I am currently getting ready to finish my first semester of a graduate program (was on track for Ph.D but that does not matter anymore). I made the decision to quit half way through the semester due to some family issues that came up. Anyway, ever since that, I pretty much lost all motivation to study with the persistence that I had before - up to the point where on a subconscious level my brain refuses to absorb any more information. I will likely be receiving at least 1 F for the semester. My question is this - after I leave the program I will be looking for job in industry - I am a Civil Engineer as an undergraduate. How will having an F on a 1 semester transcript in graduate school affect my job prospects?

  • It will affect your job perspectus negatively with respect to those with higher skills, and won't have much impact with regards to those who have lower skills.
    – user14323
    Apr 21 '14 at 4:12
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    Please change the title to express your specific question. Apr 21 '14 at 12:34
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    I would recommend asking this question at The Workplace stack exchange since it's about interviews and hiring rather than academia per se. Frankly, many of us go straight from grad school to professor positions and have little experience with industry. I don't even understand the premise of the question: why would the people hiring you have access to your transcript? Do you have to submit it as part of the application package?
    – user6782
    Apr 21 '14 at 12:41
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    Did you continue your graduate studies at the same institution where you did your undergraduate studies? If not, then I would assume you could get by without even giving your grad transcript to prospective employers.
    – Mad Jack
    Apr 21 '14 at 14:32

Did you try seeing if you could formally withdraw, rather than do so "de facto"? A withdrawal means that you normally don't receive grades for courses (although some schools note a withdrawal while having a failing grade in a course).

The likelihood that a future employer will overlook this depends largely on who's doing the applicant screening. If your "direct boss" is handling the process, you have a chance of convincing them that the grades aren't reflective of your true abilities. On the other hand, if a human resources "specialist" is handling the screening process, a grade of F will unfortunately mean your application will probably end up in the "circular file."


You will be looking for a job in industry. I don't think your job prospects are completely determined by the F's on the transcript of your first semester of the graduate program. Of course, those F's hurt your chances. Your resume could be filtered out by the human resources when they see the F's on your graduate school transcript if they ask to see that transcript. But, they usually pay attention to your undergraduate transcript and your skills set. If your undergrad transcript is fine and you have the skills/experience they are looking for, you still have reasonably good job prospects.

On the other hand, if it is not too late to withdraw from the class, do it to avoid the permanent bad record. If it's too late, try your best to not to fail the class. I know it's hard after you have gone through the personal issues. But, you don't want to ask yourself the question "What if I tried?" years later.

Wish you good luck!

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    Some larger employers have strict GPA cutoffs. The F would be disastrous.
    – aeismail
    Apr 21 '14 at 6:45
  • @aeismail I agree. The OP does not have to limit himself to those top large companies.
    – Nobody
    Apr 21 '14 at 6:52
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    Also, not every job requires graduate school level knowledge. Sometimes, graduate school grades are neglected by industry employers, large or small.
    – Nobody
    Apr 21 '14 at 8:20

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