I am a physics major at UCLA with a busy schedule. I am currently taking 3 upper division physics courses every quarter while balancing 10-20 hours of research per week. I would like to learn more computer science, so I wanted to take a couple of CS classes for a Pass/No Pass grade without stressing about my GPA. Would Grad Schools frown upon the idea of taking CS classes for P/NP grades? I feel like my reason is justified, and the CS courses are not a part of my major, but they could potentially relate to it as a needed skill.

  • 3
    Had to read twice because usually P/NP refers to something else in CS classes...
    – cheersmate
    Oct 23, 2019 at 10:54
  • why do you want to take them officially? From what I understand, they are not cirruculum requirement, you just want to learn the course and don't want an official grade from the course. Why don't you just ask the proffesor if you could join and would he read your homeworks, if you turned them in? From where I am from, this wouldn't be inappropriate. Oct 23, 2019 at 12:22
  • I don't quite understand. Can you choose if the classes at UCLA (I believe that's a university) are graded or pass/fail?
    – Thomas
    Oct 23, 2019 at 15:16
  • And why would the universities you apply to not approve of you taking additional CS classes?
    – Thomas
    Oct 23, 2019 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


I don't think you have anything to worry about. You seem to be doing the right thing in your major and that will be the important consideration for grad school. But anything you do to increase supplementary skills is a positive thing, not negative. For example, even an online no-credit course can increase your skills and would have a small positive effect. If you were doing this in physics courses it would be viewed differently.

You have a good explanation to give for your choices. If asked, just present that. No one should think less of you or your abilities.

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