A deep dive into Bruins’ favorite majors

by Natalie Rajha

UCLA has several different majors to choose from, over 125 to be exact, which can make it difficult to choose if you are undecided or testing out your options. But what are some of these majors actually like, and what are some of the pros and cons of majoring in them? Hearing from actual UCLA students may help provide a solid answer. Here is a review of 10 of UCLA’s most popular majors to give you insight into each.


Kristine Dinh, a third-year transfer student majoring in sociology, said that sociology researches what factors make humans act as they do. If you’re wondering about some of the content within the major, Dinh offered some general knowledge: there is a big emphasis on theory in the major, and a lot of research is provided and studied in the major as well. Being a transfer student, Dinh took some sociology courses before coming to UCLA and enjoyed them. “(The major) explored how what happened in the past caused us to be how we are today,” Dinh explained. But what about the positives and negatives of being in this major?

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

When asked what she liked about the major, the department or the classes, Dinh said, “Definitely the staff, especially the TAs … (they do) such a great job breaking things down.” She also said that while she hasn’t taken too many courses yet as a transfer, she finds that the professors are really sweet too. She even mentioned professor Jennie Brand, saying that she introduces students to a lot of interesting readings and authors.

On the other hand, Dinh said there are a large amount of readings, and some professors assign a bunch but don’t go through them. She also mentioned that she prefers learning material in person, though, meaning the concern over assigned readings could be personal preference.

Final thoughts and advice:

Dinh shared a really important piece of advice based on her experience. “Pick your extracurriculars very carefully” and “tailor your college experience” towards what you want to do, said Dinh. She originally didn’t know what she wanted to do with her degree but now is hoping to get involved in teaching. Dinh said that she is “lucky,” so it worked out in her favor.


Caleb Adefris, a fourth-year transfer student majoring in psychology, describes psychology as “the study of the mind, but also the study of people.” He mentioned that there is a wide selection of courses, from social psychology to psychology of emotions, and that the coursework heavily depends on students’ interests. Adefris said that he has always been interested in what people think and why they think the way they do. He wanted to learn more about those mindsets and also what happens in our brains. UCLA is one of the top schools for psychology, which is a plus.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Something that Adefris likes about psychology at UCLA is how diverse the staff is. “Most professors are already established and teach what they specialize in,” he said. He also mentioned a class about intimate relationships where he found it fascinating to learn about “how much we do unconsciously in relationships.”

However, psychology is a heavily impacted major, which can make it difficult to get into classes if you are not a senior because there are so many students trying to take the same ones. Adefris said that opening up more classes and adding more professors would lead to smaller class sizes, which may make it easier to get to know professors too.

Final thoughts and advice:

If you are thinking about majoring in psychology, Adefris has some advice. “Take what you like within the bounds of your requirements,” he said. “Just take what you want or what you really are interested in.”


Rujula Vikram is a third-year student double majoring in economics and political science. She described economics as what can “encompass consumer decisions (microeconomics) and macro topics and how it all interacts to allow the world to function.” In the major, there are a range of classes that involve healthcare, international finance or money and banking. For her particular career goals, understanding economics and how it interacts with political science helps show how these different systems work together.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Vikram likes the community within the classes. The classes are difficult, so you have to learn to make friends and network to “get through the class together,” Vikram said. She also said that it’s been “cool to learn from really cool professors.”

Like psychology, however, economics is also an impacted major, and because it’s so popular, it’s “pretty hard to get into the pre-req classes” because they get pretty full by the time enrollment comes around, according to Vikram. She also feels like there isn’t enough communication between the professors and TAs, so the TAs don’t always know what’s helpful information for test preparation.

Final thoughts and advice:

Vikram would “encourage collaboration” to understand concepts fully and recommend reaching out to classmates to try and form a connection with other students. After all, many classes are curved so it can be beneficial to work with other students to understand things differently to get the full picture.

Political Science

Sofia Kleeman Mendoza, a third-year transfer student majoring in political science, described the major as “analyzing people and choices through a social and economic lens.” Like many other political science students, she wants to go to law school or potentially get into politics. “(The major is) good to have under my belt,” Mendoza said.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Mendoza likes how there is a “diverse amount of classes offered” because no two classes are super similar. She’s learned a lot in these classes, including ones with topics she never thought of studying, in fields she never even considered.

Mendoza does mention a couple of things that she finds frustrating about the major. For one, the different concentrations are a “little irritating sometimes,” not because they are hard, but it’s just “additional stress” when you need to enroll in classes, said Mendoza. Another point she mentioned is that some professors have a lot of good information, “but they are not trained on how to relay it well.” Mendoza feels some professors think all students are on a similar level to theirs when explaining, but some may need a little more time and description to understand.

Final thoughts and advice:

Mendoza said that if you are hesitant and don’t know what you are going to do with the major, just remember that it’s broad so you have options beyond just becoming a lawyer. “If it’s something you’re interested in, I would just take the risk because you’re not stuck,” Mendoza said.


Arely Teran-Martinez is a third-year student majoring in biology. She said that biology involves a little bit of everything, including a physics series, a chemistry series and a biology series, where you get to explore genetics and ecology.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Teran-Martinez expressed an appreciation for the others in her major and department. “Everyone is sweet and accommodating,” she said. She listed a particular course, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 129 with professor Noa Pinter-Wollman. She said that the course is about animal behavior, which is different than what she wants to do in the future as a pre-med student, but she still found the class extremely interesting. The TAs are also “very passionate” which makes the class even more enjoyable.

Teran-Martinez mentioned that she dislikes the physics series but believes that’s just a personal opinion because she’s not very good at physics. Aside from that, she doesn’t dislike anything about the major.

Final thoughts and advice:

“I think it’s a really good major personally like there’s interesting courses … and many different classes you can take,” said Teran-Martinez. According to her, if you enjoy learning about animals and being outdoors, it’s a good major that a lot of people can end up enjoying.

Computer Science

Dylan Chan, a third-year student majoring in computer science, said the curriculum includes information on coding, algorithms, fundamentals in programming languages, networks and more. “It’s amazing to see how improvements in computing power and innovations in new algorithms allow us to use computers in ways we have never been able to do before,” said Chan.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Chan likes that coding allows him to communicate without any form of misinterpretation, unlike the English language itself. “Your answer is right, or it’s not,” Chan said. He gave a number of good reasons as to why studying at UCLA can “give us an edge over other schools.” He mentioned that there are so many opportunities for students including on-campus jobs, which can give you valuable experience to put on your resume.

In terms of educators, Chan expressed the hit-or-miss nature as similar to other majors. “There are equally as many amazing professors and TAs as there are really horrendous ones … (which can) make or break your experience in a class,” Chan said. A lot of material is also gone through in discussion sections, so if the TA “struggles to teach or communicate effectively, it can be a very rocky quarter for you.” Chan mentioned that another downside is how structured the curriculum is, leaving little time for students to experiment outside of it. Lastly, a major concern Chan has with the major is there isn’t much diversity as it is composed of mostly “males of East Asian, Indian and Caucasian descent.” He thinks it is important to build a diverse population, especially in computer science.

Final thoughts and advice:

Chan said that it can be easy to get imposter syndrome, but he guarantees there are others “who are struggling just as hard.” You just need to find those people or ask questions during class and discussion. Also, Chan noted how important it is to find a balance between your academic and social life to “make you really happy,” but cautions against letting too much of your academic life slip.


Naomi Young, a third-year student, and Bionca Benard, a fourth-year student, are both majoring in English. Young described English as a combination of looking at texts and different responses to them, while Benard said that the largest part of the English major involves analyzing a Western standard of literature for “composition, structure and historical context.”

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

“Most professors are very passionate and want you to learn,” said Young. There are interesting classes and professors, and there is also the ability to take courses like creative writing. Benard adds that it is beneficial to be able to have “top-of-the-field professors.”

Young dislikes how the major is “very Eurocentric and Western-focused,” so you will sometimes get a professor who only wants to teach about British writers. Benard agreed, stating that the historical classes are often repetitive in that sense. Benard suggested that you are more likely to get a well-rounded experience if you take elective classes such as creative writing or Chicano literature.

Final thoughts and advice:

“If you find yourself interested when reading a book and interested in exploring deeper, you might enjoy an English class or English major,” said Young. Benard adds that you should take advantage of diverse classes and what they offer but build your schedule based on the career you want.


Claire Valencia, a third-year transfer student majoring in history, said that history studies is an array of different periods and places. There are requirements within the major such as taking some U.S. courses, some non-Western courses and more for you to “get a good range,” Valencia said.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Valencia likes that the courses have been very literature-based and enjoys how teachers incorporate the readings into their lessons. “Declaring for the major was really easy,” she also said, along with the note that the department is very nice.

In contrast, Valencia mentioned that she doesn’t enjoy when multiple classes require a “ton of reading” throughout the whole week. So if you are thinking about majoring in history, get ready for a good amount of reading.

Final thoughts and advice:

“If you really have a fascination with history, absolutely do a history major … it’s worth it,” Valencia said. However, be prepared for a lot of reading and have a solid plan for what you can use the major for if you decide to choose it.


Luna Kim, a fourth-year student majoring in statistics & data science, described statistics as studying “basic theoretical statistic formulas and theory of statistics.” It involves applying theory to coding in R, data analysis and more.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Regarding the department, Kim said that the curriculum is “very balanced between the applied and basics of statistics.” For instance, you have to learn the basics like formulas or theories of statistics, and then you get to the applied stuff. Some professors that she has liked so far include professors Vivian Lew, Miles Chen and Nicolas Christou.

Something that Kim thinks could be improved is UCLA’s main focus on R coding; she would like them to have more choices for coding, such as Python.

Final thoughts and advice:

Kim stated that UCLA’s statistics program is well known so the professors help a lot of students. She also mentioned that the program curriculum is well organized even for being a big department. “So far, it’s pretty good overall,” Kim said.


Joshua Melton is a third-year transfer student majoring in communication. “(Communication studies) basic human interactions through language and symbols,” said Melton. He also added that it is a multidisciplinary field of science, involving different areas of social sciences, including sociology and anthropology.

The good, the bad, the noteworthy:

Melton likes that the professors ask questions that are relevant to social problems and the social needs of today. The major provides questions and “gives us ways to formulate answers to help solve communication errors,” Melton said. Melton also mentioned a particular class that he loves called Communication 143, Rhetoric of Pop Culture, with professor Karyl Kicenski. He mentioned that it dives into sociology and doesn’t rely on one point of view but rather takes different avenues.

On the flip side, something Melton does not like is the fact that people often underestimate communication students and say the major is an “easy science.” Melton emphasized how that is not the case, stating that there is a lot of work that goes into majoring in communication and you need to be prepared to write a lot and speak about topics you may not be comfortable talking about.

Final thoughts and advice:

Melton stated that you should take the required classes you need but to “be adventurous with it.” He noted that there are so many routes you can take with communication, from social media to artificial intelligence, and that you shouldn’t “restrict yourself to one thing” because of how vast the possibilities are.

To major or not to major:

If any of these majors sound like your cup of tea, or if you are undecided, maybe try out a class and see if you enjoy it! There may be positives and negatives to each, but you may discover the interesting aspects of a major you never thought about before. After all, these UCLA students wouldn’t be majoring in their majors if they didn’t find that the benefits outweighed the drawbacks. Like Melton said, “We all got into UCLA for a reason…it’s taking the first step.”

Featured Image Photographed by Finn Martin/BruinLife.

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