I plan on applying for a PhD in Engineering next fall. I've already started to make connections with professors at a few schools I'm interested in. Recently I sent a CV to a professor (who requested it) and he responded asking what my undergrad GPA was. I graduated with a 2.7 undergrad, mostly because I didn't find my passion in engineering until I almost graduated. During these last three semesters of undergrad I averaged a 3.5 GPA. After this, I completed a masters in engineering with a 3.6 GPA and currently working on a second masters in engineering with a 4.0 (different branch, more related to the field I want to work in).

I sent him a short narrative explaining the low GPA, without sounding too defensive or desperate, but in reality I am a little defensive and desperate. I also have 5 years worth of professional experience and a professional engineering license. Any word for those who have showed continual improvement, despite initial bad grades?


1 Answer 1


I would find the second Master's Degree very helpful. First, because its shows that the 3.6 GPA on the first Master's was not a "fluke," and second, because it is actually higher than your first Master's, showing "improvement." And the first Master's shows improvement over your last two years of Bachelor's which is an improvement over your first two years.

In your shoes, I would send people the last six (or five and a half) years of grades. That is your two Master's years of grades. plus the last two of your undergraduate. That's also the equivalent of what someone with four year's of Bachelor's, and one and half year of Master's work will show.

But the most encouraging thing about your record is your steady improvement. Many schools would be willing to overlook a lot of C's in your first two years of Bachelor work, as a result. They're more interested in the last four years of "A" level Master's work, as well as the 3.5 "bridge" in your junior and senior years.

  • Thanks! I plant to bury the GRE as well (168 plus). So hopefully the Undegrad will be a hiccup and not a definition of my performance.
    – Engineerd
    Dec 11, 2015 at 19:03

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