Brandeis professors are known to be friendly, engaging, caring, flexible, and of course, experts in their field! They go out of their way to help you with your academics, professional career, and overall Brandeis experience to ensure you maximize your potential and take full advantage of your college years. The students are definitely stimulated outside of the classroom and always engage teachers over lunch, in general professional forums, career fairs, internship opportunities, and more!
Students at Brandeis may be competitive, but you only feel the competition between you and yourself! Brandeis students are known to go out of their way to help one another, even in the most cutting edge classes like pre-med. This says something about the culture of Brandeis and the integrity and deep care students have.
I am majoring in Business and Education Studies, with a minor in Near Easter Jewish Studies. The Business major is the only major at Brandeis that you have to apply for, and the school is only about 2 years old. It is a wonderful program! Because the business school is at Brandeis, which has a liberal arts focus, many students do double major to pair business with psychology, sociology, economics, math, etc. Brandeis makes it very easy to double major because the professors are understandable and accommodating. There are also multiple advisors to help you organize your schedule to ensure you are on track and not overburdened.
Every single one of my teachers knows my name! Even in my large intro classes, I have introduced myself and build a personal relationship with my professors! They want students to seek them out and contact them--they love it!
The school has academic requirements, however you can fill the quota in several ways. For example, if you are not a "science kid," you can take an intro to computer science class.... the truth is that will fulfill most of the requirements when you just complete requirements for your major, it is nothing to worry about!
Going into college, I was expecting the academics to be like high school: I'd get through each day by chatting with friends during and between classes. Classes would be something I did because I was paying for them and to earn a degree and open doors in the future. Instead, I'm able to take classes I love that interest me, and I look forward to going to class, rather than dreading it. Instead of a dull lecture, most of my classes are small discussions with lots of participation, and the conversations continue after class ends. I've even brought up interesting topics or new information at dinner that night with my friends in other majors.
General distribution requirements makes exploring different focuses easy and helps guide undecided majors to their passions. As a first year, I had no idea what I wanted to study, and that made choosing a college difficult. I chose Brandeis because I knew I would get a quality liberal arts education no matter what I ended up focusing on, and after taking Women in American History, I knew I wanted to be an American Studies major with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. With additional minors in Business and Journalism, I'm confident that my Brandeis education is preparing me for nearly any career I could imagine.
Brandeis is known for its rigorous and rewarding academic program. Professors are attentive and engaging; they want to make sure that you get the most out of their class as possible. They are always available via email or through office hours they hold twice a week. Every Brandeis student does major studying- that's the name of the game here. Surely pre-med students are going to have more than other majors but you will see every one of your friends slaving other that test or paper in the library at some point during the semester. Brandeis gives their students a well-rounded liberal arts education. Students must take a class in the Creative Arts, the Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. I am an American Studies/Theater Major with a minor in Journalism. What I have loved most about my classes is that the conversation continues outside the classroom. In my Communications and Media seminar, it is common for students to walk out of the classroom discussing or critiquing the virtues of social networking or the latest campaign controversy. My favorite classes have been in the Journalism program such as Ethics of Journalism and News on Screen. These are small seminar based classes where students are encouraged to speak their mind and analyze the material. There are many big lecture classes of 200 or so students such as Intro to Economics or Intro to Psychology, but professors do their best to learn all their students' names. Some of the most unique classes I've taken are in the theater department such as Collaborative Process, a class in which students create their own original theater pieces using aspects of their own lives and experiences.
I have an interesting view of academics. I do not really like the traditional approach to academics that have been a standard for the past century. I really like to engage with my material and apply it to the broader community. I feel like Brandeis has made a great attempt to balance both my view and the traditional view. I strongly believe real world skills and experience is very important and Brandeis makes it easier for me to do so. I am majoring in Computer Science and I have had a lot of experiential learning opportunities with the field which has made my experience with it much more fulfilling.
While lecture halls at Brandeis can be pretty big classes, it is easy to be as known or unknown to the professor as you want to be. From my experience, professors have generally been scholarly and devoted individuals who are genuinely caring and compassionate about their students and their subject material. Academic classes usually present clear requirements and expectations from the beginning, and they often can be rigorous and demanding, especially in certain areas of study such as science. However, professors are often approachable, hold office hours, and are willing to help you succeed. Maintaining a high GPA may not be a cakewalk, but any student willing to put in the time and effort can do well. Studying is a must, as there will be many papers to write and tests to study for. It is necessary to spend afternoons and occasional weekends in the library. At Brandeis, I am a psychology major, film studies major, and journalism minor, so I have gotten a taste of many different areas. My science-related classes have all incorporated more challenging work and the understanding or learning of more difficult concepts than my humanities classes, which often allow for more freedom and interpretation when writing papers or having discussion. I have generally found my professors to be interesting lecturers and passionate about their subjects. One of my favorite current classes is my Bollywood Cinema class, where we not only get to watch really cool Indian movies from the past seven or so decades, but we also receive compelling commentaries and cultural lessons from the Indian-native professor. From the start of the class, she has made it clear that she wants us all to visit her country, and she reinstates that during almost every class session, though she still ensures we have an understanding of negative aspects of India as well as the positive. She is strict and has high expectations of us to complete all movie and reading assignments, participate in class, write good papers, and study intensively for tests, but the experience and knowledge gained is worth the effort. Additionally, she has almost 100 students but quickly learns everyone's name and encourages students to speak during class sessions. Students are enthralled enough to often hold conversations about her lectures, concepts introduced or discussed, and the movies for this class outside of class time. Many other professors at Brandeis are similar to her, and many other classes are generated like this one.
At Brandeis academics are a huge priority. Almost every student on campus has at least a major and minor, if not two majors. I personally am majoring in sociology, while minoring in journalism and classical studies. While that might seem daunting, the school makes it very easy to double major or minor. As well, unlike most schools, most students don't take part in "Thirsty Thursdays" once the semester gets going. Instead, Sunday through Thursday Brandeis students are doing homework or taking part in activities on campus. As well, intellectual conversations are a normal part of campus life. Partying is left for Friday and Saturday nights only for the most part.
Brandeis professors are also very approachable, and the difficulty of the classes vary. The hard sciences are considered the most difficult by most people, however, humanities and social science students can expect to do a lot of writing.
The university requirements are great, mostly because there are hardly any. They've already made more requirements for the latest freshman class, but they're still totally reasonable. I didn't realize how much I'd care about that, but it makes it a lot easier to take classes I am genuinely interested in.
Every professor I have had knows my name. In general, professors care about teaching. I would estimate that class participation has counted toward the final grade in about half of the classes I have taken, indicating that it is an important part of a Brandeis education. I love that I can have intellectual conversations with other students outside of class.
I am a double major in Computer Science and Economics. I went into Brandeis undeclared, but with a wide array of interests. I took a bunch of different courses freshman year, without a particular focus on a major or area of study. I highly recommend that everyone does this, because as human nature and statistics are bound to show you, most people end up changing their major at least once over the course of four years at school. Out of the 800 or so people in my graduating class, more than 400 people came in as pre-med. I think roughly half have changed their majors. (Speculation, I don't know for sure.)
Double and triple majors, or multiple minors are commonplace at Brandeis. It is probably because so many of the students are dedicated to their own education, and the quality of the classes here. I decided on my Economics major early in my college career, and was still doing some 'freshman year dabbling' at the beginning of my sophomore year when I took a course in the Computer Science department. Having taken several courses in programming in high school, I had a pretty comfortable background in CoSi. The class I took is one of the 'intro' courses, but it is intense, both in workload and difficulty of material. I thought the professor was engaging, smart and he really taught the material well. The very personal nature of the CoSi department is probably what made me decide to stick with the major.
The quality of the education I have received at Brandeis is top-notch, and after talking with students who are majoring in similar fields at other schools, I can say that Brandeis is right up there with the Ivies in terms of the resources it offers and the professors it staffs.
The courses and professors, for the most part, are stimulating and interesting. We sometimes forget that Brandeis is a really prestigious school and that we are lucky to be receiving such a fantastic education! The requirements are reasonable and still allow enough freedom for exploring interesting electives.
Being from Oklahoma, few people there know what Brandeis is, but those who do are impressed that I go there. They say things like, "Oh? That's a pretty.. uhm.. academic school, right?" Yes, it is. There are a lot of smart people there- yes, smarter than you. And the classes are hard. You will be challenged.
The art department is surprisingly awesome. It's a tight-knit community with small classes where the professors care about you and your work.
Classes at Brandeis are geared toward learning for its own sake. I took classes on American conspiracy theories, anatomy and gender, aging, ethics, and one fusion of studio art and russian literature. They have some weird classes, that's for sure, but some are so fascinating. Most Brandeis kids plan on going to grad school, so the classes are meant to expose you to new things and help you find an area of interest.
Brandeis students work really hard, there's no doubt about that. I am premed, so I may be part of the extreme, but I have literally worked my ass off in my science classes. Students can be competitive, but it's not a sabotage kind of place. Especially for premed kids though, the stress level is high. I also take lots of Spanish literature classes, which are never more than 15-20 kids, and the professors knew my name within the first week or so of class. If you're willing to put in a little effort and have a few awkward moments, you can certainly get to know your professors. The general education requirements (creative arts, non-western, quantitative reasoning, etc...) are relatively easy to meet, but it varies based on your major and interests. I satisfied all of the requirements by the end of sophomore year. There are so many different options/ways to get them done. I took an American Musical Theater class which I absolutely loved, but a lot of people would absolutely hate it. There is something for everyone (ex. my friend hates theater and so he took a 3D art class which wasn't an insane amount of work but satisfied the creative arts requirement). There is also a phys. ed. test to get out of the 2 semester requirement, and it is not too difficult to get out of at least 1. I really do believe that I am getting a good education here, but I do have to work really hard.
Classes are "difficult" in the sense that to do well in them, you actually have to go to class and do the reading. Professors are generally very friendly, very helpful, and want to get to know you. Students are more likely to help each other study than compete.
All of my professors knew my name. It's more difficult in larger classes like lecture classes where there is an upwards of one hundred students. However, it all depends upon if you make yourself known to your professors and you are engaged in your classes. My favorite class last semester was one about Totalitarian Regimes and how authors' writings are affected by those influences. It was incredible and opened my eyes to so many world issues. I haven't noticed that students are very competitive. Everyone does their best in class, studies hard, writes their essays, and goes out to party on the weekend to relax. It's just the right balance of fun and work. The requirements for academics are really realistic. I'm a sociology major and have found that completely the requirements and meeting with advisors is fairly easy to do as long as you keep on top of what you're doing. There are so many internship and fellowship opportunities. It's hard to decide where to begin sometimes! However, there are a lot of career services and internship advisors to narrow down your choices. Brandeis alumn are VOCAL on campus and ready to help.
Classes are usually small, professors make an effort to get to know students. Professors are ALWAYS available and for the most part truly care about student success. Professors are open to relationship with students and are never too busy to talk. Students at Brandeis like to get good grades, but support each other and often study together.
professors definetely know your name, they even take attandence.. profs really show alot of effort to help students individually.. class participation is very common.. profs make sure to encourage you to participate.. they are always available outside of class, they value your opinions truly, always push you to fillout evaluations about them so they can improve.
My favorite class this past semester has to be Acting for Musical Theater with Liz Terry. It was great; who wouldn't love spending three hours a week singing and dancing? In that class, we were paired with another student and during the semester, we learned a scene and duet from a musical in one hour sessions while also learning social dances (everyone loved the Cha-Cha). My partner and I sang "A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd-- it was the best time!
The classes are great. I have had great professors who I have gotten to know very well. You need to make an effort to get to know your professors. Most students are pretty good about participating and are genuinely interested in what they are doing. The professors really care about your learning, they are always quick to answer questions and will make extra time and give you extra advice if you ask for it. Brandeis certainly emphasizes learning for the sake of learning, but some of my peers seem a little too geared toward the job market and not geared enough toward learning. Others, however, genuinely love to learn and are just learning now with no future job in mind yet. The career center, which had been dormant before I came here, has undergone significant changes and is a great resource. While they try and help you find jobs, internships, etc. they also put heavy emphasis on taking classes purely for the sake of learning.
I love the education I'm getting at Brandeis. I can't speak for any science or math or theater or psychology classes- or really that much out of the spheres of history and politics, of which I am a double major, but the classes I've taken at Brandeis are amazing. My largest class to date has been The American Revolution last fall with David Hackett Fischer. It was a 150 person lecture with a weekly discussion with a TA, but Fischer is such an amazing professor that it really didn't matter that the lectures were large for Brandeis standards. Lectures with the most amazing and well loved professors and intro level lectures are probably all around that size or a little smaller. For the most part, classes are discussion based with 30-50 or so students as a large class. I'm currently in a class with only 2 other students. Professors are really good at having one on one relationships with students and class participation is expected in all but the largest lectures.
When it comes down to crunch time, almost everyone studies, the library is open 24 hours during finals, but for the most part, Brandeis students both study and do work and have fun. Most people don't study all the time and most people don't completely slack off and do nothing. I think most people might skip readings, but pretty much everyone goes to classes and does the general work for a class.
Another thing that's important about Brandeis academics is that we have no majors specially for certain jobs. There's a pre-med track, must most of the education at Brandeis is directed away from professional training. What professional or pre-professional stuff we do have typically take the form of minors. For example, we do not have a business major, only a business minor. The same is true for education and pre-law. The general Brandeis education, the requirements of the university, are for a well rounded liberal arts education. Everyone has to take certain types of classes- the freshman seminar, freshman writing, and a class with a non- western focus are probably the only real universal requirements. Everything else you can opt out of. We need 3 semesters of a language, but AP or SAT II grades or a placement test can get rid that requirement. AP scorces can also be used for the required humanities, science, social science and creative arts class each student needs and also for the quanative reasoning course everyone needs. If you do have to take a QR, it doesn't mean a math class, there are a handful of social sciences classes that for some reason or another count as a QR. We also have to take 2 PE classes or opt out with a fitness test, which is fine. Overall, because the requirements are really flexible, it's not too bad to have these requirements. And I do like the idea of learning outside of one's specific fields of interest.
And it's crazy easy to double or even triple major. Most of the humanities and social science majors are really small in terms of course requirements. Outside of science and theater, it's really rare for someone to have just one major with no or only one minor.
The classes at Brandeis are pretty varied, but in general the standards are very high. Class discussions are excellent and the professors are approachable.
The academic requirements aren't too strenuous - two english/writing classes, one science, one math, one art, one non-western, and a language. You'd probably end up taking some of them anyway. Cross-listing is allowed, and double-majoring is really common.
My friends at least are intellectual, but I am too so I can't really speak for the rest - if they weren't intellectuals we wouldn't hang out.
Strong academics, but very tough. The average at Brandeis is a B+... and most people have to work really hard just to get "average" grades.
Almost everyone at Brandeis has two majors, or one major and multiple minors, or more. People here want to study everything, and you get the opportunity to do that. Requirements are so easy to fulfill, and majors are easy to complete. You can really do what you want with academics. Classes are small, for the most point, except in some of the sciences. The professors here are usually really brilliant and amazing. I've had a few I hate, I won't lie, but the ones I'm close with make up for it. There are professors I will miss almost as much as my friends.
So far I have managed to avoid taking classes with more than thirty-five students in them, and I would say that 2/3 of my teachers knew my name within the first week. The Student Union also has a take-your-professor-to-lunch thing, where you get vouchers for a free meal with a professor of your choice at the Stein, the Faculty Club, or Sherman Function Hall. I made use of this a few weeks ago, and it was wonderful. Many of the professors at Brandeis are really interesting, and completely willing to talk to you about your academic interests, anything that is even remotely linked to their subject matter, or sometimes anything at all.
Of the three lecture courses I have taken, only one has had minimal student participation. My other five classes have been discussion-based, and they were wonderful. The students here come from all different backgrounds, and classes often end up in debates which expose students to things they never even thought of before. Cliche, yes, but true.
Brandeis doesn't have any required courses, but rather groups of classes you have to take. During freshman year all students need to take a university seminar (USEM) and a university writing seminar (UWS), but these classes come in a variety of different subjects. Students also need to complete two writing-intensive or oral communication classes, two PE classes, a quantitative reasoning class, and a class each from the School of Science, the School of Social Science, and the School of Humanities before graduation. Many students try to fill their requirements freshman year, but you don't need to. So many courses fit under each requirement that you can easily knock out most of them just by taking classes that you want to take over your Brandeis career.
While the above was written a year ago, as a sophomore everything I said stands true. I still haven't taken a class with more than 35 people, nor have I taken any classes that I really didn't want to take. If anything, a second year at Brandeis has raised my views of the academics here. We have some pretty awesome professors, including brilliant lecturers (Professors Kimelman and Sarna among them) and professors whom you can visit during office hours for a specific question and leave having discussed so much more (such as Professors Better and Freeze).
I love that students here have tons of freedom to take whatever classes they wish to take. The education is very much geared towards learning for its own sake, which is refreshing in a society that emphasizes efficiency and material concerns.
Good. Definitely great. If I have any complaints I would probably blame them first on my laziness or stubbornness before I would blame them on teachers or classes.
The professors at Brandeis are great! While it's hard to know the professors personally in the big classes, in the small ones they really make the effort to get to know you. Class participation is very common since the professors really want to know what you think about many issues. The professors want to get to know you better and encourage you to come to their office hours.
Academics is one of the best parts of Brandeis. There are almost no "general ed" requirements, which allows students to take what they want, when they want, and still graduate on time. The requirements that do exist, ensure that each students gets a sampling of different types of thought, but even within those requirements, there's so much leeway, you're unlikely to be stuck taking a class you weren't interested in in the first place. Also, we can elect to take a class "pass/fail" which means that if, at the end of the semester, you don't like your grade, you can "cover" it with a P. This means that we can take classes normally most of us wouldn't consider because it is hard, isn't required, and would "ruin our GPA". Classes are interesting, professors (with a few exceptions) are spectacular, and I generally find myself struggling to cut down to the maximum course load of interesting classes I want to take, rather than struggling to find one or two more that wouldn't bore me to tears.
The academics are rigorous and good. They have all sorts of classes for all sorts of interests, I have taken many great classes and gotten to know some very interesting professors.
UWS is the biggest bullshit ever. Some people study far too often, and have no life beyond that. I don't do that. I've had deep intellectual conversations out of class, and obviously some of my friends have, but I dunno that everyone does that. Academic requirements are pretty chill, but we're definitely talking about a liberal artsy fartsy education. I have no idea what I'll do after college or if college will prep me for anything.
Like I said before, the academics are really nice. The professors are down to earth and it is rare to find a professor that isn't capable of teaching. The classes run the gamut- I have had philosophy classes that have changed my life, and I've had lab classes that are pulling teeth. However, you really do learn something from each class you take. In class participation is common, depending on the size of the class, although some students can be a little overzealous and competitive, again depending on the size of the class. Outside of class, people really do enjoy having deep conversations- only problem is, everybody's got an opinion. My department (biochem) is great; it's very small, personal, and the professors are all brilliant without exception. Overall, the feel of the academics just seems right to me.
Academics is entirely what you make of it. If you want a close relationship with a professor, it's yours for the taking. If you want to be anonymous, you can be.
As a side note, it's only my Brandeis friends (as far as I know) who will get drunk and wind up discussing politics, philosophy, etc.
Professors know my name, but they don't know most peoples names...My favorite class is an American Utopias class where we discuss randooo deep ass literature, I am pass/failing it so I am not graded and can just listen/not take notes. Least favorite was a class with an awful professor, it wasn't the class' fault.
Student studying varies a LOT. Some people study all the time, some people never study. Class participation is on and off, doubt much different at another school.
Sadly, yes, Brandeis students do have intellectual convos outside of class - but we are working on cutting that down. Students are competitive. Most unique class I have taken is Behavioral Neuroscience (pass/fail). Got a D- which didn't affect my GPA because of the pass/fail system, and it was weird as hell.
I am in the Politics department - I think it's more of a History of Politics Department than it is a politics department honestly, I think there is a lot of room for improvement...barely any classes deal with contemporary issues.
I do not spend time with professors outside of class, I think our academic requirements are verrry easy and that's a good thing. Education at Brandeis is def. for its own sake.
All my professors know my name, I make it a point at the beginning of the semester. My favorite class is Spanish because I learn a totally new perspective on how everything is viewed. I'm not taking a non-likable class. Everyone's pretty serious about school here since we worked so heard before to get in; I think students study probably more than average here than other places. Depending on the class, there might be a student who already took a similar class and can contribute more, others everyone is completely lost. Yes, I hear of conversations about physics and quantem theory at lunch sometimes! The most unique class would be my WMGS 5a, because it shows me things I never realized still occured or anything else. It's a very good course to gain a better reality of the world around you. You're not ignorant nor oblivious anymore. The academic requirements are a little harsh, and I think administrators should start talking to students earlier about taking core classes instead of just electives because then when they want to study abroad or something it will have an impact on how many hard classes they take the rest of the semesters.
Most professors know my name, but I speak up in class. Education is definitely geared toward learning for its own sake, which I LOVE. Discussions can be fantastic! I wish I could spend more time with professors outside of class, and most of the professors seem to want to spend time with students outside of class as well. Students spend a lot of time studying.
One of the things that was most surprising to me about Brandeis is how often intellectual discussins occur outside of class. I have spent quite a few late nights in the lounge on my hall talking about issues the election or immigration.
Professors tend to know you and miss you, especially in the small classes, when you don't know. I have had professors that tell you if you miss more than one class you are going to fail the course, you need to go to the small classes. For intro classes, you can miss those and be okay but the professors are happy to help and most are approachable in those classes. I find myself doing work most nights but not a lot, I do most of my work on Sundays. Science kids will tell you otherwise. I am doing more of a liberal arts type education
Academics at Brandeis are definitely rigorous. If you want to be pre-med, pre-law or in the social sciences, Brandeis is the place to be. People do study pretty often and the workload can get overwhelming, but people tend to deal with it pretty well. Obviously there are those people who live in the basement of the library, but the majority of students find time to play just as hard as they study.
The class sizes can range anywhere from fewer than 10 students in upper-level seminars to over 300 in the beginning of General Chemistry.
Coming from a social science background, I have found that the vast majority of professors at Brandeis are genuinely interested in each and every student's development and learning. They will listen to you if you go to their office hours and most of them are pretty interesting people!
My intro class professors don't, unless I make an effort to go to their office hours (GOOD IDEA) and talk to them. If I do that, they remember. Classes of 30 or less they tend to remember names.
Favorite class: Modern Art with P. Kalb. An interesting and enthusiastic teacher who broadens your mind by elegantly and engagingly talking about art. You can't ask for better.
Worst class: Advanced Intro physics. Need I say more? I don't know if it was because this class is taught poorly or if I'm not up to par, but i kicked my ass.
Studying varies. I've seen people who study constantly in the library to the detriment of their social life, and I've seen people who barely crack open a book. I think you would find that anywhere. In general though, people study a fair amount, but know when to spend time doing other things. Above all, Brandeis students love to achieve and do well, so they work for it. I think this is an admirable trait. It shows passion for knowledge and a level of discipline indicative of a high level of maturity. Don't come here if you want to goof off.
Intellectual conversations are always happening. I have them with my friends, my boss, everyone. I love to learn about people beliefs and idea, and in turn share my own. Sometimes these discussions degrade into arguments, but for the most part they are civil. It's a very stimulating environment. Nonetheless, we're not preoccupied with it. We hang out, play video games, do nefarious deeds, all that good stuff. We just tend to keep it a little more in moderation.
Competition is surprisingly low, especially considering most science classes are graded on a curve. I've never felt like I was trying to beat the person next to me. Indeed, if I didn't work with other students on my physics HW I would probably be failing. I guess there's a tacet sense of competition but nothing overt. The only real friction is between liberal arts major and science majors. It's more of a playful thing, but I have gotten pissed when a friend in film studies starts bitching about having to go to film screenings. "Here, have my bio problem sets, I'll go watch gone with the wind"
unique class: I don't really understand, but if you mean a class that has challenged what I believe in untraditional ways, then I would have to say my University Writing Seminar (required for all freshmen). It was a class all about space. Not outer space, but the space we occupy on a daily basis, like building, communities, everything. The reading were absolutely astounding and they broadened the way I think about how I occupy space. It made me question my basic assumptions about moving and living, and in the end I wrote a great final paper on the use of page space in comic books. It was a really open-ended class that asked students to put themselves into the discussion.
My major/dept. Don't really know yet. I'm almost done with the basic courses, but I haven't really hit the upper level classes yet. So far so good, I guess.
Spend time with professor: I don't really so, beside office hours to just chill and get to talk, but I have dozens of friends who go to meals with their profs, get invited to dinner at their houses, and even baby-sit for them. Your relationship with professors is mostly dictated by two things. 1) How actively you pursue getting to know them and 2) being in the upper level small classes and getting involved in your department so that they will actually know who you are.
Academic requirement: Perfect. Not to many, not too few. There are a couple of writing and research seminars, and then a few distribution requirements such as humanities and social sciences (check the website for a more detailed list). The requirements got me into classes I would never take, like Literature of the Caribbean. The requirements are a push to go outside your major and get a well-rounded education. View them as an opportunity, not a burden.
The education is more for learning for its own sake, but our pre-med program gets people into med school (about double the national average for acceptances). Nonetheless, brandeis prepares you by forcing you to mature and develop discipline. No matter what your major, you will be ready to handle most entry-level jobs in any sector.
In all of my classes at Brandeis, only one has disappointed me. My calc10a class was taught by someone who didn't speak English well, and I was bored in class because I knew a lot coming in and didn't get a lot out of it. Also, math is not in my professional outlook, so I skived it off.
Otherwise, I have been very happy with academics. I have had challenges, and if I was more narrow-minded, I would have hated a couple of my classes, but my outlook was to get a rounded experience of teaching, topics, and styles of class, and I got that. Some of my classes were so tiny that the pressure was on- one philo class there were four students (including me), and in true Brandeis fashion, three were named Dan. Some of my classes were on the large side, 100 or more, but I still felt like the professor carried the class and I enjoyed them quite a bit (Adolescent Literature and Behavioral Neuro).
Outside the classroom, the professors have been surprisingly helpful, open, and friendly. My favorite music professor invited me to hang out with him at an artist's retreat. I had questions about my philosophy essay and my professor forced loads of foreign candy on me because she had gotten so much in thanks for writing recommendations. My Near-Eastern and Judaic Studies professor is coming to my musical, and the next week he's making sushi for a resident hall event.
With fellow students, I am scared to leave college and be bereft of the knowledge sharing we engage in. Like I mentioned above, people are connected across all the disciplines, and finding people to collaborate or help you is very easy (also Academic Services has a great peer-tutoring program). I'm full of cocktail knowledge because people who have exciting classes tell us about how cool they are.
The professors in classes of 25 or less tend to learn your name, which is really nice. In general they all care about there students, but some of them need to be approached before they'll try to lift you out of an academic dilemma. Students ares always studying. I think the only non-study days are Friday and Saturday. The library is open really late and it's usually packed, especially during exams. I feel like most of the students here are geared toward a career, but the knowledge gained at the university is often its own reward.
Professors all know my name or at least my face. In my bigger classes, they answer my questions if I approach them and seem generally concerned about how I'm learning the material. In my smaller classes, I often call my professors by first name. If I take multiple classes with a professor, we definitely bond.
My least favorite class was a big, boring lecture-style one, with a TA who didn't speak English well. It could have been worse, though.
Students study hard, but not obsessively. Students run into trouble when they take too much, which many of them do. Although the recommended course load is 4, my friends rarely take just 4. Many take 4.5, 5, 5.5 (the official maximum), but I know some who have taken 6 or 7 classes in a semester. The tendency is to overload rather than slack off, definitely. Students aren't competitive with each other, they just like to do as much as they can handle (sometimes a little more).
Class participation is generally great.
I like that Brandeis' academic requirements are very light. It gives you freedom to take classes that you care about, and have the flexibility to double major. In fact, it's possible to triple major, or triple minor. That's a little excessive, but it's doable.
I take most of my classes in the Theater and Music departments. Both of these are very strong and reputable outside of Brandeis. The main reason for this is that they both have graduate programs. For instance, the Brandeis Theater Company is designed to put on professional-level shows casting mostly grad students, but undergraduate students (even non-theater majors) can participate. Theater is a popular major, but it's a lot of work. Most of the professors are great, and some are fantastic. There are opportunities for design students, too.
The music department is very strong in composition, performance, classical music. I wish there was a greater emphasis on non-Western music, Jazz, and contemporary.
Yeah, my professors know my name.
Favorite class: Principles of Neuroscience. Organic Chemistry. Intro to Biochemistry. Do those sound like classes someone should love? No. But I LOVED them. Also amany of the random humanities classes I was forced to take- Intro to Literary Methods, Roman History. I am currently in a Ballet class for PE... I suck but its fun. Also I took an economics class on globalization with Thomas Friedman... amazing.
Least fave- Intro chem, intro physics. Biostatistics. Math 10b (second semester calculus). See a pattern? I don't like math. Slash the math department.
How often students study really really depends on their majors and their career goals. And what year they are. I studied more but got worse grades sophomore year than I do now. I just wasn't doing it right.
No intellectual conversations outside of class. I wouldn't say NO, and maybe it's just my friends. This is actually probably my pet peeve about Brandeis, I haven't met those people. Except for intense conversations about Israel.
Students are not competitive. I mean, we are, but we help each other. Sure I HOPE everyone else fails the orgo midterm, but I'll help anyone who asks and study with them!
Most unique class- Thomas Friedman class on glabalization. Actually, I loved the professor who co-taught it maybe even more, Chad Bown.
The Neuroscience department is amazing. They are all big deals in their field, you'll slowly realize when you go see other speakers or read other papers that your professor from last semester is cited as the groundbreaking experimenter in a field. And they rule. It's a lot of classes though.
I always say I hate Brandeis' academic requirements but then realize in the end I'm glad I took all the required classes I did- an english class, a history class, an art history class, ballet, a non-western (in my case economics) class, etc. They have made me a better rounded, more interesting person
Brandeis is a liberal arts school, but I personally am deeply encroached in the sciences and the medical school process, with which they are very helpful. My friends are all getting jobs and its going VERY well for most of them. I'd say more so, Brandeis is geared towards grad school... the in between to just learning and getting a job.
All of my professors know my name, no matter what the size of the class is.
There is a lot of work, but classes are fun and inspiring.
I often describe the academic scene at Brandeis as a bunch of people who didn't get into Harvard but would have liked to, and I'm not the only one who has used this expression. Students work *very* hard and take their studies seriously, but this is possibly because they are not naturally that smart and they have to work that hard to succeed at all.
Varies on what subject classes are in. In most classes, professors know who you are. My favorite classes have been small and discussion-based.
Students study ALL THE TIME.
Students aren't competitive with each other necessarily, but applying for leadership positions, etc, on campus can be extremely competitive because there are some very top notch students here.
I'm majoring in Anthro and Art History. Both are small departments with small classes which I really like. Art History department tends to be a little too Western-art oriented for my tastes but I can see why.
Sometimes spend time with professors outside of class, not often.
Academic requirements are very rigorous and are a source of stress for most students. There are a lot of them, in all subject matters, making it at least a little inconvenient for everyone. But I see why they do it.
Education is geared towards learning for its own sake I think. Many open-ended questions and thoughts on social change, interdisciplinary perspectives, ways of thinking, ways of viewing cultures, etc. Not entirely useful but very provocative.
When it comes down to Academics, Brandeis is also like many other schools in that it depends on what field one studies. In Brandeis as in most other colleges, science and math majors are the ones constantly complaining about how much work they have to do. Social science and other liberal arts majors have a lot more time to do whatever they please. However, this may cost them later in life.
Classes vary greatly depending on the subject. All the professors are extremely knowledgeable, though certain ones don't teach quite as well as others. They also tend to get to know you and talk to you if you either have a small class or you attract their attention. Otherwise, if you schedule a meeting or go to office hours with them, they likely will know who you are soon enough. My own experience with professors has been extremely positive.
The students, of course, are the other extremely important part of the learning process here. Like in other good schools, there are many hardworking students who study and participate a lot. The libraries have many students just about every day of the week, and during midterms and finals there is nearly no space there. Most classes have anywhere from one to five students who constantly ask to be called upon to talk, whether their opinions are valid or not. However, there isn't much cutthroat competition here, and students are very nice to each other. Academic requirements are very loose for liberal arts and social science majors, and getting an A isn't all that difficult. The same can't be said of the sciences and mathematics though.
When it comes down to it, education at Brandeis is what you make of it. Many students are here clearly so that they can make a good career for themselves in fields such as economics, science, medicine, or law. Still there are plenty who come for the extracurriculars or the activism and take classes for fun or just to learn something new. This variety makes Brandeis a great academic center.
Professors do know my name. The professors are generally very approachable and really enjoy when students come to talk to them after class or during office hours. My favorite class is Biology and my least favorite is Organic Chemistry. Most students are very studious.
The pre-med students are somewhat competitive, but definitely not cutthroat.
Non-intro classes are small, and professors get to know students really well. They're very accessible and love to talk to students outside of class.
There are lots of hands-on classes, in which you can apply what you're learning outside the classroom. I took a class on teaching science to kids, and we did all sorts of physics experiments with balloons and K'nex and batteries. I learned more physics than I had in high school, and it was tons of fun.
Some students study all day and all night, and some rarely study. It depends on the classes you take. Science classes require a lot more time to work than some others.
Students are competitive against themselves, not each other. Most of my classes have not been curved, so it really doesn't matter what grades anyone else gets.
The psychology major requires too many hard science classes. I wish I could have taken more classes like Abnormal, Social, and Developmental Psych, instead of calculus, statistics, chemistry, neuroscience, etc.
The general university requirements are easy to meet, and valuable for a liberal arts education. I have finished all the university requirements and one major by the end of junior year, and I only have two classes left before I finish my other two majors. That means that after 7 semesters of college (3.5 years), I will have completed the general requirements and three majors. They make it easy to cross-list courses and get credit for different majors.
Many Professors have printouts of their student's headshots and names for the first day of class. They actually do make an effort to learn your names, and if they can't maybe they just bring the printout so that when class is silent they can look at a picture of you from three years back and call on you to answer some question.
The academic environment at Brandeis definitely fosters intellectualism and it is not rare to see students visiting their professors during office hours to ask about something "intellectual" or see students engrossed in conversation with their TA about a class subject, politics, or bumming after graduation. Despite all of this, the students (it would seem most except for those in pre-med) are not competitive. People don't brag about their grades, rather it seems to be a fairly personal affair and only comes up when that frat boy that drinks five nights a week happens to get into med school at Columbia.
On that note- quite a few students can be slackers yet still incredibly intelligent. Some are capable of writing 80 pages of a senior honors thesis the night before it is due and still receiving highest honors while others can work on a three page essay for a week and still need special care to explain the point of outlining.
Many of the fields of study seem to be geared towards learning. In fact, as a graduating senior I've realized how many people who might want a job after graduation (unless they've got the hookup) probably won't get much related to what they've actually studied. Brandeis seems to be a better place for going on to Grad/Med/Law school or using your hookup that you could have used before coming to Brandeis.
It depends on the class, but mostly yes. The best ones I have ever taken have been the creative writing classes. I haven't really disliked many of my classes, maybe Hebrew classes because I think they're too simple/a bit boring.
I don't study too often, I'm a very last minute type of person. I don't think students are competitive with one another but most have high standards for themselves.
I love the English/Creative Writing Department and as they improve the program (particularly for the application process for creative writing classes) it just gets better.
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