Applying for Ph.D. program without having taken the GRE

  • #1
Hi all. I'm currently working on both an M.S. and B.S. in physics and hope to finish with both during the upcoming summer. I wanted to apply to a Ph.D. program for next fall at a different university, partly because the research here isn't quite what I'm interested in, which is computational chemistry or some other kind of computational quantum physics.
However, I didn't know most schools require the GRE and I would need to take it so soon. The next one isn't given until February 3 and that's past all application deadlines Iv'e seen. Is it the case that the good majority of schools, particularly good ones, require the GRE? And do you think it could be possible to apply to schools that require it, take it in February, and then send them the results later?
 

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  • #2
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Which country are you in, and where do you look for PhD positions?

M.S. and B.S. in physics in parallel? That is odd.
Is it the case that the good majority of schools, particularly good ones, require the GRE? And do you think it could be possible to apply to schools that require it, take it in February, and then send them the results later?
Check the universities you are interested in. That is the only reliable method to answer these questions for each university.
 
  • #3
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Is it the case that the good majority of schools, particularly good ones, require the GRE?

Yes.

And do you think it could be possible to apply to schools that require it, take it in February, and then send them the results later?

No. The deadline is set so that the admissions committee can start on applications right away.
 
  • #4
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If you take the GRE in February, you won't get the results until well into March or even April, after most (if not all) offers have been sent out. Some universities only "recommend" the physics GRE, but in general I'd recommend you take it next year and apply for 2019.
 
  • #5
Thanks for your replies.

I forgot to say I was in the US. The problem with waiting until next year to apply is that I hope to be done with my M.S. and B.S. before next fall. Reading some universities' websites, it looks like for many the physics GRE is recommended but not required. The general GRE was required but I can take that in time. I wonder if I could send them a physics GRE as supplemental material after the deadline. Are decisions usually made before march?
 
  • #6
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it looks like for many the physics GRE is recommended but not required

"Recommended" does not mean "likely to be ignored if absent". It means, well, recommended.

Let me put it this way? What information do you have that you will be a good grad student do you have, that the committee will also have? What we have is:
  • A few months ago you were in community college working towards a two-year degree. That means you can't have spent much time at your four-year college taking upper division classes.
  • You have said your college is not very rigorous, both directly, and indirectly (finishing all the required upper division classes in a semester doesn't say much that's good about the requirements)
In such cases, a strong pGRE score indicates that the applicant has, perhaps even despite his college, managed to learn something. If you don't submit that, what's in your app that will help you?
 
  • #7
"Recommended" does not mean "likely to be ignored if absent". It means, well, recommended.

Let me put it this way? What information do you have that you will be a good grad student do you have, that the committee will also have? What we have is:
  • A few months ago you were in community college working towards a two-year degree. That means you can't have spent much time at your four-year college taking upper division classes.
  • You have said your college is not very rigorous, both directly, and indirectly (finishing all the required upper division classes in a semester doesn't say much that's good about the requirements)
In such cases, a strong pGRE score indicates that the applicant has, perhaps even despite his college, managed to learn something. If you don't submit that, what's in your app that will help you?
The information I can hopefully give them soon is I would have completed half the courses required for a master's in one semester, and hope to finish the next half next semester. I completed half the upper level course requirements last semester, and my universality's M.S./B.S. program lets me substitute 12 graduate credits for undergraduate ones.
I don't think my university is rigorous but maybe I can make up for it with the larger course load. Whatever the case, if I can't enter a Ph.D. program starting next fall I don't think it's ever going to happen. So the question is how selective the schools I apply to should be, and I have little idea how to go about deciding.
 
  • #8
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I don't think my university is rigorous but maybe I can make up for it with the larger course load.

"I can whip through upper division undergrad in a year"
"I can whip through a masters in a year"

Which statement indicates the school is less rigorous?
 
  • #9
One more question. Do you you think it will be a waste to apply to a school that asks for physics GRE scores?
 
  • #10
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Yes. The school is not going to think "Wow - here's a student who works so hard, he didn't even have time to take the GRE. I'm going to get me some of that!" They are more likely to think "can't follow instructions", "was too disorganized to sign up", "scored too badly to send them" or some combination of the three. That is, if they get the scores at all. At some places, the department won't even see the application, as it is incomplete.
 
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