Question: Are There Online Master’s Degree Programs That Do Not Require the GMAT for Admission?

Answer: Yes, there are online master’s degree programs that do not require applicants to submit scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The GMAT is typically used to assess the academic preparedness of applicants to graduate programs in business and management fields. However, the GMAT is only one of several metrics that selective admissions boards may utilize in the admissions process. While some online master’s programs require applicants to submit GMAT scores, others may rely on a candidate’s undergraduate grade point average (GPA), one or more letters recommendation, a personal goals statement, written answers to one or more essay questions, and/or professional work experience in lieu of requiring GMAT scores. There are also some online master’s programs that will accept scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) instead of the GMAT. And some online master’s programs that require the GMAT may offer GMAT waivers to applicants who hold an advanced degree in another field, have worked for several years in a relevant profession, and/or who have a high undergraduate GPA (usually between 3.0 and 3.5 or higher, depending on the program).

What Is the GMAT Exam?

The GMAT is a standardized, computer adaptive test created and administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), an independent, non-profit consortium of business schools based in Reston, VA. The first version of the exam was created in the 1950s by a small association of business schools as a tool to assist admissions boards in the selection of qualified applicants to graduate programs in business and management. In the years that followed, the GMAT underwent several transformations in format and became one of the standard tools for evaluating candidates to Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs and other graduate programs offered by schools of business and management.

In its current form, the GMAT consists of four discrete sections designed to measure specific skills. Test takers are given 30 minutes to complete an Analytical Writing Assessment section, which is designed to measure a person’s ability to analyze an argument and present that analysis in writing. The GMAT also includes a 31-question Quantitative section, which tests math skills, and a 36-question Verbal section, which tests reading comprehension and critical reasoning abilities, as well knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are allotted 62 minutes and 65 minutes respectively. The Integrated Reasoning section is the most recent addition to the exam. It was introduced in 2012 and consists of 12 questions designed to measure the test taker’s ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats, including graphics, text, and numbers. The GMAT allots 30 minutes for the Integrated Reasoning section, and the entire exam takes three hours and seven minutes to complete.

The GMAT is scored in several ways. Test takers receive a total score between 200 and 800 based on results form the Verbal and Quantitative sections, which are separately graded on 60-point scale. The GMAT cumulative score of between 200 and 800 points is a scaled value with one-third of test takers scoring between 400 and 600 points. The Integrated Reasoning section score is calculated separately and assigned a value from one to eight. The Analytical Writing section is scored in half-point intervals from zero to six. The median GMAT score based on data reported by GMAC is slightly above 550, based on scores of roughly 40 points in the Quantitative section and just under 30 points in the Verbal Section. Average scores on the Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning sections are roughly 4.5 points and 4 points respectively.

Admissions Criteria for Online Master’s Programs

Traditionally, the GMAT has been utilized to assess the academic readiness of applicants to graduate programs offered by schools of business and management. This includes master’s programs in business administration, management, accounting, finance, marketing, and other business specializations. The GMAT remains in wide use by master’s programs offered by business schools, including many online master’s in business and management programs. However, GMAT scores are just one metric used by programs in the admissions process. Some of the other factors that admissions boards may weigh in addition to or in lieu of the GMAT include:

  • Undergraduate transcripts and GPA in relevant coursework
  • Letters of recommendation from instructors, advisors, and/or business professionals
  • A written personal goals statement
  • Answers to one or more essay questions
  • Prior work experience in a business or managerial position
  • An in-person or video conference interview
  • Scores from other standardized, graduate-level admissions tests, such as the GRE or MAT exams

While some online master’s programs require applicants to submit GMAT scores, other programs forgo this requirement. This is particularly true of online master’s in business and administration programs that are designed for business professionals who have not taken the GMAT but who have demonstrated certain competencies by working for one or more years in a business field. There are also many online MBA programs and online master’s programs in accounting, finance, human resource management, marketing, organizational leadership, and other business and management specializations that extend admissions eligibility to applicants who have no prior professional experience without requiring the GMAT.

It should be noted that some business and management schools that require standardized test scores may accept either the GMAT or the GRE. Programs that do no require standardized tests scores may allow candidates to submit GMAT or GRE scores, which can benefit applicants who score well on the test. There are also online master’s programs that only require students who do not meet certain criteria, such as a set minimum undergraduate GPA, to submit GMAT scores.

Types of Online Master’s Degree Programs That May Require the GMAT

The following list includes an overview of some of the types of online master’s degree programs that may require applicants to submit GMAT scores as part of the admissions process:

  • Online Master of Business Administration Programs
  • Online Master of Science in Business Analytics/Business Intelligence Programs
  • Online Master of Accountancy/Master of Science in Accounting Programs
  • Online Master of Finance/Master of Science in Finance Programs
  • Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management Programs
  • Online Master of Science in Marketing/Marketing Management Programs
  • Online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership Programs
  • Online Master of Science in Strategic Communication Programs

Individual schools and/or departments that offer these types of business and management programs can choose whether or not to require the GMAT as part of the admissions process. Potential applicants who would prefer not to take the GMAT should look for programs that do not require the GMAT for admissions.

Online Master’s Programs That Offer GMAT Waivers

Some online master’s in business and management programs that require applicants to submit GMAT scores will waive this requirement for qualified applicants. The qualifications for receiving a GMAT waiver vary by program, but typically GMAT waivers are extended on a case-by-case basis to applicants who meet or exceed one or more of several criteria. These criteria include:

  • An undergraduate GPA above 3.0 to 3.5 or higher on a four-point scale, depending on the program
  • Two or more years of relevant professional work experience
  • An advanced degree, such as a master’s or doctoral degree, in another field
  • Professional licensure and/or certification in a relevant field

It is important to note that receiving a GMAT waiver is typically not automatic. Applicants who believe they may be eligible to receive a waiver are generally required to submit a waiver form that must be approved by the program. In cases where a waiver form is not submitted by a stated deadline or not approved, applicants may be required to provide GMAT scores along with other application materials.


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