So, I have being trying to get in into a PhD abroad for a couple of years now. I don't know what I have being doing wrong but I'm starting to think that might be my overall GPA (I got a B+). I couldn't get the "with honors graduation". So, my question is, how relevant is the highest GPA or graduating with honors in previous graduations for a PhD student selection?
I don't have any concrete evidence, but when I planned to finish my undergraduate degree without the honours, my academic advisor at the time strongly advised me not too if I intended to go on and do postgraduate study. So she viewed it as very important.
Hi Earthquake, I don't think that there is one, definitive answer for this one. It really could depend on the discipline, country, proposal, faculty, institution and competition you are up against at the time.
Within Australia, most institutions will state that you need an honours degree (honours here is an extra year and qualification on top of your undergraduate degree for example). Generally institutions will request an honours degree with a 1st or 2.1, or alternatively, a research masters with an equivalent award, as a mandatory pre-requisite to any PhD study in Oz. There may be some exceptions in exceptional circumstances. However, this may well be different in other countries.However, you would usually need to demonstrate the capacity to engage in sustained and high level research somehow.
On top of that, if you are competing for scholarships, stipends and funding (which most of us are), you then might find that you are subject to a ranking of some sort, when these are considered and awarded. Sometimes also, having a potential supervisor or researcher endorse you (provide a reference) and a really interesting proposal in an innovative or niche research area can assist.
There will always be exceptions to the rule, but generally over here, these guidelines apply.
If positions and grants are competitive then any qualification or project that you can use to back your claim is an advantage. It costs the Australian government for example, around 60-80,000.00 to sponsor a student for fees over the 3-4 years of completing a doctorate. This figure does not include a living stipend. Once you add a living stipend of around 25,000.00 (or more) or so a year on top of this, you can see that quite a bit of money is invested in supporting a doctoral student to complete their PhD. This tends to make the process pretty competitive. Best of luck with it all.
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