I feel I've received poor grades in my bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering - Second Class Second Division as per UK grading system. Having finished my bachelors in the UK I wish to enroll into a masters program in Systems or Mechanical Engineering in the US. I am currently employed by a logistics company in Dubai.

How can I improve my chances of getting into a grad school in the US with what I consider as poor grades? What other factors can strengthen my application?

  • 1
    Almost identical to this question, and I suspect the answers there will answer your question as well.
    – eykanal
    Jun 12, 2012 at 19:42
  • 6
    There's one important difference. Many US grad schools have separate admissions tracks (or criteria) for MS and Ph.D programs. In some places, the MS is a cash cow for the university: almost anyone is admitted, but no support is provided. In such cases, a weak transcript matters little.
    – Suresh
    Jun 12, 2012 at 21:04
  • I second Suresh. PhD admissions is very different from MS admissions.
    – Legendre
    Aug 15, 2012 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


I would look for a purely taught program (i.e., no research component) terminal masters program and demonstrate that you can, and expect to, self fund. The expectations of self funded students on terminal masters programs are very different from masters programs designed to feed into PhD programs. I would also target smaller programs where applications are looked at more throughly. The US system relies on standardized tests. Take the GRE and a subject test and do well (really well). Finally, think about why you did poorly in you undergraduate studies and what has changed since then. Then figure out how to express that in your statement of purpose.

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