What GRE Score Do I Need for Harvard? (The Full List)

William Cohen
Published by William Cohen
Last Updated On: April 12, 2022

Many factors can decide your application, but your GRE score is one of the most important factors.

If you’ve got your sights set on Harvard, you should know everything about Harvard GRE scores.

Over the course of my decade-long teaching career, I’ve helped thousands of students get ready for the GRE and enroll in the school of their dreams, one of them being Harvard.

To make the application process easier, I’ve compiled a list of all average Harvard graduate school standardized test scores.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Successful applicants need a high GRE score to get into Harvard.
  • Different grad programs will have different GRE score requirements.
  • You need a stellar application to be accepted to Harvard.

Average GRE Score for Harvard Graduate School

logo of Harvard university

Harvard is one of the most competitive schools to get into. The school is a founding member of the Ivy League, and its graduate programs are consistently top-ranked.

12 schools make up Harvard in different fields, such as humanities, sciences, and social sciences [1].

Each Harvard graduate school has different expectations for GRE scores.

Expect that you’ll need a high quant score for a computer science program and a high GRE verbal score for an English program.

On average, admitted applicants to Harvard University have a score of 155 to 166 for Verbal and 155 to 170 for the Quant section.

Analytical Writing is seen as the least important of the three GRE sections, and the average is 4.5 to 5.

Here are average GRE scores for some of the most popular Harvard University programs:

Program Average Verbal Average Quant Average GPA
MBA 163 164 3.69
MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences 162 164 3.8
Organizational Behaviour (Ph.D.) 161 165 3.8
Business Administration 161 165 3.85
Business Economics 162 164 3.75
Applied Mathematics (Ph.D.) 160 168 3.9
Computer Science (Ph.D.) 161 168 3.7
Applied Physics (Ph.D.) 161 167 3.85
Bioengineering (Ph.D.) 160 167 3.9
Electrical Engineering (Ph.D.) 162 168 3.85
Master in Architecture 157 159 3.6
Master of Landscape Architecture 158 159 3.6
Master in Urban Planning 157 158 3.65
Master in Design Studies 160 159 3.6
Master's in Education 159 156 3.6
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education 159 158 3.5
Master in Health Care Management 157 159 3.7
Master of Public Health 157 160 3.65
PhD in Population Health Sciences 158 160 3.8
Master in Public Administration 162 160 3.65
Master in Public Policy 163 159 3.6
Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry (PhD only) 161 156 3.5
Master's and PhD in Middle Eastern Studies 157 154 3.6
Music Theory (PhD only) 161 156 3.5
PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology 162 166 3.98
PhD in Film and Visual Studies 167 156 3.7
PhD in History of Art and Architecture 162 157 3.7
PhD in Psychology 162 157 3.7

Note: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects, a lot of these programs have waived the GRE requirement. This means you can apply without taking the GRE exam and still be considered.

How Good Is Your Application?

woman working on a paper

Harvard University has high average GRE score requirements.

You need high GRE test scores for Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and others.

A good GRE score for Harvard is 80th percentile and above.

However, an ideal GRE score doesn't guarantee admission into Harvard graduate schools.

The rest of your application is also important. Some other factors Harvard school requires are:

  • Personal statements and essays should be well written and compelling
  • How good your references are and the referee caliber
  • Presented compelling professional experience in the relevant field
  • Research experience and publications
  • Extracurricular experience in the field you’re applying for
  • GPA 

A good rule to follow is to try to make every part of your application as good as possible.

Don’t rely on GPA and GRE scores, especially now that many schools, such as Harvard Kennedy and Chan School, don’t require GRE scores due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Standardized tests are just one component of our holistic evaluation process, but we have found GRE or GMAT scores to be an effective way for applicants to document their preparation for the quantitative elements of the MPP core curriculum.” – Harvard Kennedy School

The competition is fierce, so a demonstrated academic ability will set you apart.

If necessary, spend a couple of months planning and putting together your application.

Even one small problem with your application, such as a sloppy letter of recommendation or an error in your CV, can result in Harvard rejection.

Make sure to go over everything before submitting the application.

Will Harvard Accept a Low GRE Score?

graduation hat on a book

I’ve talked about how Harvard average GRE scores are high. Many students want to know their chances of getting into a graduate program or undergrad courses when they have lower scores on the GRE.

Even if you get minimum GRE scores, not all is lost. Harvard also takes into account other factors when checking your application to the graduate study program, which I mentioned above.

Strong scores will show your academic excellence, which most Harvard programs require, but it also depends on what program you’re applying for.

For example, Business and Economics programs will pay more attention to quant scores, so it doesn't matter much if you have weak scores on the verbal section.

Even if you don’t have great GRE scores, a high GPA, research and publications, or extraordinary professional work can still pull you through.


Do I need a GRE for Harvard?

Yes, you need GRE for many Harvard schools. Harvard programs have different minimum GRE score requirements.

However, Harvard has removed the minimum GRE score requirement for many schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What Are Average Harvard GRE Scores for Biological and Biomedical Sciences?

The average GRE score required for biological and biomedical science is 158-162 for verbal and 156-167 for the quant section.

What GRE Score Do You Need for Harvard?

What GRE score you need depends on your target schools.

Overall, quant and verbal scores are more important than analytical writing sections, but the admissions office will check every part of your application.

Don’t underestimate the value of GRE prep, and go over the Educational Testing Service materials, as they are the institution behind the GRE.

Check the table above to determine which GRE score to aim for.

GRE preparation will result in a high GRE score, and a stellar application will help Harvard decide in your favor.

Furthermore, if you want to improve your GRE scores, here’s our list of the best GRE prep courses.


  1. https://www.harvard.edu/academics/schools/

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