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Graduate School GRE Requirement

July 10, 2020

Dear Graduate Colleagues:

Stony Brook Graduate School policy has long required a GRE General Test score from all applicants.  We are changing that.  The Graduate School at Stony Brook, in consultation with the Graduate Council, has decided to waive the GRE General Test requirement for a period of two years, effective immediately. Applicants will no longer have to submit GRE General Test scores, unless the program to which they are applying decides to require them; essentially, programs will now have to opt-in to the requirement.  For programs that choose not to require the GRE General Test, no further action is needed.

Why two years? By waiving the GRE General Test requirement for two years, we can assemble data from across graduate programs to assess how this change affects levels of representation in admissions.  That information will be considered when we revisit the use of the GRE in two years.

Any program that chooses to require the GRE General Test will need to provide a memo, by September 15th, to the Dean of the Graduate School explaining the value of the GRE for admission to their program.  This memo should give consideration to the evidence suggesting the GRE is a relatively poor predictor of success in graduate school for some disciplines, and  that for women and students of color there is evidence the GRE is a biased metric .  

To create a more equitable Graduate Council Fellowship review process that aligns with the spirit of this change, the decision has also been made to exclude GRE scores, for the next two years, from the set of required and reviewed documents for the GCF.  We will be providing further guidance to help GPDs identify competitive nominees. It bears mentioning that this change aligns with the NIH and the NSF, which no longer require GRE scores for fellowship applications.  

We are proud to be able to further diversity in Stony Brook’s teaching and research missions, as we believe this will be a substantive way to address the institutional factors that impede access to higher education.  As we reduce reliance on the GRE General Test, we encourage faculty to remember that diverse communities and collaborators make for better ideas, better decisions, and better discoveries.




Eric Wertheimer
Dean and Vice Provost
Professor of English and American Studies
The Graduate School
Stony Brook University--State University of New York