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PhD Reapplication after Dismissal



Hi everyone :)

I was attending PhD program at a large state school but has been dismissed because I received two 'C's in two consecutive semesters. I am considering reapplication to other departments of the same university or to other universities. 

Weak point = received 'C's in back to back semesters but have strong genuine reason behind this.

Strong Point = my graduate work has led to one presentation at an international level meeting, and one upcoming journal article.


While my graduate GPA has spiraled down 3.0 because of genuine reasons not under my control, my undergrad GPA is far better.


What are my chances of receiving an admit from other departments of the same school? Would it help if I explain in my sop the reasons behind my poor graduate GPA? Should I take the subject GRE test to show I can do well in terms of technical understanding and application of the knowledge? Any other suggestion that might help my case?


I appreciate any feedback on this matter. 

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This is tricky, as other schools may look at these results and say "Woah. Not a good investment." They are admitting people that appear to be solid researchers-in-training worth their tuition waivers, and being dismissed for poor grades would signal something wrong. I think what it will end up coming down to is why you got those grades.

You mentioned personal circumstances out of your control, which will definitely need to be discussed in a new SoP. It's understandable if you had a family emergency, death in the family, physical/mental illness, etc. But it is important to discuss it in a way that a) does not give out too much information, b ) does not make you look like a sob story, and c) makes it clear that it will not be an issue in the future.

Were you in communication with professors who were aware of why these circumstances were happening? It would help immensely if their letters could say something like, "Yeah, @LifeSc did not get these grades, but these classes were not a reflection of his/her overall work ethic. I mean, look! There's an international conference presentation! A paper in press!" What's important is to communicate that the issues that plagued your first grad school attempt will not resurface in the future.

Taking the Subject GRE will make no difference in my opinion, because there is a difference between knowing the material and performing good work with it. Someone could ace a standardized test, but have no idea how to conduct themselves within the expectations of the field. Your time and efforts are better spend crafting your statement to discuss your "bounce back" from your hardships. 

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