GRE answer sheet

The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University will no longer require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test for admission into its graduate programs, beginning with the fall 2021 cohort. The decision was a collaborative agreement among the faculty, the graduate program heads and CEOAS leadership.

The standardized test — for decades an essential part of admission into science programs — has come under scrutiny for putting underrepresented groups at a disadvantage. Recent studies have also shown that test scores are not strong predictors of graduate student success.

“There is a great deal of research that shows that the GRE is not correlated with measures of success in graduate school, and that it may serve as a barrier for participation in graduate degree programs,” said Adam Kent, the interim associate dean for graduate programs and faculty advancement. “The geosciences have low historic participation rates by underrepresented groups, who are disproportionately impacted by the requirement for the GRE. We are now happy to be able to remove this requirement for all the graduate programs in our college.”

CEOAS joins a growing coalition of science programs that are dropping the requirement. A tally kept by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows more than 300 biology/biomedical programs across the United States have removed the requirement, and geoscience programs are increasingly abandoning the requirement as well.

In addition to being in-step with national trends, the decision to remove the requirement reflects Oregon State University’s Holistic Admissions policy, which aims to support faculty and staff in implementing more inclusive graduate admissions practices.

“CEOAS graduate programs are proud to be included in a growing list of universities that have removed the controversial GRE requirement from their application,” said Robert Allan, director of Graduate Student Services at CEOAS. “Our faculty want to remove these types of hurdles that have systematically limited participation and diversity, and instead, progressively shift to a holistic model for reviewing our applicants. We hope this decision will send a positive message for all students wishing to apply to our programs.”

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