Low Grad School GPA... Get Another Masters?

Hello everyone!

I am 23 years old and recently graduated from grad school. I graduated from undergrad in 2015 with a BA degree in Biology Pre-Med and a minor in Chem and received a 3.58 GPA. My GPA is “average” for applying students, however, I did play college football for three years. I was able to conduct research during undergrad, but it didnt lead to a publication. I was able to take part in a number of different shadowing and volunteer experiences in both the US and abroad in Ecuador (via our schools semester study abroad program for premeds), and I also held a number of jobs on campus such as a teaching assistant, research assistant and secretary. Just for the record I’m Mexican and Puerto Rican. I decided to take a few years off before medical school to improve my chances of acceptance. I’m currently studying for the MCAT and working as a scribe. I recently graduated from Columbia University in NYC with a MSc degree in Human Nutrition. The masters program was through the med school and was science heavy; but we didnt take med school classes. It also had a thesis component. I was able to conduct clinical research that led to a publication, where I’m listed a first author. I was also able to present our research at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. During undergrad and grad school I was able to develop phenomenal relationships with my profs and thesis mentors, and they’ve told me that my letters of rec are great. Even though I was able to succeed in research while at Columbia, my grades suffered. Unfortunately, I graduated with a 2.89 GPA. I’m considering doing another grad program, either an MPH or SMP. How do medical schools evaluate grad school performance for a traditional MSc program? If I need to do another program, which option is the best? An MPH or an SMP?


Tough call. It seems like masters programs are either grade focused (keep a high GPA or leave the program) or research focused (the program wants products with less emphasis on grades). I’m really not sure how medical schools look at grad school GPAs because of that. It’s great you got a publication and presentation out of the program, but it’s also “suspicious” that your GPA dropped that much between undergrad and grad school. Honestly, I’m not that spun up on how it would be looked at. I do know, at least at my school, people don’t seem to care too much about people having a graduate degree, but they do seem to look at least how people did if they did get one. A research-focused school may see it differently.

You might try to contact an admissions office to see how they look at it. If anything, I would think that a SMP would be a better program to “show that you can do science” since you were in a science masters beforehand. MPHs are kind of a fluff degree unless you want to get into an administrative type role, and medical schools aren’t necessarily trying to find the next administrator. Downside of SMPs is they are basically worthless if it doesn’t get you into med school.

Thanks Kennymac, I’ll go ahead and look into contacting some admissions reps at med schools and see what they have to say. Also, I’ve just been accepted to Harvard’s MPH program. I’m trying to decide between Tuft’s SMP and Harvard’s MPH. I’d love to hear anyone’s input on what might be a better option! Thanks!