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The need of having done a class formally

  1. Jan 27, 2009 #1
    The need of having done a class "formally"

    I'm (something like) a master student in Europe, now being in my first year and I have the following problem: Last semester I was attending lectures on QFT, but I haven't done the exam/assignments, since it was way too much for me that semester and since the class is not obligatory and I will have enough credits to finish my degree. Now I want to continue with subjects like QCD,SUSY, Renormalization,... The problem is not with the prerequisites, since there are none for these subjects.
    The problem is regarding a potential grad school application (for a phd). I mean, would it look weird, if I had taken the advanced courses, but not having a grade/exam from QFT? Do people look at this kind of things?

    PS: I'm sorry for the title, it will probably make it into the chart of most ridiculous titles on PF :).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2009 #2


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    Re: The need of having done a class "formally"

    So, you audited (or read) the class, informally? Where you enrolled as such? Where you actually enrolled as a full-fledged student? In some institutions, (formal) auditing / reading means you get something that shows up on your transcript that indicates you took the course as an auditor or reader (and you don't get a grade). If you took it informally, you get to have spent a few hours every week attending a lecture, and nothing shows up on your transcript. If you took it as a full-fledged student, and didn't hand in any assignments or take the exams, you most likely failed said course.

    I'm a firm believer in homework as a learning tool, so if you were to do something (in grad school) that depended on the material / skills learned in that course, you might get an odd look or two when you mention that you only audited/read the class. Or you might get let in with the expectation that you make up said class. Or the person interviewing you might believe you're brilliant enough to have learned the material / skills without having done any of the homework / studying. That's my take on it, at any rate.
  4. Jan 28, 2009 #3
    Re: The need of having done a class "formally"

    yeah, I have been doing it informally, i.e. nothing will show up on my transcript.
  5. Jan 28, 2009 #4


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    Re: The need of having done a class "formally"

    If you unofficially audited a course you will not be considered as having "taken" the course. With respect to grad schoool application this is something that you can include in your personal statement to demonstrate your committment to learning in a field outside of formal education, but it is not likely to add much weight to your application.
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