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GPA issue for US graduate school

  1. Oct 6, 2014 #1

    I will be applying to US graduate schools this year (this would be my second attempt). I graduated from an Indian institute, not very well known for physics, and my CGPA (Cumulative Grading Point Average) is 7.991. Using http://www.foreigncredits.com/Resources/GPA-Calculator/India, I found my CGPA conversion to US GPA. It is 3.64 (overall) and 3.8 (Physics). The average CGPA of my batch is 7.5 (or maybe lower) and I rank 3 or 4 in the batch of 15 students (this information is not present on my transcripts). My PGRE score is 940.

    I want to work in theoretical physics (foundational quantum mechanics, AdS/CFT and fluid/gravity correspondence). Currently I am doing two research projects in these fields and hope to get good recommendations from well known scientists.

    I have gone through the faculty pages of Harvard, Princeton and University of Maryland (and I am looking more schools). I find a considerable overlap between their research and my interests. But I am not sure if my (C)GPA is competitive enough these for schools. Given the other factors (my research experience and LORs) would it be wise to put such schools in my ambitious category? My advisors have collaborations with the faculty of these schools.

    I applied to these schools previous year and got rejected. The only improvement in my resume this time is my research experience which might lead to a publication.

    Any advice in selecting the graduate schools would be of great help. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2014 #2


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    I think you should probably aim lower. Those are very top schools, but your GPA isn't even average for them and you have no publications. Most students applying to those schools from undergrad are already published. And many US grad schools don't consider a 3-year bachelors from India equivalent to a US bachelors in the first place; everyone I knew from India starting a PhD in the US had a masters from India (and were starting over with a masters in the US).
  4. Oct 6, 2014 #3
    I forgot to mention that I graduated with Integrated Masters in physics (5 year program).

    Naming few of them will give an idea of schools I should target. Thank you.
  5. Oct 6, 2014 #4


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    WES recognizes Indian 3-year Bachelor’s degrees as equivalent to U.S. Bachelor’s degrees if they've been earned in Division 1 and the institution has been accredited by NAAC with a grade of A.

    As said before, you can apply to some top tier universities, but you shouldn't count on being accepted. Your GPA is below average compared to most applicants to those universities. Your research experience seems pretty good, especially if it leads to a publication. You should search for universities that are within your reach and portray your research interest pretty well.
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