In GRE, Ph.D.

Cornell University dropped the GRE requirement for English Ph.D. applicants on Friday. Since the Fall 2019 deadline passed in December, this change will not impact applicants until next fall.

A statement released by Cornell’s English faculty stated, “We follow the lead of our Creative Writing colleagues, who have already eliminated the GRE requirement for application to Cornell’s distinguished MFA program. GRE scores are not good predictors of success or failure in a PhD program in English, and the uncertain predictive value of the GRE exam is far outweighed by the toll it takes on student diversity.”

Furthermore, Jenny Mann, an associate professor of English, tweeted a call for other Cornell departments to join hers in eliminating the GRE requirement. We believe this have three effects.

First, we expect an increase in English Ph.D. applicants to Cornell. Second, we also expect a more diverse applicant pool. And, finally, this will put more pressure on programs that still require the GRE.

In case you weren’t aware, Harvard dropped the GRE requirement for its English Ph.D. program last year. Additionally, the philosophy department at University of Pennsylvania dropped the GRE requirement this past September.

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