What Colleges Require SAT Subject Tests?

A List of Schools that Require or Highly Recommend SAT Subject Tests

Beckman Institute at Caltech
Beckman Institute at Caltech. smerikal / Flickr

SAT subject tests are not required at the majority of colleges and universities in the United States. However, some colleges do require two or more SAT subject tests for specific programs, and many other colleges recommend SAT Subject Tests.

Key Takeaways: SAT Subject Tests

  • Each year, fewer and fewer colleges and universities require SAT Subject Tests. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated schools' decisions to drop the exam.
  • Even if SAT Subject Tests aren't required, strong scores can strengthen your application at many colleges.
  • SAT Subject Tests can be particularly important for home schooled students to demonstrate college readiness.

The list below presents some schools that require SAT Subject Tests for select programs as well as dozens of colleges that used require SAT Subject Tests but now simply recommend the tests. In recent years, more and more colleges and universities have dropped their SAT Subject Test requirements, and the coronoavirus pandemic has accelerated that process. The reality today is that very few college applicants need to take SAT Subject Tests.

There are, of course, many schools that recommend the SAT subject tests or at least consider them, and strong scores can often strengthen an application. This can be particularly true for home-schooled students who don't have class rank or a traditional academic transcript to demonstrate college readiness.

On the College Board website, you'll find a long list of all the colleges that will consider SAT Subject Tests as part of the admissions process. You'll also find that some colleges have test-flexible admissions policies, and they are happy to consider AP, IB, and SAT Subject Tests instead of the regular SAT and ACT exams.

Be sure to get more information from a college's website. In some cases the ACT with Writing can substitute for the SAT Subject tests, and colleges change their admissions criteria all the time. You may also find that colleges have very different testing requirements for home-schooled students than other applicants.

One other possible benefit of taking SAT Subject Tests is course placement or credit. At Arizona State University, for example, a 560 or higher on the American History SAT Subject Test will fulfill the university's social science competency requirement.

Until recently, all the schools below required or strongly recommended SAT Subject Tests for at least some of their applicants. You'll see that many of those policies have changed. Click on the school's name to get a description, admissions data, costs and financial aid information.

Colleges that Require or Strongly Recommend SAT Subject Tests

The list of colleges and universities requiring and recommending the SAT subject tests is constantly changing, so be sure to check with the schools to which you are applying. This is particularly true for students who will be entering college in 2021 since the coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant number of colleges and universities to adapt temporary changes to their standardized testing policies.

For more SAT Subject Test information, check out these articles on specific exams: Biology | Chemistry | Literature | Math | Physics

One drawback to taking SAT Subject Tests is the cost. Students who take the regular SAT a couple times, several SAT Subject Tests, and then have scores sent to a dozen or so colleges can end up paying several hundred dollars to the College Board. Learn more here: SAT Costs, Fees, and Waivers.