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I'm not sure if this is the place to ask about graduate admission, so please let me know if the question is off-topic.

I'm currently in my senior year doing my undergraduate degree. I recently made the decision to pursue graduate studies (M.S. CS), but my GPA is a bit low. I will graduate with a double major degree in international relations and computer science. My major GPA will be 3.1/4.0 (cumulative 3.3/4.0), and so I decided to delay graduation an take another semester to raise my GPA (retaking a couple of courses and taking one new one) and also give me more time to prepare for graduate admission as I felt I was a bit too unprepared. After the extra semester (and assuming I do average to well) my major GPA will be 3.4/4.0.

I took the GRE and did well (163V / 169Q / 5.5 AW), but felt that I want to invest as much effort as I can (since this is the only time I'll have, to raise my undergraduate GPA) and then apply when I'm better prepared.

Does graduating late reflect poorly for graduate admission? I wanted to use that time and take advantage of the fact that I'm taking fewer courses during the semester to work on other projects as well.

Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you!

  • Did any prospective C.S. departments have concerns over your GPA? The bar for masters students is not necessarily the same as for PhDs. – SecretAgentMan Sep 6 '18 at 13:58
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In general, taking longer to graduate is not a problem. However, your plan of retaking courses rather than taking new courses is a bit flawed. If you take more advanced courses and do well, then your earlier performance on more basic classes is less of a concern. It might not bring up your GPA as much, but taking new upper-level courses (and doing research as you have suggested) will give you more to talk about in a SOP, strengthen relationships with faculty, and better prepare you to do research at a graduate level.

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Your GRE seems not well, but excellent! I can't comment on GPA though, it is different for different universities. However, rather than extra semester, universities in US for instance generally criticize course repetitions. Such as in University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee they count replaced courses as if they are another courses,

https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/admission/

Though, your decision does not seem to have course repetition, instead, lowering the number of courses and enhancing your research experience at the same time, which sounds quite strategical and good.

  • Hello! Thanks for the feedback! Actually, I was taking the extra semester to retake a couple of courses to raise GPA, while pursuing projects. My GPA and research are my weak points, so it seemed to make sense. I am also aware that some schools treat repeated courses as separate, and include both grades, but I'm aiming for schools which don't do so. Would it still seem like a reasonable decision? – Seankala Sep 6 '18 at 8:57
  • @Sean It's up to you, but they may still demand that why you needed to repeat the course, but this will mostly not require an elaborate answer. – user91300 Sep 6 '18 at 10:51

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