Should I take the GRE?

I hear this question frequently so thought you might want some information to help you make an informed decision.  If you are a Junior, this summer might be an excellent time to take the Graduate Record Exam.

Many Professional Master’s programs (i.e., MEd, MPH) and Physician Assistant programs require the GRE.  Almost all PhD programs in Nutrition and related sciences require the GRE or MCAT. Applications for these programs are typically due mid fall.

There are many options for students in the Dietetics Option to consider.  I reviewed the Applicant Guide to Supervised Practice for 2015 to determine which programs require the GRE.  You might be surprised to find that 17% of the programs offering no graduate level credit require the GRE.  Of programs offering graduate degrees or at least some graduate credits as part of their dietetic internship program, 69% require the GRE.  There has been an increase in the number of programs requiring the GRE in the past few years. As many of you know the dietetics profession will require a Master’s degree in 2024 to be eligible to take the Registration exam.  Those currently enrolled, will be eligible without the master’s degree, but the profession is clearly heading toward a higher education level for entry level practice.  Your GRE results are valid for 5 years.  The table below breaks down the types of programs currently requiring the GRE.

Type of program GRE required GRE not required
DI only (no MS option or graduate credits) 36 175
Masters level Internship 30 4
Coordinated Masters/DI 10 4
MS option with DI 20 14
Total = 288 96 = 33% 197 = 67%


You could of course limit yourself to applying only to those programs that don’t require the GRE, but that cuts out 1/3 of your possibilities.  If you are contemplating applying to one of the programs that leads to a MS degree or includes some graduate credits, I encourage you to take the GRE now.  In addition, even if it was not originally your intent, occasionally, a great post-match opportunity comes along that requires the GRE.  It is too late then to wish you had taken it.

The GRE is not offered at University Park, but many sites are available.  The closest site to University Park is Harrisburg. The GRE exam is typically offered one to three times per month. You can take the exam a maximum of five times in any 12 month period. But, hopefully once will be enough. This web link will provide all the information you need to see which dates and sites are available if you decide to take the GRE.

Adequate preparation is suggested before taking the exam.  Many resources are available to help you achieve your best score on the first attempt.


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