The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is the most common standardized test used for entry to graduate programs in the United States. PhD programs usually require that students take it within at least five years of applying. Some students would rather not take the GRE, however. It is an added expense, requires added study time, and some believe that it is not a good predictor of scholastic success and that it may have issues with cultural bias.
Fortunately, the GRE is not completely necessary to get into a PhD program. The following are just some of the available options for students who would prefer to avoid the GRE.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
A number of DBA programs are available that do not require a GRE score as part of the application. The DBA is a little different from most doctoral programs in that it continues to focus on theoretical and practical application of management techniques rather than switching to a focus on academic research. Those looking for a career outside of academia may find this to be a more useful approach, however. DBA programs are also available on a part-time basis, while most PhD programs require full-time attendance. Expect these programs to take about three to five years to complete.
Admission requirements vary, but students should expect that most DBA programs will require a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration or at least a closely related field such as finance. Some programs do not require a GRE score at all. Others will waive the GRE requirement if your prior coursework GPA is high enough (usually 2.8 to 3.0). Some will also allow you to take the GMAT in place of the GRE, an admissions test that is more specific to management studies.
PhD in Business Management
The PhD in business management differs from the DBA in that it focuses on academic research in the field of management. Business managers who want to make the transition to teaching or who want to do original research in the field are best suited to this degree.
In addition to requiring a bachelor's degree in business at minimum, students should also expect these programs to require some sort of standardized test score to get in. However, the GMAT is widely accepted in place of the GRE.
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PhD in Anthropology
It is possible to obtain a PhD in anthropology without taking the GRE. Students at this level generally select fields of anthropology to specialize in and take most of their courses in those areas. These programs usually conclude with a dissertation that includes a prospectus and an oral examination.
Students should expect to have at least some sort of a master's degree under their belt to be accepted to these programs. A master's in anthropology naturally gives students the best chance of acceptance, but some programs will consider other fields. A master's from a social science field is more likely to be accepted than other disciplines.
PhD in Civil Engineering
Though you might think all engineering programs require a GRE score, there are some that don't. Civil engineering is primarily focused on infrastructure and transportation networks; PhD students will be doing original research into developing new methods in these areas.
Students need at least a bachelor's degree to qualify for these programs. The degree must be from an accredited institution, but the specific discipline may not be important. A minimum GPA of 3.0 may also required, but this can potentially be waived if you have worked in an engineering field for at least five years, submit a personal statement outlining your professional experience and get the endorsement of a faculty member in the department.
These are just some of the available possibilities for those who seek a PhD but are set against taking the GRE. It can take a little hunting around, but quite a few disciplines have at least one or two PhD program options that don't require the GRE.