I have my Bachelor's and want to go to grad. school—and I want to go as soon as possible. I recently quit my industry job (I hated it) and am now searching for a job at a university. I can't register for the GREs now, it's after the deadline, but there are some other options I've thought of:

  • Take classes in a Master's program, take the GREs in April and try to get into a Ph.D program
  • Apply to universities that don't require the GREs (some in the US, but most in other countries)
  • Find a way to register for the GREs

My degrees are in, and my target field of study is either Physics or Mathematics. Do you folks have any suggestions, or judgments regarding the viability of my above presented options?

(P.S. - This question is not off topic. Any single person who did not register for the GREs, but still wants to begin grad. school could use this question. Nothing depends on "personal preferences" because my personal preferences [outside of wanting to begin grad. school ASAP] are in no way relevant. The answer accepted is appropriate, and easily generalized.)

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    For any particular university, the question of whether you can get admitted to graduate study on short notice depends on the particular rules at that university. Such a question is off-topic. There might be a university somewhere that might be willing to accept you into a graduate program without GRE scores, but shopping for one is off topic. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:44
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    For a lot of European countries (but not all, probably!) you're 11 months out of phase. However, they don't require the GRE. That said, you'd need a Masters first for most of them. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:51
  • @BrianBorchers I've clarified my post a little. While attending grad. school within the next couple of months would be great, I was not expecting this. I was expecting to apply in Nov./Dec. and attend next year. This would be fine and dandy if it were not for the fact that I can't register for GREs until April, which would effectively postpone my attendance until two years from now. It's that two-year wait I'd like to avoid. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:51
  • Have you taken the general test? That is more commonly required than the subject tests. You should be able to find schools that will consider you based on the general test and your degree transcripts, without a subject test. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:58
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    @PatriciaShanahan I have not, but I certainly will; I'm able to register for these! Thank you. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


I recommend you go for a Masters degree first. Some schools admit Masters students without GRE. While doing your masters, you can prepare for GRE and take courses that would eventually count for your prospective PhD degree which you are intending for. This will benefit you getting into a good PhD school which otherwise may be very difficult to get in.


I basically see three options that overlap quite a bit with the answers you've already suggested:

  1. Apply for programs that don't require GRE scores. Most US-based programs require the GRE but not all do. These might not be the programs you want. These might be MS/MA programs instead of PhDs. It's going to limit your options but these programs do exist.

  2. Apply for programs and simply do not provide GRE scores. You can certainly submit an application without all the required material. If you do so, you should discuss this in your coverletter or similar so folks know why the scores are missing. For sure, many programs will not review your application but some might — especially if the rest of the packet is extremely strong. Because each application can be expensive, it is worth contacting programs in advance to explain your situation and to find out if they will review an incomplete application for someone in your situation.

  3. Travel to take the GRE. GRE testing works different in different locations. Within the US where the test is computer-based, you can register to take the test basically at any point given availability in the testing center. I just checked and it was possible for my to register to take the test in my city as soon as two days from now. Obviously, travel (perhaps even intercontinental travel) is not always going to be possible due to expense, visas, etc. That said, for some people, it might be an option.

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