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How one bad quarter can ruin your PhD aspirations?


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Hi All,


I am now done with my Masters program in Applied Statistics, which I did from the top 10 public university (very well reputed), and I finished this program when I was working full time (I am still working full-time). I had one very bad quarter becasue of extreme work load and got poor grades (C and B+), so I repeated the course in which I got "B+" before and now I got "A" in it, but I could not repeat another course becasue it was an upper division Math undergraduate course (Introduction to Numerical Analysis) and my graduate school policy did not allow me to repeat it since I got "C" (they allow to repeat undergrad course only if you get C- or worse). As a result I will have "C" on my transcript, but rest of the courses are pretty good (in the range of A- to A+). Now my overall GPA is 3.67 (that could have been 3.82 if I had opted for P/NP option for this course which is not related to Statistics in any ways).


I have done MS in Bioengineering and BS in Computer science before. I have also been working in a pharma industry for past 6 years. I am hoping to get strong recommendations. I am interested in applying for Biostatistics PhD programs. I would like to know whether this one bad quarter is going to ruin my PhD aspirations? How the AdComs are going to view my application? Where should I apply? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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I finished with a 3.3 and several Cs (two C-, though I'm not sure if my external transcript shows minuses and pluses). I already have two interviews in this application cycle. I'm not doing biostatistics, but it's closely related to informatics, which I am doing. My horrible (relatively speaking) GPA has not proven to be a death knell, fortunately, though I too was very concerned about it. 


I wouldn't even bother addressing it in any SOP or anything. It's not a big deal at all. What you do need is an outstanding SOP in which you detail your research experience and potential, and strong letters of recommendation. 


As for where you should apply, that's up to you to decide. I don't think your GPA should be a factor or consideration in where you choose to apply. Look up programs, their published info, and PIs with whom you'd like to work.


edit: You also mention the C is not even related to stats. Much ado about nothing, I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.

Edited by bamafan
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3.67 isn't exactly a terrible GPA. The C in Num Analysis will hurt, but probably not that much provided you did well on your other core Math courses (Real/Linear Alg, Diff Eq, Prob/Stats, Multivar. Calculus, etc.). You seem to have an interesting enough profile, with a lot of experience that many Biostats applicants lack. Assuming that you're a domestic applicant and not knowing more about stuff like your undergrad institution/GPA/letter of recs, I'd say apply to a lot of places in the top 15-20 understanding that you may be a longshot at the first few places but most likely have realistic options at the mid/lower end of that list.


Also, I'd try to apply soon if you're aiming to start in Fall 2013 as many deadlines are approaching or have already passed.


Good luck!

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