Systems engineering, electrical and computer engineering remove GRE graduate program admission requirement

Photo of students working in the Colorado State University Powerhouse Energy Campus.
Photo of students working in the Colorado State University Powerhouse Energy Campus.

Colorado State University’s Departments of Systems Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering are joining the Department of Atmospheric Science in no longer requiring Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as part of the application for admission into their graduate programs.

This decision, which goes into effect for students applying for Spring 2022 admission and beyond, aligns with Colorado’s recent decision to make SAT and ACT scores optional for undergraduate applications.

“The GRE has not been shown to be an accurate method to determine who will be successful in graduate school,” said Ingrid Bridge, systems engineering advisor and graduate program coordinator. Bridge led the department’s effort to make the GRE optional.

In addition to being an inadequate predictor of success in graduate programs, the GRE has also been proven to be biased against women and people of color.

The graduate-only Systems Engineering department already considered GRE scores as optional for students with a previous degree from a U.S. institution. This recent decision makes the GRE optional for international applicants too.

“An important piece to accessibility and holistic review is providing multiple options for students to demonstrate strengths,” Bridge said. “However, scores will not be used to compare applicants with each other during department review and lack of scores will not be viewed negatively.”

Providing greater access and equity in ECE

After piloting the removal of the GRE requirement this past academic year, the Electrical and Computer Engineering department decided to officially make the GRE an optional part of its application process.

“Our goal is to admit capable, creative students who will thrive in a research community built on innovation and diversity in thought,” said Tony Maciejewski, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We know that standardized tests aren’t the only way to measure students’ abilities and potential.”

The decision to make the GRE optional was led by many members of the electrical and computer engineering department, including Maciejewski, graduate student advisor Katya Stewart-Sweeney, professor Edwin Chong, professor Steve Reising, and administrative assistant Alauna Sutton.

“As we work to develop a more holistic admissions review process, we think removing this barrier will provide greater access and equity in ECE education,” Maciejewski said, “while increasing the diversity and strength of our graduate programs.”

Learn more about graduate programs in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Systems Engineering Departments:

Electrical and Computer Engineering: