Asking a professor for permission to skip a class

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

User avatar
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Asking a professor for permission to skip a class

Postby InquilineKea » Fri May 07, 2010 2:27 pm


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 (I'm quite concerned, for example, about ... -find.html). 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.

Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:58 am

Re: Asking a professor for permission to skip a class

Postby kroner » Fri May 07, 2010 9:03 pm

I guess it totally depends on the school and the professor, but as an undergrad for pretty much every class I took with a lecture you had no obligation to attend and it was purely for your benefit. For classes with a session to discuss the material, sometimes they were mandatory and sometimes not, usually explicitly stated at the beginning of the term. Doing things that could be considered rude during class is another matter. Probably better not to show up then sleep through it or spend it doing other work.

On the other hand, if you have so much stuff to do that you don't have time to attend your classes, you might consider taking on a less crazy schedule.

Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests