The fact that the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is accepted worldwide is a testament to its versatility. Whatever be the graduate program (Masters or PhD), whether Mathematics, Computer Science, or even a Business Degree, the GRE test score serves as a standardized baseline to evaluate all kinds of candidates from all kinds of backgrounds, countries, and education systems. Though most popularly a North American higher education entry requirement, it is now an application must for various Asian and European universities too.
Even with its generalized nature, the fact that many candidates tend to spend months in preparing for the GRE goes to show its difficulty (Read How to start studying for the GRE). A large number of candidates often enquire about programs that either don’t require the GRE test scores as an admission requirement,schools that accept low to medium scores, or programs that do require GRE scores but are willing to make an exception by way of a GRE Waiver.
In this article, we will talk about the last variety of the three,the way-out of GRE using GRE Waiver.It is applicable to schools that expect a GRE score but are willing to make an exception.
GRE exams evaluate the following abilities required to survive graduate school.
Given these constituents of the GRE exam, a waiver, if granted, will only be in light of special circumstances. These circumstances may differ between schools, perhaps even between programs. The conditions in which a waiver, if possible, is granted are usually one all, or more than the following.
Ultimately, the decision to waive a GRE score is purely a discretion of the program and it is best to have direct word on the same from the admissions office, just to be absolutely sure that you don’t ruin your chances for nothing.
Be forewarned that by obtaining a GRE waiver, you will most likely be competing with other candidates who have this score. A lack of a GRE score may possibly put you at a disadvantage when the admissions office compares the accomplishments of the applicants against a common merit. But such a situation is completely subjective to the school.
Most schools, when they do allow GRE waivers, want you to work for it. And by that, we mean sending them a letter, or essay, requesting why you should be afforded this privilege. As with the intent described in the last section, the letter should focus on your more-than-compensatory qualities in lieu of the GRE score.
Here is a sample letter/statement/essay for what you might be expected to write. Individual programs may have their own rules and formats. Check them out before you take the leap.
You’ll find many more examples of GRE Waiver Request Letters on the internet. Download some of them for review and build your own accordingly.
GRE covers a wide variety of graduate programs, from Masters to PhD. Within each of those degrees, every department has their own rules of admission. Some choose to forego GRE completely and substitute it for some other test:
Some programs, like Business, accept both the GRE and GMAT scores. There are also many universities, and their individual departments,that have chosen past academic records, recommendations, and resumes to completely substitute the GRE. Although the majority, especially in the US, still require the GRE as one of the ingredients in applications.
In this context, however, here are a few examples of reputed graduate programs which normally require GRE scores but that requirement can be waived under special conditions or requests.
|School||GRE Waiver Programs & Conditions|
|Tufts University||– Master of Public Health and combined degree programs
– Doctor of Public Health
– Health Communication Degrees
– Pain Research, Education, and Policy Degrees
Student has to indicate academic and professional background rendering test scores unnecessary. Waiver Request Form
|University of Houston||– Industrial Design, MS with minimum GPA 3.3
– Art MFA, Art History MA, Arts Leadership MA, Music MM, Theatre Acting MFA, Theatre Design MFA, Theatre Studies MFA, Summer MA for Educators (Min. GPA 3.3)
– Accountancy MS, Finance MS, Global Energy Management MS, Management Information Systems MS, Marketing MS (Min. GPA 3.5-3.6)
– Administration and Supervision MEd, Counselling MEd, Curriculum & Instruction MEd, Health Education MEd, Special Populations MEd, Professional Leadership MEd (Min. GPA 3.3)
– Engineering: Aerospace MS, Biomedical MSBE, Chemical MSChem/MChE, Civil MSCE, Computer & Systems MS, Electrical MSEE, Environmental MS, Geosensing Systems Engineering and Sciences MS, Industrial MSIE/MIE/MSME, Materials Science and Engineering MS, Mechanical MS, Petroleum MSPerE/MpetE, Space Architecture MS, Subsea Engineering MS (Min. GPA 3.4)
– Hospitality Management MS (Min. GPA 3.5)
– Anthropology MA, Applied Economics MA, Athletic Training MAT, English-British & American Literature MA, Hrealth Communication MA, Political Science MA, Public Policy MPP, Public Relations Studies MA, Sociology mA, Spanish MA, Sports & Fitness Administration MA, World Culture & Literature mA (Min. GPA 3.4)
– Applied Mathematics MS, Chemistry MS, Computer Science MS, Mathematics MS/MA, Physics MS (Min. GPA 3.4)
– Nursing Administration MS, Nursing Education MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner MSN (Min. GPA 3.3)
– Social Work MSW (Min. GPA 3.3)
– Construction Management MS, Engineering Technology MS, Foresight MS, Global Retailing MS, Human Resource Development MS, Information Systems Security MS, Supply Chain & Logistics Technology MS, Technology Project Management (Min. GPA 3.3)
|Nanyang Technological University||– IGS PhD in Secure Community @IMI
GRE Waiver request considered
– School of Physical and Mathematical Science. Email email@example.com for more information
|National University of Singapore||Several Programs offer waivers
Contact Faculty/School directly
|Yale University||– PhD in Law (needs LSAT)
– PhD in Management (substitute with GMAT)
– MS Program in Chronic Disease Epidemiology (substitute with MCAT)
– Non-Degree Visiting Assistant in Research
– Sackler/NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program
|Illinois Institute of Technology||– Waived for applicants to professional Masters programs (Min. GPA 3.0 and Bachelors from accredited US university)
Contact for waiver request
We won’t go on searching the lengths and breaths of the university universe forprograms per individual department who waive GRE for special cases. Instead, we will leave this humongous task on you, since you naturally have your field and potential universities already zeroed in, for a more extensive research.
What is the difference between GRE Waiver and GRE Fee Waiver?
Finally, our discussion above pertains to doing away with the GRE score for application. It should not be confused by yet another form of GRE concession – GRE Fee Waiver or Reduction. The latter serves to reduce the financial burden of appearing for the GRE exam. Here are the conditions, in brief, that may make you eligible to request a GRE Fee Reduction.
This is applicable only to US citizens and resident aliens.
To apply for the GRE Fee Reduction,
For further information, you are advised to refer to the ETS website for GRE Fee Reduction Program.
That covers some of basic bits about GRE Waivers. You are strongly recommended to explore the programs, within your interest, for such an exception. If in doubt, you should enquire at the graduate admissions for clear instructions.
Meanwhile, here are a few related links to keep you busy.
Also read TOEFL IELTS Waiver for the top universities abroad
Sources: 1, 2