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Alan Karras
Professor in the History department
at University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
are you Alan Karras?
Overall Quality
4.0
Average Grade
A-
Hotness
Helpfulness
3.8
Clarity
4.3
Easiness
2.9
Helpfulness
0
Clarity
0
Easiness
0
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55 Student Ratings
Rating Class Comment
07/26/2014
good
5 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: Not Mandatory Textbook Use: It's a must have Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: A-

My favorite professor so far at Berkeley! He seems intimidating at first and in lecture, but if you go into office hours he's great-- funny and helpful and really knows his stuff. There's a lot of required reading, he's very serious about no phones/computers in lecture. Overall the tests and essays are challenging but fair.

06/12/2014
good
4 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: Mandatory Textbook Use: You need it sometimes Rater Interest: Sorta interested Grade Received: A-

Best professor I have had at Cal. He seems intimidating at first, but his dry humor will grow on you. I liked the class because he encouraged questions and emphasized critical thinking. The reading for the class was reasonable but there were 3ish longer novels. Enforces the no phone rule VERY seriously. You will get kicked out of class.

06/11/2014
average
3 Helpfulness
3 Clarity
5 Easiness
PE 100 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: Mandatory Textbook Use: Barely cracked it open Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: A

The class is fairly easy and not that challenging. He does not allow laptops in class but he should keep in mind that there are students with disabilities who need this medium for note-taking. Otherwise an okay class.

10/21/2013
good
4 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
2 Easiness
PE 100 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: It's a must have Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: N/A

Very dynamic speaker. One of the best classes I've taken at UC Berkeley, made me glad I chose PE as a major. PE 100 is very theoretical but made it interesting. Some people don't like him because he blatantly calls on people who sleep in class. Electronics (laptop, cell phone, etc.) not allowed in class.

08/07/2013
poor
1 Helpfulness
1 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS 45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: What textbook? Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: N/A

Demeaning to his students. Know-it-all. Hated his class. Not sure why he's teaching at the number one public university. I usually give good reviews to all my professors because I always find something inspiring or positive about their classes..so for me to say this about a professor, it says a lot.

07/30/2013
poor
1 Helpfulness
1 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS 102 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: You need it sometimes Rater Interest: Meh Grade Received: N/A

By far the worst professor I've ever had. Extremely boring. Outside of class he is unhelpful and not very nice. Actually decreased the value of my Berkeley experience. Didn't learn anything except to avoid taking him ever again.

04/10/2013
poor
1 Helpfulness
2 Clarity
1 Easiness
IAS 102 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: It's a must have Rater Interest: Sorta interested Grade Received: N/A

Definitely the worst class that I've taken at UC Berkeley. I was expecting to be challenged and supported by my professor. Instead we read books that he didn't understand and, therefore, couldn't teach. Moreover, He is not very helpful nor respectful of students. I don't think he has ever really considered viewpoints besides his own.

10/05/2012
poor
1 Helpfulness
1 Clarity
5 Easiness
IAS102 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: What textbook? Rater Interest: It's my life Grade Received: N/A

He is certainly NOT the best and his teaching content and style are not very good. However, you can get an A in his class very easily.

04/04/2012
good
4 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
4 Easiness
IAS45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: Barely cracked it open Rater Interest: Sorta interested Grade Received: N/A

Wonderful Professor! He engages you in lectures and knows his topics extremely well. Is quirky and has great presence. Also VERY helpful in office hours and interested in his students.

12/07/2011
good
5 Helpfulness
4 Clarity
2 Easiness
IAS102 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: What textbook? Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: N/A

Taking a seminar with Karras is awesome. I can't believe how much he has challenged me. He really takes the time to get me to articulate clearly about my thesis and not be afraid to rethink my assumptions. Yes, he pushes hard and I guess if you are not ready to be pushed you're going to hate it. But if you are you up for it you will learn a lot!

11/16/2011
poor
2 Helpfulness
1 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS102 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: Essential to passing Rater Interest: Sorta interested Grade Received: N/A

I hate this seminar. It is long and redundant. We receive very few (or no) guidelines for our papers. I think Karras is a nice guy, but, after taking this class, I would warn any and all IAS students not to take the honors seminar, unless you want an enjoyable year. Wow, I really detest this class.

10/15/2011
poor
2 Helpfulness
2 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS102 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: Essential to passing Rater Interest: Low Grade Received: N/A

Having to sit through a seminar-based class with Karras is torture. He is peremptory about his viewpoints, and condescending toward students. While the organization of the class is satisfactory, his attitude makes the course rather unenjoyable. I am afraid that Karras does not compare to the many great profs at Berkeley (though he thinks he does).

01/16/2010
good
3 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
2 Easiness
PEIS100 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: Essential to passing Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: N/A

The guy is a genius. Knows his stuff front to back. Will make you rethink people you thought you knew like Smith and Marx. A lot of reading, but it's worth it!!! One of the best teachers I ever had.

12/27/2009
good
3 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
3 Easiness
PEIS100 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: You need it sometimes Rater Interest: It's my life Grade Received: N/A

Hands down one of the best professors at Cal. Amazing class, tons of reading, but the reader and books are all very cheap. The lectures are both entertaining and engaging, and he truly knows his stuff. I have used things I learned in his class in almost every other class I have taken in some form or another.

05/11/2009
good
3 Helpfulness
4 Clarity
4 Easiness
IAS45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: What textbook? Rater Interest: Sorta interested Grade Received: N/A

I disagree, the tests are extremely fair. They test how well you can make an argument about an historical process using examples from world history! Karras is extremely intelligent, clear, and hilarious. Also, interesting new perspectives. If you enjoy history and "thinking like an historian", you will thrive in this class.

04/02/2009
average
2 Helpfulness
4 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: Essential to passing Rater Interest: Low Grade Received: N/A

Be warned, these ratings are misleading. Issue is not the material it's the exams, they are written poorly,oddly weighted, irrelevant & hardly test you on the actual material. His GSIs are as useless as he is when it comes to exam prep. Berk rep & out of state tuition I pay should not be left to their discretion. AVOID KARRAS!

12/14/2008
good
4 Helpfulness
4 Clarity
2 Easiness
PEIS100 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: Essential to passing Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: N/A

Very good professor. Challenged everyone to question the authors we were reading. This class is a very theoretical class - not a ton of memorization, but there is a TON of reading. Just learn the general theories of the authors and you'll be fine for tests. Be sure to find conflicts between various authors.

09/12/2008
good
5 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
2 Easiness
IAS45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: It's a must have Rater Interest: Really into it Grade Received: N/A

Awesome professor. One of the best at Berkeley! If you have a chance to work with him on a thesis, I would take it in a heartbeat. He has wonderful command of methods and has amazing logical clarity in thinking about arguments. Very knowledgeable about many different fields as well.

04/29/2008
good
5 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
3 Easiness
PEIS100 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: It's a must have Rater Interest: It's my life Grade Received: N/A

One of the best Professor at Berkeley (ie in my top two or three). He very much encouraged us to challenge and question the philosophies we studied. Great orator. Very clear, comprehensive and left time at the end of class for debate and discussion. In his last lecture, he nearly brought me to tears as he challenges us to change the world. A class

04/05/2008
good
5 Helpfulness
5 Clarity
3 Easiness
IAS45 Taken for Credit:N/A Attendance: N/A Textbook Use: Essential to passing Rater Interest: It's my life Grade Received: N/A

I love this Professor a lot. He is by far the best that I have ever taken, he is very clear and concise. Though there is quite a lot of reading, if you stick to it and do your half as a student you should end up with an A, I got a B, but I slacked off a bit. Also make sure that you get a really good GSI. All-in-all he was an amazing professor.

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