MIT Adds GRE for Philosophy Ph.D. Admissions

June 2, 2014

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been known in philosophy circles for being one of the few well-regarded Ph.D. programs that did not require applicants to submit GRE scores. But MIT has started to require the GRE. Via email, Alex Byrne, head of philosophy at MIT, explained the decision: "This decision had nothing whatever to do with the utility or otherwise of the GRE as a predictor of success in philosophy graduate programs. Many applicants to our program sent in their GREs anyway -- both good and bad scores. These scores were not ignored, at least by some faculty members. Probably some applicants had the mistaken belief that we did require GREs, and probably some applicants had the mistaken belief that GREs were not taken into account at all. In the interests of transparency and fairness we decided to join our competitors and require the GRE, ensuring that we have the same data points for every applicant. There will be absolutely no change in the weight attached to GRE scores, which is marginal at best."

Officials at the philosophy departments of Cornell and Johns Hopkins Universities confirmed that they would continue to keep the GRE optional for Ph.D. applicants in philosophy.



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