Do I Have to Take the GRE? Standardized Testing in MPA Admissions
by Christopher A. Cooper, Western Carolina University and H. Gibbs Knotts, The College of Charleston
Graduate program decision-makers face a similar challenge: how to design an admissions process that screens out applicants who are unlikely to succeed, but does not provide too high a barrier of entry for students who can be successful. This study catalogues the use of standardized testing in Master of Public Administration admissions and finds that less than one-third of programs require standardized tests for all applicants. Moreover, program prestige, program diversity, and program size do not affect the likelihood a program requires the GRE. This study also reviews the various standards universities use to provide test waivers, and discusses other common application materials. The results should be of interest to undergraduate academic advisors and graduate program directors as well as scholars and practitioners of higher education administration more generally.