I am currently doing final year project on a subject which I did not have a very good grade(I took three courses in this subject with grade A-, A and B+, only top 5-10% can earn a grade of A and A+). I am quite interested in it and plan to continue in this subject in graduate school. Will this grade have bad effect for my application? Can I indicate my interest clearly in my PS given that my grade is not perfect?

  • 2
    They are fantastic grades - what have the admissions people said?
    – user7130
    Oct 26, 2013 at 11:02
  • By the way, the B+ is actually the grade for the graduate course. That is why I am so worried. Said...
    – Daniel
    Oct 26, 2013 at 14:37
  • @UV-D Thanks for UV-D's reply. Actually I have not consult the administrative people about this question (Actually I doubt that I could ask such questions to them?). As I am preparing for my PS, and I read in one post said a bad score in the interested subject is a "red flag". I am quite worried about this. UV-D, do you mean that I could still indicate my interest in my PS? Thanks!
    – Daniel
    Oct 26, 2013 at 14:41
  • 4
    @Daniel: "A bad score in the interested subject is a 'red flag.'" This is true. But a bad score is well below a B+, particularly if only 5% of students get an A or A+!
    – aeismail
    Oct 26, 2013 at 16:38
  • @aeismail: Thank you for pointing that out clearly. This brings me another question. We all knew that grading system varies from department to department. For certain application form, I could indicate it clearly as the space is provided; for others, shall I state it clearly in my PS? Thanks
    – Daniel
    Oct 26, 2013 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


I don't believe there is a serious stigma associated with an undergraduate getting a B+ in a graduate-level course. It is generally understood that undergraduates taking true graduate-level work (with graduate-level course numbers, etc.) are taking exceptionally advanced subjects, relative to their own preparation. Therefore, it is entirely understandable that you might have an A-, B+, or even a B in a graduate-level subject without it having a strong impact on your chances for graduate-school admissions. Exceptionally weak performance (corresponding to "failing" grades—usually C+ or lower) would be an exception to this, but I see no reason here why you should worry too much.

  • 1
    Thanks for the detailed answer. I found it is hard to decide what to put in my PS. Maybe I will write a new post on this issue later. Many thanks!
    – Daniel
    Oct 26, 2013 at 16:57

One solution to this would be to ask the instructor of the course to write one of your letters of recommendation. If you were indeed performing at a graduate-level while still an undergrad, then he or she should note this in his/her letter.

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