What is a Good GPA in College? Benchmarks for Top Grad Programs

A student's GPA can have a major impact on their graduate school admissions and job opportunities after graduation. So, what is a good GPA in college? Read here to learn what your GPA should be to get into top masters programs, doctoral programs, and more.

A grade point average (GPA) is one of the most important numbers for college students. It represents the average of the final grades a student earns in courses throughout their college career. GPAs can have a significant impact on job prospects, graduate school admissions, scholarships, and more. 


So, what is a good GPA in college? For most schools, GPAs are calculated on a 4.0 scale and range from 0.0-4.0. A typical letter grade and percentage grade to GPA conversion table is shown below:


Letter Grade

Percentage Grade

GPA (4.0 Scale)

A+

97-100

4.0

A

93-96

4.0

A-

90-92

3.7

B+

87-89

3.3

B

83-86

3.0

B-

80-82

2.7

C+

77-79

2.3

C

73-76

2.0

C-

70-72

1.7

D+

67-69

1.3

D

65-66

1.0

F

Below 65

0.0


The average GPA among all college students attending a 4-year college or university program is around 3.15, as reported by PrepScholar. It is often recommended by admissions officers and hiring staff that you don’t include your GPA in your resume for graduate school or job applications if it is less than 3.5. 



Masters Programs

GPA requirements for masters programs vary by school and department, but most programs require a GPA of at least 3.0 -- or a B average. The more competitive a college major, like psychology and business, the more competitive your GPA has to be to get into a related masters program. For instance, if you plan to pursue a masters in business administration (MBA) degree, many business schools require a GPA of at least 3.5. This is much higher than pursuing a masters in fine arts (MFA), where many schools require around a 3.0. 


Doctoral Programs

Now, what is a good college GPA for doctoral programs? Similar to masters programs, GPA expectations fluctuate for doctoral programs, depending on school and competition. However, most programs set their requirements at around 3.5, or a slightly higher than B+ average. For top doctoral programs, GPA requirements are often higher, as admissions are extremely competitive. 


Top Graduate Programs GPA Benchmarks

Business SchoolIf you’re looking into applying to business school, here are the average GPAs of incoming accepted students to the top 10 programs, as ranked by US News. 


Ranking

School Name

Average GPA of admitted students*

1

Stanford University

3.8

2

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

3.6

3

University of Chicago (Booth)

3.6

4

Northwestern University (Kellog)

3.6

5

Harvard University

3.7

5

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

3.54**

7

Columbia University

3.6

7

University of California - Berkeley (Haas)

3.76

9

Yale University

3.65

10

Dartmouth College (Tuck)

3.5

*Data from incoming class profiles

**Median GPA reported


Law School: Here are the median GPAs of admitted students for the top 10 law schools from US News. 


Ranking

School Name

Median GPA of admitted students*

1

Yale University

3.94

2

Stanford University

3.93

3

Harvard University

3.90

4

Columbia University

3.82

4

University of Chicago

3.90

6

New York University

3.79

6

University of Pennsylvania (Carey)

3.89

8

University of Virginia

3.90

9

University of California - Berkeley

3.80

10

Duke University

3.80

*Data from incoming class profiles (average not reported)


Medical Schools (Research)Here are the average GPAs of admitted students for the top 10 medical schools for research from US News. 


Ranking

School Name

Average GPA of admitted students

1

Harvard University

3.92

2

New York University (Grossman)

3.89

3

Duke University

3.86

4

Columbia University

3.89

4

Stanford University

3.89

4

University of California - San Francisco

3.80

7

John Hopkins University

3.93

7

University of Washington

3.67

9

University of Pennsylvania (Perelman)

3.91

10

Yale University

3.83


Medical Schools (Primary Care)Here are the average GPAs of admitted students for the top 10 medical schools for research from US News. 


Ranking

School Name

Average GPA of admitted students

1

University of Washington

3.67

2

University of California - San Francisco

3.80

3

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

3.68

4

Oregon Health and Science University

3.73

5

University of Minnesota

3.80

6

University of Colorado

3.75

6

University of Nebraska Medical Center

3.77

8

Harvard University

3.92

9

University of Kansas Medical Center

3.78

10

University of Massachusetts - Worcester

3.77


Tips for keeping a good college GPA

It is important to keep in mind that GPA is not the only figure taken into consideration when applying to different graduate programs or job opportunities. Other extracurricular activities, job experiences, and course selections also play a significant role in the application process. With that being said, it is still important to try and ensure that your GPA meets the benchmark for whichever career path you wish to pursue.


Here are some tips on how to keep a good GPA in college:

1. Get organized

Use a paper planner or digital calendar to keep track of assignment due dates, tests, quizzes, and projects. Organize your class notes and schedule to ensure that you don’t get behind in your courses. 

2. Attend class regularly

Although attendance is not mandatory for all college classes, still try to attend class regularly. Attending class allows you to better understand course material and interact with your professors, teaching assistants, and classmates. 

3. Set goals

Set goals for what your grades will look like each semester. Set the bar high so that you have something to work towards and reward yourself after meeting said goals!

4. Find good studying habits

Find study habits that help you learn and absorb course material. Utilize study resources and libraries at your school. 

5. Go to office hours

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Almost all professors and instructors hold office hours where they can answer any questions you may have about the content you’re learning. Going to office hours is also a great way to get to know your professor on a more personal level!

6. Utilize pass/fail options

Many schools adopted new pass/fail policies as a result of COVID-19. If you’re performing poorly in a class, consider pass/failing it if you can’t seem to pull up your grades. Pass/fail allows you to receive credit for a course without damaging your GPA. Keep in mind that many graduate schools and some employers may ask to see your transcript, in which pass/fail will be visible, so don’t use this option on more than 1-2 classes. 

7. Get good sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is essential to performing well in school. Sleeping improves concentration and memory. Find a good balance between studying and resting.


Juno Team
Written By
Juno Team

Juno came into existence to help students save money on student loans and other financial products through group buying power by negotiating with lenders. The Juno Team has worked with 50,000 students and families to help them save money.

All Categories: