University of California-Santa Barbara Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


most, no. social psychology or a black sutdies class no the civil rights movement. ochem. ? only among certain students. Biospychology, love it, very unique and small, the prestigous psychology degree. hardly. good. learning


I don't feel that the academics are an exception to any other University of our size. You have your lectures and your sections, pretty standard. People care about their classes but they also care about having a good time. Usually libraries are packed around midterm and finals time.


As a second year, I haven't gotten to know a lot of professors, but I have been to some office hours which can be pretty fulfilling. My favorite class this quarter is behavioral ecology of hunter gatherers with professor Gurven. We study foraging behaviors and society of hunter gatherers from a physical anthropology perspective. I am an anthro major, and this is a new way for me to look at things more scientifically and with more encouragement to be right instead of guessing, and to do some research. I have plenty of intellectual conversation outside of class, even outside of studying which I don't do all that frequently, but no less than everyone else. I personally gear my education more towards learning for the sake of knowledge, but I don't have some big future plans in mind. Most people don't at 19. The academic requirements vary from major to major, but overall the system is nice and flexible, so you can change your mind plenty and still be ok.


In the smaller classrooms, yes. Favorite class was Global Conflict, least favorite was Comparitive Asian Literature. Depending on your major, some during the quarter and A LOT of cramming during midterms/finals. Yes. Yes. Some students are competitive, most are friendly. The most unique class I took was African Cinema. The Global Studies department is very interdisciplinary and incorporates many different class choices. Some people do, the professors are open to meeting outside of class. The academic requirements are just right. It is mostly a research based institution as opposed to a professional, so the ciriculum is mostly geared toward learning for its own sake.


Professors at UCSB dont know your name unless you make the effort to introduce yourself. The classes, especially lower division, are usually pretty large, however the upper division classes usually become a little smaller. In all classes, upper and lower division professors and TA's have office hours. Nearly every professor I had were very receptive to adding extra office hours, promptly answering emails, and answering questions before or after class. Im a psychology major and have taken some great classes with great professors. Everyone in the department is really friendly and inspiring. My favorite class was a psychopathology class. The professor had is PhD in reserach as well as his own clinical private practice. Beyond the text book or his own reserach he had numerous stories to share, which really brought the class and what we were studying to life. My least favorite class was one I took for GE. It was a Chicano studies class and the professor was extremely boring, diorganized, and confusing. The great thing about UCSB students is that they are both charismatic, social, and very intelligent. UCSB is becoming increasingly more difficult to get into. Students definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class, but it is met with a balance of lighthearted conversation. A professor once said at freshman orientation that "UCSB students are just as smart as Berkley students, they just don't act like it." I sort of interpret this as UCSB students are more balanced than some other students. We are 18-22 years old, why be so serious? We work hard and are very driven, but we also play hard and have a fun time being young adults. I have been involved in research with professors in the psychology department for the past two years and am also the treasurer of Psi Chi, the psychology club on campus. These two experiences have given me an opportunity to spend time with professors outside of the lecture hall.


My Major is actually Global Studies, a major unique to UCSB. Global Studies was first introduced as a major roughly 8 years ago. It explains the idea how we now live in a world where national boreders are becoming less and less significant, as the global economy begins to spread. Thus far, global studies 1, and political science 7 (International Relations Theory) have been my favorite classes. Yes, these classes are quite big, including over 300 students per lecture, but it is also up to the student to take something from the class. I like to learn in a smaller-class environment as a whole, so I have found the foreign languages here to be quite to my liking. Monday through Thursday, one hour per day you are in a class with the same 25ish people and one teacher. A familiar, smaller class setting actually allows you to talk to your professor and, as a result learn to grast the language.


professors DO NOT know your name, unless you spend hours with them in office hours or your class is under 30 people (thank god for upper division). large lectures are generally boring and hard to go to, especially early in the morning. my favorite classes were writing for film (writing 109f) and art of the russian avant garde, taught by sven spieker, a brilliant man (art history 113F). really interesting, and not very many people know about it. it was one of the few classes that i really felt challenged to learn. after two papers and 4 quizzes, i got a B+ in the class, which i was so happy about. sure, an A would have been nice, but they're not easy to come by and i still feel like i really learned the material. other classes have a different story. i am an english minor and have pretty much bullshitted my way through the entire program. that means hardly attending lectures where attendance is not taken and cramming from a responsible student's notes the night (or morning) before the test. i still end up with something above a B. it's definitely a system here, and you have to learn how to beat it. there are tons of kids who aren't naturally smart and have to try really hard to do well, but if you're not that type, don't get sucked into going to a horrendously boring class at 8 a.m. unless you absolutely have to. it can be easy to freak out if everyone is freaking around you, but stay true to yourself and you'll be fine. you always know what works for you and what doesn't. and it never hurts to make a generous friend who lives off of self-designed study guides.


I work really hard when I need to. In a hard quarter I'll spend around 25-30 hours outside of class working on school related stuff. On an easy quarter it's around 10-15. I'm not an accurate representation though. I'll say this again, in some classes professors don't give any grade lower than a C, students don't go to class and don't do anything till the day before the due date. UCSB is a place where me and slackers can work side by side. The difference is that I'm actually getting stuff out of school.


professors are for the most part very caring and nice. classes are hard, but if you work hard, and get the help you need, it is possible to succeed.


Students at UCSB are incredibly smart, and most people are not stuck up about it. Professors tend to be easy-going, making most classes a fun atmosphere. And though students are competitive, especially in biology, no one is mean or tries to sabotage other people like at some schools.


UCSB offers challenging courses and wants to put its students to the test. It continues to get more competitive to get admitted because it's a challenging school and freshmen/transfers need to be prepared for it.


No. Not really any favorite class. Students study all the time. LIbrary is esp. packed during midterm sessions and finals. Class participation is common. Intellectual conversations outside of class: of course! Students are not as competitive collectively compared to UCLA. The most unique class: Intro to biopsychology biopsychology major in psychology department. Very biology-based psychology. focusing on neuroscience. It's still a growing major. I don't spend time with professors outside of class. Academic requirements are alright. It's up to how the students wish to take UCSB's education.


Professors don't know my name. I go out of my way to introduce myself though. Favority class- Psychology. Love the material and Professor Fridlund. Least favorite Math 34A. Did not care for professor at all (Ms Wei.) Students study daily. Class participation only common in certain people 3-4 students in each class. Yes UCSB students have intellectual conversations outside of class. Yes students are competitive. Opera is the most unique class I have taken. I love it. Major in business have not taken classes in it yet so I will find out soon. I don't spend time with professors out of class. UCSB's academic requirements are perfect. Definitely geared towards getting a job.


Some Professors do know my name, it really depends on the class size. My favorite class so far has been Greek Mythology. The teacher was great and it was very interesting. Some students are very competitive for grades, but the majority are not. Depending on the class I may spend time in the professors office trying to figure out what they meant or what to study.


Usually professors do not know my name, but I'm still in the lower division classes. My favorite classes are the psychology ones. The profs are hilarious. Amount of time studying really depends on the major. Hard science students study a lot...probably 15 hours a week. Other majors may study less but often have more papers. Class participation is common in discussion secctions and sometimes in the smaller lecture halls. Students have a lot of intellectual convos outside of class. My experience has been that when a student likes a class, they really want to tell other people what they've learned. Plus there are plenty of political and other types of intellectual conversations. students are competitive. Lots of classes are graded on a curve and you need to do well compared to the other students. The psychology major is very popular. All lower division classes are graded on a curve so it can be difficult to get into the major if you don't do well in a class. The professors are really engaging and funny. And there is plenty of opportunityto get involved with psychology research on campus. I don't spend time with profs outside of class. I feel that UCSB's academic requirements are challenging but far from impossible. At first all the GE's seemed overwhelming, but now I'm finished with them. For the most part, education at UCSB is learning for its own sake. But every major is different. Engineering majors are more job oriented than the English major, for example.


There is saying here that is "study hard, play hard" and it seems a majority of the students follow it. Students study rigorously during the week and the weekend is a time to let go and have fun. As an undergrad the professors don't really know my name since the classes are large. When you do talk to professors though they are usually extremely nice and answer your questions. UCSb is competitive but not as much as CAL, UCSD, or UCLA.


Professors in lecture halls only know you if you make an effort to know them. There is no way a professor is going to try and remember all 250 students in a class. However, in smaller classes, all of my professors have made the effort to know the students names. My favorite class so far was Women's Studies 20 because of the professor and because of the interesting topics. My least favorite class was Geology 20 because it was boring, not engaging AT ALL, and the professor made no effort to interact with the students. I think students study quite a bit, but not necessarily the same way students at other university students do. Since we are right next to the beach, it's not unusual to see a group of girls laying in their bathing suits on the grass studying. Unorthodox, yes, but it works. I see class participation more in smaller classes rather than big lecture halls. I think lecture halls are just more intimidating, so I think having sections are a really good addition to a class. I don't know about other people, but I have intellectual conversations out of class.


UCSB is pretty huge so the first year or two of classes feels overwhelming. Most survey courses are huge - - up to 800 kids in one hall. It’s hard to get to know those professors. Almost all interaction is through TA’s because they grade everything anyway. But as you become an upperclassman, classes shrink and you learn which professors and classes are good because you start seeing the same people in classes. My favorite class is British Literature, early novels with Professor Carlson. We’re reading Austen, Edgeworth, Shelley, Bronte and Gaskell. Carlson’s hilarious, brilliant and hates men, which makes the class really entertaining, even though she’s probably one of the toughest teachers I’ve had. A close second favorite is definitely Professor Hiltner, who I have for Metaphysical Poets. I’m usually in the middle of a couple of novels, anthologies and papers at any given time so I definitely can’t put stuff off. During the week, I put in 2-5 hours of reading/studying and writing. More, of course, during midterms and finals. Class participation is really the biggest problem at UCSB. There usually isn’t much participation. The good TAs and professors generate discussion but the bad ones just give up and there’s a lot of silence. It’s weird because students are pretty competitive. Maybe they want to keep it to themselves? I make an effort to see my professors during office hours at least 2 or 3 times during the quarter. I definitely go in to see them for papers, to make sure I’m on the right track, but usually it’s just to talk about a poem or part of a novel that I’d like their opinion on. I can’t say enough good things about English professors I’ve had; they’re really insightful, friendly and accessible, as long as you make the effort. Since UCSB is so big, I’d say there’s a split between the education geared toward getting a job and learning for its own sake. Definitely for English, it’s the latter. Although I love the curriculum, it’s hard to imagine when I’d have to dissect a Donne poem in the real world. But I’m sure I’ll be able to use the analytical tools I’ve learned. It’s mostly the engineering, business/economics and science students that talk about how much they’ll earn. A lot of them are already interviewing for accounting, banking and consulting jobs. Among humanities and liberal arts, most talk is about grad school or law school.


A lot of the lower division classes, the ones that freshman and sophomores start out with are large lectures, with upwards to 900 people in the class. But there are also a lot of small classes with only 20 people per class. These classes are usually upper division for a particular major. In the smaller classes it is easy to get to know your professor by name. In these classes, it is also easier to ask for help from your professor rather than a Teaching Assistant. I enjoy working in the English Department. The Undergraduate advisor is very helpful and almost always available. Class participation is common in small classes because students feel more comfortable with the professor. It is also very difficult to manage a discussion among several hundred students. My favorite types of classes are ones when the professor is very passionate about the subject. It is easier to sit through a lecture if the person giving the lecture enjoys the subject. My least favorite classes are ones when either the professor or the TA is boring or does not explain difficult terms. The education at UCSB is geared toward learning as much as you can about a particular subject while information on how to apply this knowledge to a career comes later. The general education requirements allow you to take a wide range of courses before determining a specific subject of study. Once you select your major, you will take many classes in that subject and depending on the topic, it could gear you towards a career. Overall, students are not aggressively and outrightly competitive, but the curve of a test can always be skewed.


So UCSB now has five Nobel Prize winners and is known for academically for its contributions to research. As an average student would you be able to tell? I would say yes. Overall, most professors I have are engaged, with their research and their students. Most professors let their students in on their work and often even ask for student participation. Perhaps as a Communication and Sociology major my classes have been more social and participation driven, but from friends in other majors, I get the feel that you'd be lucky if you could find a class where participation was not encouraged. Interested in Communications? The Comm department is absolutely wonderful. The faculty is all about their students. My favorite classes have been those taught by the Afifi's. They are husband and wife who teach on Family, Interpersonal, and Nonverbal Communication. They are all about participation and both have done some amazing research, which they share, in their field. One thing to keep in mind with this major is that it is very research and theory driven. If you're looking for practical skills in advertising or journalism then you might reconsider. However, I have learned a lot and it is not hard to apply the theories and research to those job markets. The education at UCSB widely differs. A biology or political science major is naturally going to find themselves studying more than a communications or linguistics major. But overall, people balance their studying well with extracurriculars and fun. Professors will get to know you if you make an effort to know them (which I recommend you do because they are all unique and have something to offer). I would say that students are less about competing with each other and more about their own personal accomplishment. Unlike Berkeley, you don't find students checking out books just so that other students cannot.


Do professors know your name? -Yes, but I am the type of student that makes sure they do. I go into office hours, ask questions, etc. They are always willing to talk and help, but you have to make the effort because there are a lot of students. Teachers and TA's DO want to know you though. I still have teachers from freshman year that I talk to and visit in office hours. -favorite class: --Global 194: Global Business Seminar, taught by Paul Orfalea. (Creator of Kinkos-first one was in Isla Vista!) --All the Exercise & Sports Studies classes. They are taught by quality teachers, get you outside and moving around, and count for 1/2 a unit. -----Some favorites: Sailing, Badminton, Tennis, Swimming, Weight Training... --Communications classes: Interviewing & Internship class. Very practical, hands-on learning, great for senior year when thinking about future jobs. -Students competitive? --To a certain degree, yes, but not in comparison to other schools I have seen (like Yale & Cal). Students are driven and self-competitive. Students seem more balanced here than I have seen at other schools, which I think drives down the competition. I am global studies and communications students and therefore have a different perspective, then say, someone in the sciences. I don't really know how they feel.


You would think that with some classes with 200-500 students in them professors wouldn't give much time to remembering students names, but that's definitely not the case at UCSB. One of my professors in the Comm. Departments takes pictures of groups of students holding name placards up so he can review them before class and remember more names! It makes the experience a lot more personal and shows how much our professors care about the students. Students study very often. On weekends or even sunny weekday afternoon you can find students all over campus and on the beach enjoying the beautiful surroundings and weather while getting work done. Students here are not overly-competitive at all. Of course there is always the drive to succeed in class, but I never feel that UCSB students want to succeed at the expense of other students who are trying hard too. It's really easy to find people to study with and work with together on class material--everyone is pretty much willing to help each other out. Despite some stereotypes that UCSB students only party and don't work, UCSB has high academic requirements and is a great educational institution. The classes are definitely challenging, but I feel that they are challenging in a way that really inspires learning in the students. I am really looking forward to taking sailing next quarter. It's actually a class here on campus! The Communication Department at UCSB is PHENOMENAL!! The professors are so interested in their research and the field in general that it really comes across in class and inspires the students to learn more. The undergraduate assisting staff is also amazing. I went in one day to ask a question to the peer advisors and I had messed up on the times and two women came out of their offices to see if there was anything they, personally, could do to help me and answer my question. It made me feel like they really cared about me and my education. One day I was reading in my textbook about "communication accommodation theory" and the theorists name sounded really familiar. Turns out he--Howard Giles--is a faculty member here at UCSB and he actually teaches and was a guest lecturer for one of my classes. It's so cool to think that out of the 30 theorists mentioned in my Communication Textbook, one of them is actually here at UCSB and you can go and talk to him personally. It's like our own little celebrity. All of our professors here at UCSB are required to have at least 2 office hours a week and I highly encourage you to go visit with them. It allows you to build a relationship with the faculty. The Honors Program here is the best thing ever! Honors program students get to register before EVERYONE else in the student body so it means you never have a problem getting the classes you want. We are also required to do "honors contracts" with professors in the upper-division level which allows you to build relationships individually with professors. Occasionally professors will even ask students to assist on their research.