Courses taken and GPA can matter quite significantly for undergraduates, both for applying to graduate school and applying for jobs. What about courses taken and GPA during PhD? Do they matter at all for postdoc/professorship application? Do postdoc/professorship application usually ask for a transcript? What about for industry positions? Are there positions that would care about "good grades" or "advanced courses taken" during PhD?

I would guess the answer is largely negative, but I'm willing to hear other opinions.


3 Answers 3


In my experience on many search committees I've never looked in detail at the coursework or grades of an applicant. We have however required transcripts as proof of the academic degrees that the applicants claim.


For what it's worth, I've served on dozens of faculty hiring committees at an R1 institution and I have never had a transcript made available to me as part of the application materials. So not only do we not care, even if we did care we wouldn't have the ability to do anything about it. It's true that competition is intense and any relevant edge helps--but grades aren't even part of the contest.

Perhaps things are different in industry or possibly even at teaching institutions, though in the latter case I doubt it.


Yes, applying for academic jobs and post-docs will require your transcripts. How seriously they view the grades will vary from institution to institution. I would suggest, however, that while low grades may not exclude you from consideration, they certainly don't help. Coursework during a PhD is essentially training. You are being trained for your work as an academic. How well you fare in that training reflect something about you.

If you have a stellar publication record, fantastic references, and a killer dissertation, grades are likely not very important. But just remember, you're going to be competing against hundreds of other applicants for a job. Do you really want your transcript to be full of Bs? In a pool of candidates with 4.0 GPAs, you don't want to be the guy with a 3.0.

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