Welcome to the Luskin School of Public Affairs! The B.A. in Public Affairs is a one of a kind, in-depth, and engaged educational experience. This program is honored to be joined by transfer students from various locations across the country. As a transfer student, you will spend two years laying the groundwork for what promises to be an amazing and unique opportunity to analyze information, use evidence for decision-making, and make compelling arguments for collective action. Through your participation in this program you are preparing to be the future leaders of our world. Leaders who will immediately, and effectively, bring about social change.
Before you arrive on campus
Statistical Package R “Boot Camp”
If you did not use the statistical package R Studio during Community College, or in your professional experiences, you should make time to review the free online resources before starting classes at UCLA, especially before taking PUB AFF 115 and before beginning the capstone requirement.
Experiential Learning Capstone Interest Survey
Students pursuing the B.A. in Public Affairs complete a three-quarter experiential learning capstone in their final year at UCLA. The Public Affairs Undergraduate Program coordinates the annual capstone internship matching process, where students interview with community organizations in order to secure a capstone internship site. All eligible public affairs majors complete the Capstone Internship Survey as a precursor to the internship matching process. New transfer students will receive the survey link after they complete their new student session (or, orientation) in the summer. Contact the Public Affairs Capstone Advisor and Coordinator via MyUCLA Message Center for questions about the Public Affairs experiential learning capstone.
2-year Plan of Study
The Public Affairs program offers a lot of flexibility with upper division course selection, and it pairs well with many of the campus minors. We encourage you to embrace this academic freedom by customizing a 2-year plan of study. This plan should be a “living” document, adapting and growing throughout your time on campus. You can view a sample 2-year plan here. To outline a personalized program plan, contact a Luskin Undergraduate Program academic counselor here.
Your first month
The Quarter System
Don’t forget, UCLA is on the quarter system. This means you get to choose new classes three times a year: Fall, Winter, and Spring (Summer is optional). Each quarter, your classes will run for 11-weeks (10 weeks of class sessions, 1 week of finals).
While it may feel like you are sprinting from the first day of classes, to midterms, and then straight to finals, there are many benefits to the quarter system. Namely, you have more opportunities to take fun, interesting courses and to participate in other academic or non-academic programs. Plus, if you’re not enjoying a class, have no fear, it will be done in 10 short weeks!
You can view your quarterly enrollment appointment times on the Registrar’s Office website.
Requirements and Courses
Take some time to familiarize yourself with your major requirements and your double major or minor options. The B.A. in Public Affairs Checklist for Transfer Students can help you prepare your two-year plan of study, while the Public Affairs course offerings list can help ensure you get the classes that are the most relevant to your interests and goals.
UCLA currently offers NINETY-FIVE minors! That kind of variety allows students to customize their learning experience as they see fit. Currently, Public Affairs majors are exploring minors such as:
- Chicana and Chicano Studies
- Civic Engagement
- Food Studies
- Global Studies
- International Migration Studies
- Labor and Workplace Studies
If you’re interested in a double-major, make sure to reach out to the advisor for your secondary major as soon as possible so you can coordinate requirements and plan your schedule. Not sure whom to meet with or how to get started? Schedule an appointment with a Public Affairs advisor.
Your first quarter
Meet with an Undergraduate Advisor
We highly recommend you schedule an introductory meeting with one of the members of our Undergraduate Team during the Fall Quarter. Not only do we want to meet you and say hi but also, we can help you organize your goals and map out your plan of action for your time at UCLA. You can schedule an appointment with us via MyUCLA Message Center.
We are never short on events in the Luskin School of Public Affairs. Specific events for you and other Public Affairs Undergrads will be announced throughout the year, but keep an eye on our weekly Luskin Undergraduate Newsletter for all opportunities.
The Newsletter will be emailed to you weekly and is designed to be a one-stop shop of opportunities that may be of interest to you. We include on and off campus events, internship, funding, and job opportunities, as well as anything else we feel is relevant to Public Affairs.
Your first year
Resources, Resources, Resources
Take advantage of the many resources campus has to offer. All of the resources, plus many more, can support your academic, professional, mental, emotional, and physical well-being and happiness.
Involvement and Leadership Opportunities
UCLA transfer student are encouraged to participate in the myriad of opportunities available to all UCLA undergraduate students. The Public Affairs Undergraduate Program encourages you to meet with a Luskin academic counselor (linked here) to discuss your academic, professional, and personal goals, and outline a strategic degree plan that reflects these goals. Open the tabs below to learn more about some of the opportunities available to you.
California Policy: UC Center Sacramento (UCCS)
Overview of UC Center Sacramento
The University of California Center Sacramento (or, UCCS) advances the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service with an integrated program to train future state leaders, to address challenging public-policy issues confronted by the nation and state, and to carry out the University’s mandate to assist state government.
UCCS is located one block from the State Capitol Building. Operated by UC Davis, UCCS offers a distinctive academic program in public policy to students from throughout the university’s 10-campus system. The program provides students with an opportunity to study through seminars and internships in and around the state Capitol.
Learn More and Apply to UCCS
Visit the UC Center Sacramento Program Dates and Deadlines website here for information about the application process and deadlines. To learn more about the program, contact the UCLA UCCS Program Representative here.
Applying UC Center Sacramento Course Work Toward Degree Requirements
Courses completed through UC Center Sacramento can satisfy degree requirements. Contact the Luskin Undergraduate Program academic counselors to discuss applying your UCCS course work toward degree requirements.
Students pursuing the B.A. in Public Affairs who participate in UCCS can petition to satisfy the first quarter of the public affairs experiential learning capstone requirement. Learn more about the public affairs experiential learning capstone here.
National Policy: UCLA Quarter in Washington Program
Overview of the Program
Since fall 1990, the UCLA Quarter in Washington Program (or, UCDC) has offered students the only UCLA opportunity to intern in Washington, DC while remaining a full-time UCLA student. Quarter in Washington sends 30 UCLA undergraduates to study in Washington each fall, winter, and spring quarter. Each quarter offers the same one-on-one faculty interaction and meaningful internship placements.
The program offers a structured and supportive introduction to independent research, intensive attention to students’ intellectual development and writing skills, exciting internships, and the chance to make life-long career connections at the national level.
Learn More and Apply to Quarter in Washington
Visit the Quarter in Washington Program website here for information about the application process and deadlines. To learn more about the program, contact the Quarter in Washington Program Representative here.
Applying Quarter in Washington Course Work Toward Degree Requirements
Courses completed through Quarter in Washington can satisfy degree requirements. Contact the Luskin Undergraduate Program academic counselors to discuss applying your Quarter in Washington course work toward degree requirements.
Students pursuing the B.A. in Public Affairs who participate in Quarter in Washington can petition to satisfy the first quarter of the public affairs experiential learning capstone requirement. Learn more about the public affairs experiential learning capstone here.
International Study: UCEAP and UCLA Global Internship Program
UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP)
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) is the official, system-wide study abroad program for the University of California. UCEAP is partnered with 115 universities worldwide and offers programs in 42 countries. These UC-approved programs combine immersive learning with engaging activities. UCEAP students enroll in courses abroad while earning UC units and maintaining UCLA student status. Many programs offer internships, research, and volunteer opportunities.
Visit the UCEAP website here to explore programs and learn more about the application process for each program.
UCLA Global Internship Program (GIP)
Students who participate in the UCEAP UCLA Global Internship Program intern with organizations and companies abroad for academic credit! The Global Internship Program offers an array of work opportunities in diverse career sectors and locations throughout the globe. The program is a great way to increase industry knowledge and employability. Internship placements are approximately 8 weeks long in all program locations. Internship are for academic credit only and are unpaid.
Applying UCEAP and GIP Course Work Toward Degree Requirements
Courses completed through UCEAP and UCLA Global Internship Program can satisfy degree requirements. Contact the Luskin Undergraduate Program academic counselors to discuss applying your UCEAP and UCLA Global Internship Program course work toward degree requirements.
Students pursuing the B.A. in Public Affairs who participate in the UCLA Global Internship Program can petition to satisfy the first quarter of the public affairs experiential learning capstone requirement. Learn more about the public affairs experiential learning capstone here.
Why Do Research?
Conducting research as an undergraduate is an excellent way to gain experiences and skills that will benefit you both academically and professionally, preparing you for graduate school and a wide variety of careers.
Participating in undergraduate research allows you to:
- Work one-on-one with faculty
- Participate in cutting-edge research projects with far-reaching impacts
- Make significant contributions to a field you care about
- Enhance your competitiveness for high-level employment and admission to graduate and professional schools
UCLA Undergraduate Research Center for Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
The UCLA Undergraduate Research Center for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences serves all students in humanities, arts, social science, and behavioral science disciplines. Explore the URC website to learn more about the research opportunities, programs, and services available to undergraduate students. You can visit the URC undergraduate research portal to search for undergraduate research opportunities.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities for Luskin Undergraduates
Visit the Luskin Undergraduate Research website here to explore the research opportunities the Luskin School of Public Affairs offers to undergraduate students. Visit to Luskin faculty page to learn more about the research conducted by Luskin faculty.
Earn Course Credit for Undergraduate Research
UCLA undergraduate students can earn course credit if they are participating in research. Undergraduate research courses are numbered 99 (lower division Student Research Program) and 196-199 (upper division research tutorials). Students pursuing the B.A. in Public Affairs or a Luskin minor, can petition to have upper division research tutorials satisfy major or minor requirements. To learn more about research tutorials, how to enroll in research tutorials, and when to enroll in research tutorials, contact the Luskin Undergraduate Program academic counselors via MyUCLA Message Center.
Involvement and Career Readiness
Students who are participating in internships have the opportunity to request to earn course credit for an internship. Internship courses are upper division tutorials numbered 195 or 195CE. To be eligible to earn course credit for an internship, students must meet the eligibility criteria and the internship must meet the learning objectives of an internship course. To learn more about internship courses, visit the UCLA Center for Community Engagement internship courses website here.
Center for Community Engagement
The UCLA Center for Community Engagement connects UCLA undergraduates with the diverse communities of Los Angeles through meaningful, interdisciplinary work that emphasizes academic excellence within undergraduate education. CCE also offers community engaged research opportunities and scholarships to UCLA students. These programs include: Community Engagement and Social Change Minor, Astin Community Engaged Scholars, Change Maker Scholars, Jumpstart, and JusticeCorps. Visit the Center for Community Learning to learn more about these programs.
UCLA Career Center
The UCLA Career Center offers services and programming the fosters and supports students’ career readiness. To access Career Center services, students must login to their Handshake account. Through Handshake students can schedule appointments with a career engagement educator, receive resume and cover letter feedback, register for career center events, and search for and apply to internships and jobs. Visit the UCLA Career Center website to learn more about the services available to students.
Transfer Community Spotlight
The 2020-2021 Transfer Community Spotlight features…
Silvia R. Gonzalez
PhD, Urban Planning, 2020, UCLA
MURP, Community Economic Development Concentration, 2013, UCLA
BA, Geography/Environmental Studies, minor in Urban & Regional Studies, 2009, UCLA
AA, Child Development, 2006, Los Angeles Valley College
My undergraduate degree in geography/environmental studies exposed me to frameworks, ideas, and thought leaders on the challenges our cities and the environment are facing. But it left me wondering what these impacts meant for people of color. It was this lack of discussion on people that led me to pursue a degree in urban planning. I was inspired to pursue a PhD because my experience at UCLA exposed me to faculty, staff and other students who were passionate about using research as a tool to improve the lives of low-income communities of color, like the one I grew up in. I am a non-traditional student. I was raising two young children when I transferred to UCLA and was 26 years old. As a parenting student, I decided to pursue opportunities that would help me build skills that would prepare me get a job after graduation. This included working at different labs/research centers on campus. I also volunteered at a community garden with other students interested in promoting sustainable agriculture. I used my experience at the garden to write a thesis through my department’s honors program. I actively looked for opportunities to get involved with special interest student groups that aligned with my interests, and this made a huge difference in my experience. Through these experiences I met some of my closest friends that continue to be a part of my life more than a decade later after graduation.
My first piece of advice is to look for opportunities to engage other students. My first few weeks at UCLA were lonely. I often asked myself how I could feel so alone in such a busy space, a space full of people. I changed this experience by getting out of my comfort zone and actively looking for opportunities to meet others. Second, get to know your professors and teaching assistants. In community college, professors rarely have office hours and we don’t have teaching assistants so to me going to office hours was awkward! By going to office hours, you get to build a relationship with your instructors, which may lead to job opportunities in the future. Think about your professors and teaching assistants as part of your professional network, which you can tap to kickoff your career.