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Electrical Engineering PhD Admissions Questions


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Hi, I've recently started law school after having completed a top 5 electrical engineering degree with a mediocre GPA (3.16). I had this wild idea that patent law would be for me but I'm having second thoughts. All the things that I'm learning about the law and patent law specifically are making me think that I might have preferred a career involved in innovation rather than "being on the sidelines." I just wanted to make some inquiries as to whether my poor GPA would bar me from admission to a good PhD program (I certainly don't expect it to be as good as my undergrad). I have several years of research experience in undergrad but it never led to publication. I would obviously be willing to do a master's program first if that is what would be necessary. I just want to know if a good school is possible and if it is, what type of GRE scores would be necessary.

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Your GPA wouldn't necessarily keep you out of a 'good' program. If by 'good' you mean a top-10 school, then it will be difficult, but there are many good programs outside of the top 10, say top 20 or even top 50. That said, you seem to be unsure of what it is you want to do - that might cause you more problems than your lowish GPA. A PhD program will expect that you have well defined research interests and the adcomms may have questions about why you switched to do a law degree only to leave the law program. As for doing a Master's, if you want to do research and get a PhD ultimately, then apply straight for the PhD. You could hedge your bets and apply to a few Master's programs, but there isn't usually much funding available for Master's students. GRE scores aren't that important among all the things that make up your application (such as your SoP, and your letters), and the only part of the GRE likely to have much impact is your quantitative score. Many engineering applicants score a perfect 800 in the quantitative GRE, so the closer you can get to that, the better.

Edited by newms
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