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Graduate school admissions 101


Replies to: Graduate school admissions 101

  • AppleLinguistAppleLinguist Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    Grades are not everything when it comes to gradschool, but if you are particularly worried about it, it may behoove you to do things that would complement your CV and help to draw attention away from your grades. For example, in your case, Ummmm, you may want to consider getting some work experience in BE after you graduate. That way, though your grades may not be the best in the bunch, it could still benefit you to have that experience. Admissions people like work experience, especially relevant WE.
  • Dirt McGirtDirt McGirt Registered User Posts: 394 Member
    Ummmm, low grades can usually be countered by having some work experience after undergrad. Your GPA becomes less important the farther you get from undergrad.
  • hopeful momhopeful mom Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Right out of undergrad with a major in English or Philosophy would a grad school accept the student into a PhD program with the understanding that their MA work will be included in the program of study? And, if so, does this give the international student more of a chance at fellowships and other funding, considering they may not be eligible for US gov't aid?
  • WilliamCWilliamC Registered User Posts: 785 Member
    It depends on the PhD discipline, the university, the student's level of preparation...

    In the humanities (and I'm speaking from a Classics/Classical Archaeology perspective) if a university offers the PhD in a discipline, the MA is nearly always part of the process rather than a separate degree.

    Some PhD granting universities will sometimes admit students with great potential, but perhaps lacking some preparation to the MA program (rather than directly to the PhD track) in the expectation that the student will then prove himself (or not) and petition for entry to the PhD on completion of the MA. Each school's website will tell you about their admission procedures and requirements. You'll want to look both at each university's "graduate school admissions" site AND the appropriate departmental or program site.

    That said, there are, in my field, a number of universities that offer excellent MA programs oriented toward students with less than perfect undergrad preparation. Again, in my field, those would be students who for example, were unable to take both Greek and Latin, either because their undergrad institution didn't offer one, or because they came to Classics late and just didn't have time. Most of these "feeder" MA programs have a very good reputation but generally don't offer much in the way of financial support.

    If you have questions about a particular program, do not hesitate to call them directly. (But read their website first - almost everything you really need to know will be there these days.) Most schools are either on summer break or about to be right now, but the admins. should be around even if the professors aren't.
  • GatorEng23GatorEng23 Registered User Posts: 1,571 Senior Member
    I have a general question. If you are working on undergraduate engineering research that you don't plan on studying as a grad student, how well graduate schools view that? Do graduate schools accept you based on your specific research or just generally through the larger department? What I mean, is to what extent are you confined to what you specialized in as an undergraduate?
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Registered User Posts: 12,374 Senior Member
    Not to a very great extent. There are many people who switch fields entirely for grad school (mech Es to aero/astro, biology majors to bioengineering), and it's generally seen as neither worrisome nor unusual. Actually doing undergrad research is the important part; it doesn't have to be on the topic you want to study for your master's or PhD.

    Some programs will accept through subspecialties rather than for the whole department, but it's your intended research path, rather than the one you've already taken, that they'll use to determine whether your interests are a good fit with the faculty's.
  • GatorEng23GatorEng23 Registered User Posts: 1,571 Senior Member
    Okay, thanks mollie!
  • ryan2288ryan2288 Registered User Posts: 2,501 Senior Member
    What kind of difference do the types of courses in college play in grad school admissions(and also GPA leeway). For instance, my GPA is basically a 3.6 but my GPA without Chinese it is a 3.9(Chinese is a 5 credit course at my school). Will business schools(and other grad programs like law) like the fact that I can speak some Chinese and will they factor that into the admissions game?
  • Professor XProfessor X Registered User Posts: 893 Member
    hopefulmom and William C,

    Depending upon the humanities discipline, many "terminal MA" feeder programs do indeed offer assistantships which carry full tuition remission as well as a living stipend.

    As William C advised, ALWAYS research the programs you're considering, and contact the Director of Graduate Studies in that department.

    (I'm the DGS in my program.)
  • larationalistlarationalist Registered User Posts: 916 Member
    To expand on professor X's mention of the terminal MA, I thought I'd mention more specialized terminal Masters degrees such as the M.Arch and MFA. The funding for these programs seems to mostly be much like funding for undergrad: a select few will earn a full ride, many will get partial funding through scholarships, however there are a coveted few of the full ride type assistanceships out there, usually at state schools. For those that are not funded, it is usually acceptable to take a part-time job either at the university or in a professional capacity.
  • Phoenix WrightPhoenix Wright Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    Hey, my undergraduate record isn't stellar, but I got accepted into a great masters program (1yr) in the UK. I'm going because it's what I want to do, but will it help at all with my chances of admission?
  • ysk1ysk1 Registered User Posts: 740 Member
    What's the difference between interning at a company that does research than actually doing research. Isn't it the same?
    Generally, my feeling is that it's basically the same, particularly in something like engineering. Research and internships often serve the same purpose in grad school apps -- namely, showing the admissions committee that you're talented at designing and building stuff (or whatever you should be talented in) rather than just in spitting back memorized answers on exams.
    Is it the same for sciences as well?
  • VissanikVissanik Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    I am also very interested to know more about what ryan2288 mentioned as I am considering continuing my study of Chinese into college.
    On a different topic, can any other people with graduate school admissions knowledge alledge to the validity of the orginial poster's statement that extra-curricular's are often of no importance?
  • ysk1ysk1 Registered User Posts: 740 Member
    Vissanik: ECs are important only if they are related to your career goal.
  • Ummmm......Ummmm...... Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    I guess the only reason I'm worried is that alot of schools mention that they require a minimum 3.0 GPA for their Master's programs. So I'm just wondering if they put that to give credence to their admissions process as being highly competitive or is it that serious. I don't wanna get in a situation where I can't get into grad school although my research experience won't reflect for my less than stellar grades.
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