Applying for graduate programs in astronomy can be an exciting but stressful time. Many programs in physics and astronomy require that you submit scores for both the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Physics GRE (PGRE) as part of your application package. As the season for grad school applications approaches, we want to draw your attention to an up-to-date list detailing which universities require the GRE and/or PGRE scores. This thorough Google doc has been compiled by Dr. James Guillochon, an ITC Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. This list is a community-driven resource, so if you have information regarding departmental requirements that are not currently listed on the Google doc, please email James to propose edits.
A great deal of research has been done on the topic of the problematic use of the in determining an applicant’s potential to be a successful graduate student (Miller & Staussun 2014; Levesque, Bezanson, & Tremblay 2015). The AAS has also released a statement recommending limiting the use of the PGRE for admission into astronomy grad programs:
Given the research indicating that the GRE and PGRE are poor predictors of graduate student success, that their use in graduate admissions has a particularly negative impact on underrepresented groups, and that they represent a financial burden for many students in pursuing advanced degrees in the astronomical sciences, the AAS recommends that graduate programs eliminate or make optional the GRE and PGRE as metrics of evaluation for graduate applicants. If GRE or PGRE scores are used, the AAS recommends that admissions criteria account explicitly for the known systematics in scores as a function of gender, race, and socioeconomic status, and that cutoff scores not be used to eliminate candidates from admission, scholarships/fellowships, or financial support, in accordance with ETS recommendations.
More resources on grad school admissions can be found on the AstroBetter wiki under Graduate School section. There, you can find a wealth of useful information for applying to and choosing the right graduate program for you. As a reminder, the AstroBetter wiki is open for edits by anyone in the community, and we hope you will add any resources or links that you think others will find useful!