The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will no longer be required for Rackham Ph.D. candidates, the school’s Executive Board announced Wednesday. The GRE is a standardized test graduate school applicants are often required to take, similar to the SAT or ACT for undergraduate admissions. The announcement said the Board made this decision using input from Ph.D. departments and faculty.
Rackham Dean Mike Solomon wrote in the announcement that this decision was made in hopes of making the graduate admissions process more holistic for future applications.
“By leaving these scores behind, the rich information of the doctoral application can be reviewed in ways that are truly holistic and responsive to the broad demographics of our applicants,” Solomon wrote.
On the Frequently Asked Questions page, Rackham said removing the GRE requirement will make the application process more equitable. The FAQ also said the school did not find indications that the GRE is indicative of success in graduate school, citing a presentation from Fall 2021.
According to a virtual survey conducted by the Rackham Executive Board , over 90% of the responses favored lifting the testing requirement. The school will provide support and consultation throughout the process of changing the admissions criteria for all Ph.D. programs over the next three years. Those programs with high application numbers will receive compensation and additional resources, such as consultation teams, to support the transition.
In an interview to The Michigan Daily, Solomon said removing the GRE requirement is critical in creating a more equitable space in academics.
“A doctoral degree is critical to higher education,” Solomon said. “It’s a pathway to faculty positions in colleges and universities. This training leads to all sorts of careers — in (higher education), government and nonprofits. What Rackham has announced is really designed to increase access to the Ph.D. education, to reduce barriers to applying and succeeding in the degree. Discontinuing the use of the GRE removes a barrier (to education).”
Though the GRE requirement is no longer in effect, specific Ph.D. programs can still require GRE subject tests. These tests differ from the general exam, as they are meant to measure knowledge in a particular subject area rather than general preparation. This decision does not extend to Rackham master’s programs, as some will continue to require the GRE.
In an interview with The Daily, Solomon said there have been conversations about potentially removing these requirements for master’s programs, and it is something Rackham is interested in pursuing.
“We have a three-year period where programs are going to be changing how they do admissions,” Solomon said. “We’ll be doing research and offering support. That phase will allow us to really collect the data and understanding that would allow us, at a future date, to have a similar discussion about the other Rackham degrees.”
Daily Staff Reporter Isabella Kassa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org