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Question: Are There Master's in History Programs That Waive or Do Not Require the GRE?

Answer: Yes, there are online master’s in history programs that do not require applicants to submit GRE test scores to be considered for admissions. There are also online master’s in history programs that waive their GRE requirement for applicants who meet certain criteria. Admission policies and procedures vary by program. Some online master’s in history programs require all applicants to submit GRE scores. Some programs require the GRE of some but not all applicants, typically based on prior academic achievements, and some programs do not require any applicants to submit test scores.

The GRE refers to the Graduate Record Examinations General Test, a standardized academic aptitude test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is designed to be used by graduate schools to assess the verbal and mathematical skills of applicants to various types of graduate programs. How well an individual performs in one or more of the GRE’s three scoring categories – Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing – represents one means by which graduate schools may choose to measure the academic preparedness of graduate program applicants. However, many graduate programs, including some online master’s in history programs, choose not to require the GRE or have policies that allow qualified applicants to receive a GRE waiver.

Online Master’s in History Program Admissions Requirements and the GRE

While some online master’s in history programs require all applicants to submit GRE scores for admissions consideration, there are many programs that rely on other factors, such as an applicant’s prior academic performance as indicated by his or her cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA). Programs may also ask applicants to submit one or more of the following: two or three letters of recommendation from faculty, academic advisors, or professional supervisors; an academic writing sample; a personal goals statement; and an up-to-date resumé. Some online master’s in history programs may also request a video or telephone interview with qualified applicants as part of the admissions process.

Colleges, universities, and departments that offer online master’s in history programs are free to determine how much emphasis to place on GRE scores when making admissions decisions, as well as whether or not to require the GRE at all. Programs that do not use the GRE as part of the admissions process typically rely on indicators of prior academic success, such as a minimum preferred or required undergraduate GPA, usually in the range of 2.5, 3.0, or 3.25 or higher on a four-point scale. Programs may also have undergraduate prerequisites that applicants are required to have completed prior to enrollment. And some programs may be designed for students who majored or minored in history at the bachelor’s level.

Finally, some online master’s in history programs require some but not all applicants to submit GRE scores, offering GRE waivers or exemptions to applicants who meet certain conditions. For example, applicants whose undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or 3.25 or higher may be exempt from a program’s GRE requirement or be permitted to apply for a GRE waiver. It is important to note that some programs that offer GRE waivers do not automatically grant these waivers, and students who believe they are eligible for a GRE waiver are required to apply for a waiver as part of the application process.

Online Master’s in History Program GRE Policies

As noted above, admissions policies, procedures, and requirements vary by program and should be reviewed carefully by all potential applicants prior to initiating the application process. However, online master’s in history programs generally fall into one of three categories regarding the GRE. There are programs that require all applicants to submit GRE scores; programs that do not require the GRE; and programs that offer GRE waivers for applicants who meet specific criteria but require all other applicants to submit GRE scores. These differences are illustrated in the examples below, which are meant to provide a representative overview of common admissions policies for online master’s in history programs.

No GRE Required: Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in History program that does not require any applicants to submit GRE test scores. Instead, applicants must submit a personal goals statement and transcripts from their bachelor’s degree program/programs. Applicants whose undergraduate GPA is below 2.75 on a four-point scale may be granted provisional acceptance to the program. The SNHU program may also require students who are accepted into the program to take an Introduction to Graduate Studies course based on a formal evaluation of a student’s prior coursework and overall educational background.

Conditional GRE Requirement/GRE Waiver: The University of Nebraska at Kearney (NU) offers an online MA in History program that requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree with at least 18 semester hours of undergraduate-level coursework in history. All applicants are required to submit an analytical writing sample, two letters of recommendation, and bachlor’s program transcripts. Applicants who have an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher on a four-point scale do not have to submit GRE test scores. Applicants whose undergraduate GPA is below 3.25 are required to submit scores from the GRE.

GRE Required: Western Kentucky University (WKU) offers an online MA in History program that requires all applicants to submit GRE test scores. Applicants to the WKU program are required to have a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA, 18 undergraduate credit hours of history coursework, and a sample research paper to submit. In addition, the program requires candidates to have a minimum Verbal Reasoning score of 153 out of a possible 170 on the GRE. However, WKU does grant conditional admission to some candidates who do not meet all of the formal admissions requirements. Students who are admitted conditionally must receive a grade of B or higher in the first graduate course they complete in order to remain in the program.

Note: Online master’s in history programs that require applicants to submit standardized admissions test scores generally require the GRE. However, some programs may accept scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) in lieu of the GRE. Applicants who believe they qualify for a GRE waiver or who would like to submit GMAT or MAT scores in place of the GRE should review program admissions policies carefully and/or contact a program representative regarding how to apply without submitting GRE scores.


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