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Is Pass/NoPass a Bad Idea?

  1. Oct 11, 2012 #1
    I'm a west coast physics MS student who wishes to keep PhD doors open as wide as possible. I'm taking a probability class outside of my major, and I really like it but I've made a few mistakes on quizzes and now I'm not sure I'll pull off the A. It's still doable but life would be less stressful if I could just earn a PASS instead of fighting for an A. However, I've heard that some grad schools consider PASS grades as C's when calculating GPA.

    Does anyone know a breakdown of which schools don't mind and which do? I've heard that East Coast schools don't like P/NP while west coast schools don't care. How true is that? Any opinions on this in general?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2012 #2
    I don't think that physics graduate schools look at GPA's this way.

    Things can change based on who is on the committee. Assuming that your GPA isn't so low that you are hitting minimum limits (in which case you are dead whatever you do), graduate school admissions are "holistic." Rather following a strict rule, the question is how well is the student prepared for a graduate program.

    If all your other classes are A's, people will assume that you did decently in a PASS class. If all your other classes are C's, people will assume that you just squeaked by in the PASS class.

    Again this is for physics graduate schools in the United States. The rules for other fields and other countries can be very different. If the person who told you this was in some other field then what they tell you is probably not applicable for physics.
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