Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Auditing a class versus taking it Pass/Not Pass?

  1. Aug 30, 2011 #1
    I'm currently in this grad class, but I have serious doubts I have enough time on my hands from my busy schedule to do well in this class. As a result, I'm considering to just audit the course, which in my university means: "to go to the class without any official recognition."
    In other words, there's no proof you audited the class or even paid attention to the lectures. You simply sit in on the lectures.

    This is opposed to the Pass/Not Pass system, where you only need at least 70% to "pass" the course, thus receiving a formal recognition on your transcript along with units.
    I don't care about the units, but moreso the recognition that I actually went to this class, paid attention, and learned something.

    Would grad schools see me taking P/NP as a failed attempt of doing well while trying to scathe by, or an 'intellectual' curiosity to explore and audit? I fear that taking the normal route of 'auditing' has no proof and grad schools would see it as a lie to pad my resume/transcript. This P/NP route would give evidence to my auditing, but could lead to these other implications I fear.

    P.S. I know it's bad to think in terms of grad school, but unfortunately, it's a necessity to 'consider' their viewpoint for practical reasons (i.e. going to grad school).
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2011 #2
    As a member of a committee, I'd probably ask: Is the course a particularly difficult level (such as a grad class?)... or is the term in particular very full already?... or is the course an advanced course in a different department (that maybe you haven't met prerequisites for)? These kind of things, in my mind, might justify taking the course as P/NP versus for a grade. And you do indicate the first... it's a graduate level course. And you state it's a busy term (although what does that mean in terms of other courses and total credits?).

    As a small aside, I don't think I ever saw this in my experience on a committee... but I think seeing a course listed on your transcript does let the committee know you've seen the material, which can matter. I also think I'd tend to assume then that the course was only offered on a pass/fail system... that maybe your university didn't let an undergrad take a grad course except via pass/fail (this unless I saw other students from your university applying that had graduate courses with grades).
  4. Aug 30, 2011 #3
    ^ The grad course is notoriously difficult in my university (noted as one of the hardest grad courses) and it has typically failed most undergrads who take the course. And by busy work, I mean I'm spending most (if not all) my time on research, other classes, etc.

    Thanks for the assurance. However on the second part, I'm taking quite a few other grad courses (all letter-graded) and this will be the only one taken pass/fail. So any 'committee' wouldn't necessarily make the assumption you made, i.e., that the course was only offered pass/fail.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook