I need some advice on my career. I study in Brazil and I'm one year away from obtaining my bachelor in Mathematics. Here the duration is 4 years.

In 2016 I had to start working two jobs (unrelated to Math) to help my family and that made my 4-year journey into a 5 and a half years journey in which during the process I've failed a couple of classes due to attendance. I was able to quit the job this month and from now on I'll be able to focus only on my studies.

My question: is there still a chance for me to work on my Master's, Doctorate and so on? And also how much does the fact that it took me 5 and a half years counts? Despite not being able to attend the classes, I consider myself a good student and I know for sure I'm dedicated.

  • 1
    Nobody cares about how long it took you. Typically in the US an MS takes about two years, and a PhD anywhere from four to six. Jul 5, 2017 at 2:07
  • " is there still a chance for me to work on my Master's, Doctorade and so on? And also how much does the fact that it took me 5 and a half years counts? " If you were asking for France, I believe that there is a good chance for a masters. Furthermore if you did your masters there, for a PhD, nobody would look at your BS degree. It may or may not impact the ability to obtain a scholarship however, but the tuition cost is really low anyway, less than 300 USD per year. Jul 5, 2017 at 2:13
  • It's unlikely that time to graduate will impact your admission chances, but weak performance certainly can. If your track record has been impacted by personal issues, I would recommend seeking professors that can write letters of recommendation that clearly disclose that your transcripts do not make justice to your academic performance.
    – user63725
    Jul 5, 2017 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


As a rule of thumb, the time you took wont matter, but the failing grade will.

However, if your goal is to get into a masters course in Brazil, many of them won't look at your undergraduate marks (I've served on graduate committees on two top brazilian math departments).

In these cases, you can be admitted by doing well on an admitting summer course, or on an admission exam (many of them nowadays use the Extramuros examination, or a local exam).

Even for institutions that will judge your undergraduate marks, it's not uncommon that a student with a failing mark get accepted. Usually they would indicate in their statement why they failed and how they did well on this course on the next time. The fact that you had to work is enough justification, if that's a localized problem and you have strong marks otherwise.

After doing well in your masters, your undergraduate marks will have a negligible impact on your PhD admission.


In principle how long you took to graduate as a bachelor should not weigh on your credentials while searching for a post-graduation position, either in Latin America or elsewhere. Most advisors will not look into these dates too carefully, as there are several reasons for which one would have graduated 1-2 years later than usual.

However you might be enquired about that by advisors worried whether you are able to finish your thesis in time. Departments are often strongly pressed to "produce" PhDs and MScs within the expected period, especially where they have student quotas and limited scholarships. This can be highly competitive in Argentina or Brazil, where completing a PhD ahead of time is a sure way of pleasing your department.

Therefore don't worry about that issue now, but make sure you convince your peers that you will meet your postgraduation demands before the deadlines.

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