The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) standardized test is commonly an admissions requirement for most graduate programs in the US. However, some programs do not require applicants to sit for the GRE or can waive the GRE requirement in certain circumstances. An overview of these types of programs is provided below.
Graduate Degrees in Chemistry Not Requiring the GRE
Master of Science Programs
There are a few colleges around the country offering Master of Science (MS) programs in chemistry that do not require applicants to take the GRE. Some programs include concentrations in biochemistry, clinical chemistry, and pharmaceutical biochemistry. Typical programs usually include courses that equip students with advanced knowledge and skills in the synthesis, separation, and analysis of molecules, and develop students' independent research skills. Course topics can include synthetic chemistry, chemistry research methods, spectroscopy, protein biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and applied chemistry. Typically master's programs like these can be completed in two years, requiring students to complete from 18-30 semester hours of graduate credit. A master's thesis including 6-8 semester hours of original research may also be a requirement, and this thesis must be defended by way of an oral examination at the end of the program.
A couple of chemistry departments also offer PhD programs that do not require the GRE. Students enrolled in these PhD programs must complete around 18-20 hours of graduate courses focused on subject areas such as analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic/organic chemistry, materials, and physical chemistry. The rest of the program is usually made up of research hours, and programs can total up to 90 total credits. The amount of research hours can depend on whether the student entered the program with a bachelor's degree or master's degree. The submission of a dissertation is required, and the defense generally comprises two parts. There is a public presentation of the student's research, and then an oral examination by an examination/graduate committee.
Program Admittance Requirements
While the GRE may not be needed for programs as describe above, students will usually need a bachelor's degree in chemistry or similar subject and have an overall GPA between 2.5 and 3.0, depending on the program. Typically, 2-3 letters of recommendation must also be submitted with the application along with a personal statement that convincingly outlines the student's motivation and suitability for the program. In some instances, a school may generally require a GRE but can waive this if the applicant has earned a previous master's degree from a US university or has taken the Medical College Admissions Test. Schools may also waive the GRE if the applicant has completed a bachelor's degree in chemistry or biochemistry from the same university within the last five years with an overall minimum GPA of 3.3.
Though limited, options for graduate study in chemistry are available for prospective students who do not wish to take the GRE or who are worried about their GRE scores. Both MS and PhD programs in chemistry are available for students who fit this description.