Are younger grad/masters students who date undergrads looked down upon/avoided/isolated?

someone mentioned that Grad students who did this are looked down upon and not invited to events so I had to ask, in your experience, are the younger grad/masters students(22-24)? who have dated undegrads looked down or isolated/avoided by their peers? I heard they are looked down upon for having to dip down or something? Were they emotionally stunted and failures/sleazeballs? So what has it been like in your experiences?

The main issue of grad student-undergrad student dating is if the graduate student is, or will be, a TA for the undergraduate or in another position of responsibility, such as in a lab. If there is no power differential, there is no problem at all.

For example, if you are a Masters or PhD student in Engineering, there is absolutely no issue with you dating a history undergraduate.

In fact, undergraduate Seniors and Juniors are closer in age to graduate students who are around 22-24 than are older graduates students who are in mid to late 30s.

Check the university’s policies before making ANY assumptions. If you are a housemaster and date an undergrad in your own house you could end up on the losing end of a battle with HR when the relationship goes south (as it often does). Bye bye stipend, bye bye grad school. You could be a PhD student in engineering and your romantic attachment could be a classics major- but that’s not how the U is likely to interpret the situation.

There are written policies on virtually every college campus right now. Go check. Doesn’t matter if your friends think you’re sleazeball if you get kicked out of your program.

It seems only TA/Student relations are banned

Are grad students who do this looked down upon?


In my opinion no. My son is a first year veterinary student and his gf of 3 years is a senior. No issues. Everyone loves her and they are included in whatever socially distanced activities they have. His friend is in a masters of kinesiology program and is dating a Junior he met as an undergraduate. No issues. They are both younger graduate students (son is 21 and his friend 22) and gf’s are 21 and 20 respectively. But no one checked on their ages. I think a 30yo grad student dating a brand new freshman might be more of an issue to some people.

People may look down on a 36 year old grad student who is dating a 19 year old undergrad. A 23 year old grad student dating a 20 year old undergrad? No.

Again - so long as you aren’t their TA or in another position of power, there is no problem.

PS. My wife was a CS undergraduate when I was an environmental biology masters student.

Yes, it’s possible that someone, some people look down upon such relationships at some places and some situations

There are certain risks out there if you are dating someone where you have certain controls over career and/or academic paths. There could be conflict of interest issues. Also grad student dating new freshmen might be looked upon with askance. I see little issue at all with undergrad upperclassmen dating grad students.

I was 22 when I met my husband - he was 30 at that point. I never even thought to WONDER how people looked at our relationship. We were both in grad school, though. We had two classes together. My dad was his supervising professor. ?

I mean not as TA
How is it seen overall

Also, are grads who hang out with undergrads seen as losers

If you are a 25 year old grad student hanging around the new freshman, … uh, yes, you might be regarded as a bit odd. You hang around a variety of places and start dating a junior or senior, hardly a blink. In certain situations, you might appear predatory, yes. A bit of common sense in this and serendipity. One thing to happen to meet an undergrad, a whole other to be focusing your social scene on the new frosh.

There has been more of focus these days on situations where women, in particular, find themselves kinda stuck with the certain relationships due to power plays. If things go sour in a relationship, there are dangers of such accusations if the situation looks like that.

Yeah, as mentioned, it really depends on how you go about doing this. If you’re a younger graduate student who just happens to meet and become close to an undergraduate who is not in any of your classes (and preferably, not in your department at all), most people who know the circumstances are not really going to look down on that.

But if you make it an express goal to date undergrads, and you’re always at undergraduate events because you want to meet undergrads to date, and/or you date a string of people and they are ALL undergrads - that is going to start to look a little weird.

By the time graduate school rolls around, people are far less concerned what other people are doing with their lives. Other graduate students may not even know that you are hanging out with undergrads mostly, and even if they do if you come across as a relatively normal person otherwise, most people probably won’t even think about it.

That said, looking at your post history…I’m getting the sense that you maybe weren’t super happy with your senior year of college or your college experience as a whole, and you’re looking to a graduate school experience to try to win some of that back. It’s awful that your senior year of college was ruined by the coronavirus pandemic, and I’m truly sympathetic to that situation. And you’re still young, and you can still have fun - I partied a lot in my first 2-3 years of graduate school :wink: But with that said, it’s still not undergrad. It should feel different, and this is an opportunity for you to branch out and socialize with other people who are in the same phase of life as you. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! It’s OK to be in a different stage of life.

What you shouldn’t do socially is a different matter, but legally, or at least morally, it’s very easy to determine what you shouldn’t do. If you’re in a position to affect, in any way, the life of who you would be dating, don’t do it. This principal applies, or at least should apply, everywhere.

A few things

  1. So its fine to like naturally mingle with undergrads/attend events
  2. Well, I just have a fear my youth is over/ending and like I don’t feel like I’m in such a different life stage compared to people like at most 1-3 years younger than me or like some old guy trying to hold on to his youth

What events are you thinking of attending- a “get to know you” for freshmen? No, that’s not naturally mingling since you are not a freshman, or part of the catering staff. A rehearsal/tryout for the wind ensemble? If you play a wind instrument and want to try out (and it’s open to anyone with a university affiliation) then sure- go ahead.

See the difference?

I dated my now husband when I was an undergrad and he was in grad school. We are only two years apart in age and didn’t overlap with our majors at all.

My D has close friends who are PhD students and they hang out regularly (again outside her major).

No one is looking down on anyone for how they choose to socialize.

Are you a first year grad student dating a senior? No issue.

Are you a 4th year PHD student dating a freshman? I can see where that could be an issue…why do you need to date a much younger person? For control? Do your peers not see you as mature?

If you happen to meet someone, that you may be interested in, will you ask them, “are you an undergrad?”

Are all bets are off if that person happens to be a graduate student?

If your primary focus is to find and date someone who is primarily and specifically a young “undergraduate student” then, yes I see it as a problem. Dating a younger person may not make you feel younger, it may make you feel a lot older even though you may only be 4-6 years apart in age.

You are aware that there are older undergraduate students that may be returning to school, from careers or from decisions later in life… Would those people be off limits for you because they’re older?