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tanoushie

Low undergrad grades, high masters GPA, applying to Phd?

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Hello! I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this, but I've been feeling extremely anxious about my application due to my less than stellar undergrad GPA. I went to a decent public university for my undergrad and graduated with a GPA of 3.05 in... :(, I had a very personal, traumatic experience occur to me in college which affected my ability to perform to the best of my capacity. I also was majoring in Economics, but was not interested in the topic at all. I took a few courses in the computer/information sciences, which I ended up enjoying a lot more. Eventually I became involved with research at the Information Science School at my university during undergrad, got an internship working as a user experience research intern for a student learning mobile app, and had my independent project during my senior year published in a relatively well known journal for Human-Computer Interaction as an extended abstract. 

All these factors, a relatively strong GRE, and a sensitively handled personal statement that disclosed the personal issue that I was confronted with, allowed me a chance to pursue a Master's in Human-Computer Interaction at a pretty great school in the field. With a fresh start, I ultimately graduated from my master's program with a 3.89 GPA. I worked as a research assistant for the full two years, was a co-author in a publication produced by the lab I was assisting with, as well as a successful master's thesis which was also published in a respectable journal. I also interned as user experience researcher at a major social media company in the summer during my master's.

Since graduating, I accepted a full-time offer as a UX researcher at a reputable video games company (think EA Games) and plan on working full time for two years. This means I'll be applying for my PhD next application cycle (Fall 2018). I retook my GRE and got a 163 V 163 Q and 4.5 AWA. Given this list, will my low UG GPA keep me from getting into a PhD program at a top tier school?

(Indiana-Purdue University, Indiana University, UT Austin, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of California-Irvine, University of Washington, Northwestern University, Cornell University)

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Plenty of applicants recover from a low undergrad GPA and with a much better masters GPA get into very good PhD programs.  I do think you have a shot, and you are doing the right thing by proving to admissions that you can succeed in their courses with that masters GPA.  The rest of your stats look good, as long as you can secure some great LoRs and write a compelling statement of purpose.  I don't know what else goes into engineering or compsci PhD admissions since it's out of my field, but I seriously don't think a low undergrad GPA will bar you from those schools you listed.  Good luck!

Edited by StemCellFan

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I had very similar stats as you. 3.08 UGRAD and 3.7 Master's and I got into a top 10 program in my field already. I am hoping I will get into the other two top 10 programs I applied to as well. It can happen, you just need to make sure you work hard at the statements and letters of rec :)

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