GMAT and GRE: What they are, and why Hofstra Law doesn’t require the exams

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Entering college at the undergraduate level is a relatively straightforward process, with students judged based on widely used metrics such as their grade point averages and scores on examinations like the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). At the graduate level, things become more complex. Prospective graduate students, especially those seeking master’s degrees based in professional and business skills, come from a multitude of backgrounds and experience levels.

In some cases, graduate school admissions departments turn to standardized tests, such as the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to compare students and admit their incoming classes. In other cases, however, applicants don’t have to deal with the potentially time-consuming process of studying for and taking these examinations, proving their abilities in other ways.

It’s worth learning about the most common kinds of graduate student assessments, as well as the conditions that may cause schools not to use these tests and to admit their incoming classes due to other criteria. Once prospective applicants to graduate school have gotten the full picture of how and why institutions do and don’t use standardized exams, they can get on with the important work of completing their applications and finding programs that may help them pursue their professional and personal ambitions. A university offering online master’s programs with no GRE or GMAT requirement may be more heavily focused on professional rather than academic qualifications.

What is the GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) administers the GMAT, which is a test specifically aimed at applicants seeking management and business graduate degrees. The exam is widely used, with more than 2,000 schools accepting its results, and is designed to be the same from year to year and around the world, so administrators can use its results to form a baseline consensus about which students are most proficient in its particular set of skills.

There is a technological component to the GMAT, which uses computer-adaptive features to serve test questions based on the level of ability the taker has demonstrated. The GMAC presents this as a way to ensure the results are a highly accurate and granular representation of how much an individual knows about the subject matter. Tech features also include identification for test takers and the ability to create questions that resist rote memorization.

As U.S. News & World Report pointed out, potential business graduate students should take the test three or four months before the application deadline to allow enough time for a retake in the case of a disappointing performance. The publication added that it typically costs $250 to take the exam, and the test takes 3 1/2 hours to complete, including writing assessment, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning sections.

What is the GRE?

The GRE, offered by the Education Testing Service (ETS), isn’t just one test but several. In addition to a GRE General Test assessing widely applicable skills, there are GRE Subject Tests that assess subsets of student knowledge, such as mathematics or one of the sciences, in greater detail. U.S. News & World Report explained that while the GMAT is the traditional standard for graduate assessment, more schools have begun to accept the GRE as an alternative in recent years.

The ETS explained a few of the potential reasons for people to take the GRE. For example, the test is more general in scope than other tests and may help applicants who are not yet sure about which pathway they want to pursue after taking the exam. Furthermore, the expenses associated with taking the test may be lower — U.S. News stated the test costs $205 in most parts of the world.

The six GRE Subject Tests are in biology, chemistry, English literature, mathematics, physics and psychology. There was previously a biochemistry, cell and molecular biology test but it was last administered in 2016. The ETS specified that results on a subject test may be used by admissions departments as a supplement to undergraduate academic performance, and they can help administrators with student placement and guidance at the graduate level.

How do the GMAT and GRE differ?

The GMAT and the GRE are similar in some ways, as demonstrated by the fact that some schools now accept the GRE General Test as a GMAT alternative when assessing candidates for business and management programs. U.S. News & World Report did note that at some schools, there is a strong preference for the GMAT. Applicants should be aware of which a particular program prefers to avoid accidentally weakening their candidacy.

The actual process of taking the tests differs somewhat, according to the publication. While the GMAT requires students to keep moving through each question in sequence, the GRE enables participants to save their progress on a particular prompt and return later. This could be a stress-reducing factor for individuals who become tense when taking tests. With that said, all students should keep in mind that both tests have tight time constraints.

In the end, the GMAT and GRE represent ways for individuals to promote their own knowledge and experience to schools that accept them. When applying for consideration at such schools it’s worth doing some research into the institution’s preferences, alongside pondering an applicant’s own unique strengths and requirements. In addition, there are institutions that don’t base their admissions decisions on standardized tests — in these cases, candidates can take a third path and skip both the GMAT and GRE, proving their readiness in alternative ways.

What types of graduate programs don’t require the GRE or GMAT?

One of the things prospective students will note about the GMAT and GRE is that both tests require long and intensive study and preparation to excel. There are many courses available to make applicants ready to deal with the tests and the unique processes that come with taking them. The investment in these tests, including both money and time, is not directly related to preparing for graduate studies, but rather represents an outside assessment of students’ knowledge. Some schools have decided to forgo the GMAT and GRE and take a more direct route to vetting and admitting incoming students.

Despite the popularity of the GMAT and GRE, students won’t have much trouble finding colleges and universities that fit their academic interests and do not use the tests. U.S. News & World Report noted that among the 243 Master of Business Administration degree programs submitting testing policies for the publication’s annual grad school survey, 120 use either the GMAT or GRE, 16 use the GMAT only and 107 don’t require either. Outside of the MBA, in more specific programs based on more granular professional skills, applicants will find many schools taking the same approach.

When applying for a school that does not require GMAT or GRE results as part of the application, it’s especially important for prospective students to figure out what the institution does demand and value. In highly specialized and regulated fields, that may mean professional certification, while in programs aimed at career advancement, business history may hold elevated value compared with academic assessments.

Why doesn’t the online Master of Law in Health Law and Policy require the GMAT or GRE?

At the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, the online Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Health Law and Policy is one of the programs that does not use the GMAT or GRE as an admissions requirement. The same is true of the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy. Since the LL.M. is a legal degree, applicants need to have a J.D. or Bachelor of Laws, while the Master of Arts is for individuals with more general bachelor’s degrees.

Hofstra Law doesn’t focus on GMAT and GRE results for health law and policy graduate students because faculty and staff members see other parts of an applicant’s background as more demonstrative of that prospective student’s chances for success. These elements include undergraduate performance, as well as the online application and its accompanying statement, as well as the applicant’s resume.

Health law and policy is a highly specialized topic area based around the intersection of the legal and health care systems. Therefore, the ideal applicants for graduate studies in this subject will possess a strong professional background indicative of their desire to advance within or move into either the legal field or the medical industry. This experience and ambition can outweigh the results of standardized tests when determining who is most suited to continue in the health law and policy space.

What goes into an application for the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy program?

Since prospective students don’t have to produce GMAT or GRE results, it’s natural for applicants to the health law and policy online master’s program to ask what specific documentation they should produce instead. These candidates must submit the following when applying to this program at Hofstra Law:

  • For the online Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy program, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • For the online Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy program, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or a Bachelor of Laws
  • A completed online application
  • A current resume
  • A professional statement
  • Official academic transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended
  • Two letters of professional recommendation

With the focus heavily on work-related credentials rather than tests, Hofstra Law’s health law and policy program acts as a way for professionals who have begun careers in the medical or legal fields to deepen their knowledge as they continue on their chosen trajectory.

Letters of recommendation show that applicants have the know-how to complete the required coursework and the drive to accomplish academic goals. Due to the specialized nature of health law and policy work, people with professional connections to the candidates can provide some of the most accurate insights regarding their aptitude with the related concepts and ambition within the field, more so than a standardized test.

Law school advanced degree programs sometimes require Law School Admission Test (LSAT) results in the application process. The online Master of Law in Health Law and Policy at Hofstra Law does not, however. As with the choice not to require GMAT and GRE scores, this is due to program administrators’ determination that standardized tests are less indicative of professional readiness than business experience.

The elimination of GMAT and GRE requirements is meant in part to make the application experience a low-stress process for prospective students. Rather than dividing their attention between building academic credentials and focusing on work, candidates can keep their focus on developing a resume and making connections in their field. The 100% online nature of the program ensures that these students can maintain their full-time career ambitions while studying.

What sets 100% online master’s degree programs apart?

Professionals who want to take courses from accredited universities on their own schedules can seek out online degree programs including the online LL.M. from Hofstra Law. When classes are held online, students gain access to top-quality, highly experienced faculty members and are able to view lectures and interact with professors and fellow students through reliable digital portals while maintaining their full-time jobs.

Courses begin in fall, spring or summer, and depending on how many credits students earn each semester, the whole online LL.M. program may take as few as 18 months. Technical support personnel are on call 24/7 to ensure no IT issues come between participants and the high-quality legal education they have signed up for. These digital features serve the same purpose as the lack of standardized test requirements — to make earning an advanced degree a low-stress, highly rewarding process for professionals in the legal and medical professions.

A 100% online program, requiring no campus visits, allows students to learn from their own homes, enabling applicants to pick a school that most closely suits their needs and preferences, rather than taking the university’s location into account.

The growth of online programs in recent years has enabled more professionals to seek advanced degrees from top-quality institutions of their choice with no break in their job histories. By combining their graduate-level education with ongoing full-time work, these participants are building upon their career credentials in multiple ways.

Accredited and respected colleges and universities such as Hofstra Law maintain rigorous educational standards in their online curricula. The use of online, on-demand lectures and standardized test requirements differentiate these programs from traditional on-campus offerings, but the dedication to top faculty members, as well as a focus on a constantly updated and pertinent curriculum, keeps them in step with the on-campus learning options available from top universities. Whether in the court system, at law firms or within medical care providers, hiring managers will be aware of Hofstra Law’s track record of producing keen legal minds.

Who should consider Hofstra Law’s online master’s in health law and policy program?

One of the important facts regarding the health law and policy sector is its split between legal and medical concerns. This dual nature means the knowledge acquired in an online health law and policy degree program could prove helpful in many settings, from care providers to the legal firms that consult on medical matters.

Matters such as patient information privacy and quality of care are relevant throughout the industry, and the constantly evolving set of laws regarding the industry means there is a continuous need for well-informed and educated professionals who can navigate the requirements and make high-pressure decisions that will have serious repercussions for their employers.

From in-house counsel at a hospital, pharmaceutical manufacturer or other medical organization to a public-sector overseer or a litigator focusing on malpractice matters, there are dozens of roles that can benefit from an infusion of health law knowledge. Consultants can specialize in managing compliance matters for health care clients, while private law firms may choose physicians or patients as their primary clientele.

Specialization in health care matters may help professionals solidify their position within one of these institutions. Due to the massive number of patients interacting with the health care system at all times — and the increasing demand placed on institutions as the population ages and more advanced treatments become available — medicine is a field where employers are surely in need of experienced and knowledgeable professionals.

Lawyers learn about a wide range of topics when they take on the health care industry as their primary focus. From elder law and real estate transactions to information technology matters, employment disputes and securities, nearly every legal area imaginable intersects with medicine in ways large and small. Earning an online Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy can deepen the knowledge and experience to lead to excellence in this industry.

What is the difference between the Master of Laws and the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy?

The two online health law and policy degree programs available from Hofstra Law at the master’s level target professionals with different backgrounds, as represented by the key divergence in their admissions requirements. The Master of Laws is for individuals who hold J.D. or Bachelor of Laws degrees, while applicants with other bachelor’s degrees can apply to the Master of Arts program.

The latter degree program can prove instructive to health care stakeholders seeking to deepen their engagement with the legal aspects of their day-to-day work. Whether that means taking on new authority within a department such as administration, nursing, education, compliance or insurance, the concepts in the related courses may help participants prove their value within organizations that have to interact with both the U.S. legal system and the medical sector.

Each of the two degree types are based on preparing students to become part of the same essential teams and discussion groups, simply from different sides. The legal issues facing the medical industry today will be addressed by both lawyers who understand health care-specific concepts and internal staff members who can grasp the legal implications of their work and specialize in keeping their organizations in regulatory compliance. Each group of professionals could gain knowledge pertinent to their day-to-day tasks from a health law and policy education.

What do students learn in Hofstra Law’s health law and policy courses?

Professionals who earn health law and policy advanced degrees will receive education in the most pertinent and complex legal issues affecting the medical field today, as well as the interpersonal skills and problem-solving aptitude that may set great employees in the industry apart.

Highly specialized courses leading up to a cumulative capstone are designed to ensure every participant in the program gains a wide-ranging understanding of the way law and medicine interact. This knowledge may appeal to potential employers in every corner of health care law.

Major topic areas covered by these 100% online courses include:

  • The rules, regulations and complexities of the American legal system. Overseas students practicing in the U.S. for the first time will find this subject essential, and it will prove to be a pertinent reminder for all participants.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This sweeping legislation has had an ongoing effect on the legal picture around American health care since before its passage into law, and all legal personnel in the industry should have up-to-date knowledge of its status and ongoing implementation.
  • Medicare. This premier government health care program is only increasing in importance as the over-65 population in the U.S. grows. Understanding the latest changes to plan and coverage options, as well as the general legal framework underlying Medicare, is essential to being an effective health care lawyer today.
  • Medicaid. Due to the fact that Medicaid is administered by individual states and differs based on where enrollees live, it is an especially complex program to learn about. Fortunately, Health Law and Policy students receive such in-depth information in a combined Medicare and Medicaid Law course.
  • Drug development. There are numerous ways in which law and pharmaceutical development can intersect. Legal professionals with a keen understanding of the medical field may perform roles as disparate as inspecting manufacturing operations to ensure compliance and representing patients when wrongdoing is suspected.
  • Biotechnology. The companies behind biotechnological products and processes of all kinds require input from legal professionals, with these lawyers parsing government regulations in the U.S. and around the world, or even participating in the cases and disputes that lead to new policies.
  • Public health. Broad topics around the health of the population have remained relevant in the U.S. for decades, with each new administration bringing its own ideas about how to address crises including hunger, addiction and epidemics. Health Law and Policy students will discover how to address these issues from all angles and perspectives, including a focus on the moral and ethical questions inherent to public health debates.
  • Disability and discrimination. Due to its role as an oft-cited and amended U.S. health care statute, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is the central focus of a course on statutory interpretation that all LL.M. in Health Law and Policy students take. Participants will learn to grasp the implications of this important law while gaining critical thinking practices that can help them on similar deep dives into other pieces of legislation.
  • Transactions and business finance. U.S. health care organizations act like corporations in other fields, establishing partnerships and setting up mergers and acquisitions. Adding the regulations around this high-level financial activity to the laws governing health care practices creates a high-complexity environment where knowledgeable and experienced lawyers must always be on call. A comprehensive health law and policy program offers this financial perspective in addition to other granular legal matters.

When dealing with these medical industry subjects, out-of-date knowledge and information won’t suffice. Each new piece of legislation brings a new set of conditions for all people and organizations navigating the health care field. Online health law and policy students gain their insights directly from expert faculty members with deep connections to the U.S. health care system, giving them insights that may assist them in their work for care providers, patients, public sector organizations or any group of industry stakeholders.

Which soft skills and interpersonal competencies are associated with health law and policy?

Becoming more adept at handling the complex and in-demand roles at the intersection of health care and the legal sector entails more than building knowledge about the current state of relevant laws and industrial practices. Well-rounded professionals should also understand how to interact with their peers across all relevant functions, helping employees with vastly different roles and backgrounds unite as problem-solving teams.

Both legal professionals pursuing a Master of Laws and medical industry workers studying for a Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy will gain exposure to concepts and proficiencies that may prove essential in their subsequent careers. For instance, through their experience with examinations and papers, students will learn how to express complicated legal concepts in clear and accessible language that will help them make points across departmental and organizational lines.

This concept of smooth collaboration between disciplines is critical to health law and policy learning, no matter which side of the divide a particular professional works on. Lawyers will need to demonstrate that they understand how their expertise fits into the requirements of their health care clients or employers, while medical personnel should be confident when dealing with public sector agencies as well as representatives from the legal field.

In addition to learning to be better interdisciplinary communicators, students will emerge from online health law and policy degree programs with experience in decision-making, critical thinking and turning abstract concepts into concrete proposals, solutions and suggestions. These abilities may turn graduates into assets on their respective teams as they work to ensure matters such as compliance.

What are some possible health law and policy career outcomes?

It’s pertinent for potential online students in health law and policy to consider the outlook for a chosen profession before beginning the degree program. Due to the fact that digital courses are designed to be taken alongside a full-time job, this clarity about long-term career goals can help participants focus their efforts in both their academic and professional lives.

The following are a few of the paths at the intersection of law and health care that can benefit from specialization in the in-depth health care industry knowledge imparted in a health law and policy degree program. This could entail either an LL.M. degree for individuals who already have legal credentials or a Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy for people in the health care sector seeking greater interaction with the legal elements of their profession.

  • Internal paralegal at a health care provider: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that health care providers are among the organizations building up their internal teams of paralegals and legal assistants. These individuals are taking on more in-depth duties than they handled in the past, taking over roles that would have been handled by entry-level lawyers or external consultants in the past. Specializing in health law and policy could help a candidate stake out such a position. Paralegal work may represent career stability, as the total number of such roles is predicted to rise 12% between 2018 and 2028, compared to 5% growth across all occupations.
  • Lawyer with a health care specialty: While the demand for lawyers is growing more slowly than the need for paralegals, according to the BLS, the median annual salary of over $120,000 is a compelling reason to complete legal training. The agency noted that hiring patterns for lawyers mirror those for paralegals in one key way: Health care providers are hiring help for their internal legal departments. Individuals finding an inhospitable job market at traditional legal firms may find medical companies interested in their services. The specialized knowledge offered in Health Law and Policy degree programs may help candidates for these industry jobs set themselves apart from the competition.
  • Health care industry mediator: When legal disputes emerge between parties in the health care sector, mediators or arbitrators may be the ones who resolve the situation with a minimum of conflict. To thrive in their roles, these professionals should be equipped with accurate knowledge of the concepts fueling disagreements as well as the interpersonal abilities to guide the negotiation process to a conclusion that satisfies all parties. The BLS explained that mediator roles are projected to increase 8% between 2018 and 2028, higher than the all-jobs rate of 5%. Health care and social assistance organizations employ 10% of all mediators, while legal services firms employ 11% of these professionals.
  • Nurse attorney: Combining the duties of a registered nurse and a legal expert, the nurse attorney is a highly specialized role within any hospital or other care provider organization. Johnson & Johnson Nursing profiled this group of medical employees, describing a wide-ranging set of duties from writing and editing legal journals to serving as an expert witness in court cases and reviewing records when malpractice or personal injury is alleged. These registered nurses also take the lead in instructing fellow employees in regulatory compliance musts. Alongside what they’ve learned while meeting the requirements to enter the profession, including a J.D., a nursing degree and registered nurse credentials, these experts could deepen their knowledge relating to both aspects of their duties by earning a health law and policy master’s degree.

How should professionals prepare an application for a health law and policy degree with no GMAT or GRE requirement?

Legal professionals who are interested in pursuing a Master of Laws in Health Law and Policy or health care employees who want to earn the Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy can immediately begin preparing to apply. In the case or programs such as Hofstra Law’s offerings, which do not use GMAT, GRE or LSAT results to assess a candidacy, this is a relatively straightforward process more concerned with professional matters than the academic aspects of applying.

Prospective students should have their necessary submission materials assembled before they begin the online application to ensure the process, guided by an enrollment advisor, is as smooth and efficient as possible. This means requesting transcripts from previous higher education experience, as well as polishing and updating a resume and asking professional contacts for letters of recommendation. Because those letters will demonstrate the applicant’s experience and readiness in the absence of standardized test scores, focusing on this step is important.

The application process has a few extra steps for international candidates who studied outside of the U.S. educational system for their bachelor’s or law degrees. For example, the LL.M. Credential Assembly offers services for individuals seeking legal education in the U.S. As an alternative, candidates can have their transcripts evaluated by World Educational Services. People who did not study law in English and are now seeking a legal degree should present a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 100 on the internet-based version, 600 on the paper edition or 250 on the computerized exam.

With the preliminary steps completed, applicants are guided through their submission process by an enrollment advisor through direct chats. This step-by-step guidance, along with the lack of standardized testing, reflects the attitude of Hofstra Law toward its prospective students: Rather than erecting barriers in front of motivated and qualified professionals, forcing them to waste their time, the health law and policy program is designed to fit into those individuals’ schedules and lifestyles as they pursue their long-term career ambitions.

To find out more about the programs offered at Hofstra Law, check out the Online LL.M. in Health Law and Policy program page.

Recommended Readings:

What does it take to get an online master’s degree in law?

What Is a Compliance Officer and How Do You Become One?


ETS – The GRE General Test

U.S. News & World Report – What the GRE Test Is and How to Prepare

U.S. News & World Report – What the GMAT Is and How to Prepare for the Test

U.S. News & World Report – 5 Key Differences Between the GRE, GMAT

Graduate Management Admission Council – About the GMAT™ Exam

U.S. News & World Report – Top Online MBA Programs: No GMAT, GRE Required – Get Started with Medicare – Medicaid & You: Frequently Asked Questions

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Lawyers

Johnson & Johnson Nursing – Nurse Attorney