News Details

MSSP Program Waives GRE Requirement

Ezekiel Dixon-Roman teaching a course, writing on a chalkboard.

Authored by: Alina Ladyzhensky

Student Life


The Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) program at Penn’s School of Policy & Practice (SP2) has elected to no longer require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores as part of its application process, joining a growing number of graduate programs that are dropping the test as an application requirement.

The decision was made in Fall 2020, following an internal program predictive validity study, Governance Committee deliberation, and unanimous support to no longer require the test. Several factors arose during deliberations, including concerns that the test’s use in admissions decisions is a disadvantage to applicants from underrepresented groups, as well as the lack of proven correlation between GRE scores and student success in graduate school.

“It has long been understood and empirically substantiated that there is differential performance on the GRE creating inequities in access to graduate school programs. In addition, based on a predictive validity study conducted within the program, the near-zero correlation with program GPA became strongly convincing that requiring the GRE is more socially consequential than equitable,” said MSSP program director Ezekiel Dixon-Román, PhD. “In keeping with the vision of the program of increasing equity, promoting justice, and forging social change, the program has eliminated the GRE application requirement beginning with this year’s [2020] applications.”