GRE Now Optional

Since the MPS program launched in 2013, no admission requirement has caused as much anxiety among applicants as the Graduate Record Exam.

Current and future applicants to the program can now rest easy; for the next five years, GRE scores will be optional and will not be required for an applicant to receive full consideration.

In past years, the MPS applicant review committee evaluated an applicant’s GRE scores alongside his or her transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and interview. The committee looked for applicants to score at or above the 50th percentile on the general test (in the top half of college graduates seeking admission to graduate programs).

With encouragement from the program’s industry partners, administrators within Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Science (CAFES) recently filed a request to waive the GRE requirement. Reasons for the request include:

  • The GRE has not proven to be a strong predictor of success in the MPS program
  • The MPS program is a non-thesis professional masters program designed to produce dairy plant managers, not academics or research scientists. The program differs considerably from the typical MA or MS program in that it is hands-on, and the skills tested by the GRE do not necessarily correlate with those important for success in the program.
  • Because the skill set required for success in the MPS program differs from typical masters programs, applicant reviewers have an elaborate screening process intended to identify those applicants whose probability of success is high.
  • The Industry Advisory Committee for the program has repeatedly stated that high GRE scores are not necessarily predictive of success in management positions the dairy industry.

Taking into account letters of support from the program’s industry partners, Cal Poly’s Director of Graduate Education recently granted the program’s request to forego the GRE requirement, awarding the program a five-year waiver to test the new screening process.

Applicants to the program are now encouraged to weigh for themselves whether their coursework and experiences suggest an ability to do graduate-level work. Applicants should keep in mind that while the program does have a hands-on focus, MPS students still must successfully complete rigorous scientific and quantitative coursework.

Students with strong GPAs, particularly in the sciences, may elect to skip the GRE. On the other hand, applicants with minimal exposure to the sciences, or who feel their performance in science and/or math classes does not reflect their true abilities, may wish to submit scores that bolster their competitiveness.

Applicants with questions about whether they should submit GRE scores should contact:

Tom Johnson. Program Manager
MPS in Dairy Products Technology
(970) 215-3459 cell
tjohns47@calpoly.edu