I'm preparing to apply to Social Psych programs this fall and I'm wondering how much a mediocre grade in an Advanced Stats course (B-) would weight down my application. Barring this course, my transcript is fine, with a general GPA of 82% (don't know how to convert Canadian GPA to American GPA, but it's good).

I still have a chance of taking a stats course this summer at my University as a returning student. But which is a better idea? A) Taking the stats course and doing really well or B) not take the course and use that time to focus on getting very good quant score on the GRE instead?

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    The social sciences are full of people who are not very good with statistics. In the long run, it depends on what research direction you think you might like to go in. But I guess I would suggest that you call a couple of university graduate advisors in your field and ask them your question. Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 22:01
  • You'll probably have the option of taking a stats in grad school (which is what I did, to my huge benefit), so yes, asking an advisor (and particularly, someone you're considering working with) is a great idea.
    – Gaurav
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Social psych is my field! (Well, one of them.) It's impossible to answer how much a specific grade in advanced stats will affect your application, but you can still get into some top programs with a B- in advanced stats. FWIW, I failed an important psych class one year in college and still got into top PhD programs before I retook the class, including the one I graduated from.

Do you understand stats well enough to take a graduate-level statistics course and do the kind of research you need to do for now? If so, don't retake the course, and focus on studying for the GRE and more importantly writing a great statement of purpose. One B- is unlikely to tank your chances if you are otherwise an outstanding student.

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