfolio instead. At UMass Amherst, history, engineering and linguistics require the GRE, but anthropology, entomology and education don't. Even disciplines that require advanced math -- such as physics -- vary in their GRE requirements. Schools such as Eastern Michigan and the State University of New York at Albany don't require the GRE. Others, including Princeton University and the University of Pittsburgh, don't require the test but recommend it.
Some universities that don't ask for the GRE have departments that require a different test instead, such as the graduate management admissions test or a GRE subject test. At UMass Amherst, for example, accounting and environmental engineering require the GMAT, which is often the test preferred for management and business programs. Some departments -- such as hospitality and tourism management at UMass and management at the University of Arizona -- will accept either the GRE or the GMAT. Students who perform better on one test or the other sometimes submit the test with their best scores.
Some departments will waive the GRE requirement on an individual basis, usually for one of two reasons. If the applicant already has earned a graduate degree in another discipline, schools such as Georgetown University's school of nursing may waive the requirement for a new GRE. Some schools or departments will waive the GRE requirement if the applicant's undergraduate GPA is at a certain level. For example, at Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing, those with GPAs of 3.2 or above need not submit GRE scores.
- UMassAmherst Graduate School: Graduate Programs and Application Deadlines
- University of Arizona: Graduate College: Admissions Requirements
- Villanova University: Graduate Admissions Requirements
- GetEducated.com: Online Master's Degree No GRE
- Georgetown University:Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: Health Systems Administration
- Texas A & M: Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in the Washington, DC area. She writes nationally for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including careers, education, women, marketing, advertising and more. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.