Does Your GPA Matter in Graduate School?

Does Your GPA Matter in Graduate School?

GPA is an important part of your academic career – from the moment it’s introduced in high school, it stays with you even in your higher education. Graduate school admit students on the basis of college GPA and they use a similar GPA scale for their own programs as well. 

While you’re still a student, your GPA is of utmost importance – in fact, you may even be removed from your program if you don’t meet a certain threshold. You’ll need to maintain a certain GPA – usually above a 3.0 – in order to be considered a passing student in graduate school. After you’re done with school, the relevance of your GPA will depend on whether you’re looking for employment or if you want to pursue academia further. If you want to get a job right after grad school, then your GPA will likely not matter that much as companies don’t really focus on it too much. However, the relevance of your GPA to companies also depends on what kind of career you want to get into. If you want to apply for a PhD program, then your GPA will be a lot more important as postgraduate programs will definitely look at how well you did in grad school before admitting you. 

What Matters in and After Graduate School

  • Research and Publications

If you’re interested in pursuing academia further then GPA is only a small part of a much larger picture. You’ll need to conduct independent research and try to get published so that you develop a reputation in academic circles. A good reputation can be far more helpful than a good GPA for certain types of careers. 

A graduate degree is supposed to show off your knowledge and mastery over your area of study – publications and extensive research are usually the best way to prove this. 

  • Work Experience 

Work experience is vital for almost all professions after graduate school. Most masters students are juggling their degrees along with other jobs, you need to show potential employers that you’re already established professionally. Seek a job in a related field to the degree you’re doing. Chances are that you’ll likely need to be working to financially support yourself anyway so you might as well try and do something related to your future career aspirations.

  • GPA 

GPA is important in graduate school for one main reason – making sure you’re able to get your degree. Graduate programs expect you to be smarter and more capable than you were in your college days. This is why graduate programs usually have a higher passing threshold than undergraduate programs. 

The importance of GPA also varies depending on what type of career you want after college. If you want to work in more artistic, humanitarian disciplines then GPA will likely have a lot less importance in your life. In fact, most employers will not even ask to know your GPA and will instead focus on your publications. However, if you’re looking to do Law or Business then your GPA will probably be demanded up front and you’ll have to include it on your resume. 

What Happens if You Have a Low GPA in Graduate School

Grad school is way, way harder than college. You’re in a program where your fellow students are also experts in the field, you’re probably working alongside managing your degree, and your courses are a lot more challenging. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you still end up not doing too well in a course. 

In grad school, while the passing grade for a single course is usually C-, you still have to get above a minimum GPA to remain in a program. This GPA is generally 3.0 and if you score below this then you can be removed from the program. If you’re struggling with your GPA and your workload, it’s better to do something about it sooner rather than later. Graduate programs have a lot of resources such as advisory programs to help their students feel supported. Reach out to your advisors and professors so you can figure out how to manage your workload better and improve your GPA. 

After graduate school, however, if you have gotten your degree then your GPA is significantly less important. You’ll simply be asked to provide a certification to show you passed your overall degree and most employers will not care about the exact GPA you did this with. 


GPA matters a lot in grad school – if you score below a particular GPA, then you can even be removed from a program. 

If you’re in grad school though, other elements like your research, publications, work experience also matter a lot and your GPA definitely does not hold the same importance as it did in college and high school. You should focus more on making yourself look like a well-rounded individual rather than solely an academically brilliant candidate. 

Once grad school is over, the importance of your GPA depends on what type of career you’re going to be pursuing. In fields like Business, graduate school GPA matters a lot as it demonstrates the level of mastery you have over your field. However, in other degrees like Sociology, your GPA may not matter as much to potential employers. This is because you’ll be expected to be skilled in other areas – such as research – and those elements will be more attractive features in an employee than merely GPA. 


Do graduate schools give scholarships? 

Yes, graduate schools do give scholarships. These scholarships are extremely meritocratic and also very, very competitive. You will generally need to be an exceptional student to qualify. 

Will I be kicked out of grad school if I have a low GPA?

Yes, you can be kicked out of graduate school if your GPA is lower than the threshold set by the university. In the case of most graduate programs, students need to have a GPA above 3.0 or else they will be removed from the program and not given a degree. 

Does my college GPA matter to get into grad school?  

Yes, your college GPA definitely matters if you want to get into a good graduate school. Most graduate schools look for students with high GPAs and if yours doesn’t meet their criteria, then you will likely not be admitted even if you have other strong aspects as a candidate.