I would like to apply for a Ph.D. in engineering in the US. My area of interest (control systems/dynamics) is closely related to (applied) mathematics. Would a reasonable but not outstanding result (e.g. 70%+) in the GRE mathematics subject test give me an edge during the admission process?

To be more specific, I would like to understand how relevant is mathematics subject test for admission to (mathematics-heavy) engineering programs (subject tests are usually not required for admission to graduate engineering programs) and what would be considered a high/low subject test score in this context?

  • I read this Q&A before posting. I believe that my question is far more specific. The only useful information that I could infer is that the admission committees/lab leders take many factors into account and that "In some fields, the Subject GRE is given significantly more weight than the General GRE, and so a low Subject Test score can be more harmful to a borderline application." My own question is about how relevant is mathematics subject test to some of the mathematics-based engineering disciplines and what would be considered a high/low subject test score in this context?
    – user140322
    Jun 6, 2021 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


Check the website of the department you are applying to, and whether they require the Mathematics subject test. If they do not mention anything about it, then it is not required, and will not be taken into account even if you submit it.

As you are applying for an engineering department, I am fairly confident that the Mathematics subject test is neither required nor will be taken into account, even if you write it. It is simply not relevant. (I was in the same boat as you, and have been accepted into the Control Systems area of an Electrical and Computer Engineering department at a well-known public US university. My Mathematics subject test score was neither required nor considered.)

Of course, there is nothing wrong with writing it as such, it just will not be taken into account, whether your score is good or bad.

  • 1
    Thanks. However, how confident are you that your score was not taken into account? Is this something that your advisor explained to you? Did you get a chance to be on the admission committee since you started?
    – user140322
    Jun 6, 2021 at 17:21
  • @human The websites of most places that I applied to mentioned that a subject test is not required. When phrased that way, I assume that the admissions committee would not take into account any subject test score I submitted. Further, most engineering applicants would not submit a subject test score, and all applicants are evaluated (fairly) uniformly in terms of requirements.
    – user136193
    Jun 6, 2021 at 17:23
  • 1
    This makes sense, the last sentence in your comment convinced me.
    – user140322
    Jun 6, 2021 at 17:28