UCSD Reviews (6)

UCSD Reviews (6)

As part of my master’s degree, I took the opportunity to go to the USA as a free mover. After contacting a number of universities, I decided to apply to UC San Diego. The reasons for this are easy to name: In the field of economics, UCSD is one of the best American addresses, the tuition fees are relatively low thanks to the quarter system, and the university is located in sunny southern California.

When applying, I made use of the excellent support from your website. It certainly does not increase the chances of acceptance, but it saves you some effort and costs (e.g. having GRE and TOEFL test scores sent). From my point of view, the hurdle to admission was not primarily the general application at the university, but the admission to the individual courses on site. In any case, I soon got my approval from UCSD along with some information about immigration, flights, accommodation, registration and health insurance.

For everyone interested: The F1 student visa costs around CHF 400 and only requires a visit to the embassy. You should book the flight as soon as possible and as (compulsory) health insurance, in my opinion, additional insurance for your existing KV is recommended.

When you arrive at UCSD, you first end up with the introduction by the UCSD Extension. This is a separate unit of the university that looks after the international students. So be prepared for the fact that in some respects you will initially be treated as second-class students. This applies in particular to the choice of courses, for which you cannot enroll online. Instead, you have to contact the professors individually and ask for admission. Incidentally, there is a clear difference here between undergraduate and graduate students: As a Bachelor you can only register in the third week of the semester in Economics, while Master’s students can choose their courses from the first week onwards (however, a course fee of 100 dollars in each case have to pay).

I had decided on three courses, which corresponded to 12 US credits and 18 ECTS. This is also the number that is included in the tuition fees ($ 5,700 all in all, but has now been increased significantly!). Additional courses, including language courses, must be paid for separately.

My courses were as follows:

Econ 247. Empirical Topics in International Economics (Prof. Muendler)
A course for doctoral students in their second or third year that deals in depth with models of trading theory. The level of requirements is tough, the effort is high due to two weekly homework, a presentation and a research proposal, but I also learned a lot for that. From the origins at Ricardo to the latest models, the entire spectrum is covered and the students are obliged to read and summarize all relevant papers. For every student interested in the topic, I can only give one absolute recommendation, especially since Professor Muendler is extremely competent and friendly. Check hetongdiy to see more reviews from current students.

IRCO 412. Globalization, the World System and the Pacific (Prof. Naughton & Prof. Haggard)
This course is offered by the IR / PS Department and covers all economic and political aspects of globalization: the emergence of global markets, financial flows, distributional effects, multinational organizations and companies, effects of development aid, as well as the financial crisis of 2008. The broad spectrum is reflected in a very extensive list of literature. Again, all of the texts are required reading, so the effort is also quite high. Furthermore, four assignments, a midterm and a final exam have to be written. The reward for the effort is a very good overview of all relevant topics in the current globalization debate.

IRGN 486. Economic and Social Development of China (Prof. Naughton)
For the area of ​​reflective skills, I have chosen a very good course on the development of China. Professor Naughton is a highly respected expert on the Chinese economy and can therefore offer an excellent insight into the achievements and problems of the emerging nation through his book. From my point of view, such a course should actually be compulsory for every student, because you learn an incredible amount about the second most important economy on earth and China often misses out on your studies. So here, too, a crystal clear recommendation from my side. The level of difficulty is not quite as high as in the other two courses I have chosen. In addition to two midterms, there is a research paper (around 15 pages) and a presentation to do.

All in all, I was able to take three very interesting courses and had no problems registering for them. On the contrary, the professors were very happy about my request and were always available during the semester. A look at the UCSD website should give you the opportunity to see whether interesting courses are being offered in the semester that is relevant to you. Usually, however, the selection is very large.

Now a few more sentences about life outside the university. Of course, the location offers ideal conditions for fantastic excursions. I myself have visited the following places with other exchange students:

  • Las Vegas: a city impressive in every way, must-see, very inexpensive and only a five-hour drive from San Diego.
  • Grand Canyon: about three hours east of Las Vegas, without a doubt a must-see, be sure to pass the Hoover Dam on the way.
  • San Francisco: a good eight to ten hours from San Diego, but with a very recommendable coastal road (Highway 1) and otherwise well worth the effort, a beautiful city
  • Los Angeles: thanks to a local student I was able to see the beautiful sides of the huge city, Hollywood is certainly not one of them
  • Joshua Tree National Park: an impressive national park, around three hours from San Diego, must be visited
  • San Diego: very chic Gaslamp Quarter with wonderful restaurants, beautiful harbor, fantastic beaches in Mission Beach, PB, and La Jolla
  • However, you soon realize that all these excursions cost a lot of time, which is already severely limited by the university obligations (if you are a Bachelor student: things look different for you, you will certainly have more time). Therefore, you should arrive a few weeks before the start of the semester and treat yourself to a few weeks after the finals.

Costs:
Without a doubt, an exchange semester at UCSD is not cheap. With tuition fees (around 6,000 dollars), rent (around 1,000 dollars per month) and other expenses at the Swiss level, you should budget up to 15,000 dollars. The weekend trips and shopping (cheap & beautiful outlet stores!) Also add to the bill. On the other hand, it should also be noted that practically all other good universities in the USA already charge more than $ 10,000 tuition fees for one semester!

Car:
I got by without a car, but that was because my roommate had one. In any case, you need a car for shopping and traveling. The free bus is also ideal for everyday university life if you live close enough to the campus.

Accommodation:
I booked the all-round carefree package from AC Housing before my departure. The thought was that I didn’t want to waste any time or nerves looking for an apartment on site. And for a slightly higher rent you actually get a clean, large, well-maintained apartment close to the university. If you have the choice, I would recommend the La Mirada apartment complex. Very quiet, good location, extremely well-kept and great service. As far as I know, everyone who searched on site did not get away with it much cheaper, but had more stress and a certain risk.

TOEFL:
Required for application, but shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.

Campus:
The UCSD campus is huge and you will therefore travel a few kilometers here. There are a multitude of beautiful places and around two dozen restaurants, only one of which I will positively remember Home Plate (after a few weeks you don’t want to see fast food anymore).

Weather:
It is actually always 20-25 ° C and sun, rarely warmer or colder. There was rain in four months on maybe 5-10 days (falls more at night). Even in December it is usually still over 18 ° C and sunny, so that there is no need for winter clothing.

All in all, I had a fantastic time in San Diego and can recommend a semester abroad there. For your money, you get the opportunity to study at a very prestigious university in the USA and to explore beautiful California.

If you have any further questions, feel free to write me an email!

UCSD Ethnic Studies Department

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