[Why it is not a duplicate question: I already have a MS, so I don't have the luxury of enrolling into a MS and improve GPA or establish a research track record. Can I do a second masters? Well that is part of my question which is not discussed in other similar question threads.]

My undergrad GPA is 3.68, and my MS GPA is 3.33.

I have some published conference paper (IEEE) and a book but that was a while back (not a well known publisher) and not directly related to my area of interest in research. Basically my research credentials are not good - not at least on paper.

Question is - is it just impossible to recover from this? I considered doing a seconf masters to improve the GPA factor, but the program I am considering doesn't have a thesis option - so I am getting advice that it won't really help me.

It will be hard to enroll full time for MS at this point. (I have been working for ten years.) But I want to know if even that would help.

Is there anything that I can do to have a reasonable shot at getting into a moderately good PhD program in CS in the US? Or Am I basically done?

marked as duplicate by user2390246, scaaahu, user3209815, David Richerby, RoboKaren Mar 10 '17 at 17:20

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Did you complete a thesis while obtaining your MS or independent studies that involved a research component? That's usually what most MS students have when they apply for PhD. Your work experience may also be helpful, and if your GRE was so-so on your first go, you might consider re-taking it and improving your scores. – Inde Mar 9 '17 at 17:08
  • No I didn't do a thesis - wise me. However I wasn't motivated on a specific area at that moment. – Quark Mar 9 '17 at 17:27
  • From your question, I'm having trouble understanding why you don't think you have a shot at a "moderately good" PhD program. You wrote a book and some IEEE papers, plus your GPA is fine. Are your test scores horrible? has someone given you negative feedback about an inquiry? – sessej Mar 9 '17 at 17:34
  • I took GRE long time back (630, 790). I have hopes that my next GRE score will be decent. But see, I am cut off even before that - by the GPA alone. I keep reading they look at the whole application but I also read how low GPA can kill the application in the screening process itself. – Quark Mar 9 '17 at 17:36
  • Try emailing PIs/researchers at institutions, local or not, asking if they have a project you could jump on. Do good work, get recommendations, get accepted into a program, enjoy the luxurious life of a PhD, become disillusioned, drop out, go to industry, become more disillusioned, quit and live in a van by the river. – Hobbes Mar 9 '17 at 19:38

My UK experience might be helpful to you. Just over a year ago, I decided I wanted to do a PhD in statistics. It was over 40 years since I had finished the second of two masters degrees (mathematics and operations research) and my work since then had not involved those subjects at all. But in the last few years I had been working for my own satisfaction on a statistical project involving original research. I wrote to two or three professors whose interests seemed to cover what I wanted to do, told them what I had been doing, and found that one of them was very happy for me to take me on. So my advice comprises two steps: first, identify broadly what you want to research and do some work on it; secondly, approach individual professors and tell them what you have done.

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