How to Get into Grad School with a 2.5 GPA [2024 Schools Guide]

By Dr. Keith Nickolaus
Edited by Tania Staley
Updated on April 20, 2024
Edited by Tania Staley
Ready to start your journey?
Discover how to get into grad school with a 2.5 GPA. Learn effective strategies, alternative pathways, and key considerations for your academic journey.

Thinking about grad school but worried that your 2.5 GPA might hold you back? Don’t sweat it too much. You’re definitely not alone in this boat, and getting into a grad program might be more doable than you think.

In this guide, we’re going to chat about some smart moves and tips that can help you stand out, even with a 2.5 GPA. We’ll dive into how to pick the right schools, ways to beef up other parts of your application, and how to let your unique experiences shine.

How to Get Into Grad School

Consider this your friendly roadmap to navigating the grad school application process with confidence. So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started on making your grad school dreams a reality, GPA and all!

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And if you haven’t decided on a university yet, you can skip down to our list of grad schools that accept a 2.5 GPA, some even accept as low as a 2.0 GPA!

List of Graduate Schools that Accept 2.5 GPA*

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

*While most institutions listed accept a minimum GPA of 2.5, some accept as low as a 2.0 GPA. We also included several schools requiring up to a 2.8 GPA because these schools have indicated that they may still consider applicants that don’t meet the minimum GPA threshold.

Albany State University

Albany State University offers provisional acceptance into their master’s degree programs to qualifying students with a GPA of at least 2.5 from an undergraduate program.

Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation and other documents to apply. During their first 9 semester hours, students must not receive a grade lower than a B or their enrollment will be terminated.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

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

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University’s graduate programs offer conditional admission to qualifying applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Official transcripts from any school attended, a non-refundable application fee, and any other documents required by the program must be submitted to the school when applying. Meeting the admissions requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

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

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University offers unconditional admission into their graduate programs to qualifying applicants.

To qualify, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and meet any additional admission requirements for the program. A small admission fee, official transcripts, test scores, and proof of immunization must be submitted when applying.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

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

Benedictine University

Benedictine University allows students with a GPA of 2.5 to apply to their master’s programs. Admission is based on other aspects of their application. Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation from professional connections, a resume listing past work experience, and a letter of intent.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Benedictine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

California State University – Los Angeles

California State University—Los Angeles accepts applications to their master’s programs from students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher in a bachelor’s program from a relevant field. Some programs may require a higher GPA or have additional requirements, such as GRE or GMAT scores.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Cal State LA is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Capella University

Although Capella University’s FlexPath master’s programs require a GPA of 2.8 or higher, applicants with a lower GPA may still be considered based on additional documentation.

Applicants may submit an essay or writing sample, a resume, and letters of recommendation. An interview with the program’s faculty may also be held depending on the program.

Minimum GPA: 2.8, but applicants with a lower GPA may still be considered

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University considers applicants to their master’s program as long as they have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.0. An online application and official transcripts from the school the bachelor’s degree was obtained at must be submitted to apply. Additional documents, such as an entrance essay, may be required.

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

DePaul University

Each graduate program at DePaul University has its own admission requirements. These requirements can be found on each separate program page. Though the minimum GPA requirement varies, applicants may be able to submit GRE scores and other supplementary documents to try to strengthen their application.

Minimum GPA: 2.0

DePaul University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University offers a Post-Bachelor’s Teacher Preparation program that requires a GPA of 2.5 or higher. All other master’s degree programs require applicants to either have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 or a GPA of 3.0 from the last half of their undergraduate degree.

Minimum GPA: Depends on the program, as low as 2.5, but majority require 2.70

Eastern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University encourages anyone who has a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher to apply for one of their graduate programs. An application fee, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other documents required by the program must be submitted with the online application.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grace Christian University

Grace Christian University accepts graduate applications from students who have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Applicants must submit official transcripts from any post-secondary schools from which they’ve obtained a bachelor’s degree or 12 or more graduate credits.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Grace Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University requires applicants to have a GPA of 2.8 but may accept applicants with lower scores if they have a GMAT score of 500 or a GRE combined score of 300. Certain programs may have additional requirements or require a higher GPA.

Minimum GPA: 2.8, but may accept applicants with lower scores

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

The GPA requirements for Liberty University’s master’s programs vary from program to program. Both unofficial transcripts and official transcripts must be submitted when applying. Some programs may require professional references, statements of purpose, online questionnaires, or other requirements.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

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

Purdue University

Purdue University requires applicants to have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher to be considered for their master’s programs. GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and SAT scores are not required for any program. Official transcripts must be submitted, though an unofficial copy may be submitted during the application process.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University requires applicants interested in their master’s programs to submit an online application and transcripts from any school attended.

They must also submit a graduate attestation form that includes the applicant’s undergraduate GPA. Though a GPA of 2.75 is required for full acceptance, a GPA of 2.0 or higher can potentially allow applicants to receive a provisional acceptance.

Minimum GPA: 2.0

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

Strayer University

Strayer University considers applicants to their master’s programs if they have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Applicants must submit a completed application, official transcripts from all other colleges or universities attended, and a government-issued photo ID. Admission officers and student service coaches are available to help applicants through the process.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Troy University

Troy University offers unconditional admission into their master’s degree programs to qualifying applicants who have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Official transcripts, test scores required by the program, and a letter of recommendation must be submitted when applying. Other admission requirements may be required depending on the program.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

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

University of Southern Indiana

The University of Southern Indiana requires those interested in obtaining a master’s degree to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher from an undergraduate program. Applicants must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in any graduate courses taken and must submit official transcripts and GRE and GMAT scores.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

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

West Virginia University

West Virginia University’s master’s degree programs typically require a GPA of 2.75 or higher but may offer provisional graduate student status to those that don’t meet this requirement. Students given provisional admission will receive specific requirements needed to become a regular graduate student.

Minimum GPA: 2.75, but a student may be granted provisional status

West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Webster University

Webster University accepts applicants on a rolling basis. Those interested in joining a master’s program must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Different programs may require additional admission requirements. An application can be completed online and must be submitted with a $50 application fee.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tackling the GPA Challenge: Strategies to Strengthen Your Graduate School Application

Looking to get into grad school with a 2.5 GPA? Your GPA is just one part of your journey, and there are plenty of other ways to showcase your true potential to grad schools.

In this section, we’ll explore some creative strategies that highlight your strengths and readiness for advanced study. Remember, your academic path is unique, and we’re here to help you present it in the best light.

1.   GRE or GMAT Scores

This may not seem like the easiest way to compensate for a lower-than-stellar GPA, but it can help you demonstrate academic readiness.

  • Practice Tests: Regularly take practice exams to track your progress.
  • Study Resources: Utilize official guides and reputable online materials.
  • Prep Courses: Consider enrolling in a preparation course for structured guidance.

Getting a strong score on the GRE or GMAT can help you convince admissions officers that you have the skills needed to thrive in graduate school.

2.  Statement of Purpose

Keep in mind that your GPA is just one window into your graduate school qualifications and your promise as a scholar in a particular field.

  • Highlight Strengths: Emphasize unique skills or experiences that make you a great candidate.
  • Explain Your GPA: Briefly address your GPA, focusing on growth and resilience.
  • Show Passion: Convey enthusiasm for your field and how you plan to contribute.
  • Future Goals: Link your academic interests to your long-term career objectives.

A well-crafted statement of purpose can help you highlight your personal strengths and help admissions officers understand the extenuating circumstances for your low GPA. You may also try to compensate for what’s on your transcripts by communicating your passion and commitment to your major and related life goals.

3. Consultation with a Faculty Member

Consultation with a Faculty Member

Getting to know an influential faculty member and sharing your passions and interests for the major can help you win over an admissions ally. Having an ally on your side can help dispel concerns the school may have about your GPA.

4.  Additional Coursework

You don’t have to apply to grad school as soon as you finish your bachelor’s program. You could create a bridge year or two and take a few graduate classes in a non-degree program, such as a university extended learning program.

You may also want to develop additional study techniques to help raise your grades. Getting good grades and some strong reference letters from your professors in relevant bridge-year courses could help strengthen your admissions credentials going forward.

5.   Professional Work Experience

Professional Work Experience

Taking some time to seek out relevant work experience or internships can help you demonstrate competency and initiative. It can also help you boost your credentials in relevant skills before you apply to graduate school.

These positives could help outweigh your low GPA or dispel related concerns about your readiness for success in graduate school. It can also be a way to cultivate a relationship with someone in the field who can later write you a great letter of recommendation.

6.  Recommendation Letters

Like a strong and strategically crafted statement of purpose, compelling recommendation letters from credible professionals or educators might help you overcome a lower GPA. Letters from professionals in the same field as your major may be even more influential.

Recommendation Aspect Strategy
Recommender Selection Choose individuals who know your work ethic and strengths well, preferably in your field of study.
Guiding Your Recommenders Provide them with your resume and statement of purpose to help them tailor their letter to your grad school goals.
Professional Contacts If possible, include letters from professionals in your field, as their endorsement can be particularly impactful.
Specific Examples Ask your recommenders to include specific examples of your skills and achievements.
Early Requests Reach out to your recommenders well in advance to give them ample time to write a thoughtful letter.

A well-rounded set of recommendation letters can significantly elevate your application by providing a more comprehensive and personal view of your qualifications, complementing your academic record and highlighting your potential for success in graduate studies.

7.   Admissions Essay

Some schools may ask for an admissions essay instead of a statement of purpose. Admissions essays differ from statements of purpose in focus and tone. While they are more analytical, they still provide an opportunity to express your individual perspective and address aspects like a low GPA.

  • Analytical Focus: Unlike a statement of purpose, focus more on your analytical and critical thinking skills.
  • Personal Insights: Seamlessly integrate personal experiences that demonstrate your commitment and capabilities.
  • Address GPA Concerns: Use the essay to contextualize your GPA, explaining why it’s not reflective of your true potential.
  • Relevance to Field: Link your experiences and insights to the field you’re applying to, showcasing your understanding and interest.

An effectively written admissions essay can offer a compelling narrative that provides a well-rounded picture of your suitability for graduate study. This means you can use the essay to explain why your low GPA is a misleading indicator of your actual level of commitment and ability with regard to succeeding in graduate school.

8.   Admissions Interview

Admissions interviews are a crucial part of the application process where you have the opportunity to make a personal impression. If you have a lower GPA, be prepared to address it.

Here are three common questions you might encounter:

1) Can you explain why your GPA is lower than our typical requirement?

  • Be honest and concise about the reasons.
  • Focus on what you learned from the experience and how you’ve grown.

2) How have you prepared yourself to handle the academic rigor of our graduate program?

  • Discuss any additional coursework or certifications you’ve completed.
  • Highlight improvements in study habits or time management skills.

3) What strengths do you bring to our program that might not be reflected in your GPA?

  • Talk about relevant work experiences, internships, or projects.
  • Emphasize soft skills like leadership, teamwork, or problem-solving abilities.

Approach the interview as a chance to discuss your full potential and readiness for grad school, beyond just your GPA.

Based on the impression you make, an admissions interview could be an opportunity to offset concerns about your GPA. It may even give you a chance to talk about extenuating circumstances that impacted your grades.


Diving into the world of grad school applications can bring up a lot of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘how-tos’, especially when you’re working with a 2.5 GPA. So, we’ve put together a handy FAQ section to tackle some of the most common questions you might have.

Does GPA Matter for Admission into a Graduate Program?

Does GPA Matter for Grad School

Yes, your Grade Point Average can matter when applying to graduate school. In fact, many schools include a satisfactory GPA as a basic admissions requirement. For masters programs, a 3.0 minimum is a common requirement. Common requirements can be even higher when applying to doctoral programs.

Whether based on experience or statistical research, many admissions officers or faculty members on admissions panels believe that an individual’s GPA is important. They view it as a reliable indicator of a person’s readiness for the academic challenges of grad programs.

In addition to admissions requirements, your graduate GPA can also disqualify you academically from a graduate program if it falls too low. It might also impact your eligibility for continued financial aid.

Is a 2.5 GPA Good Enough to Get into Grad School?

Grad School GPA

On average, nationally, anything lower than a 3.0 GPA is often considered below par academically. There is a small number of schools, though, that pride themselves on taking a more holistic approach to vetting applicants.

There are also schools whose mission includes creating opportunities for students who might not get accepted as easily into other schools, including students with lower GPAs. As you search for programs, you’ll probably find that a common minimum GPA for graduate school programs is 3.0 or higher, but there are grad schools that accept 2.5 GPA.

Can I Get into Grad School with a 2.5 GPA?

Get into Grad School

Yes, many students get into grad school with a 2.5 GPA. While the GPA on your college transcripts is an important consideration for graduate admissions at many schools, it’s only one factor among many in terms of your overall applicant profile.

You may decide that a good strategy for your goals is to look for universities that accept 2.5 GPA for masters. You may also ask admissions officers to consider extenuating circumstances in your statement of purpose, admissions essay, or admissions interview.

Colleges that accept 2.5 GPA for grad school are out there, but the lower your GPA, the more limited your chances may be of getting into many programs. Some programs with a set minimum above 2.5 may simply reject your application outright.

Even when that’s not the case, GPA expectations can make it harder for students with lower GPAs to make the cut in cases where admission is competitive. At schools where there are far more applicants than there are openings, those with higher GPAs may have an advantage. However, if you’re wondering how to get into grad school with a low GPA, there are strategies to strengthen your application.

If you have a 2.5 GPA, one strategic choice can be to apply to multiple schools and include several schools that accept students with 2.5 GPAs.

If needed, taking some additional courses to improve your overall GPA and demonstrate your readiness for graduate school studies can be a strategic choice. It may take some work, but it is possible to get into graduate school with a 2.5 GPA.

What is the Minimum GPA to Apply to Grad School?

There is no universal minimum GPA for grad school. The minimum, when one is specified for admissions requirements, can vary by school and program.

At many schools, admissions requirements for masters programs may specify a 3.0 GPA minimum, but some schools may accept applicants with lower GPAs. Researching GPA and other requirements for admissions at schools you’re interested in can help you figure out which programs to apply to.

Do Grad Programs Consider a Student’s Degree Major When Looking at GPA?

Your major may be a consideration if it’s different than the one you’re applying to study in grad school. It probably won’t matter very much in terms of changing how your GPA factors into things though.

One thing that might matter is the grades you earned in specific subjects. For example, if you got an A average in advanced math courses but a D average in social science classes, that might be taken into consideration for an engineering program.

Getting into Grad School

Getting into Graduate School

Having a 2.5 GPA can impact your admissions options, but if you want to go back to school, there many opportunities out there for you.

Though you may want to consider some grad schools that don’t require the GRE, getting a good GRE or GMAT score or taking some graduate classes in a non-degree setting can help you increase the odds of getting accepted at more schools. Moving forward by applying to schools with less stringent GPA requirements can also be a strategic choice.

Whichever option seems best to you, keeping your eye on the prize and researching accredited schools can help you find a graduate program that works for you!

Ready to start your journey?