Why do we need to rethink STEM PhD admissions procedures?


STEM doctoral education is increasingly replacing didactic classroom learning and individual research projects with problem-based learning and interdisciplinary team research to solve complex problems. At the same time, the selection process has not changed dramatically for decades and still relies heavily on Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores [3]. The GRE measures analytical ability, but not creativity or practical abilities [4], nor does it measure interpersonal skills and collegiality, persistence, personal and professional integrity or maturity and responsibility, characteristics valued by graduate faculty [5, 6]. This means that the main measure used for STEM doctoral student selection is a test that does not measure skills needed to succeed in modern STEM disciplines.