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UCSB College of Creative Studies

  1. Oct 28, 2009 #1
    I've been looking into Stanford and the Ivy's for my B.S. in Physics, but found out about a college in UCSB called the College of Creative Studies. The Wiki sums up it's uniqueness, but I'm not sure if it's statement, that it's one of the best Physics schools in the country, is true. Have you guys heard anything about this program? It sounds really fun and from what I've heard it's respected like the Ivy's.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_of_Creative_Studies" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2009 #2
    WOW that place looks awesome! I wish I had known about it when applying for undergrad.
  4. Oct 29, 2009 #3
    I was considering going there for my undergrad. I liked it because it gave the small school environment even though UCSB is a big state school. I ended up going to a fairly well-known liberal arts school instead as I got much more money from them. However, I think that you'd learn much more at the College of Creative Studies than you would at any of the big name schools, as their profs are much more focused on graduate students. Also, being in the CCS gives you first dibs at doing research during the school year or the summer with the physics faculty at UCSB, which is on par if not better than most Ivy league schools.
  5. Nov 2, 2009 #4
    Any other opinions?
  6. Nov 4, 2009 #5
    I am a recent graduate of the College of Creative Studies and I don't ever regret choosing to come the UCSB over Stanford and Brown (the two other places I was considering). I have had a great experience, both academically and socially. The coursework in the first two years of CCS physics is exceptionally difficult, but it prepares you very well for upper division courses, which we typically do very well in. It is also normal for a CCS physics major to begin taking upper division classes in freshmen or sophomore year: I took complex analysis (math) in my freshmen year and started on my physics electives sophomore year. Usually one gets involved in research during the summer after sophomore year--if not before. My first research experience was winter quarter of my freshman year, and I spent my junior and senior years working for one of the astrophysics faculty. There's lots more to talk about academic-wise, but I'll just leave it at that for now.

    There are a couple other benefits to studying physics at UCSB. First, people are friendly and generally pretty happy. It's a nice place to go to school and the environment is cooperative rather than competitive. CCS physics is stressful enough as it is and we tend to need help relaxing (rather than needing help working). The weather and location are gorgeous, and sometimes all you need to turn your day around is to walk past an egret your way to class. Second, the graduate program is relatively small and the faculty are very approachable. This means you will have ample opportunity for undergraduate research, and you will most likely be able to work on your own project, rather than just running some grad student's experiment.

    CCS is a great program, and definitely worth considering. The best way to find out if it's right for you is to visit. Leslie is the CCS undergraduate advisor and she'll put in you touch with one of the physics faculty ( (805) 893-5319 or leslie.campbell@ccs.ucsb.edu). Typically, you'll talk with Leslie and with the physics faculty, visit one of the CCS physics classes, and talk to a current student about what it's like to be in the program. If you want, you can try to arrange an over night visit--I stayed over for two nights with one of the current freshmen and found that UCSB and CCS were the perfect fit for me.

    Good luck!

    Ellie N.
  7. Nov 4, 2009 #6
    The Faculty is so young however their knowledge is absolute.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Nov 4, 2009 #7
    I too am a recent graduate of CCS - I chose the college over Harvard and Caltech and can honestly say that I never looked back/regretted my choice. The CCS physics program is geared towards pursuing a career in physics research (in academia or industry), so if you are fairly certain that's what you want to do, then CCS is the place for you. Also keep in mind that the UCSB physics department is ranked as one of the top ten physics departments by the US News & World Report (http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-physics-schools/rankings) - undergrad applicants tend to only know of UCSB's "party school" reputation. (A note on that: as at any University, if you want to, you can find a party - at UCSB this is easier since the bulk of the undergrad population is concentrated in the the small community of Isla Vista near campus - however, if you're not into hardcore partying (I never was), you will have no problem finding friends - and CCS is a great starting point.)

    We have a great reputation among grad schools - 3 of the physics majors in my graduating class went on to Cornell, one is studying at Cambridge for a year on a Winston Churchill scholarship before attending Harvard - and there are similar stories from other graduating classes.

    CCS has a great atmosphere - a good mixture of slightly quirky people who are intensely interested in their chosen field of study. I think the best thing you could do is to take Ellie N's advice and contact Leslie Campbell for more information - she is our CCS "Mom" and knows everything about the college. Good luck with your apps and decisions!

    Katie M
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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