I am currently a 4th year Chemistry undergraduate student in the US. I will be applying to Master's programs in Germany (and probably some other EU countries). Due to many health and family related issues, my GPA has been severely affected. By the time I apply, I will most likely have a GPA of about 3.2 out of 4.0, which is around 2.2 in German grading system. In addition, a lot of my specific grades are a bit inconsistent (e.g. I did really bad in Organic Chemistry I but exceptionally well in Organic Chemistry II). My advisors tell me that generally it is good to have some rising trend, and this inconsistency is not helping.

However, the (probably) stronger parts of my application include:

  • Very extensive undergraduate research experience (presenting in best conference of my field, will have at least one journal publication by the time I receive my Bachelor's degree)
  • My university is ranked top 10 in the US, both overall and also for my research area (geochemistry/mineralogy)
  • My research supervisor is a leading figure in his field, who is a great mentor and is willing to write me a strong recommendation. My other professors also know me well and I am confident I will get good letters from them as well
  • Not sure if relevant, but I also have a summer job experience in industry as an analytical chemist intern, and a semester of Teaching Assistant (TA) appointment for a computational biology class

Will these suffice despite having the low GPA? I am worried that even if I am offered admission, I may not qualify for scholarships or Hiwi jobs to cover my living expenses.

Please note that I am applying only to English programs, and my German proficiency is currently at A2, but it is unlikely I will be able to practice enough to get to C1. For Master's programs, I am applying to mostly computational chemistry, geochemistry/mineralogy, and physical chemistry programs (in decreasing order of preference).

1 Answer 1


The application system in Germany is much different than in the US. Most masters (and bachelors) applications in Germany are solely decided by the grade of the applicants. The research and work experience is in most cases irrelevant (and no documents proving them need to be handed in). Even if you would send in those documents without being asked for them, chances are very, very high that they will be ignored and noone will look at them. The whole system is in most cases rather bureaucratic.

They also do not care where you have obtained your grades or if your supervisor is famous, as long as the university you obtained your degree at is recognized as being sufficiently equivalent to the German education system (there are online sites to check that, but US schools should generally be ok).

And as a side note: a 2.2 is not condsidered a LOW grade. Many people (especially in engineering and science) have lower grades in their BAs and do get into a masters program just fine. I don't think you have to worry too much as long as you are flexible enough and not fixed on a few specific unis in popular cities (and even there it is not unlikely that you get in).

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