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Academic Probation when applying to graduate school


sociopathogen

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I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy but intend to pursue a master's in Computer Science, and so have been looking at programs like the Master's Program in Computer Science at UChicago and the Computer Science and/or Software Engineering programs at University of Texas at Dallas that are known for accommodating to those with a bachelor's in unrelated subjects who have little to no experience in computer science. I have one major concern regarding the strength of my application. During my time as an undergraduate, I also earned a minor in mathematics. First semester of my senior year, I needed one more course to complete this minor, so I decided to try out Discrete Mathematics. The course was geared toward mathematics majors and not computer science majors and was thus much more academic/theoretical/not applied/difficult. Halfway through the semester, I withdrew from the course because I was failing. I already had all my other requirements done and plenty of credit hours to graduate, and still had a semester left to take another course for my math minor. However, because I was only taking 12 credit hours including Discrete, I was placed on academic probation for dropping down to 9 hours as part of my school's policy. I would still go on to earn my math minor with another course (Real Analysis), and graduated Cum Laude & Phi Beta Kappa with a 3.8 GPA. With all of this in mind, I have two questions:

1) Would the fact that I was placed on academic probation for one semester simply for dropping below 12 credit hours, in light of the other positive facts I have given about my application, have any sort of negative impact on my application for these types of programs, including those specifically mentioned? I have heard that academic probation can negatively affect one's application for graduate programs.

2) Would the fact that I withdrew from a course like Discrete Mathematics, a subject which is so essential to the understanding of computer science, have any sort of negative impact on my application for these programs? There is obviously the chance to take the course again before entering a master's program, and UChicago's immersion program for inexperienced candidates includes a course called Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science that can be taken before the fall semester begins, but would evidence of my past performance in this subject negatively impact me more than no evidence of past performance (i.e. "well, it looks like they already performed poorly in this subject in the past, so why should we think they could handle it now")?

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This doesn't sound like a red flag to me. Real Analysis is usually a much harder course than discrete math. Is this stated on your transcript? If it isn't I don't think you have anything to worry about. I think for many schools academic probation is an internal matter and not an external one.

For a CS masters at non-top 10 schools (possibly non top 20 schools, or just non funded masters) they really just want to make sure that you aren't going to fail. The math minor gives you points there. If you can also demonstrate that you can write working code (github account, some experience, courses) then you would be very low risk.

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