Jan 042009

The following chart, taken from econphd.net, is based upon 2002 data and shows GRE scores for various academic fields of graduate study:

Three things strike me about this chart. First, the total scores for the scientific disciplines are consistently higher than those for the humanities and social sciences; second, philosophy has the highest total score of the non-scientific disciplines; and third, the low ranking of education (and public administration) calls into question the seriousness of our culture — and its sustainability.


  9 Responses to “GRE Scores by Discipline”

  1. Odd that medicine is included, as medical students take the MCAT and not the GRE. This list is suspect.

  2. Hey, Paul— cool find. I posted it to Hacker News: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=421373

  3. The humanities and social science students consistently score better on the verbal section than the physicists, mathematicians, and engineers do.

    There are at least two important assumptions on which the blogger’s conclusions depend: first, that a standardized test like the GRE measures anything meaningful at all. Second, that the multiple-choice format is equally well suited to testing math skills as verbal skills. Both assumptions are dubious.

    As a biographical note, I took the GRE in 2001 before getting a PhD in classics. I got 730 verbal, 800 math, and 780 analytical. But I hated the humanities bull**** and now I’m in computer software.

  4. Fields Arranged by Purity – http://xkcd.com/435/

  5. meidcal students also take the GRE, mostly IMGs who wants to enter the US and wait for their acceptance some day. You see the GRE for doctors community on some social networking sites 🙂

  6. At the site where Jeb posted the link there are many comments — including one by “axiom” who renormalized the tests to have equal variance:

    The only major change looks like philosophy jumped from 9th to 3rd.

    1 1.19
    2 1
    9 0.92
    4 0.89
    3 0.87
    5 0.7
    6 0.67
    7 0.43
    8 0.39
    11 0.36
    10 0.32
    15 0.27
    18 0.16
    14 0.14
    16 0.12
    17 0.08
    19 0
    20 -0.03
    13 -0.16
    12 -0.2
    21 -0.59
    23 -0.61
    22 -0.67
    24 -0.86
    25 -1
    26 -1.12
    27 -1.43
    28 -1.83

  7. […] Thinking about platonism reminded me of the following cartoon — linked in a comment to our GRE post. It is from a nice site, xkcd: A Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math and […]

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