I work for the student newspaper on campus and as a part of it we take a class. On my transcripts, it is listed as Independent Study, and I take it every quarter Pass/No Pass simply because it's an extracurricular.

Will this negatively affect my chances at a good graduate school? My thinking is that because it is an "Independent Study," it won't look too odd -- but I have it listed every quarter, which has me a little worried. That's a lot of P/F.

The only other P/NP grade I have is for a Formal Logic class in the philosophy department. And I should mention that I've passed every one and otherwise have a great GPA.

In terms of graduate schools, I'm interested in Comparative Literature, Law, and Education.


1 Answer 1


It is highly unlikely that these grades would affect you in any particular bad way. As the commenters under your question have stated - 'no one will care'. Specifically:

  • As you stated, you have a great GPA - this means you have demonstrable strong abilities in your 'core' subjects - presumably of the topics that relate to the programs you are applying for.
  • You also stated that these P/NP courses for the most part are labelled as 'Independent Study' and a very interesting sounding one from the philosophy faculty. These don't really reflect the subjects that are related to your main focus - they are extracurricular afterall.
  • As you stated, you passed them all and your institution's documentation would most likely show that these are pass/no pass courses.

If anything, these could actually work in your favour - demonstrating that you show initiative with continuous Independent studies and a willingness to expand your mind with the logic course. But, as stated here and in the comments, they most likely not worry at all about it.

What could help allay your concerns is to read the school's documentation - many institutions have information about how the P/NP option would affect the GPA - for example, this one from the University of California, Santa Cruz states:

The grades P and NP both appear on your official transcript, but are not calculated in your GPA.

This would be known (at least accessible) to the admissions folks at your graduate school as well.

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