Online MBA Programs without a GMAT Requirement

Graduate school applicants in all fields face the daunting task of taking and passing a graduate level admission test, and is also true for the many in the business management field who aspire to further their education beyond a bachelor’s. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the usual examination required for entry into an online MBA program. However, schools are increasingly waiving this requirement for reasons that we will discuss below. Let’s first take a look at the GMAT and the challenges it presents.


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The GMAT is used as an entrance examination for a large number of graduate business colleges internationally. It measures the test taker’s analytical, problem solving, quantitative, and verbal abilities that are considered integral to potential success in business management programs. The GMAT is a standardized test, which is timed and allows test-takers approximately two minutes to complete each question. Since test-takers are penalized for leaving answers blank and are often presented with more than one similar answer in the choices, the GMAT encourages guesswork, which may not be representative of ability. Furthermore, test takers who are able to spend time and money on preparatory courses tend to do better on the exam than those who cannot adequately prepare. For these reasons, it may be attractive to some potential online MBA students to seek out programs that waive the GMAT requirement.

Why are more business schools waiving the GMAT? Colleges offering the MBA have recognized that there are strong indicators of graduate school success aside from standardized test scores, so this shift has are some of the additional indicators that colleges, especially online programs, have found predict success in MBA programs.

  • Success in undergraduate programs: A graduating GPA of 3.0 or higher is an indicator of probable success in graduate school.
  • Undergraduate grade point average (GPA): The top MBA programs require a 3.50 GPA for a GMAT waiver.
  • Work experience: Many schools waive the GMAT requirement for management professionals with two or more years of documentable work experience.
  • A previous graduate degree: If an applicant already has a graduate degree in another major, the GMAT is often waived.
  • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test scores: GRE scores are generally accepted in place of GMAT scores.
  • AACSB graduates: A recent graduate of an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredited program may be accepted without having to take the GMAT.
  • Possession of certain licenses: Those who are credentialed with a CPA, CFA, CMA or have been admitted to the bar may be able to have the GMAT waived.

Non-GMAT online MBA programs may include or rely more heavily on the following elements:

  • The regional accreditation of the institution granting the bachelor’s degree.
  • Documented professional experience of two to 15 years.
  • A resume listing experience and accomplishments.
  • At least three letters of recommendation from professionals or academics familiar with the applicant’s achievements.
  • A statement of professional goals that relates to the MBA program.
  • Essays on solutions to business problems.
  • Records of all undergraduate, certificate and other formal training received.

The good news? More and more online MBA programs are waiving the GMAT requirement, so if you meet one or more of the alternative requirements, you may be able to be accepted into business school without having to take the GMAT.

10 Most Affordable No GMAT Online MBA Programs

We researched and collected data on over 100 online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs and narrowed them down to the 10 most affordable “No GMAT” programs available. Each of these low-cost MBAs are featured and reviewed below, including a summary of the requirements, program differentiators, start dates, and the cost per credit hour. Before delving into our top 10 list, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, it is important to note that “GMAT waivers” can come in many forms, some being exclusive to only a few of the most elite candidates. We narrowed our list to include only those programs that feature GMAT waivers for average professional applicants, not those programs whose GMAT waivers are for elite candidates, such as PhD holders, only.

Second, to determine the most affordable programs, we considered the out-of-state tuition (not including scholarships or other financial aid) of these schools and eliminated those programs that were not at least 20% cheaper than the average online MBA per credit cost of $922 per credit hour. All 10 programs below are between 20-60% more affordable than average.

Third, the program prices displayed below for comparison are “per credit hour,” so keep in mind that the total price will depend on the total number of credit hours required to earn each degree and that each school’s MBA program may require a different number of credits. That said, most programs on this list require a general range of 28 to 36 credits for their No GMAT MBA programs.

Last, we only included programs that are at not-for-profit (public and private not-for-profit), accredited institutions. All programs on our list have been accredited by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and/or the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. Walsh University

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The AACSB-accredited 100% online MBA program from Walsh University, a private Catholic not-for-profit school, offers small class sizes, an accelerated online format that allows students to complete some courses in eight weeks, and flexible scheduling ideal for working students. Walsh students can graduate with their MBA in as little as 12 months, but more commonly two years..

There is no GMAT requirement for the MBA program at the Walsh DeVille School of Business, but all applicants must have an accredited undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The 36-credit program offers three specializations options including Management, Healthcare Management and Marketing. It is possible for students to complete this program in as little as one year.

The program cost at Walsh is only $685 per credit, which is still 25% cheaper than the average online MBA cost.

9. Frostburg State university

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
The online MBA program from Frostburg State University, a public university, is fully AACSB-accredited.

No GMAT is required for applicants who have an undergraduate GPA of at 3.65 or higher. Applicants with an advanced degree with at least a 3.0 GPA or those with a 3.25 GPA and at least two years of management or professional experience, also can apply without submitting GMAT scores.

The MBA program 36-42 credit hours depending on each student’s academic background and the seven-week course model offers six different sessions and application deadlines per year.

The cost per credit for the MBA program is $646, making it 29% more affordable than the average online MBA.

8. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
The College of Business at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a public research university, offers an AACSB-accredited online MBA with a GMAT waiver option.

While there are a few different waiver considerations, the most applicable one is for people with at least seven years of managerial experience along with an “acceptable” undergraduate GPA. The other GMAT waiver possibility is for applicants who hold a PhD, JD, MD, or Pharm D, are currently enrolled in medical school, or who have been admitted to the Nebraska College of Law. While a GMAT score of at least 600 is highly recommended for admission, applicants who meet the above requirements may request a waiver in their application.

The core program is 30 credit hours plus 18 credit hours of electives, for a total of 48 credit hours. Concentration options include Business Analytics, Supply Chain Management, International Business, Finance, and Marketing. The application deadlines for the online MBA programs at University of Nebraska-Lincoln are in July, November, and April.

The cost per credit is $630, which is 31% more affordable than the average online MBA.

7. Marylhurst University

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Marylhurst University offers an IACBE-accredited online MBA without GMAT requirements. Marylhurst University, a private Catholic not-for-profit school, is located in Portland, Oregon and serves students of all faiths and backgrounds. In fact, 32 different faiths are represented at the school, and religious observances are not required.

At Marylhurst, no GMAT is required to apply; however, applicants are required to hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a GPA of at least 3.0, plus a minimum of five years of full-time professional work experience. Applicants who do not meet these requirements must submit a GMAT score of at least 550 or higher to apply.

The 48-credit program is 100% online, with no in-person requirements. Concentrations include Financial Planning, General Business, Healthcare Management, Real Estate, and Sustainable Business.

The MBA program accepts students year-round, which means business administration coursework can begin in the fall, winter, spring, or summer.

The cost of Marylhurst’s MBA program is $628 per credit, which is 31% more affordable than the average online MBA.

6. The University of Saint Mary

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Located in Leavenworth, Kansas, the University of Saint Mary, a private liberal arts school, offers an online MBA program that can be completed in as little as one year.

The University of Saint Mary does not require any entrance exams, such as the GMAT or GRE, for acceptance into its program. The online MBA focuses on preparing students to become capable managers and to succeed in their business careers.

This IACBE-accredited online MBA offers six opportunities each year to begin the online MBA degree program.

Available concentrations, all comprised of 36 credit hours, include Leadership and Organizational Health, Finance, General Management, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing, and Advertising Management. The cost of an MBA at USM is $615 per credit hour, which is 33% more affordable than the average online MBA.

5. McKendree University

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
McKendree University is a nationally ranked, accredited private university based in Lebanon, Illinois. The 36-credit fully-online MBA has a general concentration or an MBA-Human Resource Management concentration.

The McKendree MBA program is designed to focus on a broad range of business subjects without concentrating on a specific field of business, to give graduates the ability to problem solve and build teams in the workplace. While the degree does not have any in-person requirements, all courses do incorporate group work and written assignments.

The IACBE-accredited MBA program does not require a GMAT score with its application. Students will, however, be required to provide an application essay, three letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae or resume, and official transcripts from each college or university attended (with a minimum 3.0 GPA required). The cost of the McKendree program is $565 per credit hour, or 38% more affordable than average.

4. John Brown University

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
John Brown University is located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The ACBSP-accredited online MBA program requires a total of 33 credit hours to graduate. Students can also opt to take one of three six-credit concentrations in International Business, Organizational Behavior, or Market Research & Consumer Insights.

JBU’s general MBA program teaches students business strategy with an ethical approach, along with a biblical foundation. In addition to the 33-credit-hour MBA, JBU offers a 39-credit-hour MBA with optional concentrations in International Business, Organizational Behavior, or Market Research & Consumer Insights. .

The MBA program offers a GMAT waiver for students with undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from a regionally accredited school or for those who hold a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution in a related field.

This program at John Brown can be earned 100% online and the cost is just $560 per credit hour, which is about 39% cheaper than the average online MBA program.

3. Sam Houston State University

Master of Business (MBA)
The $488 per credit hour online MBA from Sam Houston University is about 47% more affordable than the average accredited online MBA.

Located in Huntsville, Texas, the College of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is a public and fully accredited institution. The AACSB-accredited online MBA program at SHSU requires 36 credit hours including 27 hours of core courses and nine hours of electives. The MBA program at SHSU prepares students to enter leadership roles in today’s business market or to continue on to a doctoral business program. Students with undergraduate degree in all disciplines are welcome to apply.

The MBA at Sam Houston offers a GMAT waiver that requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher or an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 for students with at least three years of “significant managerial and professional experience” reflected on a resume. The GPA waivers are made on a case-by-case basis. Only about 23% of entrants provide a GMAT score with their application.

There are three start dates every year in August, December, and May.

2. Lamar University

Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management Online
The online MBA at Lamar University comes in at an only slightly higher price than William Woods,t at $408 per credit. This MBA program, however, is still 56% more affordable than the average MBA cost of $922 per credit. Lamar University is a public institution located an hour outside of Houston in Beaumont, Texas. Lamar University’s College of Business is accredited by the AACSB and the HLC.

Based on the FranklinCovey® principles of leadership, the 36-credit-hour MBA program is broken down into seven core courses and four to six6 concentration/specialization courses. Program concentrations include Project Management, Criminal Justice Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Healthcare Administration.

This program offers a GMAT waiver to applicants who have both a 3.0 GPA or higher and four or more years of professional or managerial experience. Only about 21% of entrants provide a GMAT score, so using the waiver should not put an applicant at any disadvantage. Admission into the MBA program also requires students with non-business undergraduate degrees to take 12 semester hours of prerequisite courses.

With the Lamar MBA program, students can earn a degree entirely online with no in-person course requirements. Additionally, there are no live lectures in this program, so coursework is done at each student’s own pace. A few courses may require group projects or a final exam that will require scheduling to complete.

Start dates are in October, January, and March, with an application deadline of about one month before each start date.

1. William Woods University

Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Entrepreneurial Leadership
The online MBA from William Woods University is the most affordable program on our list. With a basic out-of-state tuition cost of only $366 per credit, this program is 60% more affordable than the average online MBA.

William Woods University is a private not-for-profit institution located in Fulton, Missouri. The online Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at William Woods University is fully accredited by the ACBSP as well as the HLC. The 30-credit-hour MBA program is broken down into 10 three-credit courses, including a final case project in which students will complete and defend a business plan to a panel of business experts.

This program does not require GMAT or GRE scores but it does require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher, and three hours of undergraduate coursework in Accounting, Economics, and Finance. The MBA has six start dates every year in August, October, January, March, May, and June.

Because most course material is pre-recorded video, the William Woods MBA can be completed 100% online at any time and has no on-campus requirements.