I am planning to apply to physics graduate school for the second time.
I entered a physics PhD program at a well-respected, public research university in 2002 and subsequently performed poorly in my graduate classes for a few reasons including, but not limited to: emotional trauma due to family issues and the end of a long-term relationship. When it rains, it pours. For the next 3 years, I taught and bounced around research groups and finally settled in to one that fit. The research I performed was strong, and the professors with whom I worked are willing to write me supportive letters if I reapply
I decided to leave with my Master's degree based on the research I performed, mentioned above, after classes were completed. My GPA was just at the minimum of 3.0 required to obtain the degree - pretty bad. My emotional issues have long since been resolved and are no longer influencing my ability to focus on academics.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? I know a lower undergraduate GPA is not so detrimental if the rest of an application is strong, but what about the GPA from my graduate work? I assume that weighs more heavily, regardless of circumstance, as it is direct evidence, or lack thereof, of ability to perform well in a graduate program's formal classwork.