OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Sunday, March 9

#6070

QUESTION: Grad students (or prospective grad students), is it possible to get accepted into grad school if you have good marks and co-op (research) experience but don't have any publications? Especially in the STEM field.

10 comments

  1. nobody expects a stupid undergrad to have publications.

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    1. I know a lot of undergrads who, depending on where they worked over their co-op terms, ended up with at least 2 publications as co-authors in the top journals.

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  2. im a waterloo undergrad graduate who started grad school (also at waterloo) recently.
    i had zero publications and my grades weren't stellar by any means. More than anything you need to find a supervisor to take you on. if you know the proffs around the department you want to be at or can contact them and show interest in what they're doing then you should be set.

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    1. This is the best advice. I got to know my profs in undergrad, and that really helped when applying to grad school.

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  3. STEM is a huge blanket, it depends heavily on what field you're in.

    For example, it is almost unheard of for undergraduates in pure math to have publications as an undergrad. There's a guy from here who is now doing math at Stanford and I don't think he had any. If you look at some of the pure math profs here they didn't have publications until two years after they got their Phd! And these guys are coming from MIT/ Harvard!

    On the other hand, I've heard it's a lot more common for people in majors like nanoeng to have publications. Thought I can't speak as much to that avail.

    But I think if you have good grades, and research experience (even sans publications), you should be in a good spot. Good luck! I apply to grad school in a little over a year and am just now trying to get meaningful research experience.

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  4. It's a huge toss-up. I have friends who had shit grades and no publications that got in. Honestly I think it's a lot about how well your personal statement happens to "fit" the culture of the school you've applied to, whether your profs in reference letters can get across that you're a decent and intelligent person, and whether you've "experienced" research (even if you didn't get pub credit for it).

    Some profs don't publish their undergrads' names on papers, even if the students do most of the work. I think universities get that.

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  5. Yes. The overwhelmingly vast majority of undergraduates don't have published papers when they apply to a masters program. This is very typical. A paper will look good, but is in no way expected.

    However, if you want to work with superstar prof then, as a way of narrowing down the number of potential applications they review, they may require, on an individual level and not stated on any website, applicants to have a published paper.

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  6. I didn't get in to USA schools (for physics) as an international student without publications yet with decent research experience, grades, GREs. Without publications but staying in Canada I had no issues, though a lot of my friends with comparable resumes did. Try regardless, and hope for the best.

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  7. Go talk to profs you're interested in working with, get to know their research a little bit and ask if they're looking for grad students. Nothing else matters (as long as you have marks above some minimum) if a prof is saying yes to you and can find the funding to support you.

    Sincerely, an undergraduate who already knows I'm accepted into grad school and will get official confirmation soon.

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    1. ps I had no publications but have good marks and co-op research experience.

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