I know this question may have no definitive anwser at all, please bear with me. I just finished my 3rd year of university, and I have one year and a semester left until (hopefully) getting into a math PhD program in the US. The thing is, I got a C0 and a C+ in general elective courses a few semesters ago, and I need to choose between either retaking these courses in the following semesters, or taking more math courses and doing some more research but letting those C's nibble off my overall GPA. I was not a math major until the start of my 3rd year, so I have many math courses that I have not taken yet, especially graduate level (say commutative algebra, differential geometry etc), and I am very eager in learning more math. I am attending a worldwide ~50 ranked institute outside of the U.S., so it would help a lot if I get answers in the international applicant's perspective. Thanks a lot!

1 Answer 1


A few low/average grades in lower division, non-major courses isn't much of an issue. You would be far better off taking advanced math courses and doing well there. Overall GPA is not the most important consideration in graduate applications. GPA in the major carries more weight. Grades in advanced courses carry more weight. Letters from people who attest to your ability in math carry much more weight. Move on.

  • 2
    This is true but only up to a point: In my university, an application will be rejected if GPA is below 3.0. I suspect that the same is the case in many other places. Jan 9 at 16:03
  • Thank you so much for the advice. Jan 9 at 16:58

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