PhD Programs That Don't Require GRE

phd no gre Today, it’s easy to earn the highest degree in your field without having to take the GRE exam, with more PhD no GRE programs appearing every year.

PhD Without GRE

This increase comes from the fact that modern PhD programs that don’t require GRE scores might admit students on the merit of their work experience. That’s great news if you have been out of school and on-the-job.

Both online and traditional universities offer PhD No GRE programs. Here is a list of 19 of our partner grad schools that don’t require GRE scores for their doctoral programs. Lists are organic, so use this one as a guideline. These partner universities may have several PhD programs without GRE or GMAT requirements and might inspire you to apply soon.

written by Rana Waxman

  1. Walden University
  2. A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
  3. Purdue University Global
  4. Sacred Heart University
  5. St. John’s University
  6. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TSCPP)
  7. Duquesne University
  8. California Southern University (CalSouthern)
  9. Lynn University
  10. Northcentral University (NCU)
  11. Uniformed Services University
  12. Colorado Technical University (CTU)
  13. South University
  14. Saint Leo University
  15. Nova Southeastern University (NSU)
  16. Westcliff University
  17. Liberty University
  18. Argosy University

These grad schools may have many options for doctoral degrees that don’t require the GRE, including fields such as:

  • Education
  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Psychology

Plus, because the PhD is focused on developing you as an expert in a specific field, there are many subfields or concentrations available. This includes an Early Childhood Education PhD or an Industrial / Organizational PhD.

Online No GRE PhD Programs

A PhD is the academic equivalent of a marathon, with a broad array of courses that focus on research methods and analytic writing, and usually include regular meetings with mentors to discuss progress on your thesis.

An online PhD program typically allows at-work students to complete their courses on their own schedule. This takes away the hassle of relocation or the sacrifice to career and life’s other responsibilities. A no GRE PhD program offers fewer barriers to impede the finish line.

Many of the schools listed above offer online no GRE PhD programs. Sometimes there are built-in residencies, but these are usually pre-scheduled and brief. They typically add an element of interaction between students and faculty.

PhD Programs That Don't Require GRE

Whether a PhD program requires the GRE (or GMAT) depends on the university, the discipline, and the specific department. Below are a few examples of PHD no GRE programs in different areas of study.

However, application requirements are always changing, so be sure to check out each school’s requirements before applying.

No GRE Business PhD Programs

Business PhD programs encompass the executive-focused Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and classic scholarly research-based PhD. Each of these terminal degrees could be earned in highly focused fields such as:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Healthcare management
  • Accounting

Check out sponsored PhD Programs with no GRE below.

  1. The Walden University Self-Designed Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree online is built for experienced professionals who want a deeper point of view and to stay current with modern applied managerial theories. Walden offers a variety of DBA concentrations, including International Business and Global Supply Chain Management.
  2. Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an online PhD in Organizational Leadership with no GRE. Participants analyze research in strategic management as they analyze and assess complex problems in organizations to study how new paradigms that apply creative solutions and positive organizational change
  3. Colorado Technical University offers an online Doctor of Management (DM) in Project Management and a DM in Higher Education Teaching and Learning. Coursework includes examining how to think, act, and lead with integrity, strategize and use solid decision skills in these and other concentrations.
  4. California Southern University offers a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) designed to provide working professionals advanced business knowledge and practical skills needed by senior leadership in today’s complex, global economy.

No GRE PhD in Counseling/Psychology Programs

Some professionals in psychology and counseling are interested in careers in research and academia, but many just want to help people directly. When presented with options, the PhD is the degree usually associated with research, whereas ‘Doctor of’ usually connotes a practice-focused doctorate. Check out sponsored programs below that don't require GRE.

List of No GRE PhD in Counseling, Psychology, and Social Work Programs

  1. Applicants to Smith College’s PhD in Social Work program don’t need the GRE though you are required to have some post-Masters professional experience. Coursework analyzes how to refine leadership skills as you work to develop new insights about clinical social work practice.
  2. Cal Southern’s School of Behavioral Sciences offers a PsyD degree with no GRE requirements. Students complete a doctoral project after taking a range of courses such as advanced theories in personality theory and psych-pharmacology. Upon earning your degree, graduates may be ready to pursue licensure as a clinical psychologist is the state of California.
  3. At Argosy University there is an APA-accredited PsyD in Clinical Psychology that involves supervised out-of-class contact with a clinical population in the Los Angeles area. The school offers concentrations in Child & Adolescent Psychology and Forensic Psychology.
  4. For those whose preference is testing hypotheses, Walden University offers an online PhD in Clinical Psychology in addition to a variety of concentrations you can choose from in line with career goals. One example is their PhD in Health Psychology which combines courses in research methods with topics like bio-psychology and psychoneuroimmunology (PNI).
  5. Nova Southeastern University’s PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy is accredited by Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). It covers courses in lifespan, family systems theories, and counseling techniques for groups and individuals. There is also a teaching practicum and clinical practice on top of plenty of research.

No GRE PhD in Criminal Justice Programs

PhD in Criminal Justice programs meld managerial theories with an in-depth look at crime causation, law enforcement, juvenile justice, and beyond. Check out sponsored programs below that don't require GRE.

List of PhD in Criminal Justice Programs with No GRE

  1. Saint Leo University offers an online Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ) in Homeland Security where students analyze techniques to fine tune their ability to think and lead strategically. In addition, the school offers an educational track for aspiring teacher-leaders.
  2. Northcentral University’s online DCJ in White Collar Crime aims to teach students how to identify and expose white collar economic crimes. Curriculum is designed to expose students to fraud examination techniques, prosecuting and sentencing, and to advanced accounting and forensic accounting theories and practices.
  3. Colorado Technical University offers an online Doctor of Management (DM) in Homeland Security which highlights managerial leadership, strategy and decision skills. Students could refine their expertise in tactical analysis and thinking as it relates to homeland security and policy leadership. CTU also offers a DM in Criminal Justice.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs with No GRE

An alternative to the research-focused PhD in Nursing is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP),

which aims to ready nurses as systems-level thinkers and leaders who are able to navigate key issues.

Patient safety, public health, health policy, performance improvement, and quality of care are some of these critical concerns. DNP students could also learn how to integrate nursing science with organizational leadership and ethics.

Instead of the GRE, applicants may need a masters degree with an advanced nursing practice and current U.S. RN license and certification in an advanced nursing practice role, if applicable. Many schools also perform background checks as part of the application process. Check out sponsored programs below that don't require GRE.

List of No GRE DNP Programs

Many nursing graduate schools have DNP programs – in fact these come in online, campus and sometimes blended (hybrid) formats. Accredited DNP programs may be approved by an agency such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Below is a list of 3 grad schools which offer DNP programs but don’t ask for GRE scores.

  1. Georgetown University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed to prepare registered nurses (RNs) as health care leaders with a holistic understanding of health.
  2. Andrews University offers three tracks for their DNP bridge programs, which allows students with an RN license but only an undergraduate degree to pursue a DNP. These programs include the BSN – DNP, MSN – DNP, and APRN – DNP tracks.
  3. Sacred Heart University offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) designed to prepare you to transform practice, lead and engage in practical, clinically focused scholarship and research.

What Is a GRE Waiver for PhD Programs?

A GRE waiver is like a pass – it often trades in test scores for professional work experience to help determine how ready a candidate is for the academic rigors of a PhD.

GRE scores expire in five years from the time you take the test. So, if you took it some years ago, you may not want the added hurdle of a retake. Your years of hands-on practice – especially in the same field as the PhD - may be sufficient for a school to consider you for admission.

Applicants who require a waiver of the GRE generally need to consult the appropriate departmental Graduate Program Director to review specific program and university criteria. Check out sponsored programs below that don't require GRE.

PhD Programs That May Waive the GRE

Partner school Temple University may waive the GRE for eligible doctoral students. To earn their degree, those who enter with a Master’s degree typically need to complete 15 credits of PhD-level core coursework and 15 credits of PhD exams and dissertation research, for a total of 30 credits.

Some of the available PhD programs with GRE waivers at Temple include:

  • PhD in Bioengineering: students conduct research at the crossroads of translational medicine and engineering. Innovate and explore areas such as neuro-engineering, stem and cancer cell engineering, tissue regeneration and more.
  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering: students examine manufacturing mechanical systems, such as car airbag sensors or electric propulsion systems for space travel. Areas of potential research include material science, mechanics and robotics.

Tip for Applying

Review application requirements! You might find what you are looking for – a PhD with no GRE requirement – via a waiver.

4 Reasons to Consider PhD Without GRE Programs

Finding a no GRE PhD program may be well worth the search for a lot of students. Here are four reasons to factor into your decision process.

#1 - The GRE’s Predictive Powers Are Limited

In recent years, the GRE has lost some of its control over the admissions process. In part, researchers have found the scores don’t predict how a student might fare as the program progresses because it wasn’t measure things such as finely-tuned instincts or how well a student collaborates with a lab partner. i

#2 - Accredited Universities Offer PhD Programs No GRE Required

It’s a fair question to wonder whether grad schools with PhD No GRE programs are accredited or set lower standards than those who ask for GRE test scores. You may want to do some digging – compare programs, find out what alumni report, and verify success rates.

Also, regional and professional accreditors require the school to undergo a periodic review, so they usually maintain a data base with this information.

#3 – Universities Use Other Admissions Requirements

Universities that offer PhD programs without GRE requirements might use alternative proof of thinking measures used to weed out applicants. Here are a few sample documents that applicants may need to tack onto a completed form and deposit.

  • Masters or first professional degree (from a regionally accredited college/university)
  • Minimum overall GPA – set by university
  • Current letters of recommendation (3 - 5)
  • Goals (why and how this specific PhD program lines up with your goals)
  • Professional Resume
  • Lab/term paper, writing sample – where applicable
  • Personal or skype interview with faculty
  • English proficiency
  • Certification and/or licensure (e.g. teacher license, RN etc.)

Tip for Applying

Contact an admissions advisor directly to ask questions about your situation and to apply to those programs that interest you. Usually, schools offer online chats, email, and phone numbers to make it as easy as possible for you.

#4 - A Masters Degree Might Suffice

Several PhD programs across the sciences, arts, and engineering require GRE scores of applicants with a bachelor’s degree or for those who did not complete a research thesis for their masters degree.

The GRE tests knowledge of math, critical thinking, and literacy, as well as an ability to reason. While these are viewed as skills that could indicate whether a student has the aptitude for analysis necessary in a PhD program, persons with a master’s degree and professional experience may be able to show they have these skills without need for GRE scores.

As an example, the University of Fairfax requires applicants to the Doctorate of Information Assurance (DIA) program to have Masters and five years of relevant experience.


Per the American Psychology Association (APA), GRE scores are less reliable when it comes to predicting whether a student will eventually complete a psychology program.i

List of PhD Programs Programs That Don't Require GRE

GRE Requirements Sample PhD Programs Offered
Walden University No Gre Required for Many Programs PhD in Education, DNP, Phd in Public Health
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences No GRE Required for Some Programs Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Health Sciences
Purdue University Global No GRE Required Doctor of Nursing Practice
Sacred Heart University No GRE Required for Some Programs PhD in Leadership in Health Care, DBA
St John's University No GRE Required for Some Programs Phd Clinical Psychology, Doctor of Professional Studies, Homeland Security
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology GRE only required for 3 PsyD Programs PhD Organizational Leadership
Duquesne University No GRE Required for Some Programs Special Education PhD, Rehabilitation Science PhD
California Southern University GRE Requirements Vary by Department DBA, PhD in Psychology
Lynn University No GRE Required Doctor of Education, Ed.D.
Northcentral University No GRE Required PhD in Psychology, PhD in Health Adminstration
Colorado Technical University No GRE Required Phd in Management, PhD in Cybersecurity
South University No Minimum GRE Score Required Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Physical Therapy
Nova Southeastern University No GRE Required PhD in Information Systems, Phd in Education
Westcliff University No GRE Required Doctor of Business Administration
Liberty University No GRE Required Doctor of Strategic Leadership, PhD in Higher Education
Argosy University No GRE Required PhD in Organization Leadership, PhD in Teaching and Learning

Search for Graduate Schools with PhD No GRE Programs

Click any of the links on this page to explore the spectrum of PhD no GRE programs. Use the form we provide to contact schools directly. You could be one step away from the perfect PhD for you – GRE free!

Or, continue reading about grad schools with no GRE requirements and other graduate schools that accept low GRE scores.


written by Rana Waxman

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