I had obtained my bachelor degree with first class of honor then I pursued my master studies in France. During the first year of my master (M1), I had pretty bad performance. I failed a course but I passed the semester since my average grade is higher than 10/20. Also, there was a project which I barely passed. I applied to another school for M2, I passed it with good grades (in french standards).

If I apply for a PhD, is deliberately hiding my M1 grades a violation? Given that M2 GPA is independent of M1, I could've been admitted directly into M2, and M2 courses are more geared towards research topics while M1 consists, mostly, of general courses.

2 Answers 2


Yes, 'hiding' any grades you are asked to supply to support an application is an ethical violation.

It seems like missing M1 grades are going to be a pretty obvious omission, and their dubious absence is likely to hurt you much more than their unappealing presence.

There are several existing answers here covering how to deal with and explain sub-par grades, or whether anything needs to be done at all.

How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students?

How do I make a bad semester not look bad during my scholarship application?

How much will a poor first semester affect my grad school chances?

Should I explain a single bad grade in my personal statement?

Thoughts on Student with Bad Grades in Easy Courses and Better Grades in hard courses

  • Some universities specifically require the grades of all course works, while it's not clear for many others.
    – SomeOne
    May 24, 2018 at 22:45

Use your personal statement to demonstrate that you have changed and developed, and are substantially distinct from the person who got those grades, and that there will be no repeat of that experience.

  • I don't think it's common to write a "personal statement" in a PhD application in France. A research project, yes.
    – user9646
    May 30, 2018 at 0:54
  • Really? How curious.
    – Mox
    May 31, 2018 at 20:45

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