UCLA

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Manyfolds
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:22 pm

UCLA

Postby Manyfolds » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:51 pm

I'm looking to get some advice on UCLA's math department. I'm looking to study analysis & PDE with a geometric flavor, and I have side interests in probability. I understand that UCLA is wonderful in these particular fields, as I can see by the general rankings, online sentiment, and by speaking with professors. I'm specifically looking to see if anyone has any comments on the culture of the department, the culture of the campus, life as a graduate mathematics student, etc... (the intangibles, if you will). Can anyone help me out with some info?

is2718
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby is2718 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:29 pm

UCLA undergrad here. I'm currently working on my masters, so I've taken a number of grad classes and I think I've got a pretty good idea of what the grad program is like, as well as the culture of the department, and certainly the campus as a whole.


There are a number of younger professors and very active researchers in the department, so you do get the feeling that it's a happening place to be if you're looking for good research. This is certainly the case for the analysis & PDE group, which attract a lot of the entering grad student's attentions. Most of the professors I've met are very nice, normal people, and while some are a little "aloof", I wouldn't say any are entirely unapproachable. In terms of general atmosphere, I would say that there isn't much competitiveness among the grad students I've met. The atmosphere is, by and by, friendly and quite chilled. Also, most of the professors are really great lecturers as well, which is a big plus in my books.


Compared with other schools, UCLA's math department is relatively large. There is a lot of diversity among the grad students in terms of interests (mathematical and otherwise), and so I wouldn't say that the typical stereotypes about grad students in the sciences necessarily applies. The course-load is about 3 classes per quarter, which can be a good deal of work. TAing and such depend on fellowships, funding, etc. The "initiatory qualifying exam", also called the Basic, is not difficult, and taking the summer boot-camp course is more than sufficient preparation. However, the Quals themselves are quite tough (specifically the analysis Qual), so people take them very seriously here. How much free time you have, and what you choose to do with it, is really up to you. I know some grad students that do research 24/7, and others that manage to pursue a number of other interests. The department works you hard, but it isn't trying to kill you.


Finally, speaking in more general terms, the mathematics dept. itself is a nice-enough, if a little old, building, and it occupies a few floors, so that it doesn't feel like you're confined into very narrow corridors all day. The campus itself is lovely and quite a fun place. There are a lot of amenities to take advantage of, and I know that a number of math grad students like bouldering/rock-climbing at the gym. The weather, modulo certain inconsistencies on a set of zero measure, is sunny with blue skies, and it remains fairly temperate throughout the summer and the winter, so that we don't get much fluctuation in weather. The housing itself is located in the adjacent Westwood Village, which has a number of shops and restaurants, and is generally full of college students. Public transportation isn't great, but with a bit of effort you have access to the bulk of LA.


I hope that clears some things up. Do you have any follow-up questions?

Manyfolds
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:22 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby Manyfolds » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:13 am

Yes, this is great - thanks a lot for the insights. In your opinion, how is the graduate student social scene? This doesn't have to be specific to the math department. The campus, from what I understand, is NOT a commuter campus, so it is quite lively on the weekends and does not empty out. Is this a fair assessment?

is2718
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby is2718 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:21 am

While it doesn't exactly have a trivial center, UCLA is not a commuter campus. The campus itself is emptier on the weekends (naturally), but the adjacent Westwood Village is generally full of students. In terms of the "graduate student social scene", I don't think I can answer that without more specific questions. Like I said, the campus, and the math dept., are quite large, so there are a number of social scenes, if you will.

dactylonomist
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:56 am

Re: UCLA

Postby dactylonomist » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:32 pm

is2718 wrote:While it doesn't exactly have a trivial center, UCLA is not a commuter campus.


And I say chuuurrch.

tcbh
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby tcbh » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:12 am

Manyfolds wrote:Yes, this is great - thanks a lot for the insights. In your opinion, how is the graduate student social scene? This doesn't have to be specific to the math department. The campus, from what I understand, is NOT a commuter campus, so it is quite lively on the weekends and does not empty out. Is this a fair assessment?


The residential area is sort of separate from the campus (there are playing fields in between), so the main part of campus does empty out and there are certainly fewer on campus events on the weekend. That said, there's still plenty to do and grad student housing isn't too spread out.

Most of the grad students seem pretty happy, I can't speak too specifically about the social scene though. The amount of time spent working definitely varies.

stfan104
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:35 am

Re: UCLA

Postby stfan104 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:17 am

So roughly how many math graduate students per year are there?

Manyfolds
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:22 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby Manyfolds » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:34 am

@stfan104: Are you considering UCLA?

rmg512
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:15 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby rmg512 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:42 pm

A whole bunch of rejections came out, as I'm sure you're probably aware. Just got rejected. Sucks, man.

ns2675
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:32 am

Re: UCLA

Postby ns2675 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:21 pm

I'm also an undergraduate at UCLA, and I can vouch for just about everything that is2718 said.

stfan104 wrote:So roughly how many math graduate students per year are there?


This link might be useful: http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/asis/progprof ... major=0540

According to the data, there have been an average of 29 registrants per year (average taken over 2007–2011). Total average enrollment over that period looks like 163.

frgf
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:24 am

Re: UCLA

Postby frgf » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:25 pm

wow, 23% admit rate seems quite high for such a top program.

bemonocled
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby bemonocled » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:10 pm

I'm a 1st year grad student at UCLA (not sure why I decided to browse this forum tonight). Basically everything that has been said so far is correct. I know a bit more about the social scene - the department is large enough that you can find people interested in most things. Lots of people play frisbee, some people never stop studying, some people make lots of money tutoring (due to proximity to Beverly Hills) and go on lots of vacations, some people go to Burning Man, some people play video games and card games all the time, some go camping, some people play music, etc. I have not noticed any competitiveness at all, but I'm also still just taking classes. The acceptance rate does look (relatively) high on their website, but this was explained to us at the open house last year as being because, first off, it is an average over the past several years (and it has only been going down) and it also includes a couple of years of statistics admissions (from when the statistics was a part of the math department). I think there was some updated admission statistics in the newsletter you can find on the front page of their website.

This is more personal, but I personally don't like Westwood much. The good part about it is that there are tons of restaurants, shops, etc. It is a foodie's dream. But the nightlife is pretty lame, there is no legitimate liquor store in short walking distance, rent is very expensive, and not very many random events that LA is known for. I've been all over LA since coming here going to random events on the weekend, and NONE of them have been in Westwood except for a couple on UCLA campus. But there are lots of nearby cities that many graduate students live in that (I've been told) are better to live in than Westwood. Just moving 5-10 minutes away can apparently drop rent price by 25%. But this part is relatively minor - living here for a year isn't so bad, but I'd go insane if I was stuck here for the next 5 years.

Manyfolds
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:22 pm

Re: UCLA

Postby Manyfolds » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:28 pm

Hey so for UCLA, my letter says I have funding for four years but in recent years they have been able to fund the fifth year. Is this what everyone got, or did some people get full five years funding?




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