Going to Grad School with a Low GPA

Going to Grad School with a Low GPA

For one reason or another, you perhaps didn’t perform well while earning your bachelor’s degree and you’re wondering how to get into a grad school with a low undergrad GPA. You’re in luck! There are a fair number of schools that may accept low GPA. While some schools have strict GPA reqs, many look at your entire application, including professional experience and test scores, which means there may be plenty of graduate schools that accept a low GPA. On this page, we’ll help you figure out if you actually have a low GPA, ways for you to get around having a low undergrad GPA, and list some grad schools that accept low GPA students.

List of 20 Grad Schools that Typically Accept Low GPA

If you’re still worried about finding schools that accept a low GPA and how to get in, we’ve compiled a list just for you of schools that have low GPA requirements – and some of the graduate degrees offered at these schools. In fact, many of the schools accept students with a 2.5 GPA or lower. Look through the sponsored list of grad schools with low GPA requirements for details about the school, common curriculum, and you may even request more information directly from the school to learn how to apply.

GPA Reqt: 2.5 – May accept students with lower GPA’s based on other standards

Purdue University Global is a part of the Purdue University System, which includes Purdue West Lafayette, which was founded in 1869. In 2017, Purdue acquired Kaplan University and formed Purdue University Global – which focuses on high quality adult education online – including a variety of online master’s programs. Purdue University Global lists 2.5 as the desired GPA for applicants to be accepted, but they willmay consider students with lower GPA’s as well. Purdue University Global features 27 Master degree programs, with in demand offerings such as MBA’s, MSN’s, MHA’s, MAT’s and more.

Graduate Programs at Purdue:

  • (M.B.A) Master of Business Admin – Finance
  • (M.S.N) Master of Science in Nursing
  • (M.A.) Master of Arts in Teaching (For Aspiring Teachers Grades 5-12)
  • Master of Healthcare Admin
2

GPA Reqt: Varies by program. MSW for example is a 2.7 – May accept students with lower GPA’s based on other standards

Capella University offers competency based online learning in two formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath.Step up your game with flexible, affordable programs for the skills you need to help advance your career. Online degrees available in bus, counseling and therapy, ed, health admin, IT, nursing, public health, psych, public service, and social work. Additional admissions requirements:
  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
  • Completed application
  • Valid, current govt issued ID
  • Additional reqts may be needed depending on the program

Graduate Programs at Capella:

  • (M.B.A.)Master of Business Admin
  • (M.P.H.) Public Health
  • (M.S.N.) Nursing
  • Psych
  • Criminal Justice
  • M.S.W.

GPA Reqt: No Min Listed

WGU is an online university to fit modern life. They offer competency based learning and personalized, one-on-one faculty support to their students. The grad school at FSU requires that students have earned a bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher from an accredited institution. In addition, your degree must be of a similar scope of subject matter as your intended graduate program. General Admissions Reqs
  • Official transcript from an accredited institution indicating completion of a bachelors degree
  • Transcripts for all prior college academic work
  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Specific programs may have additional reqs

Grad Programs at WGU:

  • M.S. in Data Analytics
  • M.B.A.
  • M.B.A. Healthcare Mgmt
  • Online Teaching Degrees – Recognized in all 50 States

GPA Reqt: 2.0 (Some programs have higher GPA reqts)

Liberty University offers a world-class ed with the solid Christian foundation you’re looking for. The many degrees and programs focus on teaching the values, knowledge, and skills so that you could make a lasting impact on your profession and your community. Many of the grad degrees at Liberty only require a 2.0 GPA while earning your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. However, there are some programs, such as the Master of Arts in Public Policy, that require a 3.0 GPA for admission, though students with a 2.0 GPA may be accepted on a cautionary basis.

Graduate Programs at Liberty:

  • Teaching: Special Education
  • Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Religion: Biblical Studies

GPA Reqt: 2.8 (May be admitted with lower GPA, though some programs may have higher requirements)

Grand Canyon University is Arizona’s premier private Christian university and continues to lead through innovative ed, dynamic programs, and dedicated service to the region and beyond. General grad degree requirements include a 2.8 GPA for all undergraduate studies. However, some programs may require a higher minimum GPA or have additional requirements. For instance, doctorate programs, such as the?Ph.D. in Gen Psych with an Emphasis in Org Psych require a 3.4 GPA while earning your master’s degree, though students with a 3.0 to 3.4 GPA may be accepted with specifications.

Graduate Programs at GCU:

  • Psych
  • Ed
  • Healthcare Admin and Info Mgmt
  • M.B.A. (Accounting, Cybersecurity, Marketing, HR & more)
  • M.S.N./D.N.P.

GPA Reqt: 3.0 for Master’s (Lower GPAs should still apply for Provisional Admission)

Colorado State University – Global Campus is designed to provide academically authoritative and career-focused degree programs. These professionally relevant degrees are constantly evaluated to align with the fast-changing market and industry practices. Offering 12 master’s programs, many of which have multiple concentrations to tailor your curriculum, CSU-Global Campus typically allows you to compare your options and fine-tune your career goals to select the program that is best suited to help you.

Graduate Programs at CSU:

  • Project Mgmt
  • Professional Accounting
  • Information Technology Mgmt
  • Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Admin
  • Healthcare Admin

GPA Reqt: No Minimum GPA Listed

As a regionally accredited higher ed institution, Northcentral University has the privilege of teaching students around the world through online programs. Their unique one-to-one format is typically designed to help you become a valuable contributor in your community. The graduate admissions requirements at NCU include:
  • Complete admissions
  • Official transcripts
  • Review with Enrollment Advisor

Graduate Programs at NCU:

  • Child and Adolescent Development Psychology
  • Technology and Innovation Management – Information Systems
  • Organizational Leadership – Human Resources Management
With more than 57,000 students, Walden University has been serving the needs of adult learners for more than 45 years. Their programs reflect current market trends and promote positive social change so that you could make a difference in your career and community. To be eligible for admissions to Walden’s master’s degree programs, students must typically hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Applying for a grad degree at Walden is different than other schools. At Walden, you work with an Enrollment Advisor who guides you through each step, which include submitting your transcripts and resume.

Graduate Programs at Walden:

  • (M.S.) Master of Science in Forensic Psych – Police Psych
  • (M.B.A.) Master of Business Admin – Human Resource Mgmt
  • (M.S.W.) Master of Social Work – Advanced Clinical Social Practice
  • (M.B.A.) Master of Business Admin – Project Mgmt

GPA Reqt: 2.5

Strayer University is an accredited institution with a proud history of 125 years in quality education. Plus, you could save up to 25%. Save thousands on your masters with the Strayer Graduation Fund. The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution (plus transcripts)
  • Completed application
  • Valid, current gov’t. issued ID

Graduate Programs at Strayer:

  • Accounting
  • Education
  • Health Services Administration
  • Public Administration

GPA Reqt: 2.0

Colorado Technical University has awarded more than 109,000 degrees since 1965. Fin aid and funding may be available to qualified grad students to help offset the costs.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Entrance essay
  • Completed application
  • Official transcript for bachelor’s degree

Graduate Programs at CTU:

  • Business Admin
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Healthcare Mgmt

GPA Reqt: 2.0 for provisional acceptance

Southern New Hampshire University has been offering degrees since 1932. They offer over 25 master’s programs and may have financial aid available to qualified students to help defer the costs.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Entrance essay
  • Completed application
  • Official transcript for undergrad

Graduate Programs at SNHU:

  • Accounting
  • Applied Economics
  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice

GPA Reqt: 2.0

Benedictine University was founded in 1887 and offer 16 progs for those looking for a master’s degree. Financial aid may be available to qualified students to assist in the cost of tuition.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Letters of reference
  • Completed application
  • Official transcript for bachelor’s degree

Graduate Programs at Benedictine University:

  • Business Admin
  • Accountancy
  • Clinical Psych
  • Public Health

GPA Reqt: 2.0

Full Sail University offers online and campus programs for obtaining a master’s degree. Financial aid may be available to qualified students to assist in the cost of tuition.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Gov’t. issued photo ID
  • Completed application
  • Official transcript for undergrad degree

Graduate Programs at Full Sail University:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Creative Writing
  • Media Design
  • Public Relations

GPA Reqt: 2.5

California State University offers 51 online and campus programs for obtaining a master’s degree. Financial aid may be available to qualified students to assist in the cost of tuition.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Appropriate test scores
  • Completed application
  • Official transcript for bachelor’s

Graduate Programs at Cal State:

  • Accounting
  • Anthropology
  • Business Admin
  • Biology

GPA Reqt: 2.5

Webster University offers multiple options for those who are looking to obtain a master’s. Financial aid and scholarships may be available for those qualified who are looking to seek grad school admission into these programs.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelors
  • Completed application
  • Official transcript for bachelor’s degree

Graduate Programs at Webster U:

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Criminal Justice
  • Data Analytics

GPA Reqt: 2.5

Mississippi College offers multiple options for prospective students looking to obtain a master’s. There may be scholarships and fin aid available for those qualified who are looking to seek admission into these programs.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelors degree
  • Completed application
  • GRE score

Graduate Programs at Webster U:

  • Graphic Design
  • Biological Sciences
  • Business Admin
  • Mgmt Info Systems

GPA Reqt: 2.5

Troy University, in Alabama, typically offers multiple options for those who are looking to obtain a master’s degree. There may be scholarships and fin aid available for those qualified who are looking to seek admission into these programs.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelors degree
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Test scores
  • Transcripts

Graduate Programs at Troy University:

  • Adult Ed
  • Athletic Training
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice

GPA Reqt: 2.5

National University was founded in 1971 and has over 175,000 alumni and offers 52 options for those who are looking to obtain a master’s degree. There may be scholarships and financial aid available for those qualified who are looking to seek admission into these programs.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelors degree
  • Graduate school application
  • Interview with admissions committee
  • Transcripts

Graduate Programs at National University:

  • Human Resource Mgmt
  • Strategic Communication
  • Business Admin
  • Public Health

GPA Reqt: 2.5

Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska was founded in 1887 and offers seven programs may multiple focuses for those looking to obtain a master’s degree.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelors
  • Application
  • Transcripts

Graduate Programs at Nebraska Wesleyan:

  • Business Admin
  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Social Work

GPA Reqt: 2.5

Sonoma State University in California was founded in 1960 and offers multiple programs for those looking to obtain a master’s degree. Students may be eligible for scholarships and financial aid to help offset the costs of tuition

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelors degree
  • Application
  • Transcripts
  • Appropriate exam scores for selected program

Graduate Programs at Sonoma State:

  • Computer and Engineering Science
  • Cultural Resources Mgmt
  • Film Studies
  • Organization Development

GPA Reqt: 2.5

The University of Findlay in Ohio has been around for 135 years and offers multiple programs for those looking to obtain a master’s degree.

The graduate admissions requirements include:
  • Bachelors degree
  • Grad school application
  • Transcripts
  • Prerequisite course work

Graduate Programs at U of Findlay:

  • Applied Security and Analytics
  • Bus Admin
  • Health Informatics
  • Occupational Therapy

Do You Have a Low GPA?

When it comes to applying to graduate school, every little thing could make you nervous. Do you have enough experience? Are your GRE or GMAT scores high enough? This anxiousness could make you think you have a low GPA, even if it falls into the national average. While there are may be no across-the-board minimum GPA requirements for grad school, anything above a 3.0 should be considered safe.

What Is a Low GPA?

A 2.99 GPA or lower is typically considered low for graduate school. With a 3.0 undergrad GPA, you may not be able to get into some of the best graduate schools in the country, but you should have plenty of options. In fact, many graduate schools are taking a more holistic approach to admissions. This means they may look at you as a complete person and not just your statistics. For instance, your GRE or GMAT scores could play an important role during the admissions process. So could your interview and essay, as they are an opportunity to address your weaknesses. Yes, your GPA may be important because it shows schools how you perform as a student. But that doesn’t mean your low grades automatically disqualify you.

Is a 3.3 GPA Good?

Anything between a 3.3 and 3.7 GPA may be considered good and in the range of many students. But that also means you’ll be competing with many other students during the application process. So, if your GPA falls in this range, you should be looking at ways to improve your chances of being accepted just like students with a low GPA.

9 Ways to Get into Grad School with a Low GPA

Could you get into school with a low GPA? Of course you may be able to, but it will might take a little bit more work. First, you have to address your GPA in your application. Whether it’s during your interview, in your essay, or in a GPA explanation letter, tell the admissions department why you performed as you did while earning your bachelor’s degree. Think about it this way: schools are looking for the best candidates to bring into their school. While reviewing your application, they’ll find your weakness, whether it’s a low GPA or low test scores. You have a better chance of improving your odds if you address it up front rather than hoping they don’t find it. At least it gives you a chance to share your side of the story. Below are some of the other ways that you can may be able to get around your low GPA when applying to school and how you could still make yourself an appealing candidate, even with a 2.5 GPA or lower.

#1: Achieve High GRE or GMAT Scores

Earning a high score on the GRE or GMAT probably won’t get you into a great graduate school if you have a terrible GPA. However, it could make the difference if you’re on the fringe. Plus, some schools that accept low GPA students typically require them to earn a high score on the standardized tests or achieve a certain percentile. Achieving a high score on the GRE or GMAT shows admissions counselors what you could do when you buckle down, study, and truly apply yourself.

#2: Low GPA Explanation Letter

As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to know how to explain a low GPA for your grad school application. Many schools require that you write an essay, personal statement, or have an interview. These are all perfect opportunities to bring it up. However, if the school you’re applying to asks specific essay questions or doesn’t have the other options, you can may always write a GPA explanation letter. Your letter shouldn’t be a list of excuses about how you thought getting a bachelor’s meant partying all the time. However, you should address the reasons why your grades were so low. For instance, did you work full-time to avoid taking loans? Did you volunteer on weekends? Or, if you did just party the whole time, address how you’ve grown and why you’ll perform better as a graduate student

#3: Major GPA vs Overall GPA

Sometimes, students don’t perform as well in classes outside their major because there’s no stress to perform at their best. If this happened to you, and low grades outside of your major are dragging down your GPA, don’t be shy about addressing it, especially if you’re looking to earn a graduate degree in the same field as your undergraduate major. This can may show admissions counselors that you have acquired the foundation in that particular field to perform well while earning your grad degree.

#4: References or Letters of Recommendation

Submitting high-quality references with your application could improve your odds of being accepted to grad school. Some of the best references could come from professors of your higher-level courses while earning your undergraduate degree or your boss at work to show your professional experience.

#5: Professional Experience

Pursuing a graduate degree means you’ll perform in-depth analysis of a specific subject. And, while your low undergraduate GPA may hurt your odds, if you’ve had professional experience you’ve already performed some of the tasks that may be discussed in your classes. When applying, many graduate schools ask for a resume where you could show your specific experience. But use your essay or personal statement to add more details about your responsibilities and how they would help you in your grad degree studies.

#6: Apply for Awards and Competitions

Earning awards or attending conferences typically show that you’re an active member in your field. And, your goal as you apply to grad schools may be to present yourself in the best possible way. Add these awards or competitions to your resume or curriculum vitae (CV). This shows that even though your grades might not have been the best, you still learned the important lessons and are applying them outside of the classroom.

#7: Apply to the Right Schools

If you have a GPA below 3.0, you may have to search for schools that match your grades. This doesn’t mean lowering your standards. Instead, while some schools may have specific GPA requirements, others may have different admissions requirements for different graduate programs. Find the programs that are a good fit for you, your academic standing, and your future goals. For instance, some schools may place more emphasis on GRE or GMAT scores while others may focus on GPA. Research a variety of schools and degrees to find the perfect program for you.

#8: Take Non-Degree Courses

Another way to show that you’ve grown from the person who earned a low GPA may be is to take non-degree or non-credit courses. Sometimes, these could even improve your GPA. However, most of the time they won’t. Either way, taking these upper-level classes (and doing well!) may show admissions counselors that you’re ready for the rigors of earning a grad degree. Plus, it may show that you understand the weakness of your GPA and that you’re trying to improve your odds.

#9: Seek Intermediate Degree

If some of the other options haven’t worked and you really want to earn a grad degree, consider pursuing a graduate certificate. These are typically three to six courses in a specific subject and, similar to taking non-degree courses, could show that you’re ready for a grad degree. Plus, many graduate certificates allow you to use the credits you earn and apply them to your master’s degree. Of course, this is only if you attend the same school and a similar subject.

How Important Is Your GPA to Grad Schools?

Every school is different. For instance, great schools such as MIT and Stanford are may be looking for as close to perfect a student as possible. But, there are plenty of other schools that may focus more on test scores, your interview, your essay, and your entire application. Everyone has a weakness. Luckily, if yours is a low GPA, there are may be plenty of ways to get around it to show schools that you’re ready to apply yourself and earn your grad degree.

What Graduate Degree Do You Want to Earn?

At many schools, different grad degrees have different admissions requirements. Usually, this depends on the school, the program, and the competitiveness of the degree. For instance, at many schools, nursing graduate degrees may be one of the harder programs to get into because there is so much competition. However, even at schools where the nursing program has strict requirements, the education graduate programs may not be as strict. Therefore, it’s important to research individual programs and not just schools when it comes to applying to grad school with a low GPA. And, if you’re pursuing an advanced degree in a competitive field, such as nursing, you may need to use more of the techniques mentioned earlier to improve your odds of being accepted. Click on any of the sponsored listings above for more information or complete the form at the top of the page to get matched to grad schools that fit your goals.  
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