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Question: Are There Online Master’s in Psychology Programs That Do Not Require the GRE or That Offer GRE Waivers?

Answer: Yes. There are online master’s in psychology programs that do not require applicants to submit GRE test scores. In addition, while some online master’s in psychology programs require the GRE from all applicants, there are programs that require the GRE but that may waive this requirement for qualified applicants based on prior academic performance and/or professional experience, completion of an advanced degree in another field, or other factors.

Applicants to online master’s in psychology programs are typically asked to submit various materials for admissions consideration, including undergraduate transcripts, a personal goals statement, answers to one or more essay questions, two or more letters of recommendation, and scores from a standardized admissions test such as the Graduate Record Examinations General Test, commonly referred to as the GRE. However, admissions policies, procedures, and requirements vary by school and by program and there are a number of online master’s in psychology programs that do not use GRE tests scores to evaluate applicants. There are also programs that do not require applicants to submit any standardized test scores, although they may allow applicants to voluntary submit scores from the GRE or another graduate admissions test for consideration.

Programs that do require the GRE may offer GRE waivers to applicants who meet certain conditions, such as a high undergraduate grade point average (GPA), typically in the 3.0 or higher range, several years of relevant professional experience, and/or an advanced degree or certification in another field. Applicants who intend to apply for a GRE waiver should note that these waivers may not be automatic and should thus be prepared to submit GRE scores if a waiver is not granted and they still want to apply to the program. Finally, some programs that require standardized test scores may accept the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) in lieu of the GRE.

Online Master’s in Psychology Admissions Requirements

The baseline requirement for admissions eligibility to an online master’s program is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While some programs evaluate and accept applicants based solely on undergraduate transcripts, most programs request that applicants furnish additional assessment materials, including but not limited to:

  • References or recommendations from several (usually two or three) professors, academic advisors, or qualified individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s academic and/or professional achievements
  • A short (one to two page) personal goals statement or essay
  • Written responses to one or two essay questions or prompts
  • Graduate school admissions test scores (GRE or MAT)

Admissions standards also vary by program. Some programs require or prefer applicants who meet or exceed a specified cumulative undergraduate GPA, such as 2.5 or 3.0 on a four-point scale, and/or GRE scores that meet or exceed a stated number (e.g., in the 140-160 range per section of the test). While online master’s in psychology programs typically do not require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology, some programs may have undergraduate prerequisites that applicants are expected to complete prior to enrolling in the program. Common prerequisites include introductory psychology, statistics, and quantitative methods courses. For example, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has an online Master of Science (MS) in Psychology program that requires students to either hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology or to complete undergraduate courses in psychology, statistics, and social science research methods prior to enrolling in master’s-level courses. SNHU offers online courses in these three subject areas for students who have not taken them previously.

Students should not that many online master’s in psychology programs have selective admissions, which means that candidates who meet the minimum admissions requirements may nonetheless not be accepted into the program. Conversely, some programs may accept applicants who do not meet minimum admissions requirements on a conditional basis. It is best to contact a program advisor with any questions regarding admissions policies prior to submitting an application.

Examples of Admissions Requirements for Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

The examples below are meant to provide an overview of a range of different policies regarding admissions requirements for online master’s in psychology programs. It is important to note that programs may change admissions requirements and policies at any time. Therefore, potential applicants to online master’s in psychology programs should research program admissions requirements prior to submitting an application and contact a program administrator with specific questions or concerns.

No GRE

  • Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers an online MS in Psychology with three concentrations: Child & Adolescent Development Psychology; Forensic Psychology; and Industrial Organizational Psychology. As previously noted, the program requires students to either hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a bachelor’s degree in another field with undergraduate coursework in introductory psychology, social science statistics, and social science research methods. Applicants who have not completed these prerequisites are eligible to enroll in these courses through SNHU and may be required to complete them in order to begin master’s-level coursework. SNHU requires applicants to submit their undergraduate transcripts but does not require the GRE.
  • Pepperdine University offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology program that requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Along with undergraduate transcripts, applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and a two-to-five page personal statement. The program does not require applicants to submit GRE scores.

GRE Waiver

  • Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) has an online MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program that requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and to have completed a minimum of two undergraduate psychology courses, including a course in statistics. Applicants must also have an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 from their last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation, a career goals statement, a professional résumé, and GRE test scores. However, applicants with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from all of their college coursework are eligible to have the GRE requirement waived.

GRE Recommended

  • Arizona State University (ASU) offers an online MS in Forensic Psychology program that requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, social science, or a closely related field from an accredited institution. In addition, applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their last 60 hours of undergraduate courses or an overall GPA of 3.0 from an applicable master’s program. In addition to official transcripts, applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and a personal goals statement. While ASU does not require the GRE, the program strongly encourages applicants who do not hold a master’s degree and whose cumulative GPA in the last 60 hours of their undergraduate program was below 3.3 to submit GRE tests scores.

GRE Required

  • The University of West Alabama offers an online MS in Experimental Psychology that requires applicants to submit GRE test scores along with academic transcripts, a statement of purpose that details the type of psychological research the applicant would like to pursue, a three-to-five page writing sample, and a list of three academic references. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA or a master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. In addition, applicants must have completed a minimum of nine hours of undergraduate coursework in psychology. To be considered for admission to the program, candidates must have a minimum combined score of 280 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the GRE and a score of at last 3 on the Analytical Writing section.

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