Ph.D. in USA Without GRE – Top 10 Colleges Providing Ph.D. Programs Without GRE

Rachit Agrawal
Modified on 2017-12-25 in GRE
Read time: 8 mins
Source: Ijeoma Kola

Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D. as it is better known is the highest academic degree awarded by any university. Any candidate who holds a Ph.D. is automatically assumed to be highly capable. This is because they often include years of intensive research and presentation in order to get the degree itself.

A Ph.D. holder is understood as someone with impeccable theoretical and analytical abilities, which are key requirements any employer is looking for while hiring potential employees. Those with such advanced degrees are often viewed as potential professionals ready to take on challenges in any given situation.

List of US Universities Without GRE for Ph.D. in 2020


1. Purdue University (For Ph.D. in Chemistry)

Purdue University offers a Ph.D. in Chemistry, for all those who wish to engage in theoretical concepts further. The purpose of their advanced course work is to build on the foundation that is gained in the undergraduate study to give additional depth in specialty areas of interest to individual students as per their interests.

They also don’t require GRE scores for the same.

2. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (For Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology)

The science of the mind, helps us navigates through this not so easy journey of life and its many nuances. This is what Clinical Psychiatrists are trained to discover. The Ph.D. program offered by Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine offers students the ability to deal with situations in the field, using a hands-on approach and experiential learning.

3. MIT (For Ph.D. In Media Arts and Science)

The media is an ever-expanding field that is evolving slowly along with the advent of technology while it makes its way through of being the aware eyes and mind of the public. The MIT Media Lab offers students who hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Media, to acquire a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences. The course equips students with the ability to tailor content in relation to the medium on which it is produced, thus allowing students to set their own pace as per their learning requirement/demands of the medium they are studying.

4. Oregon State University (For Ph.D. In Physics)

This degree offered by Oregon State University, allows students to choose from a wide range of electives and explore among a multitude of options to fix their field of study. It also includes studying developed theories to paint a wholesome picture of the subjects taken up.

5.University of Wisconsin (For Ph.D. In Philosophy)

For those who have an interest in understanding how human society and consciousness operates in the modern realm, the University of Wisconsin offers a Ph.D. program in Philosophy that paves the way for this enhances knowledge, providing guidance to ask what intelligent questions to ask.

For this, you may not need the GRE, but you certainly do need to get good scores on the IELTS.

6. University of Idaho (For Ph.D. In Civil Engineering)

The dynamic nature of the discipline of engineering, demands more from those who operate within its sphere and that is exactly what the Ph.D. program offered by the University of Idaho prepares students to venture out into the field of Civil Engineering. The degree gives these students the ability, to question and innovate, well beyond their original competency by exploiting their potential to the maximum.

7. Oregon University (For Ph.D. In Counselling)

In a world that is finally not scared of giving all the due attention to mental health and the problems associated with it, the current society definitely requires individuals who are professionally ready to handle this mental revolution and can uplift the spirits of people in need.

The Ph.D. program for Counselling, offered by Oregon University, gives their students this ability to work under any situations and circumstances, making them the best in their field.

8. Northwestern University (For Ph.D. In History)

Understanding that History is an interpretative discipline, Northwestern University, offers potential students the chance to undertake a Ph.D. program in History. This allows them to explore and define history in their own terms instead of letting it limit their world views.

9. Washington State University (For Ph.D. In Biological and Agricultural Engineering)

There is a growing need to know more about agriculture, sustainable agriculture and other similar avenues, realizing this, the Washington State University offers interested candidates the opportunity to apply for a Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. GRE need not be completed/taken up to enroll for this degree.

10. MIT (For Ph.D. In Linguistics)

Every language has its own charm, a world of literature within itself which engages so many students across the globe. MIT offers interested students a chance to explore the universe of Linguistics, through their Ph.D. program.

While students applying to the program are not required to give the GRE, they are expected to provide writing samples and other relevant material, during the application process for them to be able to judge the competency and enthusiasm of the potential students.

How To Do Ph.D. Without GRE?

These conditions can help in waving off the GRE scores for the candidates:

1. Undergraduate GPA Cut-off

Meeting certain undergraduate GPA requirements often leads to some schools waiving off the GRE score requirement. Like at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the GRE is waived for all master’s degree applicants (except in Architecture) with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale. This is also a common requirement/threshold for these types of policies.

2. Other Graduate Degree

You may also find that many programs are willing to waive off the GRE score requirement if you already hold a graduate degree. This will add significant credibility for them, and thus they may accommodate your application without a GRE score.

3. Professional Experience

Applicants with relevant work experience can also get the GRE score requirement waivered depending on the schools’ policies. Generally, 5 years is a standard when it comes to such work experience expected but do a search around and check if more years of work experience is asked for the program or school you are applying to.

Graduate Program Without GRE Scores Required

While most colleges and programs require GRE, there are certain types or categories of programs that do not need a GRE score, and they have been described as follows-

1. MFA Programs

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs are advanced degrees for those involved in the creative pursuits—music, film, theatre, creative writing, painting, fine arts, etc. Since it is a creative and expressive field of study, your portfolio and auditions speak louder than your GRE score and are a better judge of your talent and capabilities. Thus MFA programs usually either waive off the requirement of GRE scores or make it evident that they are not too important.

2. Executive Programs

These programs are designed to expand specific professional skills, making the work experience more pertinent than test scores. Institutes recognize the fact that people with well-established careers will find these programs more attractive if they will not be required to waste their time taking GRE tests, so they usually do not keep that as a criterion.

However, the catch is that you more often than not need to have a certain amount of work experience (generally 5+ years) to apply.

3. Online Master’s Programs

Another area of study where you may find quite a few master’s programs without GRE score requirements is online platforms. Students getting their master’s degrees online don’t have to be fed, housed, placed in classrooms, etc.

Thus, it clearly doesn’t take as many resources to accommodate them as it does for full time or part-time on-campus students. This means online programs can afford to take more students and hence don’t necessarily need to be as rigorously selective in admissions which gives way to not requiring or being particular about the requirement of a GRE score.


Should you Apply to Programs with No GRE Required?

Ans. Non-GRE options may be considered to be less prestigious in comparison to programs requiring GRE; however, the point of importance here is to consider your reasons for applying.

If your choice of a program just happens not to require GRE then that is great, but if it is a simple lack of wanting to put in effort on your part and avoiding GRE, then you may want to reconsider your options and future profile.

If a low score is what is making you look into such options, then please realize that it is not the most important thing for your candidature and can also be taken again with better preparation.

Will Not Sending Optional GRE Scores Hurt Your Chances?

Ans. If a GRE score is optional, then it is probably not super important or necessary in their evaluation of your application so it should not hurt your chances. However, sending in a good GRE score can always tilt the decision in your favor like an added advantage, so it’s more of a no harm- gain situation.

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About the Author

Rachit AgrawalRachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.

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