Posted by: Gwen Shaw | 24th Apr, 2017

Should You Audit Courses?

What is auditing? Why bother taking a course not for credit? What are the benefits? Not every department allows you to audit courses, but there are many that do. According to the GC Student Handbook:

Matriculated students may audit courses in which they have an interest so that they can increase their knowledge and proficiency. Students must formally register to audit courses in the same manner as for any other course…. “Unofficial” auditing is not permitted. Auditor status
cannot be changed to credit status after the change-of-program period has ended. Similarly, credit status cannot be changed to auditor status after the same period. The grade notation “AUD,” which carries no earned credit, cannot be changed to any other credit-bearing
grade.
I didn’t even consider auditing courses until I was in my second year at the GC. To be honest, I didn’t even know exactly what it entailed. But due to exam requirements in my program, I couldn’t register for as many credits as I had wanted to. The solution? Take one course for credit (it was all I could register for) and audit the rest!
Since then I’ve audited several courses. I wish someone had told me about it sooner. For me, auditing was a way for me to get experience with subject matter that had always seemed important but peripheral to my course of study. In addition, it allowed me to take courses with professors with whom I might want to work–without the pressure and anxiety of performing well in a subject matter that is not my strong suit. I was able to experience methods that I had always been resistant to without having to wrangle with writing a paper using them or working in a discipline outside my own.
Besides, who doesn’t want increased “knowledge and proficiency?” Sounds awesome. AND:
For doctoral Second- and Third-Level students, who are charged a flat tuition rate, there is no additional charge for auditing courses. [Woo hoo!]
BUT the GC Student Handbook continues:
For doctoral Second- and Third-Level students, who are charged a flat tuition rate, there is no additional charge for auditing courses. For doctoral First-Level students and  master’s students, audited courses will be included in the calculation of total credits to determine full- or part-time status. Students registered for 7 or more credits (whether for credit or as an audit) will be charged full-time tuition, whereas students registered for 6 or fewer total credits will be charged per credit. Thus, a student registered for both a 3-credit course for credit and a 3-credit course as an audit will be charged for 6 credits at the per-credit rate;
and a student registered for both a 3-credit course for  credit and a 4-credit course as an audit will be charged full-time tuition.

IMPORTANT! So, if you are not full-time or paying out-of-state tuition, auditing a course may not be in your best interest. The GC Student Handbook notes that

For billing purposes, courses taken by Level I students on an audit basis will be treated the same as courses taken for credit and will be included in the assessment of tuition charges.

Thinking about auditing a course? Talk to your department to see if that’s an option. Not sure about whether it’s a good idea for you? Contact the GC Registrar at 212-817-7500 or registrar@gc.cuny.edu.

Gwendolyn Shaw is a fourth-year doctoral student in Art History at the Graduate Center.

Responses

So unless you’re a 2nd or 3rd level doctoral student, auditing classes is exactly NOT auditing classes? Or worse? Pay tuition to not get credit? That’s the slimiest swindle I’ve encountered in awhile. That isn’t auditing, that’s just giving away money. Whack.

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