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What is a good GPA for a graduate student?

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I thought 3.0 was a decent GPA but my husband said for graduate school the requirements are different. I'm wondering what would be considered a good GPA for a graduate student?

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4.0? 3.95?

 

The grading range for (most) graduate programs I'm familiar with is a 3.0 to 4.0 scale- lower than 3.0 gets you kicked out. 

 

Accordingly, you see very few grades lower than an A-, with B+/B being a warning grade. 

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Highly dependent on the school. If you end up taking undergrad courses where the grades are curved more strictly (and even moreso if the school has a grade deflation policy) an average of 3.5+ would be great.

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To get in, probably nothing less than a 3.7. Once you're in, I heard that anything less than a B is considered 'failing'. 

 

With that said, my experience with grad school was much different than my undergrad experience. Things are graded very differently, less on a 'right/wrong' basis, and more on a content/strong argument basis - at least in my field. 

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Seems that this is definitely school/program dependent. I've had professors say at the beginning of a course that almost everyone will get a 4.0/A or a 3.5/B+ (my school doesn't have an A- grade). The sense I got from older students was that most people get 4.0s, with the 3.5s only going to the few who perform relatively poorly on exams/assignments and don't participate well during discussions. I assume any grades lower than 3.5/B+ would be the result of simply not doing the coursework.

In my program, then, it should not be difficult to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA (in my opinion).

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Lol what's with having B+'s but no A-'s? Are there B-'s

 

I've heard of schools with "letter only" grades (A, B, C, not A, A-, B+, B) but not with only pluses

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Just out of curiosity, are you guys saying what you think a decent/average GPA is, or a *good* GPA?

 

I was answering based on an above average definition of good, but with the 3.5 range answers, I'm thinking maybe I'm going in a slightly different direction. 

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Lol what's with having B+'s but no A-'s? Are there B-'s

 

I've heard of schools with "letter only" grades (A, B, C, not A, A-, B+, B) but not with only pluses

Yeah I really shouldn't have included the letters at all: my school technically doesn't have any letter grades (the reported grades are 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, and so on). I used the letters as an approximation because I'm used to seeing letters (I think many people are). I was interpreting the 3.5 as a B+ because 3.5 is lower than the 3.7 GPA value of an A- grade from my undergrad school... but now that I think more about it, I guess the 3.5 is more like a combination A- / B+ on my undergrad scale because it is halfway between the A- = 3.7 and B+ = 3.3. 

 

 

 

Just out of curiosity, are you guys saying what you think a decent/average GPA is, or a *good* GPA?

 

I was answering based on an above average definition of good, but with the 3.5 range answers, I'm thinking maybe I'm going in a slightly different direction. 

Hmm, looking at my post again I think my conclusion was that a 3.5 GPA in my program is decent since I think it should be attainable for everyone. So a good (better than decent) GPA would be higher than that. I don't know the average GPA for my progam, but I'd be willing to bet it's higher than 3.5, so an "above average" good GPA would probably be in the 3.7 - 4.0 range. 

Edited by Pitangus

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3.5 is typically decent, 4.0 is what you should strive for.

 

 

Most professors are aware you have an excellent undergraduate record, and the style of teaching differs in graduate courses as well.

 

 

Similarly though, less people care about your graduate student transcript, aside to find red flags.

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My undergrad GPA was relatively low (3.3) and this got pointed out to me on grad school visits and on my first NSF application. :( Senior year I managed rise 3.45 by the time I graduated, not sure how much better that is.

 

For me, grad school has been a lot easier than undergrad. I have a 3.93 right now and between both of those GPAs, I was told I had a "stellar academic record" on my NSF reviews this year. Considering I don't think I've gotten much smarter in the past two years, I think the whole system is bull.

 

Moreover, I'm a bit upset because there are some interesting classes I want to take, but my adviser is telling me to protect my GPA - I thought it doesn't matter anymore! I just want to learn...

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Competitive programs want your GPA to be above 3.7 usually, and if you're not a 4.0 student, you'd better have some really amazing portfolio work and experience to make up for it against the other students who do.

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I don't know about admittance, but my school was very clear on GPA during the program: it says smack-dab at the bottom of the program description that all coursework in the major must be 3.5 or higher. I like that clarity!

 

I understand the frustration with wanting to "protect your GPA." I took an interesting-sounding class (that shall remain nameless) during my senior year as an undergrad. Unfortunately, it was a bad match; the class was very different than the description and the professor and I had friction. Despite doing what I (and classmates) felt was very good work, I couldn't seem to get anything over a B on assignments. Pride be damned, I wound up busting my ass for someone I didn't really respect to get extra credit and salvage my 4.0. It was brutal and uncomfortable. I even knowingly answered a test question wrong, because it was the correct answer according to information provided in that class. That was extremely hard for me. 

 

I was home-schooled and then attended a weirdo alternative private prep school, and this was the very first time in my life I saw taking a class as a calculated risk instead of a learning experience. It really, really put things in perspective for me. I intend to stick with the program in grad school and get my "learning experiments" from clubs, volunteering, etc., instead of taking a class that could torpedo me. Sad, but true. 

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Moreover, I'm a bit upset because there are some interesting classes I want to take, but my adviser is telling me to protect my GPA - I thought it doesn't matter anymore! I just want to learn...

 

Is there a chance that you could audit these courses? You'd get to learn the material by sitting in on the lectures, but wouldn't be taking them for a grade so your GPA would be safe.

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It's easy to exaggerate the importance of grades in grad school - they're important during the application process, but when you finish your PhD and hit the job market, hiring committees won't spend much (i.e. any) time with 'em. Keep 'em consistent, keep 'em high enough to meet the requirements of your funding and your department, and keep 'em high enough to remain competitive for extra funding opportunities. By the time you're a PhD student, coursework should be a snap. Get decent grades, get your coursework out of the way, and start in on the stuff that actually matters (research, teaching, comps).

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I think the extent of your GPA 'mattering' is largely a function of a) industry demand for your degree and/or B) whether you are applying for external fellowships. My masters program is fairly marketable, thus, a 3.0 GPA is our department's minimum requirement, and our preceptors don't really care unless we fall below a 3.0 and the graduate school is flagged.  

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A good GPA for grad student is enough to keep your funding/ assistantship/ grant and not get kicked out. If you are a PhD program, probably nobody will ever ask to see your GPA. In a Master's program the only reason to care about your GPA is if you plan on applying to a PhD program.  

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My university says in order to be admitted to a Ph.D, you need a minimum of a CGPA of 3.5 out of 4 at the master's level. So I guess aiming for 3.5 and higher is usual. The minimum to remain in the program is a B- (65%) but I would not say that aiming for a B- is the way to go.

Edited by Adelaide9216

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I have a 3.96 GPA for my masters with one course left, which is all writing; so I expect another A.  I live in the SF Bay Area, so I am not sure what to expect as far as opportunities.  In the midwest or east, I would probably land a solid salary and position.  I am in Silicon Valley, which is insanely competitive; so we shall see....

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I think it probably depends on  your program. I'm in STEM and I basically bullsh*t my way through classes. They are a total waste of time and have nothing to do with what I'm actually studying / researching. I honestly don't care what my grade is as long as it meets the minimum (in my program they will count B- but not anything below that). I'm pretty sure my grades are more B's than A's but I don't care, haven't checked them, and no one has said anything so obviously they are high enough. I didn't come in with enough of a research background (ie, I didn't already have publications, just posters) so I wasn't competitive for outside funding anyway.

But my entire attitude to grad school has been do the work and get out. I'm not here for some grand experience.

Oh, and I'm in a phd program. If it were a master's, I'd care a little bit more.

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