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Program FAQs

Application Requirements:

What should I know about applying under the GMAT/GRE test optional policy?

The GMAT and GRE test score requirement is optional for applicants to Rady School of Management’s Full-Time MBA program for Fall 2023. Applicants able to demonstrate strong quantitative skills through their prior academic work and recent professional experiences may apply for admission to the Full-Time MBA without a GMAT or GRE test score. International applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an official GMAT or GRE test score as part of the application.

Should I consider applying without a GMAT or GRE score? What factors make an applicant most competitive to submit an application without a GMAT or GRE score?

Applying test optional is only recommended for applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • have a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in the United States;
  • have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher;
  • have a minimum of 36 months of full-time post-undergraduate work experience by program start date;
  • have completed coursework in calculus, statistics, or other highly quantitative coursework at the undergraduate or graduate level and earned at least a B grade or higher.


How can I demonstrate quantitative and program readiness if I’m applying without a GMAT or GRE score?

Applicants considering applying without a GMAT or GRE should show:

  • strong quantitative or analytical ability demonstrated throughout educational records, with a GPA at or above average as listed on the class profile;
  • an undergraduate, masters, or other advanced degree in STEM or another quantitative focused major, with strong performance in multiple quantitative or analytical courses;
  • clearly demonstrated quantitative or analytical professional work experience and/or professional certifications in quantitative-related fields (i.e. CPA, CFA, PE, etc.)

Applicants are reviewed on a holistic basis and all elements of the application including transcripts, resume, essays, recommendations, and interviews are considered in addition to the above mentioned criteria.

Meeting the above criteria does not ensure admission to the Rady Full-Time MBA program. The MBA Admissions Committee may request that an applicant submits a GMAT or GRE score, or other information, as needed to evaluate preparedness for the program.


Would it be helpful to submit a GMAT or GRE test score?

There are many cases in which we may encourage applicants to submit a test score, including:

  • If you have an undergraduate GPA below the class average (as listed on the class profile). The GMAT or GRE may help demonstrate quantitative readiness or mitigate concerns regarding academic preparedness.
  • Though recruiting practices vary, a strong GMAT or GRE score can be a consideration in finding employment. Employers in some industries, particularly finance, investment banking, and consulting, could request GMAT or GRE scores in their screening and hiring process.
  • A strong standardized test score can strengthen your qualification for fellowships and scholarships.


If I have already reported a test score to the Rady School of Management for an application to the Full-Time MBA program, will it be used in the admissions process??

Yes, if you have already reported test scores, these scores will be reviewed and considered as part of your application for admission. If multiple test scores are submitted, your strongest score will be considered.


Who do I contact if I have questions that are not addressed here about applying without a GMAT or GRE score?

All applicants who are considering applying without a GMAT or GRE test score should contact the Full-Time MBA Admissions Advisor and schedule an advising appointment to discuss your specific application.

Can I submit my application before taking the GMAT/GRE?

Yes. Under the GMAT/GRE section on the application indicate when you are scheduled to take the exam. We will assemble your application and do a preliminary review while waiting for the results. No admission decision will be made until we have your GMAT/GRE scores and your application is complete.

Am I required to submit a TOEFL score?

Demonstrated proficiency in the English language is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English. Students are eligible for a waiver if they have received at least a B average while studying full-time for one uninterrupted year at a university-level institution in which English is the language of instruction and in a country in which English is the dominant language. If an applicant is not eligible for a waiver, the applicant must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by taking and receiving passing scores on one of the below exams:

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 550 for the paper based test (PBT) or 80 for the internet based test (iBT). TOEFL information and forms are available at the TOEFL website.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Training exam: The minimum IELTS score is Band 7.0. IELTS registration information is available on the IELTS website.

The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic). The minimum PTE academic score required for graduate admission is overall score 65. Registration and test information is available on the Pearson website.

Do I need to submit a translated copy of my transcript?

Official academic records must be issued in the language of instruction and accompanied by official English translations. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Originals issued by the university bearing the original stamp or seal and the signature of the authorized official.
  • Official copies issued by the degree granting university bearing the stamp or seal and signature of the authorized official.
  • Official literal (word-for-word) English translations issued by the degree-granting institution or official authorized translation services.

Is the calculus prerequisite needed prior to applying?

The calculus prerequisite is not a requirement for an admission decision. Admitted students who have not satisfied a year of calculus with a B or better will be provided options on how to fulfill the calculus prerequisite before the start of the MBA program in September.

Who should my recommendation be from?

Recommendations should generally be from your professional network — someone who knows you well enough to provide us with insight regarding your professional qualifications and potential for contribution. The most effective recommenders are those willing to speak on your behalf and supplement the application materials. Two recommendations are required; both do not need to be from your place of employment.

I am enrolled in another MBA program — can I transfer to the Rady MBA program?

There is no automatic transfer to the Rady MBA. You must submit an application for admission consideration. Any transfer of credits would be on a case-by-case basis and generally, only a limited number of electives would be considered.

Program Eligibility:

My bachelor's degree is from a 3-year program, am I still eligible to apply?

Equivalency of a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree is required. Thirty-six consecutive units of post-graduate, college-level courses taken prior to applying may fulfill the four-year requirement. Courses may be non-degree work.

I will complete my bachelor’s degree in the spring and will not have any professional work experience. Will you consider my application for admission to the Full-Time MBA?

We don’t require a minimum number of years of work experience. Each year we admit a small number of students directly from undergraduate or graduate studies without work experience. We will want to understand why now is the right time for you to pursue an MBA degree. Several factors are considered to determine your contribution to the class — teamwork, leadership potential, excellent academic records, possible undergraduate internships, community work, extracurricular activities, etc.

Do I need a business background to apply to the program?

It is not necessary to have business coursework prior to entering the MBA program — we are looking for a very diverse class. Majors have included computer science, engineering, chemistry, biology, sociology, literature, philosophy, political science, etc.

What is the minimum GMAT score for the Rady MBA program?

There is no minimum requirement; however, the average GMAT scores have been in the high 600s for the Full-Time MBA program. Details can be found in the class profile under your program of interest. GMAT scores are good predictors of how well students will do in the required core classes, and strong scores may serve to balance lower undergraduate academic performance. GMAT scores in one sitting are evaluated, not averaged from multiple sittings.

I’m a college senior. Am I eligible to apply to the MBA program?

The Rady School welcomes applications from undergraduates who have excelled academically and personally and who can articulate their reasons for continuing directly to the MBA program. Undergraduate majors in science or engineering or technical disciplines are particularly relevant to the Rady School’s emphasis, but these are by no means the only majors we consider. Please contact the Rady Graduate Admissions Office for more information.

Does the Rady School accept students with advanced degrees?

The Rady School welcomes applications from individuals who have already completed advanced study in science, engineering, medicine and technology. Deep knowledge of a scientific or technical field can, in combination with a rigorous MBA education focused on innovation, provide you with a launching pad for an exceptional career. Our student body, in both Full-Time and FlexMBA programs, includes unusually high numbers of people with advanced degrees. Please contact the Rady Graduate Admissions Office.

Does the Rady School view military service as relevant work experience?

Yes, the admissions team recognizes the valuable leadership skills that applicants with military service can bring to the Rady School. Members of the military and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. Please visit our Military section for more information. If you are interested in speaking to a current student or alumni with a military background, this can be arranged through the Rady Graduate Admissions Office.

Are there minimum requirements for language exams for international students?

There are mandatory minimum scores that are required by the UC San Diego’s Graduate Division. The university-wide minimum TOEFL score required for consideration for graduate admission is 550 for the paper based test (PBT), and 80 for the internet based test (iBT).

The university-wide minimum IELTS Academic Training exam score required for consideration for graduate admission is Band Score 7.

The minimum PTE Academic score required for graduate admission is Overall Score: 65.