Raymond La Raja - University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Professor: Raymond La Raja
Department: Political Science
College: University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Rating # 1
Overview:
  • Course: POL101
  • Grade Received: A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Very good at encouraging participation in class (in fact this ends up taking up most of the class often, and this may sound like a bad thing, but its actually really helpful for actually understanding the text book and will help later on in your essays). Always makes sure the discussions are politically balanced (which is a rare thing at UMass)
Rating # 2
Overview:
  • Course: POLSCI208
  • Grade Received: N/A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: N/A
Comment:
I could not recommend La Raja more! I have taken his class twice as a PoliSci major and both times he has exceeded my expectations. He is very neutral in class discussions and great at facilitating them. He goes out of his way to find great guest lecturers who have taught me very memorable lessons and information. He is very easy to talk to!
Rating # 3
Overview:
  • Course: POL101
  • Grade Received: A-
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
A great lecturer, with charisma intellect and the energy that transcends into the crowd to get dialogue going in large lecture groups.
Rating # 4
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI101
  • Grade Received: N/A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
LaRaja's Political Science 101 was good even in the pandemic.
Rating # 5
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI101
  • Grade Received: N/A
  • Overall Rating: 2.0
  • Course Difficulty: 5.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: No
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Pretty passionate and driven
Rating # 6
Overview:
  • Course: POLSCI208
  • Grade Received: N/A
  • Overall Rating: 1.0
  • Course Difficulty: 5.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: No
  • Attendance: N/A
Comment:
Professor La Raja does not grade his own assignments and his TA is a tough grader. Essays are graded fairly, but when it comes to exams TA looked for exact definitions if you even miss one word he would take away multiple points. All exams are definition based, but u r not given a study guide so you have to study every definition from the section
Rating # 7
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI101
  • Grade Received: A+
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 2.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Not Mandatory
Comment:
This is a blended course: you watch recorded lectures online and do supplemental readings before the class lecture (textbook reading is good for online quizzes). La Raja usually kicks off the class with some discussion about current affairs and then starts his discussion-style lecture. If you're interested in politics, you'll get an easy A.
Rating # 8
Overview:
  • Course: AMPOL101
  • Grade Received: B+
  • Overall Rating: 2.0
  • Course Difficulty: 4.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: No
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Only take if you're actually passionate for politics.. workload is kind of annoying but not too bad
Rating # 9
Overview:
  • Course: POL101
  • Grade Received: A-
  • Overall Rating: 4.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
American Politics with Professor La Raja was fun and engaging. He does grade on attendance, but he gives you a solid allowance of absences. The class size can be huge, though, so work is graded by TA's. As such, it's hard to know how you'll score. Big exams and essays account for most of the grade.
Rating # 10
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI101
  • Grade Received: A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 2.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Not Mandatory
Comment:
actually the sweetest guy ever. hypes you up no matter what your opinions are. doesn't expect you to know much about politics coming in. people talk a lot in class if they know about politics, it gets heated sometimes which is kinda fun. he helps your grade sooooo much, legit drops lowest 4 everything.
Rating # 11
Overview:
  • Course: POL101
  • Grade Received: B+
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Raymond La Raja, loml. I went into college as a psych major wanting to go to law school. After taking his 101 class first semester of college, I declared my double major in polisci-- it was the best decision. Going to class was always so exciting. I even took my bio major bf one day to watch and he left wanting to contact congress. changed my life.
Rating # 12
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI101
  • Grade Received: A+
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 4.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
I've had Professor La Raja for both PoliSci 101 and 208. He is a great teacher with a very clear understanding of the subject. I enjoyed both classes, but liked 101 better because of his discussion-oriented take on a huge lecture; he also handled presenting basic information objectively in today's political climate extremely professionally.
Rating # 13
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI208
  • Grade Received: A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 2.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
This is my second class that I've taken with Professor La Raja and he truly is fantastic! He is a funny guy, very smart, and very caring. The two papers for this class were very fun, and they helped me learn skills that will be useful in the field. Everybody should take a class with Professor La Raja before they graduate!
Rating # 14
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI208
  • Grade Received: A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Ray is the best teacher in the Poli Sci department. His teaching is clear, he explains things well, answers questions thoroughly and clearly cares for his students. His exams are straightforward and papers or other assignments are fun and well explained. I took 101 with him as well and loved both classes. Talks about current events which is great.
Rating # 15
Overview:
  • Course: POLI101
  • Grade Received: N/A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Very smart professor, and loves to meet students. Pretty easy class if you do the readings
Rating # 16
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI101
  • Grade Received: A-
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 2.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Smart guy, and really makes you invested in the subject he teachers. His lectures though, are online and watching them can be a bit of a chore. That being said it never exceeds 45 mins of video, and its pretty much all the homework that he assigns. Great class, brought in lots of guest speakers so that you could see the theory in application.
Rating # 17
Overview:
  • Course: POLISCI101
  • Grade Received: N/A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 3.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
I had a really good time in this course. I loved hearing him talk about anything. He was incredibly easy to listen to and learn from. I actually enjoyed doing the assignments and studying the material in this course. This course is a perfect introduction to political science. I'm very grateful to have taken this course!
Rating # 18
Overview:
  • Course: AMPOL101
  • Grade Received: A
  • Overall Rating: 3.0
  • Course Difficulty: 2.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: No
  • Would Take Again: No
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
Although Ray is a kind, well-spoken man with good intentions and hefty experience with the U.S. Government, it seems to me that he has become lazy throughout his years as a professor. His lectures are all online, which is inconvenient and time consuming, and we wasted three-quarters of class time discussing current events rather than class material
Rating # 19
Overview:
  • Course: POLI101
  • Grade Received: A
  • Overall Rating: 3.0
  • Course Difficulty: 1.0
  • For Credit: N/A
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
The class has an odd blended setup where students do most of there learning outside of class. The classes consisted of a lot of current events and a lot of stuff that was not relevant to the course. If attendance was not taken with iClickers then there would be no reason to go to class.
Rating # 20
Overview:
  • Course: AMPOL101
  • Grade Received: A
  • Overall Rating: 5.0
  • Course Difficulty: 2.0
  • For Credit: Yes
  • Textbook Used: Yes
  • Would Take Again: Yes
  • Attendance: Mandatory
Comment:
La Raja is incredible. He is super knowledgable about American Politics (he has a masters in Public Policy from Harvard and his Ph.D. from UC Berkley) and he really cares about his students. His class is really straightforward and his expectations are clear. You watch lectures online, then come to class to talk/ review material. One of the best.
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