View Full Version : Poor BA econ gpa but good Bsc Math gpa

02-15-2008, 04:08 PM
Hi people,
I'm actually finishing my degree in econ at an average canadian university, Concordia. I started with very good grades (A's everywhere) and up to now, I', finishing my degree with good grades also (A's and B's).

My problem was during my second year... I had a lot of C's, failed some classes, dropped other classes.... It was misery,...(I had some personal problems, someone close to me was dying slowly from disease...my head was not for my studies at all!)

So now, here I am with my low 2.5 GPA, wanting to do a PHD in economics....(at a good school).

I am planning to do a Math degree at U montreal, since i understood from other threads that this was a good bet and will help me when will be the time for phd admission.

Here is the case of study:

Assuming that I finish with a 2.7 GPA in econ, but with a 4.0 GPA in math, good LOR's, and decent results to all the Math, Language,etc Tests....

Will I have any chance for admission at :

A) Top 10 schools (MIT\Harvard and others)
B)Decent Canadian school ( Mcgill, UofT, UBC, Umontreal, UWO,)
C)Top 10-30 american schools
D)Top European schools (has to be english, french, spanish or portuguese language.... don't speak russian or any other language)

02-15-2008, 04:13 PM
2.5 overall 2.7 in econ?

I'd say probably most likely that you squeeze into said math M.A. program with some really awesome LOR and then try to take some Econ courses while in that MA program and then shoot for a PhD program more like 30-75 or top MA in econ after Math. I don't really know a whole lot, but it seems like that low of a GPA probably just leaves you with a lot to prove before a PhD program might invest a lot of faith in you

In any case, make sure your letter writers can actually attest to the hardships you faced during your second year or else you're probably sunk for a lot of places

02-15-2008, 04:21 PM
The top 10 will certainly ax applicants with major holes in their application. The rest are probably a fair game for admission without funding (more realistically look at the schools below 25 on the usnews economics ranking) if your overall GPA is above 3.0 assuming you have a good LoR, good math course selection, GRE score, etc. Now, if your overall GPA is below 3.0, a lot of school won't even let you apply, so you should certainly raise it or obtain a masters degree first before applying.

02-15-2008, 04:48 PM
You're probably aware of this but U de Montreal teaches most of its courses in french.

I'm not sure how much a second degree helps. I was in a similar situation (3.0 GPA undergrad) and I went ahead and got a 4.0 GPA in a Master's program from a Canadian University. I have applied to schools this cycle (see my signature), so I believe I will make a good benchmark.

Here is a past thread I made on the subject:
(don't bother with the rest of the thread because some galactic retards managed to derail it almost as soon as it started :))

Now, suppose you manage to get a 4.0 or something similar from your MA program. And suppose you get an 800 or close to it on the GRE (anyone can with proper study). Here is how I evaluate your chances:

A) Unless your LORs can attest that you are one of the best students in years, I would not bother with top 10s.
B) UWO, Queens, UofT, and UBC are the "big 4". U of Montreal is great but I heard it lost a lot of good people so it should be slipping. Places like McGill, Concordia, Simon Fraser, and "the rest" are second tier. You will have no problems getting into a second tier school for a PhD if you do well in your Master's program, but a first tier school is going to be tough.
C) You still need very good LORs to go in the 10-20 range, 20+ you should be fine.
D) see C)

Good luck!

02-15-2008, 05:07 PM
I'm not sure how much a second degree helps. I was in a similar situation (3.0 GPA undergrad) and I went ahead and got a 4.0 GPA in a Master's program from a Canadian University. I have applied to schools this cycle (see my signature), so I believe I will make a good benchmark.

Good luck!

Thank you so much for gladly being our guinea pig.

02-15-2008, 05:46 PM
Well, first, french is my 1st language, so it won't be a problem for U of Montreal.

From what you guys said, doing a masters in either econ or math is preferable than a 2nd undergraduate degree in math.

The thing is that actually, I won't even be accepted in any masters since my GPA is terribly low. And since math undergraduate is easy to get in, I think it would be a good option. They also have at UofMontreal, what they call the intensive program.....so it will take 2 years for the degree (still need to check some details for that.).

In other words, at this very moment right now, I need to forget masters..and focus on math degree...

Is it valueable?? If I get GPA 4 in math, will it compesate for my poor standing in econ?

Thanks for all the answers, very instructive.

Olm, I can't believe that Duke refused you!! You'l get admited to a good place!!

02-15-2008, 06:13 PM
As apropos observes, many (most?) schools require a minimum GPA of 3.0 for any graduate student. So, certainly, it's going to be a challenge to get an admission at a good school with a GPA under 3.0. However, if your GPA for the last two years is higher, they may able to use that to make an exception, and you should certainly compute that statistic and report it separately. Assuming that those low grades were in lower-level courses, you might also be able to help your chances by computing math and econ GPA for "upper-division coursework". And, of course, all of this should be accompanied by an explanation about what was going on in your life, preferably reinforced by one or more of your letter writers.

Yours certainly appears to be a case that could benefit from earning a master's degree before applying to Ph.D. programs. Math would be great, of course, but econ or statistics would also be good. (This goes double if your low econ GPA is due to poor grades in upper-division courses.) Perhaps the top ten is permanently out-of-reach for you, but my guess is that you should be able to find a home at a good school if you excel in a master's program.

02-15-2008, 06:48 PM
Thank you so much for gladly being our guinea pig.

LOL, I don't have a choice now, do I? :grad:

02-15-2008, 08:04 PM
What if I don't get in into the masters....? Is the Bsc.Math worth enough to apply and be admited to phd?

Cause what i Understand from what you say is :

1)Do your math degree
2)After do a masters
3)After the masters , you can apply

Am I understanding correctly? It seems like it never ends.

I thought (hoped) that great grades at the Bsc.Math would be sufficient for admission at a good Econ Phd program!

02-15-2008, 08:26 PM
I think that you should get in touch with some of the master's programs that you are interested in and ask if they're willing to make exceptions to the 3.0 GPA rule (i.e., giving extra weight to upper-year coursework), what kind of evidence you would need to provide, etc.

Surely, it must not be unheard of that students sometimes suffer personal stress during their studies: I would hope that even academics (and academic bureaucrats) have some sense of compassion. Excelling in your two final years of undergrad, as well as in your master's program, will probably not bring you into the top 10, but almost certainly into a decent school. At the end, it probably all comes down to how much you value your time, and in particular whether you feel that getting into a top-top school would justify the time required for doing another bachelor's degree.

02-15-2008, 09:30 PM
What if I don't get in into the masters....? Is the Bsc.Math worth enough to apply and be admited to phd?

I doubt that actually earning a second bachelor's will mean anything in itself, but additional upper-level math classes are always a good thing. The marginal value depends what's on your transcript already, but it stands to reason that any evidence you can give that your academic/personal problems are behind you, and you're capable of sustained high performance, will help your case.

If your transcript doesn't already include an A in real analysis (or another advanced, proof-based class), then more undergrad math would certainly be a good investment in any case (both as a signal and as preparation).

From the little you've told us, though, it sounds like your weak grades are in econ, not math. If we're talking about classes like intermediate micro or macro, then taking more math classes won't necessarily reassure adcoms that you'll do well in economics.