Unfortunately, the admission website of a university I am interested in applying to does not list the minimum score required on the GRE math subject exam.

Does anyone know the minimum score requirement for this exam when applying to graduate schools to study mathematics?

  • 3
    For #1, I suspect the admission committee does not want to be constrained by setting a minimum score. There are many other things that can suggest success in graduate school besides the GRE math subject score, and by establishing a minimum score they might miss out on a Ramanujan (to give an extreme example). Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


There is no definite minimum GRE score (other than the smallest possible score on the test) for any program, unless that program explicitly has adopted one. If they don't mention it on their website, you could try calling or emailing their graduate coordinator and asking them.

In all, here are the main possibilities, and the reality varies by institution:

Case A) There is no minimum, and they consider all applications.

Case B) There is a minimum, and they will tell you.

Case C) There is a minimum, but it is a secret.

Case D) There is no formal minimum, but there is a de facto minimum in that they almost never (or never) actually accept someone below a score of X, even though they technically say there is no minimum. In the end, this is the same as Case C above.

In practice, the most selective institutions will occasionally mention "averages" like 80% percentile or 90% percentile - but without a standard deviation that's not really very informative. It is also the case that many people view GRE scores differently depending on your country of origin, so it is not necessarily meaningful or helpful to know anything like averages.

In the end, the advice for the GRE is: do as well as you can without harming some other aspects of your application (don't let your grades slide just to study for the GRE), and as always try to have the best overall application packet to maximize your chances.

  • 1
    As another anecdotal evidence point: Average percentiles indeed are not very informative. When I applied at a certain university, my score was over 20% below the average percentile, so I was thinking of not even applying. But in the end, I still got accepted.
    – air
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 20:51
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    @air It's hard to remember, especially during stressful times like preparing for grad school applications, that average of accepted means literally half of all the people got a lower score than the number given (assuming average was calculated properly). And of course that assumes all candidates scores are treated similarly, which isn't true either. One person on an admissions committee told me flat out they are only really concerned about a low GRE score if the GPA was also low - making the average even less meaningful.
    – BrianH
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 20:55
  • That is very true. Based on random posts I had read on gradcafe, I actually assumed that I had to be above that average, since internationals are "required" to have better scores than domestic applicants. Apparently, that is also not necessarily the case. But the whole process is so opaque, and combined with the stress; I was really miserable until I received the first offer and I guess most people feel that way.
    – air
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 21:02

Let me be straightforward. If your GRE math-sub is not higher than 90%, then don't send it, because it will not give you much extra credits. Students in my undergrad usually get 95+%, the median (of students that I know) is like 96~97% (sample size: around 10). I come from a country whose students are notorious for being good at exams and math, so don't feel too frustrated if you cant get 95%. I think 90%+ is good enough.

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    I think this "answer" is dangerously inaccurate advice for math grad applications in the U.S., and (with the comment) verges on a simple rant. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 18:56
  • @paulgarrett Whatever you say. THIS IS THE FACT. I say it agin: No need to send GRE sub math if you don't get 90%+. Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 17:37
  • Many programs explicitly require both the general and Math specific scores, or the application will not be considered whatsoever. The recommendation to send it if you don't get above 90% actually means that the student may not be considered whatsoever due to an incomplete file, even if that program regularly accepts lower scores. Answers on this question show considerable variance in scores: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/13678/… so lower scores could still gain admission - but only if sent.
    – BrianH
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 21:18

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