GMAT Scores for PhD Programs

You’ve decided to apply for a PhD program in a business-related field. Unlike your non-business PhD friends, that means you could take the GMAT, not the GRE. Though submitting GMAT scores for PhD programs is relatively rare, it does happen. Because using a GMAT score in PhD admissions is uncommon, students often have important questions about the process. Read on to learn more about using GMAT scores for PhD programs, and what kind of score you’ll need.

GMAT Scores for PhD Programs-magoosh

Types of Programs That Accept GMAT Scores

Few doctoral programs will explicitly require a GMAT score. Instead, they’ll often accept either the GMAT or the GRE if the field of study is business. Harvard Business School, for example, requires either the GRE or GMAT—but not both!—for admissions to its doctoral program. NYU Stern has the same policy, except they note that the accounting department “prefers” the GMAT. The UPenn Wharton School has the same GRE-or-GMAT policy.

This probably has a lot to do with the fact that, overall, the GMAT and the GRE really aren’t that different. They have a lot in common.

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In short, there’s no standard policy on whether you’ll definitely need GMAT scores for PhD programs. More often than not, you can submit your old (less than 5 years old!) GRE score and skip the GMAT. But policies vary from school to school, and even from program to program. Call the admissions offices of the programs you’re applying to and inquire about their policy if you’re unsure.

Typical GMAT Scores for PhD Programs

If you are going to submit GMAT scores for PhD programs, then you’ll face stiff competition. That’s to be expected, though, since you’re applying to PhD programs—no one said admissions would be easy!

As with many admissions-related questions, data is sparse. But here’s a sampling of some average GMAT scores for PhD programs that are considered pretty prestigious:

In short: GMAT scores for PhD programs are high! There’s no getting around it. To gain admissions to a PhD program, your GMAT scores will likely need to be in the upper percentiles. The same would of course be true if you decided to take the GRE instead.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that, as with any admissions process, your GMAT scores cannot be older than 5 years if you want to submit them. So, if you’re hoping to use your old GMAT school from your MBA program from many years ago, you can’t. You’re going to have to retake the exam.

For the most part, though, submitting GMAT scores for PhD programs really isn’t that different from submitting GRE scores. Sure, the exam is different, but the process and high standards for admission are largely the same. If you’re applying to a PhD program of any kind, you should anticipate needing a high score no matter what exam you’re taking.

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Which PhD programs are you applying for? Let us know in the comments below, and good luck!

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2 Responses to GMAT Scores for PhD Programs

  1. Sid January 3, 2018 at 7:39 am #

    Hello Kevin,

    I am keen on applying for a PhD in business management, and recently took GMAT and got a score of 680 (Verbal – 37, Quantitative – 46, IR – 5). I was checking the average scores for admission and found that they typically start from 680 for a school ranked at 55 in the US News Report.

    I also have 14 years of work experience and I have identified my research goal. I wanted to know if I should retake GMAT in the coming weeks before I submit my applications.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 4, 2018 at 1:03 pm #

      Hi Sid,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so keep that in mind with my response 🙂 The answer to this question really depends on what schools you plan to apply to, and how long you have until applications are due. First, you should identify target schools that match your interests with professors that you would like to work with– once you have a list of schools, you can compare your GMAT score to the score of those schools. If you have the time to retake the GMAT AND craft a strong application before applications are due, then you should definitely consider a retake 🙂 Good luck!

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