Based on 361 Users
Absolutely trash professor for a relatively easy class.
1. Didn't even clarify or provide resources for what would be on the final until three days before, with the excuse that he was "prepping practice problems to make sure they were only on the subjects covered." Spoiler alert: half the problems he ended up posting were still not on the subjects we covered.
2. Made mistakes on variable usage for a question in the final and is refusing to give points back.
3. Countless errors in provided notes, solutions & other resources. (He calculated all of the CLT questions in one section of the notes incorrectly, and some of the answer keys to past midterms that he provided for review also had incorrect solutions. Every class, students would find errors in notation/calculation in his lecture notes--it was honestly so frustrating to follow.)
4. Doesn't reply to emails, saying that there were too many to reply to.
5. Bad at explaining things: he spent 45 minutes describing a basic theorem that boiled down to common sense, and then skims over fundamental stats concepts that it seems like he expects people to already know.
Is this guy supposed to be the best Econ professor? Honestly confused; he turned what should have been a relatively straightforward class into an absolute nightmare.
Perhaps the worst professor I have had at my time at UCLA. Rojas DOES NOT CARE about his students. He packed every lecture with around 10-20 different topics, sped through them, and does not give time for students to answer questions that HE asks. He does not respond to emails and he did not offer any prep for our finals that was worth 50% OF OUR GRADE. Rojas literally made me hate math, something I used to enjoy. He assumes that just since he picked up a couple PhD's that everyone is automatically as smart as him. I would recommend people not to take this class with him, but there is no better alternative. The Econ department at UCLA is completely inept at hiring competent professors. All they care is about failing students. Professor Rojas is a ruthless maniac trying to keep his prestige in the department. Overrated and highly deplorable.
Overall, this class was absolutely horrible with Rojas being very confusing and all over the place. He only had three tests with two midterms with 25 and 20 questions mcq each respectively and the final worth 50% with 40 questions. His lectures were useless as they often explained the concepts in the most convoluted and worst ways possible. He gave us only 3 days notice on what would be on our final and the practice problems he gave had wrong answers and were often on things not remotely related to the final and he also gave no practice finals. Also, there was no homework or any other grade and a very small if any curve. Though the tests themselves were not bad, if you messed up on just 2 or 3 questions, it could be the difference between an A and a B. On the final, the questions often had None of the Above which means you often got close and not the exact answer and thought it was a trick. Some of the questions were just plain wrong or confusing and he still seems to not care or want to fix them. He also never responded to emails his students sent him and thus keeps the class extremely confusing. Overall, I wouldn't take another of his courses and would recommend people take another professor but Econ 41 seems to have no good professors.
I was so hyped to get Rojas for this class, but IDK what happened this quarter--the class is terrible. He will explain things in the most convoluted manner and then when he does an example it turns out he was literally explaining the simplest of concepts (i.e. weighted avgs). His way of presenting concepts makes the lectures literally impossible to sit through (I'd rather just read a page of notes and do practice problems on my own because it'd probably be more time-efficient).
Also, half the notes/resources he gave us this quarter had numerical errors. For example, some of the ANSWER KEYS to past midterms were wrong/incorrect, and he never released corrections/updates to let us know--we just had to figure it out ourselves. Plus, every other lecture there's like ~2-5 numerical/notational errors in his notes that just make taking notes super annoying and sometimes even confusing. I don't understand how he expects us to learn and practice if he can't even provide accurate resources.
The actual class material isn't hard at all, especially if you took AP stats. Around ~65-70% of the material directly carries over. I got a high A on both midterms.
However, it feels like Rojas is working against us (never responds to emails, convoluted explanations, wrong answers everywhere, AND it's four days before the final right now and he hasn't posted a single practice problem after promising us he would email them days ago). I'm actually livid about this class--literally the worst experience I've had so far in the Econ department.
Tldr; not a hard class, but don't take this class with Rojas.
I came into this class expecting something great because of the reviews from past quarters. However, this class is quite simply the worst I've ever been in. Homeworks took 30+ hours for me since I had no previous coding experience and the basics weren't taught during class. The homeworks did eventually get shorter, but only after essentially the entire class complained to Rojas and the department. The tests were nothing like the homeworks. The homeworks all involved coding everything while the tests required knowledge of how econometrics worked and how to calculate everything by hand. As for the lectures, they were essentially useless. Rojas just read off a pdf that was riddled with errors. Moreover, he ignored questions half the time and when he did respond to questions, he answered with "You should know this from Econ 41" or "Hang in there, it's the learning curve." He also did not respond to emails and was not very accommodating in my experience. If you can take this class with literally any other professor, do it!!! This class is near impossible if you have no prior coding experience and I'm, quite frankly, shocked that I even got a B (I was expecting a C). If you get stuck with this guy, good luck
This is by far the most interesting and useful economics course I've taken at UCLA. Be aware, aa majority of the class drops out throughout the quarter. The quarter started with 145 students and a full waitlist and only 69 were left taking the final. There are a couple of reasons why.
First, the course description says, "Preparation: familiarity with data analysis software (e.g., R, Excel, MATLAB, Stata) and/or programming experience." This is not a suggestion. No, opening stata once and copying down 10 lines the professor gave you in 103 does NOT count. Most people dropped because they have never done any programming before and could not keep up with the pace. It is crucial that you take at least one programming course before. (If you want to use Stata from 103, actually learn it). Rojas gives you a homework week 1 in R that will generally weed out most of the class who takes a week and can't figure out how to upload a dataset.
The course has 1 midterm, 5 homeworks, 2 projects, and a final.
It is a lot of work. You learn a lot. If you are an econ major, this will probably be by far the most difficult course you will take at UCLA. If you are a math major (most of the class had a math/stats/ physics background), this should be easier than most of your other classes.
Most people do well on hw/projects. The midterm and final are very difficult. Averages were around 68. The course itself covers a broad range of topics. He will test you on topics barely mentioned and push you to really learn a lot on your own. Your success in the course depends on how much work you are willing to put in outside of class. The curve is very generous. I think it's misleading to think this is an easy course because of the grade distribution. The people left at the end are all very smart and willing to work hard, and Rojas rewards that.
Overall, I really recommend this course. Besides Econ 103, I think this is one of the only Econ courses that can actually benefit you in a career. You'll have to put in a lot of time and effort, but I think it's really rewarding. Whether you should or should not take this class really depends if you're here to get easy A's or want to learn valuable skills that will require a lot of time and hard work.
Professor Rojas had a good reputation so I was excited going into this class. But this man shows no mercy at all. This class had three exams which make up your whole grade and the final being 50%. There is no extra credit or homework points so if you mess up on a test, you're done for. He also never answers your emails or questions and leaves his students hanging so they never know what to expect on the tests. He gave no practice finals so we had no clue what we were walking into. One of the worst professors in the entire department. Avoid this class with him at all costs. You won't get the grade you deserve because he wants to see students do worse which was proven by his lack of material and information regarding the final exam. What a horrible professor hopefully you have a better experience than me, but he really has me heartbroken.
I don’t usually write reviews. In fact, this is my first one. I’m usually accepting of my grades because even if they were bad I can accept that they reflect how I did in the class. But this class made me break that streak because of how frustrating it is that all my scores for this class were good, getting a max of 5 questions wrong each (literally ONE POINT PER QUESTION and mind you, I didn’t even hit the 5 max mistakes on all of them) and yet, my final grade makes me feel like a failure. I guess it’s ironically apt that the one single data we will have of this class, is not representative of our situation and our performance. I want to say everyone was harsh in their reviews of Rojas (he seems like a genuinely nice person and doesn’t seem like he wants to come off as anything less) but it really was unfair that he took so long to reply emails and give us information about the final, something we wouldn’t have to worry about had this class been in person. So the fact that one question determines your grade without a curve (there really isn’t one), even if it was open book open note, feels like with every “benefit” we got with moving online, the econ department compensates with two setbacks. Slapping on a “none of the above” option for every question, just in case you make a mistake in your one exam but not giving your students a safety net when they make one mistake. No “Ask your professor questions to improve” option either because he is somehow allergic to opening any of them. I guess I could have just taken it as a learning lesson like for Econ 11 and 101 because those were genuinely new concepts to me but this subject WAS familiar, straight forward and enjoyable. So it really saddens me that not only am I going to have this affect my GPA but I can no longer look at a subject I once enjoyed in the same way. If all the econ courses have professors that make you want to never look at this subject again, then I hope they’ll consider renaming themselves the anti econ department. Can’t help but applaud the use of the term “heartbreaking” in another review. There really is no better word to explain it.
Like a couple of other posts mentioned, you can definitely feel the disconnect between students and staff in this class.
Took this class a pre-req for my major (not an econ major), and I got an A, but I didn't necessarily end the class happily.
The grade structure is midterm, midterm, final, and then the weekly homework was 15% I think. I stopped going to lecture after Week 4 because reading the online materials and watching Youtube was much more helpful. I think by the last class, only 20-30 students were still attending lectures. If you have no prior familiarity with Econ, prepare to self-study a lot. Most people don't find his lectures helpful. One of the reviews compared this to a kindergarten class, I do not think it is THAT easy, but you'll probably do well if you've taken econ in high school.
I've never seen my TAs face. He sent us videos of him doing a few problems every week, and then he went MIA after week 3. Radio silence when the people in my discussion tried to reach out to him. I was genuinely worried for him for a while. He didn't come back until the end of the quarter.
The online final exam crashed when we were taking it. The TAs host a zoom call for students to join while they take the exam in case there are technical issues. When the website crashed some people in my discussion started panicking, and he just sent us all into the waiting room and emailed us the new directions to take the test. Didn't open the Zoom again.
The website wasn't working for a good 30minutes, and we only received an additional 15 minutes to submit the exam. That included transferring your answers from the online exam (which was segmented into a different page for every question, so you had to view every question and response independently) to a document or piece of paper and then transferring THOSE answers to an email to send the TA. I know someone who had to cancel a therapy appointment they had already paid for and another classmate who was super late to work because of this. So the lack of understanding was :/
This was one of the first classes I've taken at UCLA--I'm a first-year--and I still feel so sad that I'm paying top dollar for these kinds of classes. Don't know if it's a common feeling since it is only my second quarter now, but I felt like I wasn't perceived as a person who wanted to learn. It is obvious that the TA and the professor wanted to be as impersonal as possible. I guess I get it if the class is 400 students big, but the lack of understanding, empathy, and sincerity still made me really disappointed, especially from the #1 public university in the US.