Question: Are There Online Master’s in Finance Programs That Do Not Require GMAT Scores or That Offer a GMAT Waiver?

Answer: Yes, there are online master’s in finance programs that do not require applicants to submit GMAT test scores, and there are also programs that accept scores from either the GMAT or the GRE, while others prefer or require the GMAT. Programs that require the submission of standardized test scores may also allow an applicant to waive this requirement if he or she has a year or more of professional experience in the field of finance, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, or an advanced degree in another field.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

The GMAT is a four-part, three-and-a-half hour standardized test used measure analytical writing, integrated reasoning, verbal, and quantitative skills. It was developed in 1953 by and specifically for businesses schools as a means of assessing applicants to MBA programs and other graduate degree programs, including master’s in finance programs. However, the GMAT is just one of many factors used by admissions boards in the application process, and there are many schools that do not require the submission of GMAT scores or that will waive the GMAT requirement for qualified applicants to a master’s in finance program.

GMAT vs. GRE

It is important to note that admissions requirements for online master’s in finance programs vary by program. For example, some programs will accept GRE test scores in lieu of the GMAT. The GRE, or GRE General Test, is a six-part standardized test that takes approximately three hours and forty-five minutes to complete. It is designed to assess verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. In contrast to the GMAT, which is designed specifically for business program admissions, the GRE General Test is used by a wide range of graduate programs across a broad array of disciplines.

Admissions to Online Master’s in Finance Programs

There are an increasingly large number of business programs that do not require the GMAT or the GRE for admissions, including master’s in finance programs. These programs have a number of other factors they may weigh during the admissions process, including:

  • An applicant’s undergraduate transcripts and cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  • An applicant’s prior work experience, particularly in the field of finance
  • Relevant professional credentials, such as a CPA or a CFA
  • Two or three letters of recommendation from professors, instructors, and/or mentors
  • A written personal goals statement
  • Answers to one or more essay questions
  • A short video-conference interview

GMAT Waiver Policies

Some master’s in finance programs that require the GMAT will waive this requirement for applicants who meet certain qualifications. Typically, applicants who have one or more years of professional experience in finance or a related field, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, or a graduate degree in another field may be granted a GMAT waiver. Applicants who believe they may qualify for a GMAT waiver should check with a program administrator to determine the proper process for submitting an application without GMAT test scores.

Note: For programs that offer GMAT waivers, students must often still apply for the waiver and wait to see if it is granted. If the waiver is not granted, students will have to take the GMAT in order to be considered for admission.

Online Master’s in Finance Program GMAT Policies

The following three examples provide a representative overview of online master’s in finance programs that have different policies regarding the GMAT. It is important to note that admissions committees and program directors may change admissions criteria and admissions policies. Potential applicants should examine admissions requirements carefully prior to submitting an application.

No GMAT Requirement: Southern New Hampshire University’s online Master of Science in Finance program is an example of a program that does not require applicants to submit scores from the GMAT or any other standardize test. The program relies on transcripts from a candidate’s undergraduate program as its primary admissions criteria.

GMAT Waiver Policy: Northeastern University’s online Master of Science in Finance program requires applicants to submit undergraduate transcripts, GMAT scores, two letters of recommendation, an application essay, and a résumé. However, applicants who are currently employed and who have five years of documented professional experience in finance can apply for a GMAT waiver.

GMAT or GRE Accepted: Georgetown University’s online Master of Science in Finance program requires applicants to submit scores from either the GMAT or the GRE. In addition to GMAT/GRE test scores and undergraduate transcripts, applicants must supply two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a résumé. The admissions committee also conducts short videoconference interviews with applicants to the program.


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