graphic reading "Application FAQs: GRE and GMAT Requirements"
Have questions about our standardized test policy? We address some of the most frequently asked questions below.

The application for admission is now available, and the Admissions & Financial Aid team has started to receive questions from applicants working on their applications. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our GRE and GMAT requirements.

Do I have to take the GRE or GMAT?

It depends on which program you are applying to.

If you are applying to one of our two-year master’s degree programs, the answer is yes. The GRE or GMAT is required for applicants to the Master in Public Policy (MPP), Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID), and Master in Public Administration (MPA) Programs.

If you are applying to our one-year Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) Program, you are not required to take the GRE or GMAT. You may, however, submit test scores if you would like to provide the Admissions Committee with an additional datapoint to consider when reviewing your application.

Does the Admissions Committee prefer one test over another?

No, we don’t have a preference for one test over the other. You should take the test you feel will best reflect your abilities.

Are there any exceptions to the GRE/GMAT policy?

There are a few exceptions to our standardized test policy for students applying to select combined degree programs.

If you are applying to the HKS/HLS joint degree program and are a first-year student at HLS, you can submit LSAT scores. You must request to have the HLS admissions office send your LSAT scores to HKS.

If you are an HKS/HMS applicant, you may submit your MCAT score rather than the GRE or GMAT. Please have the HMS admissions office send your MCAT scores to HKS. If you are applying from a medical school other than HMS, and do not have valid GRE or GMAT scores, please contact our office.

The MPA/ID Program does not accept LSAT or MCAT scores.

What is the average or median GRE/GMAT score?

We do not publish our average or median standardized test scores.

I got a [FILL IN THE BLANK] score. Will I be admitted?

It’s impossible to determine whether you will be admitted based on a standardized test score alone. The Admissions Committee conducts a holistic, whole-person review of each applicant. Standardized test scores are just one component of your application, though we have found GRE or GMAT scores to be an effective way to evaluate applicants’ ability to succeed in quantitative coursework.

Generally, the most competitive MPP and MPA applicants have a quantitative section score in the 75th percentile or above. The most competitive applicants to the MPA/ID Program have a quantitative section score of 160 or above on the GRE, or 48 or above on the GMAT.  That said, you won't know if you’ll get in unless you apply.  

Can I take the at-home version of the exam?

Yes, we will accept scores from the at-home versions of the exams.

What is the latest I can take the GRE or GMAT?

You must take all required tests by the application deadline (December 1, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET). That does not mean you should wait until the last minute to take the test—we advise you to plan ahead and take the test well in advance of the deadline.

I took the GRE or GMAT six years ago. Is my score still valid?

GRE and GMAT scores are valid for five years. If you took the GRE or GMAT more than five years prior to the application deadline—which would be before December 1, 2018—you will need to retake the exam.

Where should I have my official scores sent?

  • Use code 3454 when registering for the GRE. We are listed as “Harvard U JFK Sch Govt.”

  • Use code HRL-27-69 for the GMAT.

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