All Ratings and Reviews for Jay Phelan


Overall 4.3
Easiness of class 2.8
Workload 2.8
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.5
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.4
1 of 43


LIFESCI 15, taken Fall 2016 Submitted Dec. 30, 2016 Grade Received: A

I absolutely loved this class and professor. Phelan was incredibly engaging and you can tell he was passionate about teaching the students. He made sure to lecture in ways that would stick with the students. The material itself also was incredibly interesting, and that is coming from someone who is NOT a fan of science/math things. It has a lot to do with using biology and science as a way explain why humans are the way we are and why we do the things we do. I found it so interesting! It was definitely my favorite class and I actually really looked forward to lectures.
The class itself consists of a weekly optional assignment of usually about 8 questions, but it's best to complete the assignment because one of the eight questions would be on the weekly quiz in discussion.
Discussion was unnecessarily long but still enjoyable. You are required to participate in one formal debate during the course of the quarter in front of your discussion with a partner, which seems really scary but really was not. I had Chris as my TA and he made it very unintimidating. It does not require an extensive amount of preparation and as long as you are confident and cohesive you'll get a good grade.
The midterm /final wasn't an easy A, but it is definitely possible and even likely if you just put a little bit of effort. He hosts a review session in which he gives you around 23 questions that if you know the answer to, you're guaranteed an A. Low and behold, I studied all of those questions and received an A on both. I suggest studying as soon as those review questions are given, and going to the test bank for the midterm.
I also recommend going to Phelan's office hours at least once, because he genuinely wants to get to know his students and he will answer pretty much any course-material questions that you have (though he's more reluctant if it's questions from the final/midterm review). However, I didn't continuously return because sometimes he spends so long talking to one person that you're sitting there awkwardly (it's in a group) while you wait.
Overall, I highly recommend this class and think Phelan was an absolutely amazing professor.

LIFESCI 15, taken Fall 2018 Submitted Nov. 21, 2019 Grade Received: A-


LIFESCI 15, taken Spring 2020 Submitted July 15, 2020 Grade Received: A

SELLING TEXTBOOK FOR $10, "What is Life, 4th Edition". Text me at (949)-835-6213 , I'll get back to you super quick! PDF version, very easy to use and the table of contents has a navigation setting where it will bring you to different sections (a must-have for this huge book). I loved this class, definitely take it if you're looking for a LifeSci course.

LIFESCI 15, taken Fall 2019 Submitted Dec. 12, 2019 Grade Received: NR

TAKE THIS CLASS!!! Okay so all my life I was like ew biology sucks its so boring BUTTTT I took this class and it completely changed my perspective!! Like lowkey considering switching my major to something related to evolution or genetics. Also, this class lowkey gave me an existential crisis like YO your emotions aren't what you actually think they are :o and oh boy don't get me started on the theory of kindness :/// BUT YOU WILL FEEL SELF MOTIVATED TO ATTEND EVERY SINGLE LECTURE!! My advice: study for the weekly quizzes so you don't need to put too much effort into studying for finals like I'm so happy we got weekly quizzes it made the final much easier. I don't know my grade yet in the class but I got a 79% on the midterm and As on most of the quizzes.

LIFESCI 15, taken Fall 2020 Submitted Aug. 20, 2020 Grade Received: A



You only need "What is Life? 4th Edition with Physiology" for this class. Mean Genes is fun to read, but is not really "required" to do well in this class, so unless you're interested in reading more about it then you don't really need to get it. The actual textbook is pretty expensive, so I highly suggest buying the pdf version of the book. I'm selling it for only $5!

LIFESCI 7B, taken Spring 2020 Submitted June 3, 2020 Grade Received: A

Professor Phelan is probably one of the better professors I've had taking the LS series. His lectures are both clear and interactive, and he does a very good job of not making me fall asleep. In this online quarter, professor Phelan went above and beyond to make sure people had proper resources and knowledge before taking finals: he did things like hold review sessions on the weekend (which he wasn't even obligated to) before exams.

In the wake of both the coronavirus and political turmoil caused by racism in the US, professor Phelan listened to marginalized and affected students and came up with excellent accommodation for people that felt like they couldn't take the test. People might view an optional final as lazy, but I personally view it as caring. I highly recommend taking this professor for this class.

LIFESCI 15, taken Summer 2020 Submitted Aug. 13, 2020 Grade Received: A

Jay and his class are both AMAZING and this is coming from someone who used to hate biology (that was until I took his class). His lectures are engaging, he makes the content interesting, and teaches the course from a non bio student perspective which is nice.

Lectures: Because I took this class during COVID-19, lectures were prerecorded videos and overall were very engaging. He kept them organized, used examples, and his slides were useful (although he doesn't post them). He also kept the videos short which is nice.

Discussions: Discussions consisted of a weekly quiz (one of the problem set questions), review lectures, a group problem set presentation, and a group debate. These projects did require some prep time out of class but it wasn't unmanageable.

Homework/Reading: This class did have a fair amount of work, especially for a GE. There were weekly problem sets that were assigned, but weren't graded (except for one of the questions was chosen for the weekly quiz). We also had to write discussion board posts and create a music video (which was a lot of work but surprisingly helpful for studying). His books are optional but they are well written and help explain concepts further.

Exams: Exams in this class overall were fair, consisting of both M/C and short answer. The midterm was a bit time constrained and some of the short answers required more explanation to get full points, but the final was more manageable. Open notes due to COVID but could be different if taken in person. He doesn't post review materials which makes it tough, but as long as you understand the concepts and examples, you should be good.

Overall: TAKE THIS CLASS! Prof Phelan is a gem and you won't be disappointed! This class really changes your whole view on science and biology and you find out it is actually cool.

LIFESCI 15, taken Fall 2020 Submitted Dec. 29, 2020 Grade Received: A

As someone who hated biology all through middle school and high school, I really really enjoyed this class. Professor Phelan's lectures are extremely clear and engaging, and he offers extra credit opportunities as well. I'd recommend thoroughly reading rather than skimming all the relevant material from the WIL textbook. Though it was long and tedious this really helped me understand the material. I also took notes on the textbook, which was very helpful.

MCD BIO C174B Submitted Dec. 8, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

Life Science 15
One of the best professor I have ever had at UCLA! LS15 is my favorite class. Take his class and Jay will change your life perspective!

LIFESCI 15 Submitted Sept. 24, 2015 Grade Received: N/A

Selling What is Life? Paperback for Life Science 15!

Text me at 3107797138

1 of 43

Report Review

Did this review contain...

There are errors in the report form.

Thank you for the report!

We'll look into this shortly.

It seems like you’re

using an ad blocker. :(

Bruinwalk is an entirely Daily Bruin-run service brought to you for free. We hate annoying ads just as much as you do, but they help keep our lights on. We promise to keep our ads as relevant for you as possible, so please consider disabling your ad-blocking software while using this site.

Thank you for supporting us!