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"I get very bright kids. I get
the chance to try out new courses, new teaching
methods, new intellectual directions. It's a wonderful laboratory
with outstanding, bright students."
— Professor Robert B. Goldberg
seeds of Honors Programs were sown in the late '70s when
Eugen Weber, then dean of the College of Letters & Science (now
known as the UCLA College), and his colleagues developed a lower-division
program for gifted first-year and sophomore students that offered
interdisciplinary classes with specific honors coursework. By the
'80s, there were about 250 students enrolled in the program, says
G. Jennifer Wilson, assistant vice provost for Honors.
then, as they are now, were high achievers who usually planned on
earning advanced degrees, Wilson says. They were keenly aware of
how tough the competition was, and they knew that honors would give
them an edge when applying for graduate programs.
same is true of Honors Programs students today. "They want
the best out of their education," Wilson says. "They want
to have as rich an experience as possible."
highly competitive program is designed "to nurture the whole
student academically, socially, emotionally and intellectually,"
according to Honors literature. To qualify, entering freshmen need
at least a 1380 SAT or 31 ACT with a 3.9 weighted GPA, or they must
be in the top 3 percent of their graduating class. Transfer students
need a 3.5 GPA, and continuing UCLA students must have a 3.5 GPA
on 12 graded UCLA units, plus the ability to complete the program
in an appropriate amount of time.
in the program come from diverse ethnic, socioeconomic and academic
backgrounds, and that creates "a very exciting intellectual
environment," says Professor of Molecular, Cell and Developmental
Biology Robert B. Goldberg, who teaches an Honors course on genetic
engineering in medicine, agriculture and law. "I get very bright
kids. I get the chance to try out new courses, new teaching methods,
new intellectual directions. It's a wonderful laboratory with outstanding,
bright students. It's very novel from an educational point of view."