Winter 2020 - After taking this class, I genuinely hate this man. Even though I got a good grade in the end, he was the most disagreeable person to learn from. He would get unnecessarily heated if someone walked in late to class and talked about life in the most grumpy fashion. Yes, he covered a lot during his lectures and I did learn a lot. However, he often rambled on about a topic or a single example for 20-25 minutes and that information ended up being useless. His graders were INTENSE and it was nearly impossible to do well on his essays. Another thing on those essays, the instructions are weirdly vague yet graded harshly. If I didn't love poli sci, this class would have made me hate it. I read the bruinwalk reviews before I took the class and decided to take a chance. DONT IGNORE THE REVIEWS ITS SO HARD TO DO WELL IN THIS CLASS.
Well, Thies thinks he's way more important than he actually is. Who gives a crap about Japanese government and politics? His arrogant attitude is not justified by his useless knowledge about all of Japan's prime ministers. He grades like a complete jerk with the class average for the midterm being 47% and final 63%. While he teaches the information well and you will learn a lot, this will not be reflected in your grade unless you study your butt off and read like crazy...and even then you'll get an F. That being said, he grades on a curve, but overall, the class is a very unrewarding experience. He also thinks its funny to give pop quizzes with extremely hard questions that no one can answer about trivial details in the readings. Everony hated this class and agreed it is the worst class they have taken at UCLA.
If you're serious about political science, you must take this class. If you're a student who shows up and immediately checks out, browses Facebook, or does some online shopping, then this class isn't for you. This is an objectively difficult course. In fact half way through, Professor Thies revealed that without a curve most students would earn a D or C. Lots of people complain about the difficulty of his courses--and they're certainly right that it can get aggravating--but ultimately, this is UCLA. If you want a bunch of easy A's, if you want professors who haven't done anything, then go to CSUDH. This class requires a continuous group effort, which can be a problem if your group members are lazy. If you do end up compensating for others, simply let the professor know. Choose your group members wisely. Also, there are reading quizzes given sporadically. Do the readings. All of them, from start to finish. The grading breakdown is as follows: 10% reading quizzes 10% midterm #1 20% midterm #2 40% group grade (10, 10, 10, 5, 5) 20% individual grade All in all, the course is intensive, but incredibly interesting.
I took the Govt. of Japan course with Thies. My second poli sci course. I absolutely dreaded it. He keeps on telling the class that he'll curve your grade but honeslty he just ends up giving you a very low grade. Don't take him unless you desperately need to..meaning if his poli sci course is the only open course. Trust me, this is a review you don't want to ignore..