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I am a final-year undergraduate student studying Anthropology. And I am willing to apply for graduate school. And I am curious whether one's final-year GPA matters. Because once you apply and receive an offer, you will not have received your grades for the courses you took in your final year.

If it does not matter once you receive an offer, then what about schools that require a minimum GPA in their applications? As an example, if I receive an offer from a graduate program that requires at least a 3.7 GPA, but my GPA drops below that number once I graduate, would that be a problem?

Thanks a lot!

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    Does this answer your question? Conditional Offer? – GoodDeeds Sep 9 at 8:07
  • Note that the answer to the linked duplicate question is quite US specific -- what country are you concerned about @Huzo? – astronat Sep 9 at 12:57
  • @astronat I am considering North America or UK. I don't know if the answer would be different for UK universities – Huzo Sep 9 at 13:17
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    In general, slacking off at the end is not a good plan, particularly since you (likely, should) be taking higher level courses applicable to your current degree and your future graduate program. Keep up the hard work and finish strong. – Jon Custer Sep 9 at 13:49
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The linked duplicate question answers your query regarding applications in the US. This answer will address the UK situation.

In the UK, if you haven't graduated and got your final mark yet, your offer of a PhD place and funding will almost certainly be conditional on you finishing your degree with a certain grade. They may specify a certain GPA you need to graduate with, or the equivalent UK degree classification. Since the UK system is less finely graded than in the US, the latter scenario gives you more flexibility.

For example, they may state that you must achieve equivalent to a 2:1 (pronounced "two-one", aka upper second class) degree. In the UK this means an average of between 60% and 69%. Let's say your GPA is currently 3.5, which might correspond to 68%*, a high 2:1. However, in your final semester it drops to 3.3, which might now correspond to 64%, a middling 2:1. In this imaginary scenario, your drop in GPA didn't correspond to a drop in UK classification, so you would still meet the offer.

However, if they give you an offer in terms of your GPA (perhaps less likely), asking for you to graduate with a 3.5 and you drop to 3.3, then you have missed the terms of your offer and your place and funding will likely be rescinded.

Related to Jon Custer's comment, it's also important to note that in the UK the average grade tends to be weighted towards the final year, and first year grades almost never count towards the final classification. So doing poorly in your final year certainly looks bad from a UK perspective, as the final year courses are arguably the most important and have the biggest effect on your overall classification. While that may not be true for your own degree, the unconscious bias may still be in the minds of a UK admissions committee.


*Note that I have no idea how GPA would really be converted to a UK classification; likely the university you are applying to will have their own method of conversion that would definitely be worth asking about before you apply.

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    I think this is a good answer that can be applied to basically any country and school for your grad school. Basically every offer will have come with some terms that you will have to have satisfied, including your final marks/grades/passing transcript. Those will determine your situation. Don't slack off just because you got and accepted an offer! Check your offer letter for the terms or pointers to them. – Bill Barth Sep 9 at 14:47

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