Based on 8 User s
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
My Cluster 70A and 70B professors were Petigura, Jewitt, Friscia, and Brown. This was my favorite class all three quarters. The topics of the evolution of the universe/galaxies/stars/planets/life/ecosystems were SO interesting. I would absolutely take this class again in a heartbeat. It has upended my life plan because now I am debating pursuing a career in astronomy/biology/ecology. Petigura was such a king -- we all loved him. He was SO intelligent and taught the toughest (conceptually) parts of the class. Somehow, he made the physics of the evolution of the nearly 14 billion year-old universe easy to grasp. There was astronomical/physics math involved for his quizzes, but if one pays attention in class, one can perform well on these quizzes. I would take this class again in a heartbeat.
I would highly recommend taking clusters for a number of reasons, but especially this one if you can. As a freshman in the quarter system, clusters (at least for the first two quarters) can help you find a strong group of friends in class that will stick even beyond the first few months of college, unlike many other classes at UCLA where you'll only meet some fleeting acquaintances. Also, completing this cluster series knocks out all your science GEs with almost no math involved! Petigura is a fire lecturer, and his subject matter (astronomy and the history of the universe) was some of the most interesting of my first year at UCLA. Be warned though, that some of the quizzes can be difficult, even if they are open-book. The quizzes also got harder once Jewitt started lecturing in the second half of the quarter. He's an eclectic and slightly weird professor himself, so be prepared for that when interacting with him. The final essay isn't too difficult, and you get all quarter to work on it, so no sweat there. However, grading of the paper each quarter depends on your TA, so get one you like and try to stick with them through the whole year. There is an annoying amount of busy work in 70A & 70B, but otherwise, I loved this class and you should take it if at all interested!
Poppa Petigura is definitely the better half of the fall quarter of this cluster. The man oozes class and knowledge whenever he stands in front of class lecturing about the galactic cosmos and the intricacies of matter in the universe. He often takes breaks for questions, and always manages to relate his teachings to a more interdisciplinary scope, which definitely helped considering Cluster 70 consists mostly of North Campus majors.
In terms of the quizzes during Petigura's units, they were definitely more abstracted and difficult than Jewitt's, but they weren't anything too demanding. Regarding the labs during this unit, they were also somewhat time-consuming but they were very interesting and deserved to be allocated more time. Petigura also provided office hours consistently after class on top of the aforementioned breaks he took between lectures to answer questions.
Overall, if I had anymore Science GEs to complete I think I'd try to find any classes Petigura would be teaching, because that's how well-spoken and passionate he is about the material he lectures on. While much of the material surrounding his lectures was intricate at times, I wouldn't consider it as much of a problem on Petigura's part but rather the course's need to simplify the subject matter's complexity.
This class was great at the beginning because the material about the universe was very intriguing. However, as the quarter went on, the lectures became faster and faster paced and the quizzes became more math-heavy. In my opinion, some of the grading on the free-response part of the quiz was quite unfair due to their questions not being clearly asked/stated. I took this class because I am a non-stem major and this fulfills all of my requirements, so if not for this fact that I get 4 credits for 3 quarters, I would not continue in the cluster. The largest problem with this class was my TA. He was very unclear and had very specific, unrealistic requirements (that the other TAs did not have) for the large paper writing assignment that was 30% of our grade. He wasted much of the discussion class time talking about irrelevant material thus leaving us no time for the labs or discussing lecture material.
The material was pretty challenging as someone who does not care too much about science. I was able to manage to get an A but it took a lot of additional time to understand the material and comprehend what was going on. The labs were somewhat helpful but I felt that there was quite a bit of busy work especially with the readings.
70A was really fun! Topics were a little difficult to understand at first, but I got them once I rewatched the lectures on CCLE afterwards to prepare for the bi-weekly quizzes. Profs stayed behind for office hours after each lecture which was really helpful in understanding what we just learned from the lecture.