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Harvard University GRE Cutoff: GRE Scores for Harvard

Updated on 23 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Thousands of aspirants send their applications to Harvard University every year, hoping to get selected for their desired graduate programs. However, the institution adheres to strict guidelines and picks only the best from the lot.
As such, reinforcing your application becomes a must to ensure success for acceptance by the university. Apart from the impressive academic record, letters of recommendation, and interviews, having a good GMAT/GRE score serves as icing on the cake. 
If you find yourself in a situation where you are constantly stressing about getting into Harvard for MS then this article is for you. Keep reading, as we acquaint you with all the details regarding Harvard University GRE cutoff.

Exam Brief

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations and is one of the crucial exams for your admission into world-class universities. This standardized test is conducted online and has multiple-choice questions.
Universities use this test to analyze candidates' competencies like verbal reasoning and quantitative skills. The questions asked are diverse from topics like algebra, geometry, arithmetic aptitude and more. Additionally, the vocabulary and comprehension skills of the candidate are also assessed. 
The GRE scores are considered all across the globe by universities to measure a candidate's capability to keep up with their graduate program. 
The same applies to institutes in the US and UK, and hence you will have to clear the Harvard University GRE score to secure admission to the college. 

What are the Different Parts of GRE Exam

The GRE is divided into three sections: Verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. 

The verbal reasoning section is based on college-level vocabulary and comprehension. In this section, a candidate is asked to analyze the given passages, find the missing sentence component, and understand the implications of each paragraph. 
Questions included in this section deal with

  • sentence equivalence
  • reading comprehension
  • text completion 

In the quantitative reasoning section, the questions are based on fundamental, high school-level numerical skills. Some of the topics to lay stress on while preparing for quantitative reasoning are algebra, arithmetic, data analysis, and geometry.
Questions included in the quantitative reasoning section are from the following topics:

  • Data interpretation sets
  • Numeric entry
  • Quantitative comparison
  • MCQs (select one answer)
  • MCQs (select multiple answers)

Lastly, the analytical writing section is based entirely on your skills to develop a grammatically correct and easily comprehensible essay. The candidate will be tested on the ability to form coherent thoughts and develop logical responses in an organized manner. 
This section includes a task on 'Analyze an Issue'.

GRE Score Break Up

The maximum number of marks one can score in the GRE is 340. The break-up for each section with the respective increments is mentioned in the table below:

SectionScore RangeIncrements
Verbal Reasoning130-1701 point
Quantitative Reasoning130-1701 point
Analytical Writing0-6half-point

How Many Times is GRE Exam Conducted

GRE is conducted at the candidate's convenience throughout the year. You can choose the test date and center that suits you the best as per the availability. However, the number of maximum attempts is capped at five. GRE is developed and conducted by the Educational Test Services (ETS).

Important Resources to Read:

GRE Exam Eligibility CriteriaGRE Exam DatesGRE Test Centers
GRE Exam fee in IndiaHow to Register for GRE Exam in IndiaBest Books for GRE Preparation
Sections in GRE ExamHow to Prepare for Verbal in GREHow to Score 170 in GRE Quant


Download these useful guides to ace your GRE preparation

GRE  Quant Guides
GRE verbal Sample
GRE AWA sample

GRE Score for Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the globally renowned universities in the USA known for its strict admission criteria. Apart from good scores and extracurricular and interview records, you will need a high GRE score for admission into different departments. 

Ranked 5th position in the QS World Rankings 2024, Harvard University offers graduate programs in the below-mentioned streams:

  • Engineering and Technology- ranked at #3rd position
  • Life Sciences and Medicine- ranked #4th position
  • Social Sciences and Management- ranked at #8th position
  • Arts and Humanities- ranked at #6th position
  • Natural Sciences- ranked at #1st position
  • Business and Management- ranked at #2nd position

What’s a Good GRE Score for Harvard University

The expected GRE score will vary based on the department you want to study in. For instance, if you wish to enroll in a department that involves dominance of subjects like maths and physics then it becomes important for you to score well in the quantitative reasoning section. Similarly, if you are contesting for the course that requires you to have good vocabulary skills then scoring high in the verbal reasoning section becomes more imperative. 

Fields like education demand the verbal average with 91st percentile and quantitative average with the 71st percentile while analytical writing average is 5.0 for the PhD candidates.

In programs such as a Master of Education, the verbal average requires 81st percentile and the quantitative average requires 61st percentile, while analytical writing average is 4.6. 

At the Harvard John A. Paulson School of engineering and applied sciences, the average GRE quantitative scores fall in the range of 90th to 95th percentile whereas the average verbal GRE scores stand at 75th – 80th percentiles across all the master's and PhD programs.

In case of Graduate School of Design (architecture), the average GRE score for the verbal stands at 157, for the quantitative it is 159, and for the analytical writing sections, it is 4.0. 

Overall, to make it to Harvard University, you need to aim for a score of 164 or higher in both sections of the GRE. You can find the GRE cutoff for Harvard university mentioned below

SchoolVerbal Reasoning Average Score Quantitative Reasoning Average ScoreAnalytical Writing Average ScoreAverage GPA Required
Harvard Business School1621665.03.85
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences1631674.53.8
Harvard Graduate School of Design 1581594.03.6
Harvard Graduate School of Education1581574.03.6
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health1581604.53.8
Harvard Kennedy School 1631604.53.7

The average AWA score accepted by Harvard University is 4.5. Also, a GPA score of 3.8 to 4.0 will work in your favor. If the GPA score is not that high, the difficulty of the program might work in your favor while applying. 

While submitting the application, one should keep in mind the requirements set out by the different Harvard schools. For instance, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), consider not more than two sets of GRE general tests. If the test is taken by the candidate twice then the most recent one would be given preference by the institution. It does not average the two set of GRE scores and both the scores are viewed individually by the institution. The GRE scores should not be more than five years old. 

GRE is an one important aspect of the application, if the scores are significantly low for instance below the 50 percentile in Verbal, the 30 percentile in Quantitative, and 3.5 in Analytical Writing, the chances for admission becomes scanty.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.