I had a low Undergrad GPA, around or below the cutoff of most of the masters programs that interest me. I have since started pursuing a graduate certificate (Mining Massive Datasets from Stanford) and am doing much better (A's) than I did as an Undergrad.

What should I expect in terms of how universities look at the non-degree courses I have taken towards the certificate? I realise I could draw attention to the grades in my personal statement, but is there any precedent for including post-degree courses in the GPA calculation for cutoff purposes? How might they be weighted? What can I do to emphasise them?

A few more specifics for my case if the question is too general: I did my bachelor's in Math and graduated in 2012. I am interested in a Machine Learning-focused Masters in the US, UK, or Canada.

1 Answer 1


I was an international student and did not have amazing bachelor GPA. But I got accepted master degree in NY, plus without TOEFL which was requirement.


I met department chair once. So, probably the department chairman liked my works and it was a good enough first impression on him.

Conclusion: Show your works to department chair. Proof that your bachelor GPA is just some numbers on the paper.

Good luck

  • Thanks for the answer Bugra. By works, do you mean research? How did you arrange the meeting, through a connection or a cold call?
    – paul
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 12:58
  • Pleasure. I emailed. I understand your concern. But don't worry. Because it's just a human. Just email or call or go to a seminar etc. Talk about your situation. Show your interest via research or any other work. Give some specific information and make the person believes your interest. Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 4:19

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