The validity of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) has been a source of debate and contention over its supposed ability to predict the success of graduate school applicants. Issues that possibly affect GRE test scores are one reason that students potentially seek out grad schools that don’t require GRE testing as part of the application process. We have found some of the best grad schools that don’t require GRE exam.
Several sources, including the authors of an article published in PLOS, question the usefulness of the GRE. The authors discussed the fact that data from Vanderbilt University Medical School found the GRE to be a weak to moderate predictor of graduate school GPA. The resulting suggestion was that graduate schools should rely less on standardized GRE as an indicator of potential student progress and productivity.
Top 5 Grad Schools that Don’t Require the GRE
|1||Western Governors University||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|2||West Texas A&M University||Canyon, Texas|
|3||Ohio University||Athens, Ohio|
|4||University of Massachusetts Lowell||Lowell, Massachusetts|
|5||Northcentral University||San Diego, California|
Reasons to Consider Grad Schools that Don’t Require GRE Scores
A contributor to The American Spectator revealed that schools are increasingly making standardized testing such as the GRE optional or are dropping the requirement altogether. The author explains that some schools with MBA programs will accept evidence that demonstrates ‘strong academic merit’ rather than a requirement that students take the GRE as part of the admissions process.
Many colleges and universities that offer graduate degrees are starting to focus more on academic achievement and other potential indicators when making admissions decisions. There are reasons for concern other than the alleged weakness of using the test as a predictor of academic success. There are technicalities to taking the test recently pointed out, possibly leading to even greater numbers of prospective students to consider grad schools that don’t require GRE scores for admission.
A report in Science, a publication of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), indicates that when GRE testing went primarily online after the spread of COVID-19, that ‘scores of academics’ raised questions and concerns about the validity and equity of the online test. One concern is that taking the GRE online potentially places some students at a disadvantage. Prospective students taking the online test have often voiced complaints, with one student referring to it as ‘a nightmare.’
Avoid the issues with taking the GRE when you choose to attend one of these grad schools that don’t require a GRE.
Tuition rates listed for each school cover the cost of each credit hour, and does not include the cost of any required fees or supplies. Some tuition rates are estimated where a school charges different tuition rates for different programs. It is ultimately the responsibility of the student to know the cost of tuition and all related fees to pursue a graduate degree or to complete a particular graduate program.
The Best 13 Grad Schools that Don’t Require GRE
Western Governors University
Earn a graduate degree at Western Governors University, which is one of the grad schools that don’t require GRE score submission. There are four online colleges that are part of the school. Consider the seven master’s level programs in business, 16 graduate degree options for teachers, four graduate programs in information technology, and eight graduate degree options in nursing and health.
The university offers students the benefit of starting classes on the first of the month, any month, throughout the year, after the student is accepted and enrolled at the school.
West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M University offers 24 graduate degree programs that do not require the student to take the GRE. If a student chooses a program with a GRE requirement, there is a possibility that the student could obtain conditional admission. The school instructs students to consult with the appropriate program advisor regarding the conditional admission.
Graduate students that want to pursue an online degree can submit a waiver if their particular program requires submission of GRE scores. Choose from degrees with no GRE requirement in agriculture, communications, studio art, engineering, music, nursing, social work, and other programs. There is one instance in which GRE scores are required: for students with a GPA less than 3.0. Otherwise, it is waived.
Some students are potentially eligible for a waiver that significantly reduces the cost of tuition.
There are many graduate programs offered at Ohio University that do not require the GRE. This is true of both traditional students attending classes at one of the campus locations, or students pursuing an online graduate degree. If you discover that your desired program is one of the few that does require the GRE, do not get discouraged. Look for a statement on the specific program’s page that is identical or similar to the statement on the Master of Science in Food and Nutrition Sciences page. The statement indicates that the GRE is required, but, ‘There are no minimum scores for the GRE. It is only one of several criteria used for admission.’ The fact that there is no minimum score required likely encourages students with lower scores to still confidently apply to the school.
There are more than two-dozen master’s and doctoral degrees offered at the school. Consider a new career or expand your expertise in your current career field by choosing a degree in medicine, engineering, arts, education, social work, or other options. The affordable tuition is likely a benefit to prospective graduate students.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, more commonly simply called UMASS Lowell does not require GRE for its M.Ed. and Education Specialists programs. Students that wish to apply for a master’s degree in another area can submit a GRE waiver. The specific colleges that allow students to apply for the GRE waiver include the College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, Manning School of Business, and the Kennedy College of Sciences.
Doctoral students still have a GRE requirement, unless stated otherwise for a specific program.
Northcentral University boasts a class size of one, which is each individual student. The completely online graduate programs at the university focus on guiding students to develop skills and knowledge that is necessary to succeed and make a positive difference in their chosen career field. Another incentive to submit an application to pursue your graduate degree is the fact that Northcentral University does not require submission of GRE scores for admission consideration.
Students submit transcripts and other documents included in the enrollment packet. Select your graduate program from 25 master’s degree options, including graduate degrees in education, business, nursing, legal studies, information technology and other options. Some students continue their education after receiving their master’s degree and enroll in a doctoral degree program.
Tuition varies slightly among the individual master’s degree programs.
Students that apply to earn a graduate degree at Carlow University do not have to worry about submitting the GRE when completing the application process. The admissions process requires that students submit a personal essay, two recommendations, their resume or curriculum vitae, and official transcripts. There are other possible requirements for admission to a particular program.
Enjoy attending classes at Carlow University locations in the Pittsburgh area, or complete your graduate degree in the online classroom. Most graduate programs charge the same tuition, with exception of the MEd in Secondary Education, MEd Art Education, MEd Educational Leadership/Principal Certification courses programs which only charge $600 per credit hour. The Executive MBA tuition is $1,051 per credit, and the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program which charges $891 per credit hour.
University of Dayton
The University of Dayton has been educating students from Dayton Ohio and countries around the world for more than 150 years. Many students that earn their bachelor’s degree at the school continue on to earn a graduate degree. The majority of graduate programs at the university do not require a GRE, but offer students the opportunity to submit a GRE score if they want it considered during their admissions process.
The university encourages students to engage the world, and believes that knowledge and action are powerful. The University of Dayton offers more than 50 master’s degree programs, 12 doctoral programs, and a number of post-graduate certificates. Consider pursuing a graduate degree in education, criminal justice, business, engineering, management, law, or counseling.
Saint Joseph’s University
Although the admissions requirements at Saint Joseph’s University indicate that a GRE is required for the Graduate Business program, for the biology and psychology graduate programs, students have the option of applying for a waiver. The university takes prior academic excellence, professional work experience, or professional licensure in lieu of the submission of GRE scores. Students should consult with an advisor to obtain information about waivers and other accepted admissions documents.
The following is the criteria for obtaining a GMAT/GRE waiver based on GPA, work experience or a master’s degree if you plan to be part of their business programs:
- Earned a cumulative, undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4 point scale with a minimum of 60 credit hours in one of the following: as a business major from an AASCB accredited institution; or has an Arts & Sciences major from a similarly ranked or accredited institution.
- Earned a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher in one of our Graduate Certificate Programs
- A minimum of 5 years of full-time progressive professional experience that entails a significant scope of responsibility (managing people and/or projects) and employs in-depth quantitative and analytical skills.
- Earned a terminal degree (Ph.D., M.D., D.O., J.D., DBA, etc.) or a Master’s degree (M.S., M.A., etc.) from an accredited, not-for-profit institution.
- Licensed in the United States as a CPA, CFP, CFA, PMP or have earned Yellow Belt or higher Six Sigma certification.
Consider programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Health Studies and Education, or the Haub School of Business. It is interesting to note that 99 percent of the school’s 2018 graduate class either obtained employment or were continuing their education beyond the master’s degree within six months of receiving their degree.
University of New England
Graduate students do not have to submit the GRE when they apply to most programs at the University of New England. The majority of graduate programs instead look to undergraduate cumulative GPA and work experience, rather than focusing acceptance on a GRE score.
Students have the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree either on-campus or online. Do you have an interest in marine science, or ocean food systems? These are just two of the unique graduate programs at the school that does not have a GRE requirement.
The school, like most graduate schools, has different tuition rates for individual graduate programs.
Start your graduate degree at Simmons University straight from earning your undergraduate degree, or after starting your career. The school does not require GRE submission for most programs, and it is optional for a couple of the graduate degree programs.
Simmons University says that it links passion with purpose, and pledges to give students a meaningful return on their educational investment. Select your preferred graduate degree from options in behavioral analysis, teaching, education, health professions, nursing, library science, social work and other options.
University of San Francisco
The University of San Franciso offers several graduate programs that do not require students to submit GRE scores for admission. The College of Arts and Sciences only suggests that students consider the usefulness of the GRE ‘for additional evidence of quantitative ability.’ Students in the MSN program do not have a GRE requirement. The MBA likely requires submission of the GRE, but the School of Management does not require it for admission for most programs. Prospective students are potentially eligible for a waiver if their program has a GRE requirement and they are able to demonstrate exceptional work or academic experience.
Johns Hopkins University
The debate on the value of the GRE is somewhat evident at Johns Hopkins University. Although the Bloomburg School of Public Health still requires the GRE for admission, most other programs do not have the requirement. In fact, the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences voted against a GRE requirement. Department Chair Anand Gnanadesikan wrote that the GRE scores failed to find the ‘diamonds in the rough’ among talented students. He further suggested that the GRE could serve as a barrier to identifying strong applicants.
One benefit to prospective graduate students applying to one of the many programs is the fact that the school indicates that, ‘Of the programs that require the GRE, there is no minimum score requirements.’
Princeton University announced in 2019 that the school was making a submission of the GRE optional for students in 14 graduate programs. Sarah-Jane Leslie, Dean of the Graduate School, noted that the excellence of graduate school education at Princeton depends upon the ability of the school to attract students that are talented ‘from all backgrounds and identities.’
Another benefit of considering Princeton University Graduate School is the fact that the university charges the same tuition for all master’s degree-seeking students, and for all doctoral degree students. Tuition costs also include the Student Health Plan (SHP) fee.
Searching for a graduate school that does not require the GRE as part of the admissions process is a tedious task. We did the work for you in selecting these schools as the best potential options.
We ranked each school by assigning a unique score for tuition and ranked each school using the tuition cost and fact that a GRE is either not required, or the school allows a waiver.
We do our very best to be honest, accurate, and fair in all of our rankings. We do not permit any school to pay us for higher placement in our rankings. If a specific school wishes to be sponsored, we list that school separately from our ranked schools, and clearly label that school as SPONSORED.
Please contact us to include your school in our rankings, or if you would like to update the information for your school.
Guide to Schools that Don’t Require GRE
Getting into grad school can be overwhelming. Not only is the application process itself intense, but everything you need to accomplish to be eligible to apply takes years of time and effort. First, you need to work hard at high school to get into university. Then, you need to work hard at university to get into grad school, and, once you’re in grad school, you need to work hard to graduate and find employment.
One of the most stressful parts of the grad school process is the GRE. The GRE is a big test that requires months of study and preparation. Often, the material covered seems irrelevant to the topic at hand, and the test adds more stress to an already grueling process. By the time you’re ready to apply to grad school, you’re either wrapping up the final semesters of a bachelor’s program or are working full time while trying to choose a graduate program that fits your busy schedule. Who wants to add the stress of a standardized test on top of all that?
The good news is that many schools are moving away from placing such a heavy emphasis on the GRE model. Many grad schools no longer require students to take the GRE at all while others are putting greater emphasis on other factors for admission. Since grad school is hard enough, you should grab hold of anything that makes it easier. Cutting out things like the GRE can lighten the burden.
Here, we’ve put together a useful guide to graduate schools that do not require students to take the GRE. Our first section provides a guide to some of the best grad schools that do not require this test. It also provides a brief introduction to the GRE itself. This guide is to help students and prospective students come to a better understanding of graduate school and the process involved in applying.
Next, we provide some insight into the various ways in which a student can get into grad school without taking the GRE. We also take a look at some paths forward if you have already taken the test but are unhappy with your results. This information is meant to help students figure out their options regarding further study after completing an undergraduate degree.
After that, we will explore some questions regarding online grad school. Online school is now more popular than ever. As the GRE is not typically required outside of the United States, many online programs have opted to waive it as a requirement.
Finally, we look at some of the reasons that the GRE has been waived more frequently in recent years to help you to better understand the reasons that the GRE was once valued and why it seems to be valued less now.
Overall, we hope to help students and prospective students as they attempt to navigate the tricky and sometimes overwhelming process of graduate study. The GREs are one small part of the process and understanding what they entail and their importance can help you when choosing a program to apply to.
What is the GRE?
GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. In essence, the GRE is a standardized test that exists as part of the admissions process for graduate school in the United States. To a lesser extent, it has a presence in Canadian entrance requirements.
The GRE is administered by a private non-profit organization called the Educational Testing Service, or ETS. The ETS states that the GRE exists to serve as a methodology to assess long term learning results. This test allows for the standardized assessment of the cumulative results of years of education.
The GRE is intended to measure critical thinking, verbal and written analysis and comprehension, and reasoning. It involves a range of testing materials, including algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and vocabulary. The test is scored on a point basis between 130 and 170. Though the ETS is a non-profit, there is a financial cost associated with taking the GRE.
In recent years, the GRE has been the focus of a significant amount of criticism as many people do not believe that it is an adequate or reliable measure of actual success in graduate school. Instead, these critics claim that it is a barrier to many applicants who would otherwise excel in their program of choice.
Why would you want to apply to a grad school that does not require the GRE?
Many people do not find that the GRE is an adequate assessment of their success, value as a student, or potential. By applying to a university that does not require the GRE, students allow the cumulative experience of their other awards, grades, and performances to speak for them instead.
Grad schools without GRE exam requirements may have more flexible MBA admissions or admissions processes to their other programs. Flexible admission requirements can mean that students have a better shot at success, winning scholarships, or finding a program with a learning style suited to their own.
If you take issue with the GRE exam, a school with a similar attitude or outlook might be a better fit for you in terms of education, curriculum, and pedagogical structure. Also, focusing your attention on preparing for the program is a far better use of your time and resources than focusing on taking a standardized test.
How To Get Into Graduate School Without The GRE
Many students do not want to take the GRE. It is time consuming, stressful, expensive, and can take a huge amount of energy to complete. Also, it is incredibly difficult to study for the GRE at the same time that you are completing the final years of your undergraduate degree.
Fortunately, it is not always necessary to take the GRE. Many schools do not require the GRE for admission. As indicated, some of the best schools in the country do not require the GRE for admission. Others have it as an official requirement but do not stress high scores too heavily. Instead, they are concerned more with the other metrics associated with rating student success.
How can you get into graduate school without taking the GRE?
The easiest way to get into grad school without taking the GRE is simply to apply to schools that do not require it. Many grad schools offer entrance to a master’s degree program and Ph.D. programs without requiring students to complete the GRE. Most MFA programs do not require the GRE as an admission requirement.
While other schools still require the GRE, they have removed much of the emphasis they once placed on it. Instead, they focus on the applicant’s other accomplishments. These can include their official transcript, scholarships, and awards, SAT scores, and extracurricular activities. Some schools with programs in high-demand fields have removed a lot of emphasis from their candidate’s GRE scores to try to enable more students to study in their departments.
It is also possible to have the GRE requirement at some schools waived under certain circumstances. These circumstances include high achievement in certain areas, possession of another graduate degree, professional experience, and extenuating circumstances. If you believe that you should qualify for a GRE waiver, look into the requirements of the school you want to attend.
What should you do if you have a low GRE score but still want to apply to graduate school?
Many universities and colleges offering graduate programs do not require the GRE. Others do not place a huge amount of emphasis on GRE results and instead prefer to judge their applicants according to other metrics.
If you have taken the GRE and received low scores, the easiest thing to do is apply to graduate schools that either do not require the GRE or require the GRE but do not require particularly high scores.
It is important to know that simply because a school does not require the GRE does not mean that the school in question is not a reputable institution. Some of the best schools in the country waive GRE scores. They do not believe that the test is a reliable assessment of value and potential.
It is also possible to retake the GRE. If you have low test scores and have your hopes set on a school that requires the GRE and considers it to be a serious part of their application process, it may be worth retaking the test. If you have already taken the GRE, you know what to expect which makes practice easier, preparation more effective, and the test less stressful.
How often do graduate school programs waive the GRE requirement?
Graduate programs regularly waive GRE requirements. For the most part, this has been due to high achievement or overqualification on the part of the applicant. More recently, schools have been waiving requirements due to a perception that the GRE is not an accurate judge of caliber. This process is outlined more extensively below.
Online Graduate Programs with No GRE Requirements
Online colleges and universities frequently offer admission to applicants without asking them to complete the GRE. If you are looking for a school that offers an MA, an MBA, or another master’s degree without this requirement, it might be a good idea to look into online schools.
Online programs are flexible, cost-effective, and convenient. Often, online programs allow students to take courses on their schedule at their own pace, from the comfort of their home. Also, online programs come without many of the costs traditionally associated with education, such as facility fees.
As long as the university offering the online program is accredited, the degree awarded at the end of your study is the same degree awarded to somebody who completed the equivalent course in person. This equivalency means that you do not have to worry about receiving a less valuable degree simply because you did not physically attend a campus.
Why are online graduate programs more likely to not require the GRE?
There are many reasons that online programs are less likely to require a GRE than a traditional in-person program. For one thing, online master’s programs tend to direct their attention to adult learners who are already working. As these professionals are returning to school part-time to advance their careers, the GRE seems like an unnecessary burden.
Also, the professional work experience of people who are already in the middle of their careers is far more relevant to a practical, work-focused master’s degree than academic scores are. This idea is especially true when you consider the content of the GRE. Of course, these concerns also translate to students entering online MAs directly after school.
Online programs are also able to accept more students than a traditional in-person program. These larger class sizes are possible because the size of the classroom is not an obstacle when accommodating students online. As a result, it is not always as necessary to weed out applicants who seem well suited to the degree but simply did not perform well on a standardized test.
How will attending a graduate program with no GRE requirement affect your career?
Simply put, attending a graduate program without a GRE requirement is unlikely to affect your career in the slightest. If you have attended a graduate program and have obtained a graduate degree, it is highly unlikely that an employer will be concerned with whether or not the school that awarded it to you checked your GRE scores before admission.
For example, if you went to graduate school and got a master’s in Business Administration, future employers are concerned with your organizational leadership, business acumen, and managerial skills. They are unlikely to worry about whether or not you had to take the GRE as part of your admission requirements.
Why Some Grad Schools Have Waived The GRE Requirement
The GRE used to be a standard requirement for all grad schools across the country. Now, it seems like this is changing dramatically. Education professionals have recognized some of the drawbacks, inequities, and failures of the GRE system. As a result, many departments or schools have decided to waive the GRE requirement entirely. Others are moving steadily in this direction.
Many people still believe in the value and necessity of a program such as the GRE. The GRE is intended to provide a universalized method of analyzing and measuring a student’s basic knowledge and understanding of an array of important skills. At many schools, this assessment is one of the most essential parts of their application process.
How can you request a graduate program to waive your GRE requirement?
If you believe that you have a good case for the school to waive your GRE requirement, do not hesitate to reach out to the school personally. If you are lucky, the school may already be reconsidering its GRE requirements on a larger scale. Your request might play a part in the school’s decision-making process.
Many schools have already waived GRE requirements. Your school may have already waived the requirement on an individual or group basis in the past. If this is the case, there may already be a process outlined for you to follow.
The basic steps to request a waiver are:
- Determine your eligibility.
- Establish a case.
- Determine which department or office you should reach out to. It could be your department head, the graduate coordinator, or the admissions office
- Draft a written request.
- Reach out to the head of your department for information or support.
- Finalize your request and submit it to the appropriate office.
Common reasons that schools offer GRE waivers include graduate degrees, high achievement in specific areas of importance, or professional experience, which seems to make the GRE obsolete. Other schools offer waivers to level the playing field when reviewing applicants who did not have access to the same resources as other applicants.
Why are universities increasingly waiving GRE requirements?
In recent years, schools have begun to waive GRE requirements far more frequently than they did in the past. There are a few different reasons for this.
One of the reasons that some schools are waiving GRE testing is that in-person test tasking may be difficult. With the shift to remote learning, GRE testing concerns have spread fairly widely. Of course, these concerns have only led to a temporary lapse in GRE requirements and are unlikely to result in the widespread dismissal of the GRE overall.
These concerns relate to the fact that people taking the test do not have equal access to resources at home. As a result, those who live in rural areas or come from disenfranchised or lower-income backgrounds might have difficulty performing, and those who come from a privileged background or live in urban environments.
In rural areas, internet access is not as prevalent or reliable as it is in urban environments. Therefore, students who must study and take the GRE test in rural areas found themselves at a fairly serious disadvantage. Other students who did not have access to a webcam, laptop, private room, and other necessities for the new standard of testing have also found themselves at a serious disadvantage.
Interruptions, unstable connections, or other issues have caused many students to have very negative experiences taking the test. It has also caused students to have reduced performance levels. As a result, many schools and universities are currently waiving this test.
Also, many schools were already questioning the value of the GRE. This standardized test not only seems to have little to do with student success at the graduate level, but it also tends to favor students from privileged backgrounds. This bias leaves many people who are as intelligent, hardworking, and gifted to be unfairly removed from the competition. It is estimated that over 300 life science programs in the United States have already dropped the GRE requirement.
When did the GRE stop being a useful indicator of grad school readiness?
Though the GRE can be a useful and standard way to measure students across a huge range of fields, disciplines, and schools, it has been revealed that the test is largely unfair. As a result, it is not a matter of the GRE no longer being a useful indicator of grad school readiness. Instead, it is more a case of people increasingly recognizing the inequity and failures of the test.
Success in the GRE has a lot to do with socio-economic circumstances. People who are privileged socio-economically may not recognize the problems with the GRE. As these people have been in control of the systems by which requirements, testing, and guidelines are produced, the issues with the GRE went unaddressed for a long time.
Now, things are changing. People are not only recognizing that the GRE is unfair, in certain ways, but are also recognizing that it does not seem to reflect success in graduate study. Therefore, it is a somewhat arbitrary method of testing. For schools based upon scientific methods and statistical analysis, this seems very counterintuitive.
Even getting to the point where you can apply for grad school is a major accomplishment. As a result, it is important to recognize that you have already achieved great success if you are considering grad school. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to grad programs. These barriers can be anything from financial strain to personal obligations. Fortunately, there are different ways to circumvent these barriers. These methods might include attending online school or applying for scholarships or other forms of financial aid.
One of the best ways to make graduate school more attainable is to reduce the obstacles standing in the way. One of the biggest obstacles for many people is the GRE. The GRE is a standardized test that is intended to serve as a universal assessment of a candidate’s educational proficiency and skill. Many people spend months preparing for the test. Often, this is done at the same time as undergraduate school, work, or applications.
A lot of people no longer believe that the GRE is a good assessment of these factors. As a result, many schools are waiving GRE requirements. A number of these schools are very well respected in their fields. Attending a school that does not require applicants to take the GRE is a great way to make graduate school a more attainable goal. It not only removes financial strain and stress but allows students to focus more entirely on preparing for the actual program in question, rather than preparing for a standardized assessment.