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GPA Requirements, Masters Biophysics Canada

  1. Mar 29, 2015 #1
    Greetings all,

    I'm planning on graduating next year from a good school in biophysics with an OK gpa expected
    in the range of 3.2-3.3. Not stellar, but this meets the minimum requirements for some masters programs
    here (Canada) and across the border. I've read that realistically, applicants tend to get accepted in the 3.5+ range, but some of the adcoms I have talked to (one in particular) said a sub-3.0 cum was OK as long as grades in the major were good (above 3.0). Case by case basis.

    Really, I'm having a tough time gauging competitive, because the minimums seem so much lower than the acceptance rates I've read about here/elsewhere.

    Most of my grades are good, and with the exception of Optics (I intend to retake this, flubbed it due to life events) and mathematical physics, are in the 3.0-3.5 range, mostly. Recalculating this, I expect to finish with a 3.3 overall in my degree relevant courses, a 3.0 cum (I took a ton of first year courses and arts classes that are dragging this down) and probably 3.3 in my 3rd/4th year.

    Could anyone give me some perspective on what a masters in biophysics (particularly molecular biophysics)
    would accept at? Would I have a decent shot? Any thoughts on where to apply? Also, do strong math marks, senior GPA, letters etc perhaps factor in?

    Would taking grad classes as a non degree student be a suitable way to bridge the gap and show I am a worthy applicant?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2015 #2
    I should also add, I was recently rejected for a research opportunity. Apparently these are very competitive, and I don't have
    the near-perfect GPA's of other applicants. I'd be very interested in finding some form of undergraduate level research to supplant
    my coursework with, especially during the summer or next year, but I'm coming up empty for it at the moment. Any help in this direction
    would also be great, as research exp can bolster applications. I will be reapplying next cycle.

  4. Mar 30, 2015 #3


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    The first thing to keep in mind is that generally graduate admissions are a competitive process. Minimum requirements are set as absolute cut-offs; they determine who can be a part of the process. If you don't meet them, you're not even in the game. One you're in the game, it's then competitive. Different schools will have different weightings for different things - some will use a formula, others will just be based on the opinions of the admission committee members. But usually you will have so many spots within a specific sub-discipline, or so many supervisors willing/able to take on a student. So they rank the students in the pool of applicants and pick from the top down until they run out of spots.

    Getting some research experience will be a big boost to your application. Keep in mind that formal programs are only one avenue for this. Talk to your professors. Talk to other senior students or graduate students and find out who needs help over the summer.
  5. Mar 30, 2015 #4
    Hey Choppy,

    That makes sense. I've tried talking to my professors and asking around, they have for the most part been
    giving me the "try again next year" line. They seem reticent to offer an unofficial volunteer opportunity, both
    due to my earlier marks (I returned after experiencing some life with much improved grades) and because
    their labs are already oversaturated with talent.

    I'm just starting to feel like I have the ability to do the work,
    but I'm worried that grades will continue to hinder me, and that perhaps the standards are much higher than
    what I can now produce. I'm really just looking for a glimmer of hope that will warrant spending more money
    and time on this field of interest in the faint hopes of advancement. Do students with continued improvement
    edge their way through this hypercompetitive applicant pool ever? Or is it just strictly paint by numbers?

    Thanks again for the advice Choppy

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