GRE Scores for Science Programs

Aiming for a science program, like Computer Science or Chemistry, and looking for what GRE score you’ll be expected to have to get into your dream school? Here’s the info from ETS chart that tells us the average GRE scores for science programs’ applicants based on survey data they collect from test takers.

GRE Scores for Science Programs (Intended Applicants)

Physical Sciences (General)151158
Computer Science148158
Earth, Atmospheric, and Marine Sciences154155
Mathematical Sciences153163
Physics and Astronomy156162
Natural Sciences—Other151152

The scores above are intended majors. What does “intended” major mean? It simply means that that these are the average scores of people planning on applying to graduate school in a specific major.

Finding a Real Score Range for Physical Sciences Programs

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Using a scale drawn from the limited score data in the US News & World Report’s report on graduate schools, here’s a range of scores you could expect:

GRE Scores for Science Programs by Program Rank

SpecialtyProgram Rank #1-10, VerbalProgram Rank #1-10, QuantitativeProgram Rank #11-50, VerbalProgram Rank #11-50 QuantitativeProgram Rank #51-100, VerbalProgram Rank #51-100, Quantitative
Physical Sciences (General)160-164165-169157-161161-165154-158158-162
Computer Science158-162165-169155-159161-165152-156158-162
Earth, Atmospheric, and Marine Sciences163-167160-164160-164156-160157-161153-157
Mathematical Sciences162-166169-170159-163165-169156-160162-166
Physics and Astronomy164-168168-170161-165164-168158-162161-165
Natural Sciences—Other160-164158-162157-161154-158154-158151-155

If you are viewing this chart on a mobile device and cannot see all of the columns for schools ranked #1-50, try turning your device horizontally or view this page on the web.

GRE Scores: 50th/70th/90th Percentiles

You can learn more about percentiles in this score percentiles post, but for quick reference, 50th percentile scores are average, 70th percentile is considered good, and 90th percentile is considered great.

Mean Score
Good Score
Great Score
Physical Sciences (Overall)151156162
Computer Science148154160
Earth, Atmospheric, and Marine Sciences154159165
Mathematical Sciences153158164
Physics and Astronomy156160166
Natural Sciences—Other151156162
Mean Score
Good Score
Great Score
Physical Sciences (Overall)158160167
Computer Science158160167
Earth, Atmospheric, and Marine Sciences155155162
Mathematical Sciences163164170
Physics and Astronomy162163170
Natural Sciences—Other152153160

What Can We Take Away from Science Programs’ Average GRE Scores?

While getting into a top science program can be tricky, a GRE score of 160 or higher in both Verbal and Quant will make you a competitive candidate in many top 100 programs. However, this varies highly by specialty and program rank, so be sure to check yours above!

Remember that you will be applying to a hard science program, so applying to graduate school is anything but easy; this is just a “good-enough” approach that should put you in a decent position to create the appropriate study goals. So if you’re interested in a PhD in Physics from MIT, or a Master’s in Computer Science from NYU, then this is a good place to start.


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  • Chris Swimmer

    Chris Swimmer is an analyst at Magoosh who divides his time between marketing and research projects and helping folks out with their math hang ups while studying for the GRE and the GMAT. Follow him on Google+! And you can follow him @chrisrswimmer on Twitter.

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32 Responses to GRE Scores for Science Programs

  1. Joppan December 30, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    My GRE score is 304( V:151,Q:153).
    TOEFL : 95
    Can you suggest me some good universities where i can do my ms in computer science.
    Is university of Nevada,Reno possible with this GRE score ?

    • Rita Neumann
      Rita Kreig January 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Joppan!

      Looks like your GRE scores meet the University of Nevada, Reno’s minimum requirements for the MS in Computer Science and Engineering. The minimum combined GRE score for the program is 297, and the minimum Quant scores is 152! So, you’re looking good so far 🙂

      Here’s more info:

      A good number of US universities, both private and public, have an MS in Computer Science. I’d recommend thinking about where you’d like to be and narrowing your search from there. For example, do you prefer to be somewhere warm or cold? In a city, or in a small town? And then look at universities in areas where you’d like to spend a year or two. Also, consider whether or not you’d like a MS in Computer Science only, or an MS in Computer Science and Engineering.

      Happy searching!

  2. MH November 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Hi Chris ,

    I am an Internatinal Fulbright recommended student for Master’s in Electrical Engineering . My GRE score is 313 .
    Verbal = 159 and Quant = 154 , AWA = 3 . My GPA is 2.95/4.0. My application has been submitted to
    Georgia Tech
    Florida State
    North Carolina state
    University of Arkansas
    . I have been asked by IIE to retake the GRE and improve my Quantitative score .Now my question is since my Quantitative score is on the lower side for an Engineering major so if for any reason I am unable to improve my quantitative score , What do you think , how much chance do I have of getting into the aforementioned schools .

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer December 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Hey MH! Unfortunately, I’d say they’re right, you’ve got to bring up that Quant score. Georgia Tech particularly is a competitive program and even with great extracurricular activities, you’ll need a competitive score. As for specific chances, it’s really hard to say, as that can vary so greatly from applicant to applicant. I wouldn’t even think about that right now.

      Chris S

  3. Anmol November 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #


    I just took the GRE and I got 154 (V) and 167 (Q). I am going to apply to top schools. I have 3 years research experience with 1 publication and 1 to be published paper. I have a gpa of 3.88 (overall), 3.96 (chemistry) from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I am also a teaching assistant. However, I failed the CHEM gre miserably since I was sick and ended up missing 50 questions. How are my chances?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer November 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Hey Anmol! Unfortunately I just don’t have that much experience with the GRE subject tests and how programs view them. Check around on the forums to get a sense of how they’re typically viewed and if you still feel at a loss try to reach out to the programs directly to see if they have any information they can give you. 🙂

      Chris S

  4. Ashok November 14, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    I want to take an admission in Fall 2014 session for my PhD (Earth Sciences- Geology).

    My credentials are;
    First class Honors in B.Sc. from University of Calcutta
    All India Rank 9 in IIT JAM exam 2008
    M.Sc. Applied Geology, Dept of Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay (CPI- 9.61/10)
    Outstanding student award during M.Sc.
    3 years research experience in IIT Bombay after M.Sc

    I got the following scores;
    GRE- 307; verbal: 152 (53 percentile/% below), quantitative: 155 (61 percentile/% below), Analytical Writing- 3.0 (14 percentile/% below)
    TOEFL- 83; Reading- 17, Speaking- 19, Listening- 23, Writing- 24

    My queries are;
    What are my options/chances in getting moderate universities (rank> 50 in Earth sciences) with these scores?
    Can I be able to get admission with such a low score particularly in TOEFL?
    I want to select 8 universities……out of which 4 universities have already been selected- Univ of Alaska, Fairbanks (Rank -54), University of South Carolina, Columbia (Rank- 81), University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (Rank -108), Colorado School of Mines (Rank -25)
    Kindly suggest me:
    whether my selections are appropriate or not?
    best available universities (another 4) with my score
    Should I dare to select 1-2 universities in the range between 35-50 rank?

    Thanks for the help.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer November 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

      Hey Ashok! Having a wide range of schools is a good idea as long as they fit the research you’re most interested in. I’d say go for a top 50 university but make sure you aim for some good programs at lower tiers as well. As for more programs, that’s something you’ll have to research yourself since there’s a lot to consider when choosing programs. 🙂

      Good luck!
      Chris S

  5. Shreyas November 1, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    Hey Chris,
    I’m an international student.I have a 318 on my GRE (155 in verbal and 163 in quant) and a 4.5 on my AWA.I also have 115 on my TOEFL.I really want to get into a good university to pursue my masters in computer science.I preferably would like to study in California. Do you think I can get into good universities like USC, UC Berkeley or UCLA with this score ?


    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer November 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      Hey Shreyas! The best answer I can give is a “maybe”. You’d likely be around the middle of the pack for these programs, so you’ll have to find other ways to stand out. 🙂

      Chris S

  6. Joe October 31, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I got V145 and Q165 on my GRE and 107 on my TOEFL( R-L-S-W 19-26-26-26). I intend to apply for biological PhD programs. Will top 20 be possible? Thanks!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer November 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      Hey Joe! Your verbal is probably on the low end, but honestly you should check with the programs individually to see how important those scores are. For some, it matters, and for others not quite as much. 🙂

      Chris S

  7. Karthik October 23, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    I got GRE score V151 ,Q160 interested in MS in Civil Engineering please suggest a good university in US with UG GPA of 8.3 from India.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Hey Karthik! I’d start with US News I mentioned above and then do some Googling to find out who is doing the research that interests you the most. 🙂

      Chris S

  8. ankita September 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Hey Chris

    I have taken Gre 310 (160 q / 150 v) 3.5 AW
    And toefl 103
    Undergrad score 8.14 in major and 8.03 overall from India.
    Have done 1 yr undergrad research and now doing a thesis based research. I m interested in phd in biology. What do u reccommend?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      Hey Ankita! It sounds like you should do some research to determine which schools fit your interests and experience the best. Research fit is really important for PhD programs. 🙂

      Chris S

      • ankita September 27, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

        Thank you chris for the reply. I did shortlist some universities but i am really worried about my gpa and gre. The gre score is not upto the mark. Nd since i am from India I need to convert my 10 scale cgpa to the us grading system. If i do it by unitery method my gpa comes to 3.2 is is nt vry good nd if i follow the columbian university scale my gpa comes to 3.7. Could you please tell me what gpa should i upload?

        • Chris Swimmer
          Chris Swimmer October 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

          Hey Ankita! You’ll have to check with the programs. A lot of them have their own standards that they use. A lot will allow you to put in your score is and convert it via their own means. It really varies. Definitely reach out to them to get more information. 🙂

          Chris S

  9. neha September 18, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    I scored 310 (160Q/150V) in GRE and 103 in TOEFL.
    My undergrad btech grade is 8.03/10.
    10th-83.2 & 12th-81.
    I have indulged in a final year project and am doing an ongoing thesis based research work. I am planning to do a PhD in biology and have shortlisted 5 universities

    could you please tell me what is the probability of getting through these colleges and I am open to suggestions if you have any

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Hey Neha! I can’t say one way or another unfortunately, and the truth is that I’m not very familiar with those schools. Definitely check around on the message boards to see what information you can find!

      Chris S

  10. Karthik September 16, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I have GRE score of 307 (V 148 Q 159 AWA 3.0) ,GPA 8.93/10 and work exp of 2+ yrs in Software development field.

    I am looking for MS in CS from top #10-45 ranked universites in CS.
    I have GRE scores to Cornell Univ , Univ Of Florida , USC, Ohio state Univ columbus.

    DO I need to re-take GRE or I can proceed further ?

    Thanks in advance !

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      Hey Karthik! It looks like your scores would be a bit on the low end for scores in the range of 10-20, but maybe a bit more on target as you approach #50 or so. 🙂

      Chris S

  11. Arif Masrur September 12, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Hello Chris, I recently took the GRE and had scores of 152 on the Verbal,158 on the Quantitative and 3 on AWA. I have BSc. in Geography and Environment and CGPA 3.42 (scale 4) , among top 10% of my class. I have 1 article publication (US journal), 1 year work and research experience. Now I intend to have my MSc. in USA/Canada.

    How competent I am and what should be my prospective university range? Thanks.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      Hey Arif! Your scores are pretty good, so I recommend checking out the research being done and finding where your interests align best. 🙂

      Chris S

  12. Dolapo August 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Hello Chris. I recently took the GRE and had scores of 158 on the Quantitative and 164 on the Verbal. I’m looking at a PhD in the Top 10 schools. However I have limited research experience. I graduates in the Top 1% of my class and have an Undergrad GPA of 4.67 on a scale of 5. What are your recommendations?

    • Dolapo August 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      I forgot to mention that the Area I’m interested in is Biology.

      • Chris Swimmer
        Chris Swimmer September 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

        Hey Dolapo! The best advice I can give is for you to reach out to the schools you’re interested in to see if your research interests align. Most people applying don’t have too much on their CVs, so you probably won’t be that far out of the loop. 🙂

        Chris S

  13. Utsav Jamwal August 13, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    Hi Chris, I’m Utsav, I am expecting 325 in GRE – Q165 and V160 and my academic profile is average i.e 65%, I do have a published paper in Database Security and I want to pursue my masters in Game Development/Computer Security, what kind of universities am I looking at?
    Your help is appreciated 🙂

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer August 16, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      Hey Utsav! It’s hard to say for certain, as I’m not extremely familiar with those programs. I’d use computer science as a basic guide for where your scores stand. Then, instead of focusing so much on if your scores are “good enough”, look for programs that match your interests the most. That will get you far!

      Chris S

      • Utsav September 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

        Thanks, Chris! 🙂

  14. Tony July 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Sir recently i got gre score of 163 in quant and 143 in verbal. since i have interest in mechanical engineering so i want to pursue in this field. does my score will help or should i go for retake. i am particularly intersted in cal tech universities and university of Oklahoma for mechanical stream. and one more question that can i get scholarship based on these scores???

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