Posted on October 7, 2019

Grad School Without the GRE

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, October 7, 2019

Brown University announced Friday that entrance to 24 of its graduate programs will no longer require the Graduate Record Examination.

Brown’s move follows a similar move by Princeton University, which last month announced that 14 of its departments have dropped the GRE as a requirement. For some time, individual departments have dropped the GRE at other universities, but Princeton and Brown surveyed their departments, allowing them to vote on the issue, resulting in more programs going that way.

The Educational Testing Service, which runs the GRE, opposes the move, but there may be more such decisions ahead.

Opponents of standardized tests object to the GRE for many of the same reasons that they are against the SAT and ACT: tests are expensive and on average white people and Asian Americans do better than black and Latino test takers do. But critics also have another advantage: the small size of doctoral programs means that admissions decisions must be made on a personal basis. But diversity tends to be the primary argument.


The departments at Brown that are dropping the GRE include humanities fields (English, French studies, German studies), but also the sciences (biotechnology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, computer science). A similar split was evident at Princeton.

Where universities have not taken action on the GRE, individual departments have. {snip}