Princeton eliminates GRE test requirement for 14 graduate programs

Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019
by Emily Aronson, Office of Communications

Fourteen Princeton University departments will no longer require the GRE test for graduate admission. Princeton is among other universities across the country that have eliminated the standardized test requirement for graduate study. 

The decision to make the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) optional is among Princeton’s efforts to attract and enroll a wider range of graduate students. Students entering Princeton this fall are among the most diverse at the Graduate School. Of the incoming graduate students from the United States, 43% are minorities and 28% identify as low-income and/or first-generation college students. 

“The continued excellence of graduate education at Princeton depends crucially on our ability to attract talented students from all backgrounds and identities,” said Dean of the Graduate School Sarah-Jane Leslie, the Class of 1943 Professor of Philosophy. “I’m delighted that our programs may now decide for themselves whether to require GRE scores from their applicants, and I’m excited that the faculty of 14 of our programs have decided that their applicant pools may be richer and deeper without this requirement.”

Applications for master’s and doctoral programs starting in fall 2020 are now available on the Graduate School website. The following academic departments will not require a GRE test, making it optional for graduate applicants.  

  • Art and Archaeology
  • Classics
  • Comparative Literature
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • English
  • French and Italian
  • Geosciences
  • Molecular Biology
  • Music Composition 
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Spanish and Portuguese 

Renita Miller, associate dean for access, diversity and inclusion for the Graduate School, said Princeton wants to make it easier for students from all backgrounds to apply for graduate study.

“We believe that demographic and intellectual diversity drives innovative research and discovery, it expands our capacity for teaching and learning, and it equips us for lives of leadership in an increasingly pluralistic society,” Miller said. “To achieve our academic mission requires Princeton to identify, attract and develop the most promising individuals from as many segments of society as possible.”

Miller said diversifying graduate students is also key to diversifying the faculty pipeline, as many of those students who earn Ph.D.s from Princeton and other selective universities will become professors at higher education institutions around the world.

“Universities like Princeton have done a good job at expanding and diversifying their undergraduate populations,” she said. “If we want to make similar strides on the graduate level, we must find new ways to recruit and enroll graduate students who may be the first in their families to attend college, and from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds.”