Semester Course Load

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Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:03 pm

Semester Course Load

Post by S-117 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:48 pm


I just started my senior year this semester, and I am taking my last upper division classes. The physics classes in my school are 4 credits/class, and I am currently taking 17 credits hours CRH ( physics courses (11 CRH) and 1 PDE math course (3 CRH) + research (3 CRH)). I was thinking about dropping the math course to focus on the physics's, but I will be ending up with 3 classes + research, which brings me to the question: Do graduate schools care about the course load? I am asking this since the maximum number of science classes I took in a semester was three and that was just one semester in my junior year, so I am afraid that I will come out as a slacker.

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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:41 pm

Re: Semester Course Load

Post by JellyJam » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:20 pm

In my opinion, you are overthinking this. The admissions council is unlikely to put much thought into the specific workload of each semester. Rather, they will care more about your overall grades, as well as the content of the courses. If taking more courses will lower your grades, then you should not do it.

A transcript is meant to represent a student's ability to learn content and a student's work ethic. If you generally have high grades, then the admissions committee will be confident in your ability to succeed in graduate coursework.

In the end, assuming you have adequate grades, the most important part of any application will be the student's research experience and recommendation materials. A student can have perfect grades and scores and still being rejected from top programs if their research experience is minimal.

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Re: Semester Course Load

Post by 911876gev » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:37 pm

3 physics classes + research is totally fine (that's what I did senior fall). Just make sure you are taking the right courseload for yourself, so that you are relaxed and comfortable building up your knowledge base and your intuition. For example: if you take 4 courses + research but are stressed and unhappy, you will not be as open to new approaches/ideas as you would be with 3 + research.

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