I have a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering and my GPA is 2.6/4 (German scale, so it was like 2.9/4 in American GPA), mainly due to years of depressions and a bad break up. If I picked up work for a year or two in software development, is there a chance (and if it so, how far it is) to get accepted for a Master in Data Science in the US/Canada?

  • Apply and find out... We can't guess. – Solar Mike Apr 6 '19 at 8:55
  • What's 2.6 German scale?? – user2705196 Apr 6 '19 at 12:07
  • @user2705196 The German scale is 1 to 5 with 1 being the best and 5 being the falling grade. 4.0 in German mean the lowest you get to pass. It's a clusterfuck and way more complicated than he linear aproach, but you get the idea. 2.5 in German scale is "good" and equals the 75% percent requirement of many university. – Kodiak Apr 6 '19 at 15:20
  • In the US there are many legitimate masters degrees that are less "competitive" than they are "expensive" (even at large, 'top' institutions) - a well put together application and an ability to pay $10k-$40k USD per year, with applications to multiple programs, and your chance of acceptance somewhere is quite high, especially if you have some related work experience to show you have the basic skills already. So I would suggest that "chance of acceptance" should not really be the criteria that concerns you much, unless you only want to apply to the single most famous program you know. – BrianH Apr 6 '19 at 17:44
  • Your question is probably too broad to be answerable. You'd have to check each university for their application requirements. I'd venture to guess that some place will take you, especially considering that Master's programs in the US/Canada charge significant fees. Regarding your "translation" of a german grade into an American GPA: grades can mean vastly different things, e.g. as a performance relative to other students, and similarly the "absolute" level of performance required to get a certain grade at your university might be vastly different compared to a school in the US/Canada. – user2705196 Apr 6 '19 at 17:45

You will probably need to take the GRE and get a solid score. It also depends how you did in particular courses. E.g. did you bomb all the hard classes and ace a bunch of easy ones to pass overall? In grad school they may all be hard classes. Not to discourage you too much though. If you apply far and wide you may be able to get in somewhere with just about any background.

The concern of the school admissions is not just some competitive cutoff for merit, but that you will fail out and waste your time and money. There are definitely benefits of working, and it will help you. Especially if you get a job that uses some of the skills you need for your Master's program, like programming. If you can get a job precisely in "Data science" it may help significantly.


Yes. But, it will depend on you "building a case" that your GPA is not the important part of your story. Good letters of recommendation, good essays on the application, good test scores, etc. will help show that your GPA is not all there is to know about you.

Another good route to take (worked for me) is to take a grad-level course that would be a natural way to talk to a professor in the program. Do well, and you have another part of the story that you are not the same student that you were. AND, you may have a recommendation from a professor in that program (and potential advisor). The downside is that you are likely to have to shell out for that course, unless you can get your work to pay for it. (Check your employee benefits. I was a teacher, and continuing education was important enough that the district would help foot the cost for grad courses that were directly applicable.)

Don't focus too much on the metric of the GPA. It is only one of the ways that universities evaluate potential students.

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