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ChemEgrad

1 Failing grade in Grad School = no chance?

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Hello, 

 

 I am seeking some advice. I have a undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, graduated with a 3.1. I have worked in industry fro 3 years and this year decided to go and get a M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering. My first semester i did well with A- B+ and B. I took Transport I Thermodynamics and a Membrane study course. This is my 2nd semester and I will probably get a B in transport II and my applied separations course but my reaction engineering course I might get an F... If i retake this course next spring and get an A does this look bad? If i wanted to go onto medical school would they reject me because of an F in a semester course? I am really worried about how this will affect my future, jobs, further schooling etc...

I do appreciate your time to respond.

 

Best, 

Matt 

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Failing grades do not look good at all. Do you know of any med schools that only look at your courses from the last 2 years? Medicine is not my domain, but my hunch is that this would be your best be of getting in somewheret. A failing course is likely to impact the tier/ranking of the schools that you would have a chance of getting into.

 

If you want to attend med school, a student I know who was applying to med schools in Canada told me that McGill and U of Western Ontario are the only 2 med schools in Canada that only look at your last 2 years of study. You may want to investigate these options and look for other US schools that have a similar selection process. Good luck!

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On second thought, I looked back and saw your uGPA was a 3.1 and in the master's program you have some Bs. I don't think it is competitive enough to apply to med school at those two schools in Canada. If you do two more years of schooling and get straight As or very close to that during the entire two years then you will have a chance of being accepted. Good luck!

Edited by jenste

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I'm working in my MS now and I do think that an F could hold you back. Are you struggling due to not putting time into the class or is the material too difficult? In grad school, a 3.0 is usually required to stay in the program so even Bs are pretty bad... A B is basically the lowest you can and stay in the program so it's more like a C in undergrad

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Well I do not mean to be offensive but M.S. in Engineering grading is not like that of a Masters say in accounting or some type of liberal arts degree. The university that I am attending is in the top 50 in the nation.

Actually grading in an MS in engineering is very similar to liberal arts or any other field. Just because a field is more focused on writing an arts than math doesn't mean professors magically give As to everyone. I'm in bioinformatics which is in the engineering department at my school and the coursework overlaps with engineering courses a lot. As or at least As and Bs are expected just like any other field.

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Well I do not mean to be offensive but M.S. in Engineering grading is not like that of a Masters say in accounting or some type of liberal arts degree. The university that I am attending is in the top 50 in the nation. 

 

McGill is in the top 3 in Canada and they only take 185 out of 2,500 med school applicants worldwide so it does not seem that average grades would cut it, in my humble opinion. What grades are other students in your classes getting? Since you will be competing with other science students and not liberal arts students it doesn't really seem worth the while to compare yourself to them. They are not your competition.

Edited by jenste

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I'm working in my MS now and I do think that an F could hold you back. Are you struggling due to not putting time into the class or is the material too difficult? In grad school, a 3.0 is usually required to stay in the program so even Bs are pretty bad... A B is basically the lowest you can and stay in the program so it's more like a C in undergrad

Well i'm not talking about an overall GPA, if you are getting a 3.0 after all the research grades are given then there is a serious problem. With no research "boost" to my GPA right now without the F im at a 3.4. But with the F it will drop to 2.7. I f you work hard and turn out results then you should have about 30-60 credit hours of mostly A's... so to come out with a MS in ChemE with a GPA of 3.0 is pretty bad... regardless i will have to retake the class and i am confident that if do i would get an A. factoring this into my GPA I would have a core class gpa of 3.1... but overall with the research credits added in the gpa will be over 3.6...

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Just curious, but have you checked to see if your MS program will let you stay on after a failing grade?

 

Most programs I'm familiar with consider any grade lower than a B- to be a "failing" grade, and any failing grade will result in expulsion from the program. 

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I don't think most programs consider grades on research/thesis courses as part of a competitive GPA used to determine things like fellowships, admissions, etc. Like jenste, I am only familiar with Canadian medical schools, and I know that their admission averages tend to be closer to the 3.6-4.0 range.

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I think even retaking it and getting an A would still show up as a red flag. They'll want to know why you got an F in the first place. Is there some reason you are struggling this semester but wouldn't next semester? (Just curious!)

 

Medical schools can be incredibly competitive, so I wouldn't bank on retaking it and thinking it won't affect it. They'll be able to see grades, not just GPA. I'm not sure a 3.1 would be considered very high for core class GPA. I'm not sure coming from a top 50 school would change the fact. There are a lot of students that are applying from good schools. :s

 

I have a friend who is having a hard time getting in medical school (biochem/physics dual as undergrad, MS in bioengineering from top notch school, decent GPA for both). It can be quite a challenge to get in. :c

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Like Eigen said, I'd also double check if you can even stay in your program. In my program one C and you are on probation, second C and you are kicked out. One D or one F, kicked out.

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Medical schools can be incredibly competitive, so I wouldn't bank on retaking it and thinking it won't affect it. They'll be able to see grades, not just GPA. I'm not sure a 3.1 would be considered very high for core class GPA. I'm not sure coming from a top 50 school would change the fact. There are a lot of students that are applying from good schools. :s

 

 

Regardless of whether or not you retake the class, the failing grade will be calculated into your AMCAS GPA if you're thinking about U.S. med schools. No clue how they do it in Canada, though.

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^ Ditto the above.  And with a 3.1 undergrad GPA and a 2.7 MEng GPA, you won't be a very competitive candidate for med school admissions.  Heck, even without the F you're not a very competitive candidate - a 3.4 would be low even for undergrad, but in master's degrees grades are commonly inflated and a 3.4 is relatively low-ish.  Plus, I think undergrad grades/performance are weighted more heavily than grad school grades, although they are taken into account.  But I'm not 100% sure about that!

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Just for reference, since someone mentioned it, in Canada, policies vary between schools and it's common for some schools to consider multiple GPAs in your application:

 

UBC's policy:

These academic evaluations are calculated:

  • Overall academic average based on all university-level courses attempted (including summer courses taken prior to the year of application and graduate courses with grades, if applicable);
  • Adjusted academic average In addition to the overall academic average, an adjusted academic average is calculated for certain applicants. In the adjusted academic average the academic year with the lowest academic average will be dropped (if applicable). At most, 30 credits can be dropped. If more than 30 credits are presented in the worst academic year, the 30 credits with the lowest grades will be removed. In order to have the academic year with the lowest academic average dropped, applicants must have 90 credits with grades remaining by June 1.
  • Prerequisite average. As a rule, the first course taken that satisfies the requirement will be used in this calculation. When prerequisite courses are repeated, due to failure, both the initial and successful attempts are included in the prerequisite average. These rules will still apply if the academic year with the lowest academic average has been removed.

McGill will look at your total degree GPA and your GPA on the science course pre-reqs. They say the average successful GPA is 3.8 for overall GPA as well as the specific science pre-req requirements.

Toronto will use all of your undergraduate courses but will remove 1 course's grade for each year of full time studies completed (so I guess in this case, the F will probably be removed).

Queen's University will consider both your cumulative GPA and the GPA from the last 2 years of full time studies (which they define to be 3 courses/semester).

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I just want to clarify an earlier post I made about the med school programs at McGill and U of Western Ontario. This person I know who got into U of Western Ontario's med school program and also applied to McGill's (but wasn't accepted) had a low GPA for his first bachelor's degree (around a B average). He did a second bachelor of science and was only required to do a total of 2 years of coursework. When he applied a year ago, he told me he researched all the med programs in Canada and these are the only 2 schools that will only look at the grades of your second bachelor's degree and will not penalize you if you did not do as well on your first degree. However, to get accepted into a med school program, you would need to have a GPA that's quite high as these programs are quite competitive to get into in Canada. I would not recommend applying with a GPA that isn't at least a solid A- as anything lower is not likely to be competitive compared to other candidates. 

 

McGill will look at your total degree GPA and your GPA on the science course pre-reqs. They say the average successful GPA is 3.8 for overall GPA as well as the specific science pre-req requirements.

Toronto will use all of your undergraduate courses but will remove 1 course's grade for each year of full time studies completed (so I guess in this case, the F will probably be removed).

Queen's University will consider both your cumulative GPA and the GPA from the last 2 years of full time studies (which they define to be 3 courses/semester).

Edited by jenste

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Yeah, most programs will kick you out for failing. Not to worry, there is always Greneda.

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