Top U.S. Schools That Don’t Require the GMAT/GRE

Top Canadian Schools

Applying to a full-time MBA program without a GMAT or GRE is hard to come by for the world’s best MBA programs. Most top U.S. business schools require a competitive GMAT/GRE score to be considered for admissions. However, due to COVID-19, there are a number of top schools that do not require the GMAT or GRE by offering GMAT/GRE waivers.

If you are an MBA candidate who’s not great at taking tests or earned a low GMAT score, don’t worry; you’re not out of luck. There are five programs in the U.S. that will accept your MBA application without the GMAT/GRE, as long as you meet certain specific other requirements.

These are the top U.S. schools that don’t require a GMAT/GRE.

The University of Virginia – Darden School of Business


At the Darden School of Business for select candidates, a standardized test may not be necessary. As a pilot for the 2020-21 application cycle (for the Class of 2023), Darden announced a standardized test (GMAT/GRE) waiver request.

For some candidates, particularly those who meet several of the criteria outlined below, a test score may not be needed for the Darden Admissions Committee to assess their preparedness.

Waiver requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the Darden Admissions Committee will consider a number of factors when evaluating these requests. Particular regard will be given for indicators of academic and professional accomplishment, including but not limited to:

  • A strong undergraduate and/or graduate record, including performance in analytical coursework or disciplines
  • CPA or CFA designation or other professional certification
  • Master’s or advanced degree in an analytical discipline
  • Seven or more years of progressive, professional work experience in an analytical field
  • Strong performance on a U.S. college admissions test (SAT or ACT) or a national exam administered for admission to bachelor’s study in other countries

These factors will be considered in combination with resume and transcripts for all degree-related coursework. Candidates who present a strong profile across several criteria (including supporting materials) are more likely to be granted a test waiver than candidates who meet only one criterion.

Candidates who believe they may qualify for a test waiver on the basis of the above criteria should submit a test waiver request.

Indiana University – Kelley School of Business

The Kelley School of Business Full-Time MBA program admits high-potential applicants for their academically rigorous curriculum. Kelley typically requires the GMAT or GRE as one demonstration of quantitative and analytic capability. In light of the recent challenges associated with taking standardized tests due to COVID-19, candidates may apply for a waiver of this requirement and submit other evidence of their academic qualifications.  Kelley anticipates awarding GMAT/GRE waivers for a small percentage of their incoming class.  In evaluating waiver requests, Kelley considers many factors, including rigor and achievement from previous undergraduate and graduate degrees, evidence of work experience requiring analytical and quantitative skills, and post–bachelor’s degree career growth including demonstration of leadership.

To request a GMAT/GRE waiver, you must complete the following two steps:

  1. Complete and submit the Kelley online information request form (to ensure that we have your most current contact information); and
  2. Submit via email ( a current professional resume, your unofficial or official undergraduate transcripts (and graduate school transcripts, if applicable), and a brief statement (500 words or less) summarizing why you believe you qualify for a waiver.

The University of North Carolina – Kenan-Flagler School of Business

The UNC Kenan-Flagler Full-Time MBA considers standardized tests such as the GMAT or GRE are a as a beneficial way for their Admissions Committee to evaluate the likelihood of academic success in their Full-Time MBA program, they recognize that some candidates can build a strong case for admission based on degrees earned, academic experience, professional milestones, or certifications. GMAT/GRE waivers are available for new applicants to the UNC Kenan-Flagler Full-Time MBA class of 2023.

Important points to consider before requesting a GMAT/GRE waiver:

  • Be objective about your strengths and weaknesses in order to put together the strongest application! Consider whether a test score may help supplement your academic achievements.
  • Candidates who present a strong profile across several criterion – such as five or more years of progressive work experience, earning secondary or terminal degrees (i.e. master’s, PhD, JD, MD), professional certifications with a quantitative focus (i.e. U.S. CPA or CFA Level III), or strong test results from the Executive Assessment, LSAT, or MCAT – are more likely to be granted a test waiver.
  • Test scores are often a beneficial data point (but not required) for the Fellowship Committee when evaluating an admitted student for a fellowship award.
  • Some employers use (or require) test scores during initial screenings, particularly in finance and consulting.
  • Receiving a GMAT/GRE waiver does not guarantee admission to the program, and for some applicants, formal offers of admission may be based on the successful completion of Analytical Skills Workshop (ASW) prior to the start of the program.

The University of Texas – McCombs School of Business

The McCombs Full-Time MBA is providing the opportunity to petition for a special test score exception, if you have not been able to take the GMAT, GRE, EA, or TOEFL exams due to the following reasons related to COVID-19:

Applicants who meet both of the criteria below have the opportunity to petition for a special test waiver:

  •   You are unable to take an exam in-person at a designated testing center due to lack of availability in your region, or because you or someone in your household is immunocompromised, AND    
  •   You are unable to take an exam online due to lack of availability in your region, technology or other test-taking requirements (e.g. device availability or compatibility, slow internet connection, testing environment) 

If you do not meet both of these criteria, McCombs requires that you complete the standardized tests prior to submitting your application.

The University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management

The Carlson School of Management continues to be one of the best MBA programs in the midwest.  Candidates applying for admission to the Carlson Full-Time MBA program may be eligible for a GMAT/GRE waiver if they meet the following criteria:

  • Must have one of the following:
    • Previous undergraduate degree with 3.2+ cumulative GPA at an accredited institution using a 4.0 scale or better (domestic or international)
      • Demonstrates quantitative ability through coursework (ex: Statistics, Engineering, Accounting, etc)
    • Previous undergraduate degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, etc) field with a 3.0+ cumulative GPA at an accredited institution using a 4.0 scale or better (domestic or international)
  • Must have one of the following additional requirements:
    • 5+ years of full-time professional work experience
      • Note: internships or co-ops cannot be included. Graduate assistantships and fellowships can be included.
    • 4+ years of full-time military experience
    • Graduate (masters or doctoral) degree
    • Professional credential of CPA or CFA

Please note that a candidate must meet both areas requirements of the waiver process in order to be granted a waiver.

The Ohio State University – Fisher College of Business

The Fisher Full-Time MBA will consider your application without a GMAT, GRE, or EA test score as long as you meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Earned a 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) undergraduate cumulative GPA or higher; and
  • Achieved a grade of B or better in at least two college-level quantitative courses (algebra or higher); and
  • Have a minimum of 4 years of post-baccalaureate work experience. You may not request a waiver if you have already taken the exam and requested your scores be sent to The Ohio State University.

The decision to grant the GMAT/GRE/EA waiver is made at the discretion of the Fisher Admissions Committee. Should the committee decide that a GMAT,GRE, or EA score is needed to fully evaluate your candidacy for the MBA program, you will be informed once your application has been initially reviewed.

In summary, if you are preparing your MBA application, be sure to review each schools official GMAT/GRE waiver process to ensure that you meet the requirements to request a GMAT/GRE waiver so you can attend a top-tier program.  The U.S. schools that do not require the GMAT/GRE during COVID-19 may continue to expand, so stay up-to-date by registering with MetroMBA for more announcements.

Additional Resources:

MBA Programs that do not require the GMAT or GRE

Top Canadian schools that do not require the GMAT or GRE

GMAT/GRE Waiver Guide


About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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