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Grad School Myth #2: You have to take the GRE

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) can be one of the most angst-ridden steps of applying to a master’s program.

This is especially true for working professionals who want to go back to school but have been out of college for years, spend 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at their jobs and commuting, and have little time or desire to re-learn whether |-2| and |2| are <, >, or =.

So what if I told you that not all graduate schools require the GRE?

Many master’s programs and even some Ph.D. programs simply don’t ask for it. Others allow you to waive the GRE if you have a high undergraduate GPA (3.0-4.0). This may also be true if your bachelor’s degree is in a subject unrelated to the master’s program you’re looking into. Just be sure to check with the program director prior to applying to verify that you meet the criteria to waive the GRE.

Here is a short list of master’s programs that do not require or allow you to waive the GRE. Also check out my HUGE No GRE Required list with 500+ programs in 50+ subjects not requiring the GRE and my PhD programs – No GRE Required list.

Business – M.B.A.

  • U.S. News & World Report lists all of the online MBA programs  that do not require the GRE orGraduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).  This site  also lists the AACSB-accredited online MBA programs not require the GMAT.
  • New York University’s (New York City) Stern School of Business’ Executive MBA program FAQs states: “Each application will receive a holistic and thorough review, regardless of whether it contains a GMAT or GRE score. In some cases, we may request a GMAT or GRE score as part of the application when an applicant’s transcript(s) or work experience do not demonstrate sufficient quantitative or academic preparedness. However, those who voluntarily submit a GMAT or GRE score do not have a better chance of gaining admission than those who do not.”

>> See all MBA programs with no GRE required

Counseling Psychology

  • George Mason University (Fairfax, VA) does not require the GRE for its M.Ed in Counseling and Development; Community Agency Counseling; and School Counseling.
  • Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) in Boston states here that test scores are optional for master’s programs, which includes, among other programs, an MA in Counseling Psychology and Community Mental Health, MA in Counseling, MA in Couples & Family Therapy, MA in Expressive Arts Therapy, MA in Forensic and Counseling, MA in Global Mental Health, and MA in Media Psychology. (Thanks to reader Juan for the tip!)
  • Pepperdine University‘s (Los Angeles, CA) M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy does not require the GRE for applicants that meet one of the following: 1) A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.7 or higher; OR 2) Seven or more years of post-bachelor’s, full-time work experience (does not have to be psychology related); OR 3) Completed master’s degree (in any field).
  • Towson University (Towson, MD) does not list the GRE as a requirement for its Child Life, Administration & Family Collaboration (M.S.) degree. See Graduate Programs, click on your degree, then select Admission Requirements to the left. You can also double check on the Admission Requirements by Program chart, but the newest I’ve found is from 2010.

>> See all Counseling Psychology programs with no GRE required

Education – M.Ed & Ed.D

  • Columbia University’s (New York City) Teacher’s College — the No. 6 Best Education Graduate School in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 rankings — does not require the GRE for its degrees in Curriculum and Teaching in Elementary Education (M.A.), Curriculum and Teaching in Secondary Education (M.A.), Curriculum and Teaching in Physical Education (M.A., Ed.M., Ed.D.), English Education (Ph.D), and many more Education degrees. (See the Interactive Online Program Guide and search under All Programs. According to the Teacher’s College FAQs, if the GRE is required, it will be listed under Supplemental Requirements.)
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) for its M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum states that “The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is not required, but GRE scores will be reviewed if available at the time of application.” No GRE is required for its M.A. in Special Education (click on “Do you require the GRE test…” where you’ll see “MA: No, the GRE is not required for admission into the MA Special Education program.”). In addition, the GRE is not listed as a requirement for its online M.A. in Education, M.A. in Educational Technology, or its various other education master’s programs, including its M.A. in K-12 Educational Administration, M.A. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, and M.A. in Student Affairs.
  • University of California, Berkeley states in its Graduate School of Education Admission FAQs, under the Application link, that the GRE is not required for applicants to the following master’s programs: Developmental Teacher Education, Masters and Credential in Science and Mathematics Education, and the Principal Leadership Institute. (Note: the GRE is required for all doctoral programs).

>> See all Education programs with no GRE required


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Cambridge, MA) for its graduate program in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science states in its Admission Requirements (#15 on FAQs) “We do not use the GRE test scores during the admission process–regardless of citizenship–unless you are applying to the LGO Program, which does require the GRE.” LGO stands for Leader for Global Operations and is a combined MBA and master’s in engineering program.
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE), which offers an M.S., MBAE (online), and Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, states (scroll down to Graduate Record Examination) that international applicants must submit the GRE, but that no GRE is required from students who hold a BS from an accredited engineering program. Note: “Students wishing to be considered for assistantships and fellowships should also consider submitting GRE scores because some awards require it.”
  • Purdue University West Lafayette (IN) states that GRE scores are “not required but recommended” for its master’s degrees in Materials Engineering and Nuclear Engineering (scroll down under Master’s Degree Program Basic Requirements). The GRE is not required from applicants to the online Interdisciplinary Engineering (MSE/MS) degree, scroll down to Completing the Application, then Degree-Seeking Applicants (Online). The GRE is required for all of the other engineering programs on that campus.
  • University of Pittsburgh’s (Pittsburgh, PA) Swanson School of Engineering does not require GRE scores from applicants to the Materials Science and Engineering program. In addition, its Civil and Environmental Engineering Department states here (#4): “All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – General Test. This requirement is typically waived only for those students who are applying to be part-time or Professional Master’s students.” Degrees are offered in Construction Management and Green Construction, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical and Pavement Engineering, Structural Engineering and Mechanics, Sustainability and Green Design, Transportation Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering.

>> See all Engineering programs with no GRE required


  • Columbia University’s (New York City) Graduate School of Journalism does not require the GRE (click on Application and Deadline Information) for admission to the following degrees: Master of Science, Master of Arts, and dual degree programs with International and Public Affairs, Law, Business and Sciences Po. Also, applicants do not need a specific major or to take prerequisite courses to apply. You will need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. university; read all of these facts in the J-school’s FAQs.
  • Georgetown University’s (Washington, DC) School of Continuing Studies, which includes a Master’s in Journalism states in the application guide: “Standardized test scores are not required for any of our programs, as we take a very holistic approach to reviewing applications.” The school also accepts students on a rolling basis.

>> See all Journalism programs with no GRE required

Nursing – MSN, DNP, & PhD

  • Duke University’s (Durham, NC) School of Nursing, a top 10 nursing program, according to U.S. News & World Report, states in its Admissions FAQs that “The GRE is waived if you have an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or higher or if you hold an earned master’s or higher level degree from a regionally accredited institution.”
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) School of Nursing  which tied as the No. 1 nursing grad program in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report states here (click on the Admissions Procedures tab) that it only requires the GRE for its MSN/MPH and MSN/MBA programs, leaving all of its MSN programs GRE-free, including Nurse Practitioner, Public Health Nursing, and much more. See below for its DNP program.
  • University of Colorado Denver, among the top 15 nursing programs, according to U.S. News & World Report, does not list the GRE as a requirement to its DNP program.
  • University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) (Philadelphia, PA), which tied as the No. 1 nursing grad program in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report, allows M.S.N. applicants to fill out a GRE Waiver if you meet either of the following: “Graduate of a bachelor’s (BSN) program of study from an accredited institution in the United States or Canada with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or above on a 4.0 scale OR Post-master’s applicants, or applicants with a master’s degree in a discipline other than nursing, with a GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.” Applicants not eligible for the waiver are: RN returns (without BSN), BSN/MSN applicants, PhD applicants, and International applicants who completed BSN programs outside the United States or Canada.

>> See all Nursing programs with no GRE required

Physical Therapy – M.A. & DPT

  • American International College (Springfield, MA), does not list the GRE in its admission or application requirements for its Physical Therapy program, which is CAPTE accredited.
  • New York University (New York City) Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development states that the GRE is not required for its M.A. Physical Therapists: Kinesiology (PTHP-MA), “an advanced master’s program for U.S. licensed practicing physical therapists. Concentrating on kinesiology and the study and research of abnormal human motion and its modification.”
  • Northeastern University (Boston, MA), which is CAPTE accredited, for its Post-baccalaureate Direct-entry Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT) states here that the GRE is not required at this time. The GRE is also not listed as a requirement for the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), which is for applicants who hold a baccalaureate or master’s degree in Physical Therapy and a US license in Physical Therapy.


    Photo credit: iStockphoto

>> See all PT programs with no GRE required

Public Health (M.P.H.)

  • New York Medical College (Valhalla, NY) offers a CEPH-accredited Master of Public Health (MPH) with a blend of online and late afternoon/early evening on-campus courses, and states here that “GRE scores are not required for the MPH degree, but are required for the DrPh degree.” MPH degrees are offered in health policy and management, epidemiology, behavioral sciences and health promotion, and environmental health science.
  • University of Oklahoma’s (Oklahoma City, OK) College of Public Health, which is accredited by CEPH, states here, “Applicants to Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree programs, the Certificate of Public Health program and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program as well as to Master of Science (MS) degree programs in biostatistics, epidemiology, and health promotion sciences are not required to submit GRE scores.”
  • University of South Florida (Tampa, FL) no longer requires the GRE (under #4) for its Master of Public Health with a concentration in Public Health Practice (PHP), which is accredited by CEPH, It is offered online as well as in an Executive (weekend) format.

>> See all MPH programs with no GRE required

Social Work (M.S.W.)

>> See all MSW programs with no GRE required

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jess #

    Any recommendations for master progams in higher Education? Trying to stay away from GRE. That are online as well. ….
    eventually I would like to be a Dean Of Students

    April 6, 2015
    • I have a section for Higher Ed, did you check it out? Those are all that I know of so far…

      May 19, 2015
  2. Grace #

    Hello Ainsley, This is a great list. Thanks so much for the service. I wish I had seen this information three years ago. I am in the process of completing my dissertation. If I had known that Columbia did not require the GRE I would have applied to their PhD in Education Leadership program. However, I am very happy with the education that I received at my school. Thank you for providing this information to thousands that truly need it.

    January 9, 2015
    • Thank you for writing Grace! Best of luck on your dissertation. :)

      January 11, 2015
  3. tushar #

    Thanks a ton.
    I am from India. Do I stand a chance to get into a Journalism course in Columbia Univ ?

    May 11, 2014
  4. Thanks for this! I am in the process of taking my last two pre-reqs for PA school! I did not plan on taking the GRE and will pick one of the schools from this list!

    February 13, 2014
    • Thanks for reblogging, Terrell. So glad this site will help you with your grad school search!

      February 14, 2014
  5. Reblogged this on LloydFitness.

    February 13, 2014

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  1. Don’t Spend All Your Cash Before Grad School — Why Cheap Or Free GRE Prep Is A Smart Choice — App Reviews
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