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
    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. Feb 12, 2014 at 4:19

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