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Apply to US PhD with UK 2.i grade

Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2023 1:55 am
by janehou
I am an undergraduate student at one of Oxbridge in the UK. I have been achieving first class in my first two years. However, in my third year I underperformed in two exams and slipped into a high 2.i class. The exams I underperformed in have horrible grades, like 50% -- our grade for the class only depends on a 2-hour exam paper, and there is no way to drop the class or resit. How would this be viewed by the admissions committee for US PhD?

Re: Apply to US PhD with UK 2.i grade

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2023 6:38 pm
IMO it would not be a big deal, especially if it's just 2 classes. Research experience will greatly outweigh other factors when applying to the U.S. When I applied from the UK myself, I briefly explained the scoring system in my personal statement. I calculated a single weighted percentage based on my scores for Years 1, 2, and 3, and mentioned that 70%+ is the first class threshold. Also, I managed to find out my percentile rank in my cohort -- it would be useful if you could get that somehow. Do you still have a 2.i if you properly weight all your scores from Years 1, 2 and 3? Or is the 2.i just for third year?

BTW any US admissions committee will probably not understand what a 2.i classification is, or how scores of ~60% are still quite decent. Remember in the U.S. all classes are weighted equally when calculating a GPA. So you could also try calculating the average of every module you've done since first year. If that is above 70%, then you could say in your personal statement that your averaged score during your whole undergrad degree is in the first class, i.e. the highest category one can achieve. Again getting your percentile rank within your cohort would be best if you can get it.