After graduating from college, the student (in part-time) took a PhD level course while working. It was a very difficult hardcore course and the student got a B.

Would this grade help or hurt the student's application to for example a top 5 graduate school?

If it does hurt and the student is not required to report the grade to the schools that s/he is applying to, can s/he choose not to report the course?

Probably many of you might think that this practice is unethical; however, I do not see an ethical problem, as the school only requires the applicant to put on schools that they've attended for at least a year.

So let's put the ethical issue away. Would hiding that course from a resume help?

  • 2
    Which country have you been to and where do you want to apply?
    – user115896
    Nov 22, 2019 at 16:38
  • @Heutl US and US
    – High GPA
    Nov 22, 2019 at 18:11
  • 1
    Hm, okay. I was going to post an answer, but the US is always weird when it comes to grades. In Europe, if they said schools where you are less then 1 year are irrelevant, then the geades from those schools might also be irrelevant. After reading Buffy's answer, the US might be different.
    – user115896
    Nov 22, 2019 at 19:27
  • @Heutl Thanks for your comments! I would also apply to EU schools, then.
    – High GPA
    Nov 22, 2019 at 20:06
  • If this is the US, you will almost certainly be asked for your complete academic history. Do not lie.
    – JeffE
    Nov 23, 2019 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Hiding the grade is unethical and if discovered will haunt you. But lots of doctoral courses in the US, at least, result in B grades. It isn't a huge problem if you learn something in them. Their purpose is to prepare you for comps, not to show a high GPA.

I'd call in more or less neutral for your application. But the application, overall, needs to show both preparation and likelihood of success. I don't think a B in a difficult course is a negative for either. But the application overall has to demonstrate excellence. It needn't be perfect in every detail.

For students already in the program, a B grade is considered acceptable.

But, if you restrict your search to "top 5" graduate schools you are already likely to miss the mark due completely to the small number of slots and the large number of highly qualified applicants.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .