Are there Online MHA Programs that Waive or Do Not Require the GRE?

Because of the huge applicant pool, master of healthcare administration (MHA) applicants often look to tests like the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) to distinguish themselves. The GRE is a standardized test that was established in 1939 and is owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is a standard requirement for graduate school applications and aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills through the testing of algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary knowledge.

According to data from the ETS, more than half a million students took the GRE between July 2016 to June 2017. In turn, Poets & Quants notes that graduate schools are increasingly accepting GRE scores as an alternative to the GMAT and other standardized tests.

The cost of taking the GRE, however, goes beyond simple fees. PrepScholar acknowledges that test-takers can spend more than 100 hours studying for the GRE. What’s more, extensive test preparation courses can cost several thousand dollars. The financial burden and intense time commitment mean that test-takers with additional work and family obligations may lack access to equal resources and a level playing field.

As a result, some have criticized the GRE noting its inability to predict a student’s future success and its disadvantage for women, minorities, and the economically disadvantaged. Two academics, Casey Miller and Keivan Stassun, published an article in the journal Nature, explaining that “women score 80 points lower on average in the physical sciences than do men, and African Americans score 200 points below white people. In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin color than of ability and ultimate success.”

Fortunately, not every master of healthcare administration (MHA) program asks applicants to submit a GRE score. Check out a variety of online MHA programs which either forgo the GRE requirement entirely or offer waivers for applicants who meet specific criteria.

Online MHA Programs – No GRE

Maryville University

In addition to a general MHA program, Maryville offers concentrations in data management, healthcare strategies, population management, and senior services. The curriculum is fully accredited and entirely online, designed to align with the ten key knowledge areas of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Core classwork focuses on a comprehensive understanding of management, analytics, marketing, and collaboration, while electives can cover a wide variety of topics, such as gerontology, managerial epidemiology, health policy and economics, and healthcare informatics. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, a 3.0 GPA, and a personal statement.

Regis College

Regis College’s online MHA is another example of a non-GRE program. It is a fully online program that focuses on the ethical, political, and policy considerations that leaders and managers face in the health sector—social justice is woven into every course. The curriculum prepares students to tackle the obstacles and opportunities presented by governance, technological and medical advances, human resources management, and public relations and communications.

Classes cover topics like health policy, health information systems, management accounting in healthcare, marketing communications, and strategic management of healthcare organizations. Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree, a current resume, a personal statement, and a letter of recommendation.

George Washington University

From day one, the student experience focuses on building a global network, as the program is intended for professionals working in the field. The curriculum utilizes immersive experiences, small class sizes, and cutting-edge digital learning experiences to prepare graduates for leadership roles in collaborative environments. Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree, a statement of purpose, a current resume, a brief interview, and two letters of recommendation.

As this is a program designed for experienced professionals, work experience is required. Applicants will need either two years of full-time work in the health sector or three years in a different industry. All students must be currently employed in the health sector.

Other non-GRE online MHA programs include:

Online MHA programs – GRE Waiver

Boston College

This online program is employer-aligned to both reward past work experience and set up future career opportunities. The curriculum features immersion events, online interactions, and self-paced learning quests.

Students will take a series of 12 courses that include topics such as healthcare quality management, healthcare innovation-based strategy, healthcare information technology, and healthcare financial management. The GRE is not a strict requirement for admission, but students with a GPA below 3.0 are strongly encouraged to submit standardized test scores.

The Bottom Line: No GRE Online MHA Programs

While the GRE may be gaining ground over the GMAT and other standardized tests, more and more online MHA programs are switching away from the GRE as a requirement to reduce obstacles to what is a growing and lucrative career path.

Work experience and strong academic backgrounds are taking the place of test scores as a measure of passion and competence. Furthermore, some schools that maintain a GRE requirement may be convinced to waive it due to work experience or competitive undergraduate transcripts. On the opposite end of the spectrum, schools may overlook a less than ideal undergraduate GPA in favor of a strong GRE score. Ultimately, deciding whether or not to take the GRE requires the personal evaluation of one’s past performance and future goals.

There is a wealth of information on the web, but it is always best to reach out to an admissions counselor at the schools students are considering. Admissions requirements can change on a yearly basis, and sometimes they change faster than a school’s website does. Plus, putting a human face to the admissions process can further individualize the experience, liberating it from an obtuse checklist of rigid requirements and turning it into something more equitable and holistic.

In the past, a poor GRE score could severely limit one’s options. But today, there is an online MHA program out there that’s right for anyone, whether they decide to take the GRE or not.