Many university in North America or in Europe offer fundings for masters program . But it only for those students who have a good CGPA in undergraduate examination .I have completed my bachelor degree in computer science and engineering . I have a very poor cgpa . Is there any possibility that I can get myself admitted in those institution for masters program with fundings . I have heard that a good GRE score will help a lot . Is it true ? Can I get funding if I have a good GRE score once again I repeat I have a very poor cgpa .

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    What is your CGPA? In my experience, by "very poor", students can mean wildly different things. – Pete L. Clark Jan 28 '15 at 14:46
  • Unfortunately, the GRE subject test for computer science was discontinued several years ago, so you will need some other way, such as letters of recommendation, to show your computing knowledge. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 28 '15 at 16:35
  • @PeteL.Clark 2.5 – Shuvro Shuvro Jan 28 '15 at 18:42

Before I begin to answer your question, let me elaborate that US and European universities typically do not have much funding available to students participating in a masters degree. Most funding options (in some universities all of them) are reserved for PhD students and for the universities that do offer funding for master students, it is usually awarded to a selected few. Furthermore, it is less common for European universities to offer funding (when compared to the US) but study cost in Europe can be much cheaper.

A poor undergraduate GPA alone does not prevent you from being accepted to a masters program. One can even hope to receive full funding if he can satisfy the admission committee that he is a fully capable student and his grades do not reflect his potential for being a graduate student.

However to be applicable for a fully funded masters program you will most likely need more than a good GRE score. Having the following can significantly increase your chances:

  • Good letters of recommendation from professors whom you've worked with and can vouch for you
  • Having related research experience (preferably with published results in a peer-reviewed journal)
  • Finding a professor (for your graduate supervisor) who has a highly matched research interest as you
  • Having related industry work experience
  • Preparing a compelling statement of purpose, providing convincing reasons for your poor undergraduate performance
  • Having a high TOEFL/IELTS score (for international applicants)

In computer science, having valuable achievements in an internationally recognizable contest like the "ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest" can tremendously boost your chances of getting accepted (and funded) at even the top schools. However, even qualifying to participate in such a contest requires a strong background in programming and algorithms.

Final note. From my understanding, European universities are more sensitive to bad undergraduate GPAs and many have hard cut-offs which will eliminate you from the admission process without considering your application as a whole. Therefore, it is my personal recommendation to apply to US and Canadian universities alone as it will improve your chances and save you time and money.

Unfortunately even by having exact and complete knowledge of your GPA (which I don't), there is no way to be sure what your chances will be and parts of what is said above can be deemed opinion-based. The graduate admission process, from what I understand, is a complicated and nonlinear process with many different factors playing their part.

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  • @ShuvroShuvro: By working towards what I mentioned, especially research experience, you can eventually overcome and remedy this, but it will take time and commitment. Wish you the best! – Abbas Javan Jafari Jan 28 '15 at 18:57

I agree with the existing answer. In the US (I will restrict to that), funding is scarce for master's students under the best of circumstances, in large part because in many fields one does not need a master's degree to enroll in a PhD program, and thus master's students are often characterized by a limitation of their interest, commitment, ability and achievements relative to PhD students.

I suppose every department must have its own philosophy on which master's students to fund. In my department (mathematics, UGA), we are likely to fund master's students we think will (in particular, can) become PhD students: in fact, in many instances the student applied for both programs and we decided to start them in the master's program to give them more time and funding overall.

I don't know what you consider a "very poor" GPA to be and I'd like to. I will assume that you mean that your GPA in your major is under 3.0. In my opinion that will make it extremely difficult for you to get funding in a master's program in the US: as above, such funding is scarce and competitive, and your undergraduate performance is really not. The other answer gives a lot of things that would mitigate/amelioriate a poor GPA, but in my opinion most of these are not really enough to get you serious consideration. I think that to have a real chance at getting funding in this situation you should have (i) some exceptional research-related achievement -- in my field, a paper that you wrote on your own and got published in a reputable journal would count -- and (ii) a convincing explanation for your poor GPA.

Let me discuss the second point. After some years of undergraduate teaching, I will cheerfully admit that student grades are not perfectly correlated to student understanding and ability: a large percentage of students are simply not committed / serious / mature enough to get the grades that their command of the material should warrant. Presumably any plausible candidate for master's funding with a poor GPA is in this situation. But there is an inherent awkwardness there: what you'd like us to believe is that you're very strong and talented and just couldn't get it together to get the coursework done as well as lots of other students who didn't want to go on to graduate study. So you haven't committed to your undergraduate studies...and now you want us to commit our money to your graduate studies. Well, there's no logical contradiction there, but it's a pretty tough sell. I would indeed concentrate on making a convincing argument for this (in your personal statement and/or cover letter).

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  • I agree with what you said about a convincing reason for your unsatisfactory GPA and that is what I meant by "preparing a strong SOP". Nonetheless, I think if the OP must enroll in a funded program, he best prepare for a PhD as it is more conventional to acquire funding for PhD (although the admission process is much more competitive). – Abbas Javan Jafari Jan 28 '15 at 16:12
  • @Abbas: Sure, I agree completely. – Pete L. Clark Jan 28 '15 at 17:15

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