Low Undergrad GPA, High Masters GPA, Very good research

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Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:30 pm

Low Undergrad GPA, High Masters GPA, Very good research

Post by ApplyingToPHDQuantum » Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:56 pm


I am currently applying to PhD programs, but I had some concerns about my undergrad GPA. Apart from that undergrad GPA, I think I am a very strong applicant, but I am wondering if it will get me completely denied from places like Stanford, MIT,, Berkeley etc. Additionally, I took some grad/upper level classes in undergrad that are very relevant to my field and I did not do too well in them.

For context, I am applying to quantum computing programs in applied physics, electrical engineering, and computer science.

I did both my masters of engineering and undergrad at the same Ivy League school. In undergrad, I majored in applied physics and computer science.

I got a 3.6 undergrad GPA. What concerns me about this is that it is very low relative to my peers, as well as the other Ivy League students here who seem to all get 4.0's. I also got a B in graduate quantum mechanics, as well as a C+ in computational physics during my undergrad. These are both very relevant to my field. Additionally, I tended to average B's in all my upper level undergrad physics courses. During my undergrad, I tended to take 6 STEM-heavy courses at a time. I really should not have done that looking back on things.

However, in my masters of engineering program, I got a 4.0. This program lasted 3 semesters. I took classes like QFT, solid state physics, grad level E&M, quantum optics, etc. Basically, if you look at the upper level undergrad classes I got a B in, I got an A in the grad versions as a masters student (except for intro quantum). I also took 4 classes in computational physics / numerical computing and got A's in them. 2 of these were undergrad classes.

Regarding research, I have 10 authorships. 3 of these were done in undergrad. 2 of those relate to my field. 5 came from my master's and 4 of those relate to my field. 2 others came from the national lab I worked at in internships and after my masters, and those are not relevant to my field. For most of these authorships, I contributed greatly.

I have 4 research-related LoR's, and I believe 3 of them will be very strong. The fourth will also be strong, but not as strong.

Edit: I should also mention that I got a perfect GRE and pGRE score.

However, despite all this, I can't help shake the feeling that my undergrad GPA and my performance in upper level undergrad courses will filter me out, especially my intro grad level quantum grade.

What do you think? Am I right to worry? Or do I have a good shot at these highly competitive top 10 programs, despite quantum computing being such a competitive field?

Thank you all for reading.

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Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:29 am

Re: Low Undergrad GPA, High Masters GPA, Very good research

Post by chrysaor4 » Fri Dec 11, 2020 8:11 pm

If you have 10 publications and strong recs, you are in no position to worry. Also, GRE/PGRE scores mean very little this year, since most schools are not accepting them, and the remaining few have made them optional.

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