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Duke Graduate School waives GRE for most programs in 2023 application cycle

<p>The offices of the Graduate School now occupy what used to be House 2 for faculty.&nbsp;</p>

The offices of the Graduate School now occupy what used to be House 2 for faculty. 

Duke’s Graduate School will not require the Graduate Record Examinations to apply to most programs for the 2023 application cycle, continuing GRE-optional admissions first set three years ago. 

During the pandemic in 2020, many of Duke’s graduate programs switched to GRE-optional admissions, but only on a temporary basis. The GRE continued to be optional for most graduate programs for the 2021 and 2022 school years. 

Now, more than 50 programs in the Graduate School offer either temporary or permanent GRE-optional admissions. John Zhu, senior director of communications for the Graduate School, describes this as an indication that faculty and administration are “on board with adopting more holistic practices.” 

During the pandemic, some programs expressed an interest in switching to permanent GRE-optional admissions due to equity considerations.

“The GRE is an expensive test to sign up for,” said Benjamin Smith, a first-year graduate student in the graduate liberal studies program. “I remember looking at schools I was going to apply to, checking to see if the GRE was waived or not.”

According to the Educational Testing Service, which owns and administers the test, the GRE costs $205, but is slightly more expensive in China and India. Other factors that can increase this price are choosing to reschedule one’s test date, changing testing centers and requesting additional score reports, per the ETS website.

The Graduate School developed a process to help guide some programs into making the switch from GRE-optional to a permanent elimination of the GRE score requirement, according to Zhu. 

"Just because you don’t have a GRE requirement anymore, it doesn’t mean you don’t have bias in your process,” Zhu said.

A student’s GPA, their prior research experience and recommendations are all factors that could potentially introduce some sort of bias, Zhu said. 

The Graduate School is working to ensure their programs adopt a more holistic admission review process when it comes to making the GRE-optional policy permanent, per Zhu.

“I think that the decision to waive the GRE requirement is not only going to benefit applicants, but also the University,” wrote Lizzie Lagarde, a first-year graduate student in the graduate liberal studies program, in an email.

Lagarde added that because Duke is waiving the GRE requirement, “applicants will have more time to focus on the specifics of their application and not just test scores.”


Kerria Weaver | Kerria Weaver

Kerria Weaver is a first-year master’s student in the Graduate Liberal Studies program and a staff reporter of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.

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