Unique situation? 2.6 GPA chances.

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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:43 am

Unique situation? 2.6 GPA chances.

Postby particleman » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:11 am


I am an Aerospace Engineering major at a top 10 university with a 2.6 GPA. As for an upward trend in GPA, there is a slight one, but not significant enough to make a difference in my opinion. After gaining interest in physics through research projects, I decided to teach myself and obtained a perfect score on the PGRE last fall. I wish to continue into a phd program in physics, but I am not sure whether or not it is worth applying. It seems people are worried about acceptance with low 3+ GPAs, and I am well below a 3.00. I have heard of students with similar GPAs getting accepted, but only with stellar research experience or convenient connections - neither of which I have.

My research experience includes 1 year in astronomy (type 1a supernovae spectroscopy) and 1 summer working with a particle physics researcher with minor presentations and no publications. I want to study particle physics so the astronomy research seems irrelevant.

Does the fact that I am not a physics major help my GPA situation at all? Will the PGRE save my GPA? Give it to me straight.


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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:47 pm

Re: Unique situation? 2.6 GPA chances.

Postby astroprof » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:28 am

Many graduate programs have a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement for acceptance, so the fact that you are not a Physics major will have no impact on that criterion. There are two solutions to your current problem: (1) invent a time machine and use it to go back and convince your former self to work harder in those introductory courses, or (2) demonstrate your current academic prowess by taking additional upper-level classes and earning above 3.0 GPA. For the latter, you can either take the courses as a non-continuing (non-degree) student or as a Masters student. There are some Masters-only programs that will offer financial support (Teaching Assistantships), so that would be my recommendation. A Masters program will also provide additional research opportunities that will make you more competitive for PhD programs in the future. Also, in terms of timing, many Masters programs have later application due dates than PhD programs, so you could still apply for Fall 2018 admission.

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