How Hard Is It To Get Into Yale Grad School

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

We’re Josh and Ethan. We live in New Haven, Connecticut, which is the home of Yale University.

We have been friends for a long time, and we both love data. We also both graduated from Yale with masters degrees in Statistics, and Ethan is currently working on his PhD in statistics at Yale. When we were applying to graduate school, we started to wonder—what are the odds of us getting in? And how do those odds depend on our race or gender?

Well, we decided to find out! We wrote an algorithm that allowed us to scrape through every profile on a grad school admissions website that was public. Then we organized all the data into categories and analyzed it. This website is the result!

Our hope is that this information will help you figure out how well your application will be received by graduate schools across the United States.

Ivy League graduate schools are highly competitive and admissions panels only make offers to students who they feel can make a significant contribution to the legacy of the school. While deferment may be possible, it’s not ideal.

Famous Yale University is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States. It was established in 1701. The college, which got its name from the family of Elihu Yale who donated the school, is also known for being one of its kind.

So… You’re thinking about applying to graduate programs at Yale. That’s awesome! But maybe you’re a little nervous? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

At Yale Grad School, we believe in you. We believe that you can get into Yale. Or if not Yale, then another top school in your field. Or if not that… well, then there’s still plenty of amazing universities where you can do cool research and build the skills you’ll need to get a job in your field!

Whatever happens with this application process, we’re here for you. We’ll help you apply, we’ll give you tips on how to succeed in grad school, and we’ll teach you how to make your resume stand out once you’ve graduated (because believe it or not, it’s a good thing to write “I went to Yale” at the top of your resume!).

We know that grad school isn’t right for everyone—that’s why we don’t just want to be some high-and-mighty website telling you what schools are best or which degree is going to be the most rewarding for your career. We want to help YOU figure out what YOU want from grad school—and then get it!

Getting accepted into an Ivy League school for your undergraduate degree can be an extremely competitive process. If you don’t get into an Ivy League right away, you may have a chance to attend one of these schools for your graduate degree. Graduate programs at Ivy League schools can be just as competitive as their undergrad counterparts. If you did well during your undergraduate program, and you have some work experience, then you definitely have a better shot of getting in.

Ivy League Graduate School Acceptance Rates

To get a better idea of which Ivy League schools are the hardest to get into, it’s worth looking at the individual schools’ acceptance rates. However, it’s hard to get accurate numbers because each program within that school may have their own acceptance rates.

Brown: According to Brown University’s website, the graduate acceptance rate for master’s and doctoral programs was 19 percent. There were 11,682 students that applied and 2,267 admitted.

Columbia: At Columbia, each graduate program has different acceptance rates that are unique to the program itself. For instance, according to Peterson’s, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia has an acceptance rate of 21 percent. Of the 13,288 students that applied, 2,805 were accepted.

Cornell: According to Peterson’s, the graduate school acceptance rate is 23 percent. Of the 20,805 applicants, 4,800 were accepted.

Dartmouth: The acceptance rate at the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies at Dartmouth is 31 percent. Of the 1,360 students that applied, 415 were accepted, according to Peterson’s.

Harvard: According to U.S. News & World Report, Harvard Law is not actually the hardest law school to get into, at a 15.8 percent acceptance rate in 2017. Additionally, Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has a decent acceptance rate as well, at 13 percent.

Penn: According to Peterson’s, the acceptance rate at Penn’s Biomedical Graduate program is 22 percent. Of the 1,591 students that applied, 354 were accepted.

Princeton: The Princeton.edu website states that for the 2018 to 2019 school year, there were 11,731 applicants to the graduate school, of which 1,373 were accepted. This was a 12 percent acceptance rate.

Yale: The Yale Graduate School acceptance rate varies from one graduate program to another. For example, for the class of 2020, the Yale MBA program acceptance rate was 8.5 percent, while the acceptance rate at the Yale School of Medicine Physician Assistant’s program was 3.6 percent, according to The Graduate School Site.

At Yale Law, according to Yale University’s Fast Facts, the acceptance rate was 6.8 percent in 2017. Yale is also the hardest law school to get into, according to U.S. News & World Report.

yale graduate school requirements

If you’d like to go to an Ivy League school to earn your graduate degree, keep in mind that the application requirements are generally the same as any other grad school. That being said, according to Master’s Portal, your credentials must meet a certain standard:

  • A U.S. bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate academic institutions you have attended.
  • An average GPA of 3.71 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Standardized test scores (GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT)
  • GRE scores must be between 155 and 170 on all subjects, LSAT scores must be a 173 or higher and MCAT scores must be 36.6 or higher
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement
  • Resume/CV
  • Non-refundable application fee

You’ll have to make sure that you not only meet the general requirements, but that you also meet the requirements at the specific school and program you’d like to apply to. Check the prospective school’s website before applying for more information.

Which Ivy League Grad School is the Easiest to Get Into

When it comes to figuring out which Ivy League graduate school is the easiest to get into or the hardest to get into, it would be really difficult to make that determination because every thing is relative. Most people applying to an Ivy League for graduate school aren’t doing so just for the sake of going to an Ivy League and will be picky as to where they will apply.

Competitiveness is based on the school’s ranking, the ranking of the specific program and the number of applicants. For example, while Penn Law is a selective graduate program, other programs that this school offers may not be as selective.

If a school has a lower acceptance rate, for instance, Harvard’s undergraduate program is 5.33 percent in 2015 according to Business Insider, this doesn’t indicate that Harvard is the “hardest” to get into, especially because graduate schools and undergraduate schools are different.

All this considered, based on the information above, it would seem that Dartmouth is the easiest Ivy League grad school to get into because of its 31 percent acceptance rate.

How high do your GRE scores need to be to get you accepted into Yale? Yale is one of the country’s most prestigious universities and, as you might imagine, competition is tough to get into its graduate programs. In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about Yale GRE scores, including the average GRE scores of accepted students for various Yale grad programs, which grad programs Yale is best known for, how you can figure out the GRE scores you need to get accepted, and what else Yale considers when it looks at your application.

What Grad Programs Is Yale Known For

Yale University has just under 7,000 grad students enrolled (which is higher than its undergrad enrollment), and many of its graduate programs are among the top in the country. In the US News’ 2019 rankings of schools, Yale ranked in the top ten for the following grad programs:

  • Biology (#6)
  • Chemistry (#9)
  • Economics (#1)
  • English (#8)
  • Fine Arts (#1)
  • History (#1)
  • Law (#1)
  • Mathematics (#9)
  • Nursing (#4)
  • Political Science (#4)
  • Psychology (#4)

Yale’s economics, fine arts, history, and law programs are especially well regarded, and they are each often ranked as #1 in the US.

As you probably expect from a school with so many top programs, admissions to Yale are very competitive. Most students have GRE scores well above the national average of 150 on the Verbal section and 153 on the Quantitative section. Average GRE scores for accepted Yale students tend to be from 155-165 for Verbal and 160-167 for Quant. These scores correspond to about the 69th to 96th percentiles for Verbal scores and the 76th to 92nd percentiles for Quant scores. However, Yale average GRE scores depend a lot on which school/program you’re applying to, which we discuss more in the next section.

What Are the Yale Average GRE Scores

Below is a chart showing the average GRE scores of accepted applicants for different Yale graduate programs. Also included in the chart is any minimum required GRE scores, the average GPA of accepted students, the program/school’s acceptance rate, and its ranking by US News.

Programs that don’t accept GRE scores (such as the law school, medical school, and fine arts school) aren’t included in this chart, but programs that accept the GRE as well as other standardized tests are included, such as Yale’s School of Management, which accepts GRE or GMAT scores.

Not every program provided every piece of information, and not every graduate program at Yale calculates or provides admissions statistics. If the program you’re interested in isn’t included below, you can look for a similar program in the chart to get a general idea of the average GRE score. For example, if you want to apply to Yale’s Microeconomics program, you can estimate that the average GRE scores for that program are close to the average GRE scores for the International and Development Economics program.

School or ProgramAverage GRE Quant ScoreAverage GRE Verbal ScoreAverage Cumulative GRE ScoreAverage GPA of Accepted StudentsAcceptance RateUS News Rank
Computer Science16616232820th
East Asian StudiesMinimum score of 308 required4th
Engineering Master’s)16715532239th
Engineering (PhD)16715732439th
International and Development Economics16515932417%5th
Yale School of Management1631653283.7120%11th
Physician’s Associate Program1631563193.7214%20th
Department of Psychology1671623293.802.5%3rd
Grad School Q & A: James Souder '13, studying at the Yale School of  Forestry and Environmental Studies - EMU News

Summary: Yale GRE Scores

Yale is one of the most competitive schools in the country, so it’s unsurprising that Yale average GRE scores are high regardless of what graduate program you’re interested in applying to. The average Yale University computer science GRE score is 166 for Quant and 162 for Verbal. Average Yale clinical psychology GRE scores are 167 for Quant and 162 for Verbal.

Many programs don’t post their average GRE scores, but you can get an estimate by looking at the average GRE scores of similar programs at Yale or looking at the average GRE scores of similarly-ranked programs at other schools. Your goal GRE score for Yale University should be 2-3 points higher than the average GRE score for both the Verbal and Quant sections. This ensures your GRE scores are high enough to get you accepted.

However, your grad school application is much more than just your GRE scores. You’ll also need a strong college transcript, excellent letters of recommendation, and relevant research/work experience in order to show Yale that you’re an applicant worthy of admission.

What’s a Good GRE Score for Yale University

Your goal GRE score for Yale University will depend on which grad program you want to attend there. In the chart above, average cumulative GRE scores range from 319 to 329, or an average of about 159 to 165 for both Verbal and Quant. Certain programs have higher average GRE scores, and some programs have higher average Quant scores than Verbal scores, or vice versa. For example, Yale’s Master’s of Engineering program has an average Quant score of 167, but an average Verbal score of only 155, which makes sense since, as a STEM-focused Master’s program, you’ll be using STEM skills more than verbal skills.

In order to figure out the Yale GRE scores you should be aiming for, we recommend you find the average GRE scores for the program you want to apply to in the chart above. If your program isn’t listed in the chart, look at the GRE scores of the closest program to it, or look up GRE scores of programs with a similar US News ranking. Then, add 2-3 points to both the Verbal and Quant scores. These are your goal scores.

For example, if you want to apply to Yale’s Master of Science in Nursing program, you’ll find that they don’t list average GRE scores. However, you can get an estimate by looking at average GRE scores of Yale’s Physician’s Associates Program, which, like nursing, relates to the medical field. Yale’s PA program has an average Quant score of 163 and an average Verbal score of 156. This gives you a rough idea of what to aim for, as well as knowing that the nursing program likely wants to see higher Quant scores than Verbal scores. You can refine this estimate by looking at a similarly-ranked nursing program at a different school.

Yale’s Master of Nursing program is ranked 8th by US News, so we can look at the average GRE scores of the Master of Nursing program ranked just below Yale’s: Columbia University’s. Columbia’s program expects GRE scores higher than 150 on Verbal and 153 on Quant. Putting the information we found together, we can estimate that people applying to Yale’s Master’s of Nursing program should aim for a Verbal Score of about 155 (the average of the two scores we found plus two points) and a Quant score of about 160.

If you’re applying to a Yale program that doesn’t have the GRE scores of any similar programs listed in the chart above, you can find the GRE scores of similar programs at two different schools and make your estimate from that. For example, if you want to get a PhD in English at Yale, you’d find schools with English PhD programs ranked similarly to Yale’s program (ranked 8th). Cornell, whose English PhD program is also ranked 8th, wants a GRE Verbal score of at least 163 (no average Quant scores are given). Duke, whose English PhD program is ranked 13th, has an average Verbal score of 162 and an average Quant score of 149. Since Duke’s program is ranked lower than Yale’s, you may want to add one or two points to its averages to make up for the lower ranking. Then average those scores with Cornell’s Verbal score and add two points to each. That gives you a goal score of about 165 for Verbal and 153 for Quant.

Adding a few points to the average GRE scores of accepted students ensures that you’ll be high enough above the average that your GRE scores will be a strength, not a weakness, on your application, but it doesn’t set the bar so high that you’re spending too much time preparing for the GRE at the expense of other parts of your application.

is it hard to get into yale graduate school

Knowing average Yale GRE scores is important for getting a general idea of what your goal GRE score should be, but don’t think that they’re the key to getting into Yale. GRE scores are an important part of your application, but even a perfect GRE score won’t be enough to get you admitted if your application is very weak in other areas.

For example, Yale’s Department of Psychology has average GRE scores of 167 in Quant and 162 in Verbal. These are high scores, but they’re achievable if you have a smart GRE study plan. However, because the acceptance rate for the program is incredibly low (2.5%), you’ll need more than just stellar GRE score to get accepted since you can assume you’re competing with the best of the best.

In general, graduate programs, including Yale’s, care more about your undergraduate transcript, research/work experiences, and letters of recommendation than GRE scores when they make admissions decisions. These are what you should spend most of your time honing in order to have the best chance of getting into Yale. It also means that, if you have low GRE scores but are outstanding in another area, such as research you’ve done or work experience you have, you still have a solid chance of being admitted.

However, if you have a score that’s significantly below the average score of admitted students for that program, it may make the admissions committee doubt if you’re really capable of excelling at Yale. You want to meet your goal score but not neglect other areas of your application by studying too much for the GRE. Your time will be better spent creating an application that’s strong across the board.

How to Get Into Yale: Essays and Strategies That Worked — Shemmassian  Academic Consulting

If you’re thinking about applying to Yale, make sure your application is as strong as it can be. And don’t stress too much about the grades and test scores—focus on your achievements and what makes you stand out from other students.

After all, Yale wants students who are not only academically accomplished, but also engaged in their community and well-rounded. They want students who will contribute to their campus community by getting involved in extracurricular activities and succeeding inside and outside of the classroom.

Yale also looks for students who will take full advantage of what Yale has to offer. So make sure your application demonstrates that you’re passionate about learning, eager to engage with new ideas, and have a plan for how you’ll get the most out of your time at Yale.


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