What is the GRE?
GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination, which is a multiple-choice, computer-based examination often used as a prerequisite for graduate programs. Typically, the exam applies to individuals applying for a master’s in business, MBA, J.D. degree, or doctoral degree in a business-related specialty. The test is not indigenous to the United States; schools around the world require the GRE.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has an extensive list of learning institutions across the globe offer the GRE. Alphabetically, the countries begin with Argentina and end with Zimbabwe. For each country, there is the name of the school that has the GRE; those with an asterisk do not have a graduate program. Zimbabwe is one such country.
According to the ETS-GRE bulletin of 2019-20, there is a General Test and a subject-specific test. This test measures an undergraduate’s grasp and background in these disciplines:
- Literature in English
What does the GRE General Test measure?
The exam consists of three scores:
- Verbal Reasoning has a score range of 130–170 comprised of two-thirty minute tasks
- Quantitative Reasoning has the same score range. It consists of two-forty minute sections with 25 questions each
- Analytical Writing has a score range of 0–6. There are two separately timed sections of 30 minutes each.
Verbal reasoning tests the student’s ability to analyze writing skills and critical thinking, as well as the ability to express and draw conclusions from complex ideas. The test also assesses the student’s reading comprehension through the understanding of entire texts and the author’s intent literally and figuratively.
The quantitative portion of the GRE demands mathematical skills in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Generally, the difficulty of the questions is at the high school level.
The Analytical Writing or essay section measures how well the student articulates thoughts and the quality of the responses.
Examples of colleges and universities requiring the GRE
Florida State University (FSU) offers a Master of Science in Criminology at the Tallahassee campus. Students must meet all of the admission requirements before acceptance into this one-year graduate program. These are:
- A GPA of at least 3.25 in your undergraduate degree
- GRE score between 148 and 160 on the verbal test
- Three letters of recommendation from professors associated with your Bachelor’s degree
- A 300-500 word essay outlining your career goals, your background, and the reasons for the interest in criminology and criminal justice
The School of Arts and Sciences Department of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania requires graduate program applicants to have the GRE within the past five years (no score mentioned). The Master of Science in Criminology, as well as all graduate degrees, has this requirement. UPenn also has the same stipulation as FSU – three reference letters from professors must accompany your application.
The School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas Dallas offers a Master of Science in Criminology to those with a GPA of at least 3.2. A baccalaureate in sociology, criminology, or a related discipline is preferred. Admission also requires a combined score of 300 on the verbal and quantitative GRE tests.
Barton College, founded in 1902, is situated in Wilson, North Carolina. The 65-acre campus has an undergraduate enrollment of 976 students and 83 in graduate programs. One of which is a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice Sciences or MSCCJS. Their admission details make no mention of the GRE test. The institution emphasizes GPA and prior courses to qualify for admission.
Applicants to Barton with no CCJS courses may need up to 12 hours of undergraduate coursework. Alumni with a B.S. in CCJS require a GPA of 3.0 or higher in this major and an overall GPA of 2.75 or more.
The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Emergency Management at California State University-Long Beach has a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Their admission requirements give applicants choices. As evidence of your aptitude for a graduate degree, you may submit ONE of the following:
- Your GRE test result on the writing section should have a score of 4.0 or higher (0 to 6 scale).
- Your official test score on the Law School Admissions Test or LSAT
- Applicants may forgo the standardized tests by providing one or two writing examples that demonstrate the abilities of critical thinking, research, and writing proficiency.
The GRE test as a prerequisite for admission into a graduate program can vary by department. For example, Princeton University eliminated the GRE requirement in 14 of its academic departments. The school believes this creates a more diverse student population. In addition, many professors opine that the test is not an accurate predictor of academic success.
Worth noting – students who prefer to avoid the GRE tests will likely find more schools not requiring the test scores in criminal justice graduate programs. This specialty is more plentiful than institutions offering criminology.