3.0 GPA in Canada options

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  • #1
Hello, thank you for your time in reading this.
I graduated in 2016 with a 3.0ish GPA in Physics and Math in Ontario. I have no research experience because I felt my GPA disqualified me from the right to approach professors for those positions. However, now that I have graduated and given both my deep desire to continue on in Physics/Astronomy and the paucity of opportunities for those who stop at the BS, I would like to apply for a Master's degree.

I know that in the States a remedy for my situation would be to apply for an unfunded Masters and prove myself, thereby moving onward to a PHD or at least adding a Masters to my name. However, it seems here in Canada no such unfunded positions exist, all Masters spots are funded and thus highly competitive and strict with their requirements (they advertise a B+/3.3-ish average to be looked at but say recent admitted applicants had 3.7's and above).

I guess I'm asking for advice or real life experience from Canadians/Americans who had similar situations, do you know of any schools that would be lenient enough to look at my situation?Or I guess where in general I could go with a 3.0GPA.

Thanks for your time. (Sorry to people who are offended and rightly feel that a 3.0GPA is irresponsible. I started in the humanities, and found the switch to physics and math difficult, fearful and isolating, so much so that B's seemed like a relief at the time.)
 

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  • #2
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You could check the requirements European universities have. The Master programs are unfunded but you don't have to pay tuition either (at least in continental Europe), you just need money for living expenses.
The programs end with about half a year of research, and once you have research experience and references grades are not important.
 
  • #3
symbolipoint
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You could check the requirements European universities have. The Master programs are unfunded but you don't have to pay tuition either (at least in continental Europe), you just need money for living expenses.
The programs end with about half a year of research, and once you have research experience and references grades are not important.
Maybe you could explain that a bit better. Grades not important once one has research experience? Were the courses worth anything for their grades or credit/units? Unfunded but "you don't have to pay tuition"?
 
  • #4
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PhD students are hired to do research. Who cares if your grades in some course were not the best if you do good research? If a candidate applies with no research experience, then grades are all you have to estimate how well this candidate will do in research. That is typically not a very reliable estimate, but it is better than nothing. The topic of some of the courses is important for research, and overall the grades are an indication how well the candidate can learn new things in science.
Unfunded but "you don't have to pay tuition"?
What is unclear? Usually you have to pay something like 50 to 250 Euros per 6 months, sometimes this includes a public transportation ticket. This is negligible compared to (a) living expenses and (b) typical tuition in the UK or the US.
Your living expenses are completely independent of the university. In particular it is your own task to find some housing (although the university typically offers some places for a reasonable price).
 
  • #5
symbolipoint
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PhD students are hired to do research. Who cares if your grades in some course were not the best if you do good research? If a candidate applies with no research experience, then grades are all you have to estimate how well this candidate will do in research. That is typically not a very reliable estimate, but it is better than nothing. The topic of some of the courses is important for research, and overall the grades are an indication how well the candidate can learn new things in science.What is unclear? Usually you have to pay something like 50 to 250 Euros per 6 months, sometimes this includes a public transportation ticket. This is negligible compared to (a) living expenses and (b) typical tuition in the UK or the US.
Your living expenses are completely independent of the university. In particular it is your own task to find some housing (although the university typically offers some places for a reasonable price).
"Funded" would mean, money is allowed for you to enroll in and be in the Master's program; and "Not Funded" would mean the money is not available and student must supply the funding to be in the program. What is this really? This is the clarification I ask about. The program has a price, or a cost. If the program is "Not Funded", then how is the cost of being in the program done?
 
  • #6
StatGuy2000
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Hello, thank you for your time in reading this.
I graduated in 2016 with a 3.0ish GPA in Physics and Math in Ontario. I have no research experience because I felt my GPA disqualified me from the right to approach professors for those positions. However, now that I have graduated and given both my deep desire to continue on in Physics/Astronomy and the paucity of opportunities for those who stop at the BS, I would like to apply for a Master's degree.

I know that in the States a remedy for my situation would be to apply for an unfunded Masters and prove myself, thereby moving onward to a PHD or at least adding a Masters to my name. However, it seems here in Canada no such unfunded positions exist, all Masters spots are funded and thus highly competitive and strict with their requirements (they advertise a B+/3.3-ish average to be looked at but say recent admitted applicants had 3.7's and above).

I guess I'm asking for advice or real life experience from Canadians/Americans who had similar situations, do you know of any schools that would be lenient enough to look at my situation?Or I guess where in general I could go with a 3.0GPA.

Thanks for your time. (Sorry to people who are offended and rightly feel that a 3.0GPA is irresponsible. I started in the humanities, and found the switch to physics and math difficult, fearful and isolating, so much so that B's seemed like a relief at the time.)

It's not necessarily true that all Masters programs are funded in Canada, but it is true that in Canada, for physics programs (and many other programs, for that matter), it is typical for students to pursue a Masters degree first as a first step towards obtaining a PhD.

I'm going to have give you the harsh truth -- a 3.0GPA is very low, and the likelihood of being accepted into any graduate program in physics, whether it is in Canada, US, or in Europe, would be very low. The question I would look at is what skills you have acquired and focus on seeking employment or seek a second diploma/degree (including a terminal Masters program in certain fields).

What skills do you possess? What are your programming skills? What types of job experience do you have? (I know you stated you don't have research experience -- do you have any experience?) Ask yourself this, and then think about getting the skills you need to get the kinds of careers out there.

Many physics or math graduates work in software development or IT, so one possible avenue for you would be to either (a) build up your programming skills through online programs like Coursera, and contribute open-source development through platforms like GitHub, (b) apply to computer science/IT or other such programs at a community college, or (c) try and apply for a terminal Masters program in computer science (U of T offers these).

There are other options out there, so think about this carefully.
 
  • #7
Thank you so much for all your replies. I appreciate the harshness and frankness (you've all been very kind, I know in all honesty you could have been harsher). I understand the sendoff into programming jobs, some from my graduating class became programmers/software engineers, some have returned for 2nd degrees in computer science/engineering, and a lot more went to grad school. I do know some Python and SQL, Mathematica, Maxima and Labview, and should probably proceed in developing that. Part of me just wants to resolve the 'What if' question wherein I could have a higher (masters) degree in physics / astronomy if I tried hard applying. But yes, a 3.0 is low and in fact rather hopeless and that's why my hopes lay in fringe possibilities in more distant/lenient univs.

Thanks again to everyone who spent time on my situation, you've been kind.
 
  • #8
Choppy
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I don't know if this helps or not, but it's fairly common for the GPA to weighted a lot more heavily in favour of your more recent years for admissions to Canadian schools. So if you struggled to find your way at first, but got good marks in later classes, your GPA may not be as bad as you think.

You may also want to look into the "victory lap" option - enrolling as a continuing education student and either upgrading some of your senior courses or taking some options that you did not have the time for during your degree. You might even be able to get permission to take a graduate level class. While doing this you could also try to build up your research experience. I know it's not a great option from a financial point of view, but realistically I think that's what the path will look like to get "there" from "here."

Of course the other thing to consider is that grad school tends to me even more challenging than undergrad, and your peers will have gone through another selection bottleneck. So if you do get in, you'll be competing with the higher calibre students. Maybe that won't matter too much once you get into the research component of the degree, but it's something to weigh in your decision.
 
  • #9
Thank you for your advice. It is very detailed.I agree with everything you said and I will use it and what others shared here to map my options forward. Thanks again.
 
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  • #10
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"Funded" would mean, money is allowed for you to enroll in and be in the Master's program; and "Not Funded" would mean the money is not available and student must supply the funding to be in the program. What is this really? This is the clarification I ask about. The program has a price, or a cost. If the program is "Not Funded", then how is the cost of being in the program done?
The student has to pay a little bit of money.
Call it as you like. Descriptions that work in one country are not always useful elsewhere.
Universities in (continental) Europe are mainly government-funded. The student doesn't see most of the money flow.
 
  • #11
symbolipoint
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The student has to pay a little bit of money.
Call it as you like. Descriptions that work in one country are not always useful elsewhere.
Universities in (continental) Europe are mainly government-funded. The student doesn't see most of the money flow.
I appreciate the description.
 

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