I want to know something: does it look bad if you don't take that many courses? In my grad career, my first semester is going to have only 2 grad courses I'll be taking. I want to take more, but my advisor/person I'm doing research for is telling me not to. (E.g., he's also going to be writing letters of recommendation, pretty tentatively). I also want to go into theoretical physics (either particle or condensed matter or general relativity/cosmology...wherever things take me, although I'll gladly put my heart into whatever I wind up in...as long as it's theoretical physics!). I understand theoretical physics to be pretty competitive, so I want to do whatever I can to attain good credentials. I've got to end up doing work for a reasonably-respected theoretician. Hopefully, when I ask to do work for them (at whatever school...incidentally at some big-name institution), I won't be passed up as a dunderhead. Hence, my conundrum: how do I build up a good CV and still do what my advisor tells me to do? I guess my advisor wouldn't steer me wrong, and I ought to trust him, but I have this nagging doubt that I might be sabbotaging my career. (P.S.: I'm getting my Physics M.S.--you can actually do that, thank God, in a few schools with M.S.-only programs). Any recommended courses of action?