COVID actually sucks. One bright spot is that a growing number of graduate programs are dropping the GRE requirement. Some are dropping for now due to COVID-19 restrictions, but will re-evaluate later. For others the move is permanent. Here's the link to a dynamic, crowd-sourced master list of the declared GRE requirement for programs in several different STEM specialties, created by Megan Lynch (@may_gun), a grad student in horticulture at UC Davis.
The Master List
You'll see that Megan's master list is a list of lists prepared by her and by other field-specific curators.
- astronomy/physics (James Guillochon @astrocrash)
- chemistry (Olivia H. Wilkins @LivWithoutLimit & Ashley Lindalía @That_Astro_Chic)
- bio/biomed (Joshua Hall @jdhallphd)
- geology/geography (Sarah Ledford @SLedford_)
- math 1 (Hanna Bennett @Cayleygrapher)
- math 2 (Emily T. Winn @EmilyTWinn13)
- neuroscience/cognitive psychology (Pınar Toptaş @pinartoptas)
- plant-associated majors (Megan Lynch @may_gun)
- psychology (clinical/counseling, Karen Tang @KarenTang_ &
Aradhana Srinagesh @arasrinagesh)
- public health (Jess A. Millar @JAMicrobe)
A big tip of the hat for their curation efforts! Trust me, wrangling information from a bunch of grad programs is not easy. Be sure to give each a follow for updates.
Careful. These lists also show some programs as still requiring the GRE. And some of these could change without the curators knowing.
This is an extremely fluid situation.
The lists are updated in real time. Check back later and they are sure to have additions and corrections.
From what I'm hearing it sounds like the GRE is a key topic in the first faculty meetings of the academic year. These decisions can take time. The information can be slow to get out.
A lot of programs are missing.
In total there are over 50,000 graduate programs in the US alone.
These lists seem biased to social media-aware programs, because that's where word of these lists is being spread. Graduate programs that are effectively unplugged from social media may have dropped the GRE but don't have a good way to broadcast that decision.
There may also be some missed connections. For example, you'll find a lot of neuroscience programs in the bio/biomed list that might not be on the neuroscience/cognitive psychology list. Look for other types of earth science programs dropping the GRE (eg, oceanography) that should find their way onto the geology list.
Always check with programs
You obviously don't want to take the GRE if you don't have to. But if you want to go to a program that still requires the GRE you don't want to miss the test, either.
Just use these lists as a starting point, and plan on confirming the information.
Before deciding to take the GRE or not, we recommend you create a list of programs you are thinking about applying to and then contact those programs directly to find out their GRE status.
Every grad program is going to have a different way of dealing with this. That's just the grad school landscape.
Why is the GRE going away?
There are two big reasons.
Diversity. Equity. Inclusion.
Sarah Ledford and colleagues have written recently about this from the perspective of the earth sciences, but their thoughts are widely applicable across the entire advanced degree spectrum. This is the main reason why so many bio/biomed programs are dropping the GRE. In part, this is a sign of social awareness and growth in programs. In part, this is because the research funding that programs receive for graduate student training is increasingly coupled to their commitment to growing diverse and inclusive cohorts.
The other big reason is COVID-19, which has made it difficult for many people to feel they can take the GRE safely.
As you can see from the lists, the idea of dropping the GRE is catching on more in some fields compared to others. This mostly started in the bio/biomed world a few years ago but has really grown this past year or two. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be accelerating the discussions program faculty have been avoiding.