We seem (to me) to be getting more and more question of this general form. Recent examples:

We seem to have agreed to close these as duplicates of How does the admissions process work for US Ph.D. programs, particularly for weak or borderline students?, which we expressly created as an omnibus answer to "I have a low GPA, can I get into field X" type questions.

Unfortunately, people do not necessarily see the relevance of our omnibus question to their original question. Which is understandable, given the difference in overall thrust.

Request: Could someone with a better understanding of the US system than I edit the answer to our omnibus question to expressly discuss "Can I apply to field X with an undergraduate degree in Y" type questions?

  • 2
    I think you are correct that the GPA and major/background sections could be split and potentially make it easier for people to see that their questions are really duplicates.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 8:36
  • They really aren't the same, splitting seems obviously the way to go.
    – neuronet
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


My inclination would be to create a new question, rather than using the omnibus question. A special-purpose question allows the space to go into more detail, gives other people a chance to write competing answers, makes it much easier to find the answer (someone searching for this information is unlikely to look under "How does the admissions process work for US Ph.D. programs, particularly for weak or borderline students?"), and makes it clear to people why their question is a duplicate.

I see at least three different aspects of this general question:

  1. If I've taken plenty of advanced courses in X in the process of completing a degree in another field, can I apply to graduate school in X?

  2. What if I haven't taken many courses in X, but I have acquired a good grasp of X through self-study and working in a related field?

  3. What if I've never studied X, but I have done very well in an unrelated field? Could I be admitted to graduate school in X on the basis of general intellectual promise, and then make up any missing background after enrollment?

I think all three could be addressed in the same question/answer.

  • 3
    Please do this, and I will vote it up!
    – jakebeal
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 12:22
  • Done. Commented May 2, 2015 at 14:47
  • Awesome! This makes me very happy.
    – jakebeal
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    Should we make the question CW so all answers are CW and people will edit to improve?
    – StrongBad
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 16:02
  • @StrongBad: Sounds good to me. I made my answer CW but there was no option to do so for the question (as far as I could see). Commented May 2, 2015 at 16:03
  • @AnonymousMathematician making a question CW is a mod only feature.
    – StrongBad
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 16:22
  • 1
    Thanks for posting the question, and the first answer! Commented May 2, 2015 at 19:41

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