This post has been updated to reflect the latest information from 2016
Ah, the dream to go to Harvard. Each year thousands of graduate school hopefuls seal their dream in an application envelope to have it exchanged for a thin, hope-crushing letter of rejection from the mysterious admissions committee. Reality hurts, but maybe, just maybe, you won’t be one of them. There are certainly a lot of factors in play when applying to graduate school, but the GRE ranks as one of the more important ones. But what score do you need? Well, that’s tough nut to crack. Let’s start with the ones we know for certain.
Average GRE scores for Harvard – Engineering and Education
Here’s the US News & World Report data on the engineering and education for Master’s and PhD programs at Harvard:
|Program||Average Verbal||Average Quantitative|
|Engineering - Master's||160||167|
|Engineering - PhD||159||165|
|Education - Master's||160||156|
|Education - PhD||165||161|
Unfortunately, as you can see, there’s not one definitive number I can give you to know where you stand or what you should be aiming for. The slight disparity in scores reflects the different expectations of a PhD student versus a Master’s student, so broadly speaking you should adjust your own expectations in your preferred field based on what degree you’re pursuing.
Of course, average GRE scores for Harvard vary greatly across disciplines.
Estimating Harvard GRE scores in other disciplines
Sadly, most of the graduate schools within Harvard aren’t quite as forthcoming with their GRE scores, so we’ll have to do a little estimation to find out what, say, Harvard Kennedy School’s average GRE scores are or what GRE score you’ll need to get accepted into a social science program like economics, psychology, or sociology.
Below is an estimated range of scores you could expect from Harvard’s ranked programs. For more on the methodology behind the numbers, see Methodology. 🙂
|Program||US News Rank||Estimated Verbal Range||Estimated Quantitative Range|
Resources to get the GRE scores you’ll need
Check out the following links for more help preparing for the GRE:
Using the limited score data in the US News & World Report’s release on graduate schools (for engineering and education), I created a block scale that assumes a standard difference between the ETS’s average of intended applicants of a specific major and the rank block (ie Ranks 1-10, 11-50, 51-100). Next I added the expected difference to the average score of the intended major and spread 2 points on either side of that to create a nice range. It would look like this:
|Program||Rank||Rank block||Intended Score||Exp Difference||Range|
Of course, you could argue that this isn’t perfect, and I’d have to agree. This is just intended to give you a general idea of what you should be aiming for. 🙂
Notes about comments
Due to the overwhelming amount of comments I was getting on this post, I’ve decided to turn them off. While I’d love to give everyone some kind of hard and fast number for your chances (it’s a nerve racking, opaque experience, I know), I unfortunately can’t. This is because there are numerous factors involved in the admissions decisions and most of those factors aren’t the GRE. The best I can do is tell you below/at/above the score range, but that information you can see for yourself above. My universal recommendation is that you check where you stand compared to the tables above. Then have a look at the forums to see student experiences. Good luck! 🙂