Do you want to pursue a doctorate program but cannot take standardized tests such as the GRE or the GMAT? Perhaps you took these tests over 5 years ago and they are no longer “valid”? Don’t despair. You have options! Below you will find information about Ph.D. and doctorate programs that do not require GRE or GMAT test scores for admissions.

As always, it is better to contact the admissions office directly and make sure to get an official list of admissions requirements.

European Ph.D. and Doctorate Programs

Most doctorate programs in Europe do not require standardized test scores such as the GRE or GMAT. However, these programs are quite rigorous and do have other academic requirements such as undergraduate or graduate degrees, previous research work, letters of recommendation, language proficiency tests, interviews, and other requirements.

Most Ph.D. programs in Europe are fully funded by the university or government programs allowing students to fully focus on their studies without incurring any student debt. 

While universities in countries such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands offer some of the best engineering and technology doctoral programs in the region, most universities offer Ph.D. programs in a wide range of subjects including Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences.


Most doctoral degrees lead to careers in research and academia, so it is important to identify your career goals before you go on this path. For example, if you want to practice as a clinical psychologist in the USA, you will need to enroll in a doctoral or master’s program that leads to state licensure. If that’s the case, then a Ph.D. in Europe would not be your best option. So keep this in mind as you research some of the top universities in Europe

>> You may also want to read: European Universities Offering Free Tuition

Ph.D. and Doctorate Programs in the U.S.

Private For-Profit Online Universities

Most private for-profit online universities such as Walden, Colorado Technical University, Capella, and others do not require standardized test scores for their Ph.D. programs.

Since these universities usually cater to working adult students, they try to ease the admissions process to accommodate their prospective students and their career/life responsibilities.

Students who enroll in doctoral programs at these universities usually have career advancement goals in mind. Most students are already working for a specific company and plan to get a doctorate degree to get a promotion and become more competitive in their industry.

Few students go into research and academia. Doctoral programs at these universities are not funded and usually involve high tuition costs.

State and Private Non-Profit Universities

Doctoral programs at state (e.g. Oregon State University) and private non-profit (e.g. Georgetown University) universities are usually research-focused, rigorous, and very selective with their admissions.

Most doctoral programs at these universities are fully funded through assistantships and research grants and require doctoral students to focus full-time on their academic work.

Because these universities only admit a small percentage of applicants to their Ph.D. programs, most require standardized tests such as the GRE or GMAT. However, there are a few programs that make these tests optional:

Purdue University – Ph.D. in Chemistry

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Ph.D. in Media Arts and Science, Ph.D. in Linguistics

University of Wisconsin – Ph.D. in Philosophy

University of Oregon – Ph.D. in Counseling

Oregon State University – Ph.D. in Physics

University of Idaho – Ph.D. in Civil Engineering

Georgetown University – Doctor of Nursing, Doctor of Liberal Studies

Northwestern University – Ph.D. in History

Washington State University – Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Additionally, many doctoral programs in the U.S. are no longer requiring test scores during the pandemic. Contact the university admissions office for specific information regarding standardized tests.

Do you know about other Ph.D. programs that do not require test scores? Add them to the comments below.

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