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Engineering PhD - everything should be decent but the GPA

  1. Apr 11, 2014 #1
    I have great research experience, letter writers, GRE scores, and have ideas for a good SOP, but I have a GPA of 3.3 in engineering. Is it still worth it to try to get into decent programs (read: Top 30), or should I just give up and head for the industry? Whenever people talk about GPA vs. research for PhD admissions, I'm getting mixed messages about it, so I want to get a clear answer on this.
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  3. Apr 11, 2014 #2


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    I got into a top 30 PhD program with similar stats. (slightly better gpa but probably worse gre scores)
  4. Apr 11, 2014 #3

    I'm planning to take Chemistry and maybe Physics Subject GRE tests as well to see if they can make up for the GPA. No engineering programs seem to require subject GRE tests, but since engineering involves a lot of those things, I thought it might be helpful to take them and show that I know the material despite what the transcripts might say. What do you think?

    Also, how much of a shot do I have at fellowships like NSF?
  5. Apr 11, 2014 #4


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    I don't think chemistry and physics gre scores will matter much.

    Not sure about the fellowship, to be honest.
  6. Apr 11, 2014 #5


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    Also, I believe engineering PhD programs are less competitive than pure science PhD programs.
  7. Apr 12, 2014 #6
    Don't take PGRE, it can only hurt you. I learned that the hard way.
  8. Apr 12, 2014 #7


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    If you apply to colleges which require the PGRE and you don't take it, then they just toss your application in the garbage as incomplete.
  9. Apr 12, 2014 #8
    He's doing an engineering PHD which only requires the GRE. So again, don't take PGRE. Waste of time, money, and can only hurt your application.
  10. Apr 12, 2014 #9
    Even if I do well?

    My purpose in doing Chemistry and Physics GRE is to supplement my application and hopefully let them know that I'm not as stupid as my GPA might make me seem.

    And who knows, I might end up applying to straight up physics programs as well, since there seems to be a lot of overlap with materials science and physics at the grad level.
  11. Apr 12, 2014 #10
    It won't help you. Engineering depts. have so few people the PGRE score (because it's optional) so they have no idea how to account for it. I'm just thinking practically, the PGRE + some extra score reports could mean $ and time better spend on research, classes, etc.

    But if you're applying to physics programs as well, then yeah take the PGRE but be warned that it is weighed heavily compared to how engineering schools weigh the GRE.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  12. Apr 12, 2014 #11
    Get a job and decide what you really want to do, pay of your debts and get your employer to pay for a graduate degree if that's what you decide to do.
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