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Philosophy subfields and programs that ignore low quantitative scores?


Schwarzwald

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Hey all,

So I finally took the GRE yesterday. My quantitative score turned out well below average (although exactly as I predicted). At this point, I do not have enough time to retake the test. Instead, I was wondering if anyone knew of particular sub-fields in philosophy (perhaps History of Science, Phenomenology, Ethics) and funded M.A. programs that look past low quant scores? I know  of some programs in similar fields, such as Anthropology, Public Policy, and History, that completely neglect the quantitative section, but I've heard mixed results for philosophy. I have a 3.9 Philosophy GPA, a 3.5 overall GPA, 167 verbal, and 3 strong letters, but I come from an unknown undergraduate institution. 

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I don't think you should worry too much about your quantitative score; is your combined score atleast above 300? If so, then great; if not, then that will definitely count against you. Your verbal is very high. To give you some context, I received a 166 verbal (96%) and a 151 quant (45%). I'm not worried because I have good reasons to believe that GRE cut off scores are much lower than most applicants expect (300 combined).

I'd be more worried about your cumulative GPA than your GRE scores, tbh; however, don't dare count yourself out. People with below average GPAs or GREs still do very well in the admissions process. Numbers don't help us out here as much as the strength of your writing sample, the supposed fit between you and your schools, where fit might be understood as "the student's potential to develop and succeed as a graduate student at this program, where clearly there are potential advisors who may be interested in supervising the course of their study" etc.

If the discourse wasn't that helpful, I would also recommend applying to schools that do not require the GRE: Wisconsin-Madison, UM Ann Arbor, and Cornell U. are the two schools that come to mind (I think?). Good luck.

Edited by thatsjustsemantics
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28 minutes ago, AnotherKantFan said:

Thanks! I've heard this too, but I thought "abysmally low" for them would be anything below, say, a total of 320. So the real question is this, I think. 

Let's use UC Riverside as an example. In one of their admissions FAQ responses, they write:

"7. Typically a score below 310 (or 1250) is a strike against an applicant, whereas a score above 325 (or 1450) is a bonus."

But you see -- at 310, it's just a strike against an applicant; not a cut-off. I think that programs would choose somewhere between a combined score of 300-310 as a cut-off iff the applicant doesn't clearly show strengths in other components (cumulative gpa, philosophy gpa) to offset the lower GRE score.

Edited by thatsjustsemantics
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I had a 152 quant and a 159 verbal and got into some great picks for me, especially considering other factors like coming from an unfamiliar/low-quality state school. If you're applying this round there's absolutely nothing you can do about it at this point so don't worry about it. If you get shut out, then the GRE may be one thing you can revisit (if you have the money). 

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My GRE scores were also lower than I would have liked: 160V 150Q. I also came from an relatively unknown undergrad institution. I was accepted to Kent State with these scores, and those are the scores I submitted to PhD programs for this round of applications. If you're looking for a MA program, Kent State has designed their program specifically for students who come from unknown undergrad institutions and need a bridge into a strong PhD program.

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