darden classroom

Applying to Darden

MBA - Admissions - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Darden is committed to maintaining a thorough and fair admissions process for all applicants. In this section, you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions. Don't see your question here? Email us or attend a virtual coffee chat to connect with a member of our Admissions Committee.


dawna still image video overlay

Darden Admission Tips With Dawna Clarke

Darden's Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions Dawna Clarke offers a series of videos offering best ideas and practices for crafting your ideal application.

View All Videos

FAQ about the Darden MBA format and application process are sorted into the following categories:

  • General

    What MBA formats does Darden offer?


    How can I learn more about the Darden MBA?


    What dual degree programs does Darden offer?

    • MBA/MSDS
    • MBA/JD
    • MBA/MD
    • MBA/MPH
    • MBA/MEd
    • MBA/ME
    • MBA/MA in Government or Foreign Affairs
    • MBA/MA in East Asian Studies
    • MBA/Ph.D.
    • MBA/MPP

    Visit the Dual Degrees web page for more information.


    Can I begin the MBA in the spring?

    Darden offers only fall admission.


    Can I apply to Darden if I already have an MBA?

    The Darden School of Business does not admit students who have already completed an MBA from an AACSB accredited institution. To find out if a school is accredited by AACSB, please refer to the AACSB website.


    Does Darden accept transfer credits?

    No. Darden does not accept transfer credits.


    If I am offered admission, can I defer my enrollment?

    Please apply to Darden in the year before you wish to enter the program. Deferral requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but have only recently been granted for reasons related to military service or health issues. College seniors who have also been accepted into Teach for America’s program may defer admission until after their two years of service. In addition, some college seniors and recent college graduates may be offered deferred admission to attend in a subsequent year.


    Is it possible to work part time while enrolled in the Full-Time MBA?

    The MBA is in fact a full-time format. During the First Year, students begin their days with 8 a.m. classes and end their days in the evening with learning team meetings. Hours that are not scheduled are typically used for club meetings, recruiting and case preparation. The schedule does not leave enough time to work a part-time job. If you are interested in a more flexible format that allows you to work while attending classes, please explore the Darden MBA's Part-Time or Executive formats.


    What global opportunities does Darden offer?

    The Darden School connects with approximately 80 countries each year through academic programs, consulting programs and visits, and students are expected to have at least one global experience during their time here. For more information, please visit our Global Opportunities page.


    What organizations and resources are available for women and/or underrepresented minorities?


    Are there special resources for the military?

    Yes, please visit the Darden Military and Darden Military Association websites.


    Does Darden have research centers?

    Yes, Darden is home to the following research centers, each concerned with a unique aspect of the business world:

  • Application

    What are the application requirements?

    Visit Application Guidelines.


    When should I apply, and what are the application deadlines?

    Offers of admission are based on merit. There is no evaluative advantage to applying in an earlier deadline. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, however, it is best to apply by the earliest deadline possible. Visit Financial Aid and Application Deadlines to learn more.


    How do you assess candidates for the Darden MBA?

    A minimum of two members of the Admissions Committee will review and evaluate your application based on three broad areas: academics, professional experience and personal qualities and characteristics. A balance in the three areas is valued, but there is no formula that ensures admission. Darden does not have any specific prerequisites, but accounting and statistics are recommended before matriculation. Visit Admissions Guidelines for further details.


    May apply to more than one of UVA Darden’s MBA formats at once? 

    No. Applicants may only be evaluated for one format of the Darden MBA at a time, and simultaneous applications to Darden’s MBA formats will not be accepted. When starting an application, you will be asked to choose a deadline corresponding to your preferred MBA format, and you should target the format that best aligns with your desired schedule, experience and interests. If you have questions about which format of the Darden MBA may be right for you, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions team.

    If your format interest changes after you've submitted your application, simply contact our admissions team, and we will share a form in which you may request your application be moved to another format evaluation process. 

    Our MBA format evaluation processes are discrete, and, by extension, if an applicant has received a decision for one MBA format, that decision will not transfer to the new format process. If an applicant requests to be evaluated for a new MBA format, their previous decision is voided, and the applicant must be evaluated anew for the new MBA format, including, if applicable, interviewing again.


    My undergraduate college does not grade students with the GPA system. Should I leave the min and max GPA range on the application blank?

    If your undergraduate institution does not use the GPA system, then please enter a "0" (zero) in the fields on your application. We can see from your transcript more about the grading system used.


    I do not have an undergraduate business degree nor do I work in a "business" functional area. Am I eligible for admission?

    Yes, typically fewer than 50% of our students were undergraduate business or economics majors. Darden students come from a variety of settings, including non-profit, government, entrepreneurial/start-ups as well as traditional business settings. To find out more about our entering class, visit the MBA Class Profile.


    My official transcripts will not reach Darden in time for the deadline. Will my application still be considered for that deadline?

    We do not require official test scores and transcripts in order to process your application and get it to the committee for review. In the education section of the application, please enter the data requested and upload unofficial copies of all transcripts. If offered admission, you will need to send official documents. If you choose to send official documents in lieu of self-reporting on the online application, they must arrive in our office by the application deadline. For international students, attested transcript copies are considered official.


    How much work experience do I need?

    Although we have no minimum requirements, the average is four years and the range is usually one to ten years.


    Do internships and cooperative education count as work experience?

    They may be considered valuable experiences, but should not be counted as full-time work experience.


    How should I provide my transcripts?

    At the time of applying, Darden asks for unofficial transcripts. If an applicant is admitted and chooses to matriculate at Darden, then Darden will require official transcripts. These official transcripts can be emailed or mailed directly from the degree-granting institution. Electronic copies can be sent to darden@virginia.edu and hard-copy transcripts can be mailed to the following address. Please do not fax transcripts to Darden.

    Mailing Address: 
    Darden School Admissions 
    100 Darden Blvd 
    Charlottesville, VA 22903


    How can I submit my recommendations?

    Darden’s online application has a section for the applicant to submit contact information for their recommenders. This triggers an electronic notification to be sent to the contact the applicant has provided with steps for the recommender to submit their evaluation online. Once submitted, the recommendation will automatically associate with the application record. Recommendations through the online application are strongly preferred and if you need to submit the recommendation by another means please contact darden@virginia.edu


    How many recommendations are required?

    Just one! 


    Can I get supplemental recommendations?

    Yes, but use discretion. Please limit supplemental recommendations to those individuals who can supply additional insight into your experience.


    How will I know if Darden has received my recommendations?

    Our online application is designed to allow your recommenders to submit their recommendations electronically. Once the recommendation has been submitted, you will receive a notification email.


    What if there isn't enough space for me to enter my information in some of the data fields, for example in responses to essay questions?

    Some fields are deliberately restricted. With regard to the essay, applicants should respond to the essay question within the stated limit.


    May I request an application fee waiver?

    A nonrefundable application fee of $250 is required to process your application. However, we do offer fee waivers in select circumstances.

    The following are eligible for application fee waivers: 

    • Teach for America corps members and alumni
    • Peace Corps volunteers
    • Education Pioneers fellows
    • Current undergraduate students
    • U.S. military members
    • African citizens living in Africa
    • Citizens of countries on the UN's list of least developed countries
    • Forté MBALaunch members
    • Access Fellow program

    At this time, Darden is not offering fee waivers for participation in Full-Time MBA virtual events or class visits. 

    If you qualify for a waiver or have been accepted into the above programs or events, your application fee waiver will be applied automatically and you will receive an email confirmation for any fee waiver applied. If needed, you may receive a request for further documentation to process your fee waiver. If you have further questions, please email us at darden@virginia.edu.


    If I applied before and was denied, offered or waitlisted, can I reapply next year?

    Yes, all re-applicants need to submit a new application and check the box in the application that indicates you have previously applied. The committee will review your previous application along with your current one. If you applied one year ago, you are required to submit only one recommendation from an individual who can speak to your professional and personal development since your last application. If you applied two or more years ago, you will need to submit two recommendations. Please view the Reapplicant web page for additional information, including the request form for copying a previous year's application to the current admissions cycle. 


    What are the application procedures for Darden's dual degree programs?

    You will need to apply and gain admission to both Darden and the participating joint program. Visit the Dual Degrees web page for more information.


    If I am applying for a dual degree program, will you accept my LSAT or MCAT score?

    Yes, if you are applying for the JD/MBA or MD/MBA, we will accept your LSAT or MCAT score, respectively. Please visit Dual Degrees to learn more about applying to joint programs. If you are applying to EMBA or GEMBA, you can submit a LSAT or MCAT in lieu of a GMAT or GRE score.


    How does Darden maintain a fair admissions process?

    At Darden we do not tolerate conflicts of interest, and all UVA Darden personnel are prohibited from engaging in any outside employment or consulting which presents a conflict of interest with their duties (https://uvapolicy.virginia.edu/policy/HRM-025).

    In order to meet regulatory, accreditation, and other reporting requirements, the Darden School asks applicants to report their race/ethnicity, as defined by U.S. Department of Education standards, as part of the application process. This individual applicant information on race/ethnicity is not available to anyone involved in the evaluation process while an applicant being considered for admission to the school. Individuals with any ethical or other concerns in the admissions process are able to report such concerns by email so that they can be independently reviewed and investigated.


  • Standardized Tests

    What standardized tests does Darden accept?

    In our Full-Time MBA application process, we accept several of standardized tests that are viewed equivalently by the Admissions Committee– GMAT (Previous and Current Editions), GRE, Executive Assessment (EA), MCAT and LSAT.

    Differences between the Previous and Current Editions of the GMAT:

    GMAT Previous Edition

    Offered from 2012 to 2024, the previous GMAT version had total scores ending in a “0” and contained four test components:

    • Verbal Reasoning
    • Quantitative Reasoning
    • Integrated Reasoning
    • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) *Not applicable for online tests

    GMAT  Current Edition

    Offered since November 2023, the current GMAT version has total scores ending in a “5” and three test components:

    • Verbal Reasoning
    • Quantitative Reasoning
    • Data Insights

    We also acknowledge that for some candidates, a standardized test may not be necessary and we also offer a standardized test waiver application.


    If I have already taken the GMAT, should I take the GRE?

    No. You only need to take one of these exams. If you have taken the GMAT, we will have access to that score. Taking both tests will not give you an evaluative advantage. 


    What are the minimum requirements for the GMAT, GRE and GPA?

    Darden has no minimum requirements for the GMAT, GRE or GPA. If you take the GMAT or GRE multiple times, Darden will consider your highest total score when evaluating your application — we do not combine scores. For more information, view the Class Profile.


    My test score is about to expire. Will you still accept it?

    Standardized test scores must be valid as of the deadline date of the round in which you apply. GMAT and GRE scores are reportable for five (5) years following the test date, and standardized test scores are considered valid for the Darden admissions process if they fall within that five-year period. For example, scores for a test taken on September 2, 2020 are valid through September 1, 2025. 


    My official test scores will not reach Darden in time for the deadline. Will my application still be considered for that deadline?

    We do not require official test scores in order to process your application and get it to the committee for review. If offered admission, you will need to send official test scores. If you choose to send official documents in lieu of self-reporting on the online application, they must arrive in our office by the application deadline. 


    What is the Executive Assessment?

    The Executive Assessment is a 40-question, 90-minute exam, and it was designed in consultation with top Executive MBA programs. 


    Who should consider taking the Executive Assessment?

    Because the Executive Assessment was designed in consultation with top Executive MBA programs, it is generally recommended as a potential test option for candidates with five or more years of work experience, but we encourage candidates to choose the test that best aligns with their strengths and application plans. Candidates will also want to reflect upon their career interests as they evaluate their test options.


    How does Darden think about these tests and does Darden have a test preference?

    Standardized tests are just one piece of information in a broad, holistic application review process, and applicants are encouraged to choose the test that best aligns with their strengths, background and application plans. Our Admissions Committee has no test preference, and we view each of the tests we accept in our application process equivalently.

    For candidates who believe they can present a strong case for a standardized test waiver, we invite them to submit a test waiver application here

    However, before submitting a waiver request, we encourage candidates to reflect upon their overall applicant profile as well as the relevant criteria outlined below.

    Applicants will also want to consider career goals as they make their test plans. In business school, some employers may request a GMAT or GRE score as part of their screening process, particularly in industries like finance and consulting. 



    Unless granted a test waiver, applicants are required to submit all valid test scores (GMAT/GRE/EA/MCAT/LSAT) with their application. In instances of cancelled or expired test scores, candidates should note the test administration but are not required to report the overall score or score breakdown for those administrations. As a reminder, standardized tests are just one piece of information in a broad, holistic application review process.



    For some candidates, particularly those who meet several of the criteria outlined below, a test score may not be needed for our Admissions Committee to assess their preparedness for Darden.

    Waiver applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and our Admissions Committee will consider a number of factors when evaluating these requests. Particular regard will be given for indicators of academic and professional accomplishment, including but not limited to: 

    • A strong undergraduate record, including performance in analytical coursework or disciplines 
    • Master's or advanced degree in analytical discipline 
    • At least three years of professional work experience 

    These factors will be considered in combination with resume and transcripts for all degree-related coursework. Candidates who present a strong profile across several criteria (including supporting materials) are more likely to be granted a test waiver. 

    Candidates who believe they may qualify for a test waiver on the basis of the above criteria should submit a test waiver application. 


    Is there additional supplemental information I can provide to support my test waiver application?

    Some candidates may find it beneficial to submit prior college admissions test scores and/or professional certifications with their test waiver application as additional, alternative evidence of their academic readiness for UVA Darden's curriculum. 

    These supplemental materials may include, but are not limited to:

    • SAT and/or ACT test scores
    • CPA, CFA, or other quantitative professional certification

    These factors are supplemental and will be considered in combination with the academic and professional qualifications outlined above. Though helpful, these supplemental materials ultimately play a secondary role in the test waiver committee’s review process. Primary consideration will be given to a candidate’s degree-related coursework and professional achievements.



    For international candidates who are not from an English-speaking country, a valid English proficiency test score (TOEFL, IELTS) may be required as part of our test waiver application process. 

    Darden's MBA program is discussion-based, and verbal communication is essential to the School's case method pedagogy. Classes are taught in English, and the Admissions Committee seeks to ensure all Darden students are positioned to achieve their full potential in the School's dynamic, interactive learning environment.

    • Required: If you received a bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was not English and you have not completed an advanced degree from a university where English was the medium of instruction
    • Strongly Recommended: If you received a bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was not English, but received an advanced degree from a university where the medium of instruction was English
    • Not Required: Candidates who received their bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was English are not required to take an English language assessment test



    For the purposes of the test waiver review process, a “strong” undergraduate record has an above average as a cumulative undergraduate grade point average exceeding the average for UVA Darden’s most recent matriculating Full-Time MBA class. In past years, the average undergraduate GPA for UVA Darden’s Full-Time MBA classes has been around 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale). 

    Transcripts for all degree-related coursework are required, and the test waiver committee will also take note of individual classes. The committee looks favorably upon quantitatively- focused majors as well as substantive coursework in quantitative or analytical areas.  



    While there are students from many different professional backgrounds in Darden’s Full-Time MBA program, for the purposes of the test waiver process particular regard will be given to candidates from quantitative or analytical career paths.  



    If you have not begun a degree application yet, start a new application and select Full-Time Test Waiver Application to begin. 

    If you have already started your degree application and would like to submit a test waiver application, start a new application and select Full-Time Test Waiver Application. Some of the information will carry over from the degree program application. 



    There are several key considerations to be weighed before submitting a waiver application: 

    Admissions. For most applicants, a test score is a way of strengthening their application, demonstrating their academic aptitude and providing our Admissions Committee additional, relevant data to consider in our evaluation process. 

    Scholarship Review. A test score can be an additional data point for our Scholarship Committee to consider when evaluating an admitted student for a scholarship award. 

    Career Goals. Some employers, particularly in industries like finance and consulting, may request a GMAT or GRE score as part of their screening process. 



    The test waiver application was originally introduced as a pilot in the 2020-2021 application cycle, and we are pleased to continue to offer this option for applicants. The test waiver application emphasizes factors that clearly demonstrate a candidate’s readiness for a rigorous MBA curriculum. Candidates who present a strong profile across several criteria (including required, supporting materials) are more likely to be granted a test waiver. Candidates who meet only one of the outlined criteria will not be competitive for a waiver. 



    Candidates may submit a waiver application prior to submitting their degree application. However, it is not necessary to have started an application to submit a test waiver application. We recommend applicants seeking a test waiver submit their request at least three to four weeks prior to their targeted round deadline.  

    All waiver applications must be submitted and approved prior to the round deadline, and candidates who submit a waiver application are advised to wait to submit their full degree application until they have been notified about the outcome of their waiver application. 



    For candidates who have not previously started a Full-Time MBA application in the current application cycle, submitting a test waiver application will make it easier for you to get started with a degree application, and candidates may submit a waiver application at any time prior to submitting their degree application, However, it is not necessary to have started an application to submit a test waiver application. 

    For applicants who have started a degree application in the current cycle or previously submitted an application, you will notice that some of the test waiver fields - for example, academic history and professional experience - align with information in the application. If you have previously entered information into the corresponding application fields, this information will display in your test waiver application. By extension, any edits you make to the test waiver application fields will update the information in the corresponding degree application sections. 



    Official transcripts are not required for purposes of our waiver application process. However, candidates seeking a test waiver should include all transcripts for all degree-related coursework when submitting their waiver request. Unofficial transcripts (i.e. transcripts issued from the institution directly to the candidate) are fine for the purposes of our waiver evaluation.  

    Please note, candidates will be asked to confirm that all provided information in their waiver request is accurate and correct prior to submitting the request form and all supporting materials. For candidates granted a test waiver, in the event of a substantive discrepancy between their waiver request and their application materials, the test waiver will be voided. 



    You will receive a decision from your test waiver application within an average of 10-14 business days.  



    No. Consistent with our goal of providing applicants greater flexibility in demonstrating their readiness for Darden, candidates who receive a test waiver are not required to submit a test score with their application materials. 



    No. If a candidate receives a test waiver, our Admissions Committee will not consider any previously submitted test scores when reviewing their application.  



    No. Being granted or denied a test waiver is in no way indicative of a candidate’s competitiveness in the admissions process.  



    Test waivers are valid for the application cycle in which they are granted. For example, a waiver requested for the 2024-25 application cycle is valid for the 2024-25 application cycle only and cannot be transferred to a subsequent application cycles.



    You are able to apply directly to the Consortium if you received a test waiver from Darden. Once you receive that test waiver confirmation, please share that with the Consortium prior to the deadline so that they can process your application as ‘complete’ so that your application will be sent to Darden in a timely manner. 

  • International Applicants

    How can I learn about application information specific to international applicants?

    Visit International Applicant Information.


    Why is English proficiency required for applicants?

    Darden’s MBA format is built upon an immersive learning experience that requires public speaking, group discussion and active class participation. To succeed, students must possess a highly developed proficiency in written and oral English.


    How are English abilities assessed?

    Written and oral communication, as well as one of the following tests:

    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test)
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
    • PTE (Pearson Test of English)

    Are international applicants required to take one of the approved English assessment tests listed above (even if I attended a school where the medium of instruction was English)?

    • Not Required: Candidates who received their bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was English are not required to take an English language assessment test (i.e., they are exempt).
    • Required: Candidates who received their bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was not English are required to take an English language assessment test.
    • Strongly Recommended: Candidates who received their bachelor's degree from a university where the medium of instruction was not English, but received a master's or PhD degree from a university where the medium of instruction was English are strongly encouraged to take an English language assessment test.


    What is the minimum acceptable TOEFL score? Do you keep scores submitted in prior years?

    We do not have a minimum requirement, but the average TOEFL is 106. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date.


    I earned an undergraduate degree that required only three years of study. Am I eligible to apply to Darden?



    If I am an international candidate, when should I apply?

    All applicants to Darden should apply in one of our four rounds. International applicants are encouraged to apply in earlier rounds such as Early Action, Round 1 or Round 2 but offers are still made to qualified international applicants in Round 3. You can review the application deadlines here.


    How can I contact students for my country/region of the world, and how can I learn more about the international community at Darden?


    Does Darden offer financial aid to international students?

    Yes. Scholarships are available to international students, some of which are specific to a region. Darden also has an international student loan program.

  • Visits & Interviews

    Can I observe a class or visit Grounds?

    Yes! Please view our Visit Darden web page for opportunities to observe a Full-Time MBA class in-person or attend a Day With Darden (formerly: Open House). We look forward to welcoming you to Grounds!


    Is an interview required?

    Interviews play a critical role in our assessment of candidates and are required prior to acceptance into the program. An invitation-only interview is conducted after your application has been submitted and reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

    Interview notification can take place at any time up until the decision release date for the deadline in which you have applied and may not necessarily fall during the designated interview periods. For important Admissions deadlines, visit Application Deadlines.


    What do I need to do to schedule a Consortium interview?

    The Consortium changed the interview policy starting with the 2011-2012 application season. A Consortium interview is no longer a component of the Consortium application. Darden Admissions will invite applicants to interview at Darden. Visit the Consortium Application Process page for more information.

  • Financial Aid

    What is the cost of the Full-Time MBA program?

    For the full cost of attendance, visit our Tuition & Expenses page.


    Who is considered for the merit scholarship?

    If admitted, students are also evaluated for merit-scholarships, which are competitively awarded based on a variety of metrics and considerations. Visit Scholarships for more information.


    Where can I find more information about financial aid?

    The Financial Aid website has information related to the estimated cost of tuition and paths to finance your MBA.

  • Student Life

    What is a typical day like for a first year student?

    • 8:00 a.m.–9:25 a.m. First Class
    • 9:25 a.m.–10:00 a.m. First Coffee
    • 10:00 a.m.–11:25 a.m. Second Class
    • 11:25 a.m.–11:45 a.m. Break
    • 11:45 a.m.–1:10 p.m. Third Class
    • 1:10 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Lunch, school events/activities, meetings, company briefings, etc.
    • 7:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Learning Team (this is the typical meeting period; times vary by team)


    Where can I learn more about your employment statistics and companies that recruit at Darden?


    What resources are available for my partner to find employment and to learn more about Charlottesville?

    Visit the Darden Partners Association website.


    Where can I find out more information about housing?

    View Student Housing Options.