Human Evolution

Daniel M.T. Fessler

Human Evolution

Anthropology department

Daniel M.T. Fessler

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from 32 users


Overall 3.9
Easiness of class 2.4
Workload 2.9
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.4
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.9


  • Uses Slides
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Needs Textbook
  • Often Funny
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Tough Tests
  • Tolerates Tardiness


Winter 2019

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

1 of 3


Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted April 2, 2020 Grade Received: A

This was one of my favorite classes. The professor is so funny and definitely makes it so worth it to go to class. His explanations were overall easy to understand and super interesting. I definitely feel like its a class worth taking because I walked out of it with a greater understanding on us as a species and our behaviors. With that being said, the tests are pretty tough but the grading scale is quite fair (an 84 percent is an A). If you get the chance to take this class with this professor, definitely do so.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted April 2, 2020 Grade Received: B

I loved this class! Professor Fessler is a very engaging lecturer, and I feel like what I learned in this class is relevant to my life even though I'm not majoring in anthropology.

It's not the easiest class, which puts some people off, especially if they're doing it as a GE. However, it's not unreasonable. I feel like the grading scale was pretty fair, and if you put in the work, you'll probably end up with a good grade.

For homework, we'd have two brief writing prompts each week. We also had these online module things (inQuisitive, I think). Fessler didn't like them, and they were buggy but it was easy points.

There were two midterms, and the second one was adjusted to be easier because people didn't have enough time to finish the first and Professor Fessler doesn't want time to be the reason you don't perform well. Under the strange circumstances of the COVID-19 shutdown, we had a take-home final with six fairly straightforward writing prompts, each with a max length of 1 page. Obviously, for those of you who do your final in person, the format will be different. But I think it's important to note that he tried to be really fair with the unforeseen circumstances and gave everyone ample time to complete what I considered a fairly easy final (if you paid attention at all during the quarter)

Overall, I think this class is really great and I enjoyed it a lot.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted April 1, 2020 Grade Received: A

This class didn't count to my major in any way but I took it because I was super interested and was not disappointed. The content is really so amazing and makes you understand human behaviors and societies with a lot more scientific explanation. The class starts with some biology and genetics before going into previous primate species, then eventually getting into homo sapiens and studying how we evolved our brains and diets to help us become one of the most successful species alive today and our cultures, fashion choices, physical differences etc.
Fessler is super dedicated to the subject and has done a lot of work in this field. He also connects everything to very meaningful real world topics (ex. racism, climate change, etc.) Sometimes he goes off on tangents which I know can be a bit distracting but I honestly enjoyed them because they were usually funny and entertaining anecdotes. His exams were harder than I expected but still doable as long as you review the slides and don't get bogged down in details (you don't need to memorize as much as you might think!). My TA was Steven and he was super positive and a really good TA. Homework was graded on completion but were useful to think about and go over in discussion.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 25, 2020 Grade Received: B+

This class was very engaging but was also kind of hard. The workload was pretty light - 2 homework questions from the reading due in discussion and online inquisitive assignments every week. The book is not mandatory but it does help a lot with further understanding what he goes over in lecture. Inquisitive, however, is mandatory as it counts for a tiny percentage of your grade. There were 2 midterms and a final. The first midterm was pretty hard but the second one was a lot easier (if you study). (For the first midterm we did not have to memorize all of the different species of apes - only the main differences between them). Because of the pandemic, our final this year was a written assignment that was optional. I think he made it pretty hard because we had so much time to work on it, but I didn't do it because I didn't want to drop my grade lower.
Overall the material covered was engaging and Prof Fessler kept things interesting in class. He is also always available for office hours which is very nice.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 20, 2020 Grade Received: A

This class and professor have been my favorite at UCLA so far. Fessler is the most engaging professor I've had, his slides are very organized and he gives a lot of extra detail during lectures. I never missed a lecture even though it was at 10am, and I would skip the lectures I had after since they were so boring. Fessler keeps his lectures relevant and interesting, which is why I showed up to each one. Tests were difficult, but there's a curve built into the class so the cut off for an A is at 84%. It's not hard to get an A/B with this cut off as long as you study; tests aren't tricky, there's just a lot of info to know and conceptualize, but the questions are straightforward. My TA was pretty easygoing and would let us out of section early most times. Inquisitive is tedious but not hard, it's an easy 100% worth 5% of your overall grade. Written homework is straight from the textbook and easy to find and there are only two questions per week. Overall, take this course if you have just a shred of interest in the topic and you won't be disappointed! It's a fair amount of work but if you like the material it won't feel so heavy. I'm really glad I took this course with this professor and would highly recommend other people take it too.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted March 18, 2020 Grade Received: B

I thought Anthro 1 would be relatively easy because it was an intro class. I thought wrong.

You are graded by completing InQuizitive quizzes, participation in discussion, two midterms and a final exam. I personally did not enjoy discussion section and did not find my TA to be helpful at all. The exams to be difficult and most of my class felt the same. The exams were very specific and made up of multiple choice, free response and fill-in-the-blank questions.

Midterm #1 average was 66%, Midterm #2 average was 69% and the Final exam average was 74%. Honestly, if it were not for his curved grading scale, I would have ended up with a C/D in the class. I would not take this class again due to the stress it gave me. It was ridiculous how difficult the tests were for an intro class!!!

Quarter Taken: Winter 2020 Submitted March 16, 2020 Grade Received: P

This class was awful. The first midterm was straight up biology and genetics. The second midterm was a little easier but not by much. Overall the averages for the midterms were not good and I barely passed. The class is significantly curved but I -along with other students I knew- were barely passing. Most of the class was taking it for a GE but it was way too much work and too difficult for a GE. Do NOT take this class!!! I got lucky that COVID-19 made our final optional because I would've been screwed if I had to take it. The only thing good about the class was my TA who was super nice and genuinely cared about us. Fessler didn't seem to care about us since the class was so difficult. The Inquizitve quizzes are so annoying and so time consuming and really not an effective way to study for the midterms so they're a waste except they're part of your grade.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2018 Submitted Sept. 17, 2019 Grade Received: A-

Professor Fessler is a real cool and interesting guy. You can tell he knows a lot about anthro and he's super passionate. But ngl this was by far the most stressful class I have ever taken. I appreciate learning so much from Professor Fessler and my TA, but his tests are extremely difficult. The rubric is far more specific than what he leads on, and they are not worth a lot of points making it hard to get a decent grade without missing a single question. Getting a solid A is totally possible in this class, but make sure that you're willing to put some time and work in.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted June 25, 2019 Grade Received: A

Took it as a science GE, is pretty manageable. Fessler is a very funny and engaging lecturer; he often drops weird little facts or anecdotes in class, but I think that actually helped a great deal in explaining the concepts and making it relevant to our daily lives. Reading the textbook and doing the online quizzes helped me a lot. I do feel like I walked out of the class with a bit more insight on us.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted June 25, 2019 Grade Received: A

This was a cool class, really interesting subject matter. The tests were straightforward content-wise but the grading on essay questions was horribly arbitrary. They slash points like nobody's business if you miss certain components or key words that the TA was looking for. I took it as a GE and did well but would say it's pretty hard for a GE. Overall enjoyed the class though, take it if evolution is interesting to you.

1 of 3


  • Uses Slides
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Needs Textbook
  • Often Funny
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Tough Tests
  • Tolerates Tardiness

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