Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Grades in Graduate School

studdentstuddent Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
edited December 2009 in Graduate School
Hello All,

I have been hearing contradicting ideas regarding course grade in graduate school

a) Grades do not matter (just get above 3.0)
b) B is a failing grade in grad school (anything but an A is unacceptable)
c) Grades matter only for fellowships (i.e. 3.5+ should be sufficient)

Any opinion will be appreciated. And I am mainly interested for Phd program in bio, bme, or computational biology field. Would MS or PhD make a difference?
Post edited by studdent on

Replies to: Grades in Graduate School

  • kryptonsa36kryptonsa36 Registered User Posts: 1,735 Senior Member
    Many programs assign B, not A, as the minimal passing grade. Grades certainly do matter because a non-passing grade can be grounds for removal from the program, but the GPA itself is highly unlikely to be important when you're trying to secure a postdoctoral position, etc.

    And yes, some fellowships at some programs are contigent upon a minimum GPA. So you're hearing "contradicting" statements because some of them are simultaneously true.
  • belevittbelevitt Registered User Posts: 2,005 Senior Member
    In my experience, grades really don't matter. If you get a B- or lower, they make you repeat the class. Though I can certainly imagine that if you made a habit of it, they would boot you from the program. Because of this, nearly everybody gets an A or B and instructors almost never give anything else out. After all, it takes a year or more of lead time before they can replace the cheap labor with the following year's grad students. I can imagine that fellowships, postdocs and real positions, would require all your transcripts but since nearly everyone has the same grade point average, it's hard to imagine that making a difference.
  • gthopefulgthopeful Registered User Posts: 1,828 Senior Member
    "Mostly A's" is expected most places. Some departments can be pretty strict graders though.
  • MomwaitingfornewMomwaitingfornew Registered User Posts: 5,821 Senior Member
    You're hearing contradictory information because it varies from program to program. Some programs allow only one B per semester, while some consider a B a failing grade. Some expect a 3.0 or higher. Some expect nothing less than A-s. The only thing consistent across the board is that they expect mastery of the material before you can receive the degree. In the case of PhD programs, you have to pass a general knowledge test before you are allowed to write your dissertation.
  • Mr.ZooMr.Zoo Registered User Posts: 248 Junior Member
    I have heard this from two professors already in grad course

    one said "I only give As and Bs in this course"

    another one said "The lowest grade I give is B-"

    they both said it at beginning of the term.... in grad school you are taking the class for your research purpose, really shouldn't worry about grades too much, but you really want to learn
  • ParAlumParAlum Registered User Posts: 439 Member
    I give out the full range of letter grades. It is up to the graduate student to demonstrate aptitude and dedication to their "chosen" field. I do not think it is beneficial to pass students along in fields that require substantial dedication and commitment to stay afloat! And as stated by many others, programs vary. In some programs, grades below a 3.0 can result in loss of graduate fellowship funding or even dismissal from the program.
  • naurunauru Registered User Posts: 1,158 Senior Member
    A close friend of mine who was a TA at Yale for undergrads during her PhD, actually got in trouble for giving grades lower than B. Talk about grade inflation lol. It's an actual active policy at some schools.
  • reillythemanreillytheman Registered User Posts: 391 Member
    So........what can we conclude?

    To answer the thread's question, grades do matter in grad school.
  • MomwaitingfornewMomwaitingfornew Registered User Posts: 5,821 Senior Member
    A close friend of mine who was a TA at Yale for undergrads during her PhD, actually got in trouble for giving grades lower than B.

    This surprises me, even though I know nothing about Yale's policies, and I have to wonder if you got the complete story. Sure, young instructors have to explain Ds and Fs, especially if they give out more than one. And yes, a class average that is too low will be questioned. For example, if the highest grade in the class was a B+, and most got Bs and Cs, then the TA might be asked to be more realistic in the future. But to give out a couple of C+s and B-s along with the full range of grades at B or above? I doubt anyone would blink. Except for Yale. ;)
  • mcimmcim Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
    From what I experienced and from what I heard, grades don't matter in Grad school. Most grades handed out are A's and B's, though I have gotten grades below a B. At least for my program, you need a minimum 3.0 to graduate. You might get on academic probation if you have your GPA below 3.0 after a semester, but its fairly easy to keep good grades in Grad school, moreso than undergrad.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,653 Super Moderator
    In my program your grades don't really matter, and our professors told us at the beginning of the program not to worry about grades too much. I've completed three semesters here already and for the two that I have grades for, I've gotten one B+ and the rest of my grades have been A's and A-'s (and one A+).

    Basically if you do everything that you are supposed to, you get an A; if you do most things but complete at less than the expected standard for a graduate student, you get a B. A C is very very bad.
This discussion has been closed.