The School of Information is pleased to announce that the submission of GRE or GMAT scores is no longer required for applicants to all four of our graduate degree programs, including the MICS, MIDS, MIMS, and the Ph.D. in Information Management and Systems, effective Spring 2020. The School will make the submission of such test scores optional for all applicants.
I School faculty made this decision following the recommendation of the I School’s Diversity Working Group. A detailed review of relevant research indicates that standardized graduate entrance examinations are weak predictors of academic success in graduate school and that overemphasizing GRE and GMAT scores replicates and amplifies structural disadvantages to some demographic groups, particularly students from underrepresented minority and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Following UC Berkeley’s best practices for the graduate admissions process, the School of Information has long conducted holistic review of applicants and considered the context of applicants’ past achievements. The I School has never used GRE or GMAT scores as the sole differentiator in the admissions decision. Making the submission of scores optional further highlights the School’s commitment to reviewing applicants comprehensively, and considering the broader characteristics, attributes and assets that a student can bring to the university.
“The I School has always been at the forefront of thinking about how people can interact with information systems in fairer and more transparent ways,” said Associate Dean Deirdre Mulligan, Head of School. “Decreasing the emphasis on GRE scores in our graduate admissions process is an expression of our values and shows our commitment to avoiding the reproduction of systemic bias.”
I School faculty also noted that GRE and GMAT exams are expensive and can be burdensome for prospective students. Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael Rivera observed, “I think GRE exams can be a costly barrier for some student applicants. We want all qualified individuals to apply to our programs, regardless of ability to pay for preparation courses and the exam.”
Steve Trush, deputy director of the Citizen Clinic at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, I School lecturer, and a MIMS ’18 alumnus, hailed the decision: “At the I School, our students discover how values and politics are always embedded within the technologies and policies we create. As such, I’m glad to see the School changing their admissions criteria due, in part, to the inherent bias of using GRE scores against historically underrepresented students.”
Prospective students interested in applying to the I School are welcome to contact admissions staff for more information.