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What do PhD programs think about an M.D's GPA?


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Hello, I am an international applicant from Korea, and I graduate with a M.D next year. 

I am interested in obtaining a neuroscience Ph.D  in the U.S. (My field of interest is computational neuroscience/computational psychiatry). 

I have about 4 years research experience in a Korean neuroimaging lab, with 2 publications and 1 first author publication in a good journal. 

I also have an International Mathematics Olympiad medal from high school, although I am not sure that grad schools will take this seriously.

My main weaknesses are 

a)low GPA

b)main (research) LOR from korean prof, so will probably be discounted a lot. 

I will get the other two LORs from people(1 US faculty+ 1 US postdoc) who have advised me on a career in computational neuroscience.


I have a few questions.

1. I have a low (Compared to the other guys out here...) GPA of about 3.4. 

I hear that some top/great schools use a GPA cutoff because there are too many great applications that they receive.

I wonder if a)this will make the cutoff and b)they will understand that getting a 3.4 in med school

is a bit harder.

2. I am a U.S. citizen, but since I studied medicine in Korea, I wonder if I will be grouped as "international" or "U.S".

Also interested in how this will affect my chances.

3. I hear that neuroscience Ph.Ds are very competitive, so for example getting into Harvard BBS(Biological and biomedical sciences) and then choosing a neuro lab

might be easier than applying to Harvard PiN (Program in Neuroscience)

I wonder what people think about this.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!



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