I am an international student who is able to self-finance his master degree education in the US. I looked at a relatively big number of schools that offer a master degree in software engineering and most of them require a minimum bachelor degree GPA of 2.5 to 3.0 .. I graduated with 2.3 from an accredited school in Egypt. I have 6+ years of experience in the software development field, 2 Oracle Java programming certificates and passed the IELTS test (6.5).

How would I find a university that doesn't require GPA or require ones that is less than or equal to 2.3 and would get me a student visa in the US? Could I find one in the usual published university guides, or should I call/write a bunch of admissions offices or take other measures?

My desired fields of education are Software Engineering or Computer Science with a focus on software development.

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    Schools cite a minimum GPA as evidence that you actually know enough to take their classes, learn from those classes, and graduate. After you've been out in the real world for a while, and can show real-world experience that proves you have equivalent background and ability to focus, GPA may become less relevant... but it's up to you to convince the school to make that decision. Remember that any school which doesn't set a minimum probably does not have a respected/respectable degree program. – keshlam Jul 16 '14 at 2:18
  • As you have a good CV (certificates, job experience and English test) and more important you are self-financing your education, they may take it easier for you about your GPA. Send your application request to some universities you like and don't be worried or upset. – Enthusiastic Engineer Jul 17 '14 at 11:51
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    A 6.5 IELTS is the minimum or below minimum at many US universities. So you are basically looking for a university that will admit students despite every indication that they will have difficulty in an academic environment, especially one that is English-speaking. I'm not sure you would want to attend such a university. – ff524 Jul 17 '14 at 13:19
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is essentially a shopping question. – jakebeal Mar 22 '15 at 3:30

Most universities usually require a work experience of 2 years if you don't meet their GPA. I see your GPA is not bad and I don't know what you're waiting for because you already overdid the experience part by going all the way to 6 years. You should apply asap and the only worry is to make sure that your application is superb

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  • I've never heard of a US department offering this kind of degree, that has a formal policy of accepting 2 years of work experience if you don't meet their minimum GPA. Do you have a source for this information? – ff524 Jul 20 '14 at 16:00

Edit: In response to the commenter, there are relatively few graduate programs in the U.S. that will have GPA requirments below 2.5. They will mostly be at "community" colleges in a "cow" (agricultural) towns that are not worth your time and money.

One thing that may help you is your "foreign" background. The hottest ticket in many American universities right now is a degree from Kuwait, Qatar, or one of the Gulf States, with Egypt probably not far behind. Try to find a university that "reaches out" heavily to foreign students, most likely a "state" or "city" university, not a "rural" school. Hopefully, you will find a dean or admissions committee who will "bend the rules" for you for the sake of "diversity." It would be better if the school were financially strapped because you represent not only a "paying" student but a future wealthy alumnus (hence the preference for "Gulf" States candidates).

Your GPA is a bit "shy" of the 2.5-3.0 requirement, but your work experience may make up for it. In your application, write about the most difficult project you successfully completed, and why you succeeded. In any event, you will probably come across as more mature than a recent graduate.

You should understand that as a foreign student, your application will probably be viewed differently from an American's. Universities will not be looking to you to add to the store of (Western) knowledge, but rather to "take back" what you know to your homeland, and hopefully "go far" there with what you've learned. Basically, you want a school that will take you with their "last" slot because you could someday be their "ambassador to Egypt."

An Egyptian computer science student with mediocre grades that I knew at Carnegie Mellon University in the 1970s played a prominent role in "Arab Spring" in 2011. That's what American universities are looking for from someone like you.

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  • This doesn't answer the question, which is "how to find a university without a minimum GPA for admissions?" – ff524 Jul 20 '14 at 16:01
  • @ff524: The point I was trying to make was that his GPA was close enough to 2.5 that some universities would be willing to "bend" the rules in special cases. Such was for people with "heavy" and relevant work experiences. Or in his case, for someone with a foreign background, like my CMU classmate who played a role in "Arab Spring." – Tom Au Jul 20 '14 at 17:08
  • It's a reasonable point, just not an answer to this question. It's more an answer to how to get into grad school with bad grades – ff524 Jul 20 '14 at 17:13
  • @ff524: A university that is willing to "waive" its GPA requirements for e.g. foreign students effectively doesn't have a "minimum" GPA (for those students). – Tom Au Jul 20 '14 at 17:17

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