Background: CS undergrad applying for FALL 2022 CS USA PhD Programs

By the time I apply for the programs, I will be finishing 3 and a half years of coursework/labs/tests. Out of this, 2 years of coursework/labs/tests has happened through Zoom and etc.

Main Question: Does this bring down the value of coursework and GPA for a PhD Panel?

Sub-Question: Does it provide more importance for other things like research/projects/internships than from before?

Note: Please assume standardised tests are not required for admissions. (Many programs have told that they will not be required)

  • 3
    Everyone in your cohort who is applying to PhD positions straight out of undergrad is in the same situation as you, so even if your coursework is devalued (I don't think it will be), the playing field will still be level. May 26, 2021 at 13:15

2 Answers 2


Since most doctoral level admissions decisions are made by humans, it is impossible to say in general. Some will consider online course grades less relevant, others won't. But admission in the US has always (in my memory) been based on a wide variety of things with letters of recommendation rated fairly highly. Grades need to be "good enough" but other things are also given heavy emphasis. What do you say in a statement of purpose? What exceptional things have you done (research, writing, ...)? What do your professors think of your likelihood of success.

Another factor here is that it is still too early in the general disruption of the pandemic for general policies to have emerged in lots of places. So, committees are "making do" with what they have.

But, yes, research and such is highly valued as it has always been.

The "complete picture" needs to be good. A few wrinkles around the edges won't be a big handicap for most. And professors hate having to depend on zoom as much as students do, I think.

  • Thank you for the answer!!
    – Academic
    May 27, 2021 at 1:49

What college you did your work at matters more. Online courses in CS would be looked at with the least amount of concern.

There would have been three semesters plus two summers affected by the pandemic. I do not see how 2 years of online learning could have been caused by the pandemic, so it was a choice for you.

  • While rigor at the universities that one has attended prior is taken into consideration, what is also taken into consideration, at least in the US, is what the applicant made out of the opportunities available to them while at those institutions.
    – Daveguy
    Jul 23, 2021 at 17:18
  • I find this a bit offending that you don't know the situation of covid in other countries. It isn't three semesters for me but actually 6 now by the time I finish my study. Anyway, thank you for the opinion.
    – Academic
    Jul 25, 2021 at 14:56
  • If you call less than half of a year a semester, then the word is being used wrong. COVID-19 started in December 2019 at the earliest. If your semesters are only one or two months, that does not relate to PhD program in the US, which have Fall and Spring semesters plus a summer session which is not routinely called a semester.
    – c13
    Jul 26, 2021 at 15:24

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