Ratings for Sethian, J
Based on 75 ratings for this instructor.
Comment: Sethian is a really good guy. He cares a lot about his students and makes himself very available for questions during office hours and after class. Unlike a lot of Berkeley math professors, he's unpretentious and approachable. His main goal is for students to understand the material, not to prove to everyone how smart he is. Granted, his assignments are very long and his exams are unpredictable (when I took 53, the second midterm was insanely easy and the final was the hardest math test I've ever taken). If you're looking for a pushover, don't take a class with Sethian. But if you want to really learn the material and be inspired by an enthusiastic and caring professor, this is your guy.
Submitted Nov. 5th, 2015
Comment: Best math professor at Berkeley. Sethian is truly a great teacher. His lectures are completely clear and understandable in every sense. He regularly uses objects like his sweater or brooms as surfaces and vectors in order to help a student grasp the very spatial concepts of Math 53. Sethian also regularly stops lecture about 8-10 to make sure that everyone is on track with what he is saying and ask for questions in regard to the material. Answers to these questions are really insightful and help you to obtain a deeper knowledge of the material even if you were tracking the lecture perfectly. Sethian is also a very nice professor is genuinely concerned about teaching. Honestly, there is nothing bad at all about Sethian. I have and will continue to recommend him to anyone who has the opportunity to have him as a professor because he is very much worth it.
Submitted Aug. 29th, 2015
Comment: Sethian exuded an enthusiasm about math and sense of humor that made getting up for each of his 8 am lectures worthwhile. The homework load was rather excessive, but lots of practice is key for mastering Math 53, or any math class for that matter. I personally founded the midterms to be slightly too long, but the individual problems themselves to be manageable. The final exam was the length of the midterm, but many of the questions were curveballs not resembling textbook problems in the slightest. Thankfully, the exams were not very proof-based.
Submitted May 30th, 2015
Comment: I would not take this guy. Look at his grade distribution on scheduleBuilder and you'll know why. Assignments are long as hell. You basically do every problem in the book. Exams are either a gimme or ridiculously hard. The only thing I would count good in this class is that the professor was extremely enthusiastic about the material, even at 8ams, to which I only attended around 4 times outside of tests.
Submitted Dec. 29th, 2013
Comment: Great lecturer. He takes the time to make sure people understand course material. Also brings enthusiasm and humor that made the 8am lecture worth going to. Weekly homework takes a lot of time (10+ hours each week), but it helped me to understand the material much better. Tests were fair.
Submitted July 24th, 2013
Comment: I was apprehensive going into Sethian's class after reading his reviews and checking out the horrific grade distribution from the last time he taught. However, I found him to be one of the best math professors (or math teachers in general) that I've ever had. Yes, it was an 8am, but I think I only missed about two classes. Lectures were generally entertaining and helpful (though concepts were easy enough to understand if you didn't attend); he was able to frame concepts in many different perspectives for students that didn't understand it the first time around. Assignments were ridiculously long, but if you completed all of them, the quizzes and tests ended up being very fair because you'd really master the material. Many students complained about the tests, but I think they were rather simplistic and beautiful in nature. It sounds weird to say about a math test, but sometimes you just had to start the problem before you realized how nicely it turned out. If you were spending more than 10 minutes on a problem, you really were doing it wrong, as someone else stated. Long story short, Sethian is a great professor who really cares about his students learning and understanding the material. His lectures, homework, and exams all reflect that. 10/10 would take again.
Submitted June 9th, 2013
Comment: 1. tons of assignments, repeating easy questions. 2. this guy has enthusiasm, yes he does, but his lecture is too easy for me to go 3. I don't really go to a lot of his office hours, but he can explain things. 4. exams are easy. I mean it, compared to other professors
Submitted May 20th, 2013
Comment: Assignments: homeworks assigned were long.... But you didn't necessarily have to do every problem. Homeworks go under section grade, which account for only 10% of your overall grade. I recommend getting a solutions guide to the book (all the answers to odd problems are explained) Enthusiasm/helpfulness: probably one of the best explainers of math concepts out there. He takes time to explain tough concepts... Usually always stopping to answer questions thoroughly. Exams: most of the questions would be right out of the book and the amount of computation you have to do is usually minimal. If you're spending more than 10 minutes answering a problem... There's probably an easier way to do it. The final exam, in my opinion, was very fair.... And sethian offers to replace your whole grade with your final exam grade IF your final grade is higher. In all, I'd definitely recommend sethian. Not a math major.... But enjoyed the class.
Submitted May 20th, 2013