Can an LSAT score replace a GRE or GMAT score?

Grad School Admissions

LSAT score in place of a GRE or GMAT score?
Georgetown University

When you think of the LSAT, you probably think of law school, not graduate or business school. Yet an LSAT score can be used when applying to certain Master's programs, including some that award an MBA.

Which Master's programs accept LSAT scores?

Just as many business programs (thousands of them, in fact) let you take either the GRE or the GMAT, some graduate and even MBA programs allow you to sit for the LSAT. For instance, if you're applying for a degree in public service, such as a Master of Public Policy, you'll likely have the option to submit an LSAT score. If you're seeking admission to a dual degree program that combines a Master's and a JD, such as a JD/MBA, the Master's program will often accept your LSAT score in place of a GRE or GMAT score. Here are several examples of LSAT-friendly programs, both single and dual degree.

Why choose the LSAT over the GRE or the GMAT?

Dual degree seekers who want a JD should count on taking the LSAT. However, candidates who just want an MPA or the like could go with the GRE or the GMAT. So why wouldn't they? Here are a few situations where a Master's only applicant may prefer to submit an LSAT score.

  1. You've already taken the LSAT in order to apply to law school, but now you've decided to apply to grad school instead, and you'd rather not prepare (and pay) to take another admissions exam, which can be time-consuming (and expensive).
  2. You haven't taken any admissions exam because you're still figuring out what you want to study. But you're also pretty sure you want a career in the public sector, which either a JD or an MP degree will prepare you for.
  3. You've decided to get just an MPA, MPH, or MPP, and you see an advantage in taking the verbal-only LSAT rather than the math-laden GRE or GMAT.

As the last scenario highlights, the LSAT doesn't measure quantitative ability. Both MBA and public sector oriented graduate programs tend to have a math requirement, and you won't be able to dodge it by taking the LSAT in place of the GRE or the GMAT. You'll need some proof of quantitative skill, typically in the form of college coursework. If you happen to have a strong quantitative background, a high quant score on the GRE or the GMAT may not add much to your application. Meanwhile, a high LSAT score could highlight your reading and reasoning skills—even more, perhaps, than would a high GRE or GMAT verbal score.

Know your exam options when applying to Master's programs. You may have more than you realize, and you wouldn't want to miss the chance to use an LSAT score, especially if you have one ready to go or believe that one could enhance your application.

Photo: "Car Barn Clock Tower" by Rob Ketcherside - Flickr: Car Barn Clock Tower. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.