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Effects of a low grade in irrelevant class?


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Hello all,


I am in a master's program for Asian Studies (politics/IR/security type stuff) and am interested in applying to Ph.D programs in things like Political Science, Government, International studies etc.


The vast majority of my grades will be A-. 


However, it looks as though I will probably end up with a B or a B+ for a French literature class I am taking this semester. 


This literature class has zero relevance to my intended Ph.D studies or my research interests, and literature is not something I'm particularly interested in nor is it my forte. It was simply to keep up with my French. 


How much does a grade of B/B+ in a master's program impact Ph.D admissions? Especially if the class is totally irrelevant to your field? 



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I wouldn't believe that a B/B+ is detrimental enough to knock your chances of getting into a PhD program. The usual cutoff at the grad school level is a B (or GPA = 3.0). I think you'll be fine.

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Ah okay phew what a relief. Especially since the grades in the more relevant classes have been A- or so. =] 


But in general I would assume that a lower grade in an irrelevant class is preferable to a lower grade in a pertinent class right?

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Probably... but PhD programs will care much more about your research than specific grades. They will want to see that you will definitely be able to handle the grad level coursework and outside of that, it is all about research. By your description of your grades, I assume that you have around a 3.5 GPA? That will be fine.

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Yeah I estimate I will have around a 3.6 - 3.7 in my masters program at time of application, and around 3.3 from undergrad. Not particularly excellent sets of grades, but hoping the schools I went to will help mitigate that even a little (University of Chicago undergrad, Georgetown masters).


Ah I see. I think that my research interests fit very well with a few schools, notably my first choice University of Washington. I hope that a 3.6 in a master's program should be indicative of ability to handle grad-level coursework 

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