Summer 2015 - Professor Branstetter is one of the best professors I have ever had. I am so lucky I got to take this course in the summer because of the intimate setting. You can tell he is truly passionate about his work. I know that someday he is going to be a great lecturer. The class is very interesting and he makes theory fun while engaging in conversation with the class. You can succeed in this class as long as you go to lectures. Literally, everything he lectures about is on the tests. If you get the chance to take him, I highly recommend that you do!
Spring 2022 - What's there to say? Easily one of the top 5 political science classes at UCLA taught by probably the best lecturer in the department. Prof. Branstetter deeply cares about his students and offers engaging and funny lectures that will keep you interested in the material even if you despise the topic. The class was 7 quizzes (two of the lowest scores being dropped) that relied on very very basic understanding of lecture as well as a midterm and final that are several short answers. These can be a little tricky because there area alot of intricate details but Prof. Branstetter does a great job preparing you for them. Every lecture is recorded to make things even better with no attendance requirement. He stresses that the book is needed and wants you to read it, however I found that simply paying close attention to lecture was all that was really needed to succeed as he does such a good job at relaying Marx's points and what is needed on the exams. Book was optional to me even if the Professor and several students may tell you it is critical. Always available for questions and always willing to help students learn. Not much else to say but if you see this class has an open spot enroll in it right away!
Winter 2021 - Such an amazing class. If you're a Pol Sci major you should at least try to take one of Branstetter's courses because they're so engaging and relatively straight-forward. That said, I think it's time to dispel the myth that he's super easy. The workload was really pretty nice (dense readings at time but not bad compared to some other PS classes) but you had to read every single thing to pull off an A. The exams were pretty generously graded but there was no clearly defined rubric unless you went to his office hours after exam grades were returned. I ended up saying everything I knew about a topic within the frame of the question in my own words, and at times even that wasn't enough. I feel like you have very little way of knowing what is really asked of you; that said, the point penalty for coming up short on the expectations is pretty light. On the other hand, his lectures were among some of the best I've had in my time as an undergrad. Always efficiently timed, always engaging, always easily digestible, always interactive, even during Zoom. The quizzes were really not bad, and dare I say even a grade boost? I'd take a class with him again.
Fall 2018 - John Gavin Branstetter is one of the best profs at UCLA. I genuinely enjoyed his lectures and even his office hours and sculpture garden hours are engaging. His essay prompts are very clear; he is straight forward about what he is looking and he is more than happy to help out students who need further assistance with their papers. Take him for theory, he sure makes the subject as interesting as possible