Berkeley Law to Accept GRE and GMAT Results for Some Applicants

Friday, August 30, 2019

As part of a three year pilot study beginning with the fall 2019-2020 application cycle, Berkeley Law will now allow certain applicants to be considered on the basis of a GRE or GMAT score without needing to take the LSAT. 

Berkeley Law will accept the GRE and GMAT in some cases to make the process of applying to the J.D. program simpler for those interested in concurrent or combined degree programs, and for the candidates who are most likely to pursue specialized practice fields (for example, in patent law, start-up law, energy law, etc.). These are areas in which Berkeley Law excels, and our goal is to continue to attract top applicants from around the world. 

“After careful examination, we determined that while the vast majority of applicants will (and should) take the LSAT, some applicants could reasonably be evaluated on the basis of alternative assessments,” said Kristin Theis-Alvarez, Asst. Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. “Berkeley Law is a public law school with a longstanding commitment to access, to serving the public good, and to developing lawyers and leaders who will tackle our society’s most pressing and complex challenges – now and in the future. This has always meant that we seek to enroll candidates who are outside-of-the-box thinkers, and who want to build a multi-disciplinary toolkit to take forward with them into their careers. As always, our application review remains holistic. Test scores – from any source – are important, but not dispositive.” 

The law school will evaluate and monitor the pilot carefully moving forward, and ensure compliance with all relevant standards of the American Bar Association. “The three year pilot program will allow time for us to collect data from our experience at Berkeley Law.  We will evaluate this program each year during the pilot and consider adjustments if needed,” said Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.  “Allowing these students to apply with the GRE and GMAT will further our interdisciplinary mission and help us to continue to attract outstanding law students.”

Eligibility

Groups of eligible applicants are outlined below, along with examples: 

Concurrent and Combined Degree Program Applicants

Applicants to the J.D. program concurrently applying (in the same application cycle) to another U.C. Berkeley graduate or professional degree program.

Example: Applicant A is applying to both the J.D. program and the MPP program at Goldman for fall 2021, plans to pursue a J.D./MPP, but will (if admitted to both) begin in the MPP program and defer law until fall 2022. The J.D. program will accept the applicant’s GRE score.

Applicants to the J.D. program who, at the time of application submission, are currently enrolled in another U.C. Berkeley graduate or professional degree program and who seek to begin a concurrent degree program the following fall. 

Example: Applicant B is a first-year MCP student in the Department of City and Regional Planning. They are applying to the J.D. program in order to begin a concurrent J.D./MCP degree program in fall 2020. The J.D. program will accept the applicant’s GRE score.

Applicants to the J.D. program who, at the time of application submission, are currently enrolled in a degree program eligible to be combined with a J.D. from Berkeley Law, and who seek to begin that combined degree program the following fall.

Example: Applicant C is a first-year Masters of Arts student in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. They are applying to the J.D. program in order to begin a combined J.D./M.A. degree program in fall 2020. The J.D. program will accept the applicant’s GRE score.

Note: An applicant applying to the J.D. program who simply declares an intent to pursue a combined or concurrent degree program, without either already having applied to the other program or without being enrolled in such a program, is not eligible to apply with a GRE or GMAT score. 

Other Applicants

Applicants to the J.D. program who, at the time of application submission, are currently enrolled in another graduate or professional degree program, but who are not seeking to pursue a concurrent degree program. This includes but is not limited to graduate and professional programs at U.C. Berkeley.

Example: Applicant D is second-year MBA student at Haas, applying to the J.D. program for fall 2021 (after completion of their MBA). The J.D. program will accept the applicant’s GMAT score.

Example: Applicant E is a second year MPP student at the University of Chicago, applying to the J.D. program for fall 2021(after completion of their MPP). The J.D. program will accept the applicant’s GRE score.

Applicants to the J.D. program who, at the time of application submission, earned a graduate or professional degree within the previous three years at any institution, and for whom the GRE or GMAT was required for admission at the time they applied to the other program. This includes but is not limited to graduate and professional programs at U.C. Berkeley.

Example: Applicant F earned a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from U.C. Berkeley in May 2018, and is applying to the J.D. program for fall 2021. The J.D. program will accept the applicant’s GRE score.

Example: Applicant G earned a Ph.D. in Classics from Harvard University in May 2019, and is applying to the J.D. program for fall 2021. The J.D. program will accept the applicant’s GRE score.

(Note: While no test scores older than five years will be accepted in any case, this is most likely to come up for applicants who have completed or are close to completing a Ph.D. degree. There are no exceptions to the five-year rule, for score validity reasons.)

More information available here.

About J.D. Admissions at Berkeley Law

Berkeley Law is one of the nation’s premier law schools, and our academic demands are intense. But that’s only part of the picture.

Our students are bright, intellectually curious, and remarkably collegial. They come to Berkeley to experience a rich curriculum and a supportive learning environment, and to learn the law under a grading system that encourages them to compete with themselves, rather than against one another. Berkeley Law professors—even the most legendary—are approachable and accessible. Our distinguished alumni are members of an extended, world-wide family that is engaged with the school in a multitude of ways. Our leadership team actively seeks ways to improve the experience for everyone.

Being a member of the Berkeley Law community is an experience not just for three years, but for life. If you think it could be a place where you thrive, then we encourage you to apply.

Media Contact

Alex A.G. Shapiro
Executive Director, Communications
Berkeley Law
(510) 643-8010
ashapiro@law.berkeley.edu

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