1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

GPA, grades, C's, grad school (typical post probably)

  1. Nov 13, 2013 #1
    I am a junior physics and cognitive science major with hopes of going into grad school for physics. I have to stay 3-4 extra semesters to finish school- not enough time to do everything.

    The attached file shows my grades. PHY is physics, CSC is computer science, MAT is math- the rest are not physics related items. I'm hoping to get into some physics program. I am on the right track this semester. I have went to many conferences, worked on a couple research projects, and am in the process of publishing a paper on one of my projects (as the second author). I do work very hard, and am very interested in the topics physics offers.

    I am worried about all those C's I have- all in math. I have about 80 more credits to take (3-4 more upper level math classes including retaking the one I failed).. I mean- if I continue to do well like I am this semester, will those grades end up being a big deal in grad school admission? With decent GRE scores and stellar recommendations. I'm sure I'm not the first student who has had a rocky start with school (not lazy! just didn't know how to study!) Also- do you think taking the math GRE would be a good idea to show I've improved in my mathematical skills?

    And please- helpful advice. Snarky comments will be ignored :/ Thanks for your time

    Attached Files:

    • d.PNG
      File size:
      2.6 KB
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    I'm sure SOME graduate school somewhere will take you if your desire is to go to graduate school, but the quality of the program is of some concern. My main concern with looking at your transcript is not simply how sub-par you are doing in your math class, but the fact that you are not doing relatively outstanding in your more advance physics courses. To me personally, I can forgive a person doing poorly initially and improving as the courses become harder and more focused, but the reverse trend is a bit harder to understand. Nevertheless, I don't believe a transcript is the all that matters in a decision. If your research is published and and you get A's in your senior courses and if your Physics GRE courses, I think you can maybe get into a decent program (but probably without initial funding offer.)

    I don't know how your school chooses to calculate GPA, but it doesn't seem that outstanding to me. A major concern for committee is your ability to perform at a higher level and stick with the program. So it would behoove you to finish much much stronger than you have been doing right now. It's mostly common sense. You NEED A's in your advance course, after all, you are essentially telling people you want to research this topic at the highest level possible, but if you can't manage an A in anything but basic physics, how well are you truly learning everything? You say you work hard, it's time to show objectively that you do!

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not nor ever will be on any admission board, but I have applied to graduate school twice, and had many informal talks to professors on what they like to see and what is a warning flag. My current adviser only truly cared about grades in Statistics and Math along with relevant Statistics fields (whatever that means) along with published worked if any. He said recommendations are nice but at the end of the day your ability to perform and get results weighted more for him than the word of a person he may have never met now matter how nice they may be. Of course that's just one person's opinion.
  4. Nov 13, 2013 #3
    I haven't done my advanced courses in physics yet (I've started them this semester). Thank you for your reply!!
  5. Nov 13, 2013 #4
    What math courses were these? I'd be worried if they were calculus and linear algebra - these are important courses. Anyway, too many C's can be a bad thing, but it won't look as bad if you do well your second half of school. Taking the Math GRE will be useless.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook