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Question: Are There Online MHA Programs That Do Not Require the GRE or That Offer GRE Waivers?

Answer: Yes, there are many online MHA (Master of Health Administration) programs that do not require applicants to take the GRE or to submit scores from the GRE, the GMAT, or other standardized admissions tests. There are also programs that require the GRE or the GMAT but that will waive this requirement for applicants who meet certain conditions. Applicants to online MHA program who have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher, two or more years of professional experience, and/or a graduate degree in another field may be eligible for a waiver. Some program may also grant waivers to qualified active-duty members of the military.

The GRE and the GMAT

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test, as is formally known, and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) are two of the most common standardized tests used to assess applicants to graduate schools. The GRE is owned and administered by the Education Testing Service (ETS), a private, non-profit testing organization, and is used by admissions committees for all types of graduate programs, including online MHA programs. The GMAT is a more narrowly targeted test that is designed to assess applicants to graduate programs in business and management, including MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs, master’s in accounting and finance programs, and some MHA programs. Both the GRE and the GMAT measure the test-taker’s verbal, quantitative, and critical thinking skills, although the tests differ in content, structure, scoring matrixes, and other areas. Many online MHA programs that require standardized test scores will accept either the GRE or the GMAT.

Admissions to Online MHA Programs

Standardized test scores are just one of the tools available to graduate school admissions committees for the assessment of applicants to various programs. There are many online master’s programs, including online MHA programs, that do not require the GRE or the GMAT. Applicants to online MHA programs are generally required to submit undergraduate transcripts for evaluation, and may be asked to furnish other relevant materials as part of the application process. A typical online MHA programs may request some or all of the following from applicants:

  • A written personal goals statement
  • Two or three letters of recommendation
  • Answers to one or more essay questions
  • A brief videoconference interview with an admissions officer
  • An up-to-date résumé

There may be additional admissions requirements for applicants to online MHA programs. For example, some programs require candidates to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, while others are designed specifically for students who have spent two or more years working in the healthcare sector. Potential applicants to online MHA programs should examine all of a program’s admissions requirements prior to submitting an application in order to determine their eligibility, regardless of whether the program does or does not require the GRE or the GMAT.

GRE Waiver Policies

In addition to online MHA programs that do not require standardized test scores, there are programs that will grant a GRE/GMAT waiver to applicants who meet certain qualifications. These waivers are generally granted on a case-by-case basis and applicants are typically required to apply for a waiver, which may or may not be granted. While waiver policies vary by program, typical eligibility requirements include a high undergraduate GPA (3.0 or above), several years of professional work experience in healthcare or business, and a graduate degree in another field. Some programs also grant waivers to active-duty military. For details on waiver policies and criteria, applicants should examine a program’s admission requirements or contact a program representative.

Examples of Online MHA Admissions Policies

The programs listed below offer a representative overview of the admissions requirements for three online MHA programs that have different policies regarding the submission of standardized test scores.

No GRE/GMAT Requirement: The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) offers an online MHA program that does not require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores. The program is designed for experienced healthcare professionals and requests that applicants provide two references, a personal statement, answers to two essay questions, a résumé, and undergraduate transcripts.

GRE/GMAT Waiver Policy: The online MHA program offered by the University of Miami requires applicants to submit scores from the GRE or the GMAT along with undergraduate transcripts, a current résumé, and one letter of recommendation. However, candidates who meet one of the following conditions may apply for a GRE/GMAT waiver: an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; a minimum of four years of professional full-time work experience; a graduate degree in another field. The program also grants waivers to active-duty military.

GRE or GMAT Optional: The Murphy Deming College of Health Science at Mary Baldwin University offers an online MHA program that will accept either GRE or GMAT scores from applicants for consideration in the admissions process. Applicants are not required to submit standardized test scores, but are invited do so if they feel it will strengthen their application. In addition, applicants must supply undergraduate transcripts, one professional reference, and a written personal statement.


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