List of Graduate Schools with Low GPA Requirements [2021 Guide]

Home » List of Graduate Schools with Low GPA Requirements [2021 Guide]

Taking a look at a list of graduate schools with low GPA requirements may give you the confidence you need to take the next step on your academic journey.

Graduate Schools with Low GPA Requirements

Whether you’re wondering how much a GPA matters for grad school or what your options are for getting into grad school with a lower GPA, there are a number of factors to consider.

You can try to ace your GRE or GMAT scores, take additional coursework, connect with a faculty member or academic advisor for guidance, or provide an explanation regarding your lower GPA during the admissions process. There are a number of ways to get around a less than stellar GPA.

Some students also wonder how many graduate schools to apply to. The answer will vary from student to student, but applying to about 6 colleges may help you feel more confident about your application plans.

You may also want to note that a growing number of universities offer part time graduate school options for working students.

How Much Does GPA Matter for Grad School?

GPA for Grad School

The specific admissions criteria for graduate degrees can vary from one school to the next and can be influenced by the specific program you’re interested in. One particular admission criteria that varies is the minimum requirement for GPAs.

While the submission of your college GPA is common when applying to graduate studies, some schools place more importance on this number than others.

In many cases, your GPA is only part of your complete application package. Other admissions materials can include GRE or GMAT scores, reference letters from former academic advisors, teachers, or employers, a letter of interest, and a copy of your resume.

Depending on the specific requirements of the program and school you’re applying to, there may be ample opportunity to include an explanation as to why your GPA is on the lower end of the spectrum. For example, you may be able to include this description in your letter of interest.

Other factors that can bolster your chances of getting into grad school with a low GPA include previous work experience, volunteer experience, or extracurricular activities. Grad school acceptance standards, including the minimum GPA, are often listed in detail on university websites.

What Is Considered a Low GPA in Grad School?

Low GPA in Grad School

Generally speaking, a 2.99 GPA or lower is considered to be a low GPA. GPAs can be evaluated and perceived differently, though, by different schools or academic programs.

When reviewing your GPA, schools may consider a number of factors that can influence how that score is perceived, such as what program and school you were attending and what courses contributed to that score.

Your GPA is only one component of your application to graduate studies and is often accompanied by other information. Some schools also request GRE or GMAT scores, proof of work or volunteer experience, and feedback from former academic or workplace supervisors.

Graduate Schools with Low GPA Requirements

low GPA Masters Programs

Having a lower GPA may lead you to feel hesitant about pursuing a graduate degree, but the truth is that low GPA masters programs exist. Even if your GPA is lower than you’d hope, it is still possible to be accepted into an advanced degree program.

Your ability to pursue a masters with low GPA results can depend on the school and program. For example, some schools may have a lower GPA threshold for programs such as a masters in information technology, a masters in human resource management, or a masters in criminal justice.

Other program topics that may be available to you with a lower than average GPA could include a Master of Arts in Religion, a Master of Business Administration, or a Master of Public Health.

By obtaining a high score on supplemental admissions testing, you can help to enhance your overall application and demonstrate your aptitude and readiness for a graduate program.

Get into Graduate School with a Low GPA

Two common admissions tests include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Grad school GPA requirements vary greatly from one school to the next, so it is beneficial to check with the specific schools and programs you’re interested in attending.

How to Get into Graduate School with a Low GPA

You may have your heart set on a particular grad school that lists a GPA admission requirement that’s higher than the GPA you earned in your undergraduate degree.

If this is the case, there are a number of things you can try to overcome that GPA requirement and get into the grad school of your choice with a low GPA.

1. Ace Your GRE or GMAT Exams

GRE or GMAT Exams

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) are standardized tests used by many graduate schools. They test your ability to think critically and demonstrate your writing, math, and vocabulary skills.

These tests are not always required as part of the admissions process, but they can help to bolster your application and demonstrate that you’re ready for graduate-level studies.

2. Holistic Personal Statement

A holistic personal statement can be a great way to offer insight into your GPA and provide an explanation about why it is lower than average.

For example, your statement may include an explanation of personal hardships that you faced which contributed to your lower grades. If lower grades were consistent throughout your studies, then your personal statement can be an opportunity to take ownership of the poor performance.

You can explain what you learned from your experience and how you plan to use that insight to be more effective during your graduate studies.

3. Seek Guidance from a Faculty Member

Connecting with a member of the faculty can be another option to help you overcome graduate school GPA requirements.

Faculty members may be able to provide you with better insight into the application review and decision-making process. They may also provide you with tips for handling your lower GPA score.

Talking with a faculty member about your areas of interest or your academic and research goals can also help provide you with another person in your corner. They may even be able to advocate for your acceptance into the program.

4. Take Additional Coursework

Graduate school Additional Coursework

You may be able to strengthen your grad school application and overcome your low GPA by enrolling in additional coursework. For instance, you can enroll in single standalone courses that are relevant to your area of interest.

Following the completion of that coursework, you can use your final grades to support your admissions application and demonstrate that you’re ready and able to take on graduate-level studies.

5. Gain Experience in a Relevant Field

Gaining real-world experience, whether through work or volunteer opportunities, can be another means to improve your application to grad school with a low GPA.

Your work or volunteer experience can demonstrate the skills and knowledge that you have in a particular area and can help show your readiness for enrollment in a graduate program.

6. Earn Awards and Attend Conferences

Graduate school conferences

By earning awards or attending conferences that are relevant to your field of study, you may be able to exemplify your interest and dedication to the area of study that you’re wanting to obtain a graduate degree in.

7. Stellar Recommendation Letters

Providing stellar recommendation letters can often help strengthen your application to graduate school and overcome any barriers to having a low GPA. Recommendations often come from former academic advisors and teachers or employers and supervisors.

Recommendation letters can speak to your work ethic, life experiences, or personal traits. They can provide the school with a better idea of how you may fit into their program.

Can I Get My Masters with a 2.5 GPA?

Masters with GPA

Yes, there are some grad schools and programs that have lower GPA requirements. The minimum GPA requirement can vary from one graduate school to the next.

Additionally, GPA requirements may be less of a concern if you’re able to supplement your application with additional information. This can include high GRE or GMAT scores, relevant work experience, or positive letters of recommendation.

Can I Raise My Undergrad GPA after Graduation?

Yes, you can raise your undergraduate GPA by completing additional coursework. This may be in the form of repeating specific classes that you did poorly on during your undergraduate studies. You may also complete a second bachelors degree after graduation.

In some cases, depending on the grad school you’re interested in attending, you may be able to enroll without needing to raise your undergrad GPA. There are other measures you can pursue to bolster your overall application.

Universities Offering Graduate Degree Programs With Low GPA Requirements

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Albany State University

Albany State University

Minimum GPA: 2.50 for Provisional Admission

Albany State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Arkansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Arkansas Tech University is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Bradley University

Bradley University

Minimum GPA: 2.5 with conditional admission

Bradley University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

California State University – Northridge

California State University - Northridge

Minimum GPA: 2.5

California State University – Northrdige is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Capella University

Capella University

Minimum GPA: 2.8 for Master’s degree

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Central Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University

Minimum GPA: 2.70

Central Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Concordia University – Chicago

Concordia University - Chicago

Minimum GPA: 2.85

Concordia University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

DePaul University

DePaul University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

DePaul University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

DeVry University

DeVry University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

Minimum GPA: 2.7

Eastern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Fisher College

Fisher College

Minimum GPA: 2.7

Fisher College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Fort Hays State Univesity

Fort Hays State University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grace Christian University

Grace Christian University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Grace Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

Minimum GPA: 2.8

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University

Minimum GPA: 2.8 for Master’s

Illinois State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Johnson and Wales University

Johnson and Wales University

Minimum GPA: 2.85

JWU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Lamar University

Lamar University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Mississippi College

Mississippi College

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Missouri State University

Missouri State University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Missouri Western State University

Missouri Western State University

Minimum GPA:2.75

Missouri Western is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Murray State University

Murray State University

Minimum GPA: 2.75 or below with conditional admission

Murray State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

National University

National University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Nebraska Wesleyan University

Nebraska Wesleyan University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Nebraska Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Northeastern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Notre Dame De Namur University

Notre Dame De Namur University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

NDNU is accredited by WSCUC.

Park University

Park University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Southern University

Southern University

Minimum GPA: 2.7

Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas Wesleyan University

Texas Wesleyan University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Texas Wesleyan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Troy University

Troy University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Findlay

University of Findlay

Minimum GPA: 2.5

The University of Findlay is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

University of Massachusetts – Boston

University of Massachusetts - Boston

Minimum GPA: 2.75

The University of Massachusetts Boston is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Missouri – St Louis

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

Minimum GPA: 2.75 with supportive evidence

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Nevada – Reno

University of Nevada Reno

Minimum GPA: 2.75 for Master’s Degree

The University of Nevada – Reno is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of North Carolina – Pembroke

University of North Carolina - Pembroke

Minimum GPA: 2.5

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Southern Indiana

University of Southern Indiana

The University of Southern Indiana is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Minimum GPA: 2.75

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Upper Iowa University

Upper Iowa University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Upper Iowa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Webster University

Webster University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Webster University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

West Texas A and M University

West Texas A and M University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

West Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Western Governors University

Western Governors University

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wichita State University

Wichita State University

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Wichita State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Youngstown State University

Youngstown State University

Minimum GPA: 2.7

Youngstown State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Graduate Degree Online

Getting Your Graduate Degree Online

Many students are interested in pursuing an advanced graduate-level degree but are hesitant due to a low GPA from their undergraduate studies.

If this is you, there may be a number of options available to you that can help you overcome that GPA and get accepted into a grad program. Your options can include enrolling in a program that has a lower GPA threshold for enrollment or improving your GPA after graduation by retaking classes.

You can also take steps to bolster your application through GRE and GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, or work experience. If you’re ready to take this next step in your educational journey, you can start today by exploring online graduate programs from accredited universities.

Brenda Pyzik
WRITTEN BY
Brenda Pyzik
Brenda earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Waterloo, with a minor in legal studies. She obtained a graduate certificate in human resource management from Georgian College. Brenda’s focus is on employment, entrepreneurship, business, and training and development.