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How bad does taking five years to graduate look?

  1. Jun 10, 2010 #1
    Hey guys, I have heard that taking five years to graduate is frowned upon by grad schools. Is this true, and if so, to what extent? Let me take a minute to explain my situation. I'm a rising junior, and I only decided to become a science major a year ago. I'm a neuroscience major (but you physics folks seem to be pretty knowledgeable about academics in all the sciences). I want to do a PhD in neuroscience after I graduate. Just finishing my major won't be a problem, but I feel like I might lack some upper level science electives. Also, I am becoming increasingly interested in computational neuroscience, and I'd like to take some more math and physics courses, as well as a computer science class or two (I've never taken computer science). Furthermore, I need to take a GRE subject test, and I won't have enough of any one subject. If I do the chemistry one, I'll lack physical chemistry; if I do the math one, I'll lack abstract algebra and some other stuff. How bad would it look if I took an extra semester or two to graduate?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2010 #2


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    Considering you are changing majors late in your college years, I don't think it'll be a problem at all, especially if you're using the extra time to build up added courses you'll need for your graduate programs.

    Taking 5 years to graduate is more of a concern if the reason is 1) you had to retake a lot of courses you failed the first time, or 2) you were taking light course loads without some good reason for it (a good reason being something like having to work a full-time job to pay for school in addition to your classes).
  4. Jun 11, 2010 #3
    What about just working attending school half-time/working half-time? That's my situation. I have to work to support myself to live. I've had the Pell Grant the last two years.
  5. Jun 12, 2010 #4
    Thanks Moonbear! Do you think it would be worth the extra time just so I can take enough of one subject to do well on a GRE subject test?
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