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GREs No Longer Required …Maxwell Removing Barriers to Applying to our Top Programs

New GRE policy removes unnecessary barriers for application

New GRE Policy for Maxwell’s MPA, MAIR and MA Public Diplomacy & Global
Communications programs

In my last meeting on campus (mid-March 2020), before the COVID-19 Global Pandemic shut down campus operations, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program faculty committee met and approved what is a historic move for this program — TO MAKE THE GRE RECOMMENDED RATHER THAN REQUIRED for application.  Additionally, the MA International Relations (MAIR) and MA in Public Diplomacy & Global Communications (PDGC) committees approved a new policy to make the submission of the GRE OPTIONAL for these programs.

Moving forward, here is the new policy of the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs with regard to the GRE, and application to our Master’s Degree Programs:

  • Master of Public Administration (MPA): GRE recommended 
  • MA in International Relations (MAIR):  GRE optional 
  • MA in Public Diplomacy & Global Communications (PDGC): GRE optional 

Applicants to the MPA program must demonstrate adequate quantitative, analytic, and writing aptitude and preparation to be admitted. These requirements can be evidenced by successful completion of coursework in relevant content areas and/or by adequate performance on the GRE or GMAT exams.

We are among the first top schools in the field of Public Policy & Administration to adopt a policy of GRE recommended. Our program, and many others in the field, are highly analytical. As such, most MPA/MPP programs have been reluctant to remove this requirement.  A solid GRE score may be an applicant’s only indication that they can manage the analytic rigors of our core curriculum.  So, the designation- recommended – signals our applicants that we are looking for a strong indication of analytic/quantitative ability in their application.  If students do not have coursework that clearly indicate abilities required for economic analysis, data analysis, management and decision analysis, or program evaluation, then the GRE may be the best way to showcase their ability in these areas.

The GRE is optional for applicants to the MAIR and PDGC programs. GREs may provide evidence of an applicant’s quantitative, analytic or writing ability, and thus, will be considered for those applicants who choose to submit them.

The fields of International Affairs and Global Communications have more readily removed the GRE requirement from applications to their programs.  These fields have greater variety in how they approach course material and many are not as quantitatively focused as our programs.  The faculty committees of these programs felt it was best to match the current GRE policy terminology of other top schools in these fields:  GRE optional. But, make no mistake about it, we are still going to be looking for strength in analytic skills for application to the MAIR and PDGC programs as well.  So, while coursework is always preferred, solid GRE scores across all sections of the exam can also show the the committee you are able to handle the academic rigors of these programs.

We are excited for this policy change. It will no doubt remove a huge barrier to application to our programs, allowing broader and greater access to applying to our school.

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April 2024
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