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Asking a professor for permission to skip a class

  1. May 7, 2010 #1


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    Has anyone done this? It may be considered very rude, but it's pretty custom among math/physics majors to do the coursework and just skip their classes (and in fact some math/science profs recognize this). The reason to do this, of course, is time. I generally find it quite difficult to mix research with coursework, and it would be much easier on me if I didn't have to spend as much time on courses (while still showing grad schools that I have the capacity to do them).

    Of course, the alternative approach is just to go to class and skip the lectures (without notifying the professor). A lot of people do that when skipping. But it makes me feel guilty, and permission would make me feel less guilty (also the professor might get offended).

    But in general, in math/science classes, how often is skipping classes considered offensive? In humanities classes, skipping classes is effectively sacrilegious. But in math/science classes the attitudes seem to differ more (but I'm not sure if they're even universal), and skipping even becomes the norm at Caltech.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2010 #2


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    I really don't think anyone cares. No one is going to be offended. The only time it's rude is if you walk out in the middle of class or something.
  4. May 7, 2010 #3
    What exactly are you trying to get out of asking your professor for permission?

    I just don't see any benefit in asking him if you can skip class as long as attendance is voluntary...

    Edit: As stated above, don't walk out during class unless its an emergency or your have notified him ahead of time that you will have to leave early. As a student, I find this offensive; I can only imagine if I was the instructor.
  5. May 7, 2010 #4


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  6. May 7, 2010 #5


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    You should arrange with another student to tell you anything important that happens in class that isn't in the textbook, course web site, etc. I make a point of stating in my syllabi that students are responsible for finding out from other students about announcements and material given in class when they're absent, unless the absence is for medical reasons, college-related business, family emergency, etc.
  7. May 7, 2010 #6
    My courses have attendance as part of the grade. But then again, that might just be my university.
  8. May 7, 2010 #7


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    Well, I'm a grad student and I stopped going to lectures for a course after the second week, but did turn in most of the homework. The reason being that the professor sucks at teaching, though as a reasercher he has done some pretty amazing things. I got an A, so I don't think it's an issue.
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