Costanzo, Philip  

Chemistry and Biochemistry

3.45/4.00

29 evaluations


CHEM 312


Junior
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2007
Costanzo is a very young professor and remembers what it is like to be a student. He explains all of the material very clearly and lets you know EXACTLY what you need to know for the exams. There are five quizzes (the lowest one gets dropped) which are very straight forward and help boost your grade. This was my fourth quarter of chemistry, and it was the only one I actually enjoyed. I also had Costanzo for lab. Again, he made the labs very easy to understand and they were very painless. I would highly recommend taking him in any lab or lecture. Finally Cal Poly hired a new professor who is actually good.


Junior
N/A
Required (Support)
Dec 2007
I swear this guy is bi-polar! At times he seems like a really nice guy, but then he can be a HUGE jerk. He goes WAY WAY too fast, scribbles on the bored, way unorganized....the class most often just sat in shock staring at the bored. The first midterm average was a 68 and he didn't curve it. If you'd ask questions, he'd ask questions back at you, making you feel stupid. In lab, he graded your participation grade on if you asked questions or not - if you asked him any, he gave you a lower score! He wast just overall horrible. Oh and another thing. Make sure you turn off your cell phone or he will definitely embarrass you about it!


Senior
A
Elective
Jan 2008
Dr. Costanzo is a very young professor but impressed me a lot. He is not an "easy" teacher but he is a very fair teacher. He doesn't curve but he is painfully clear as to what is going to be on the quizzes and tests. He has 5 quizzes and he drops your lowest score (very nice). He is a very nice and respectful teacher as long as you respect him. He gives many handouts with practice problems that are very helpful and he goes out of his way to help you if you are struggling. I missed a class period due to a surgery and he spent 2 hours explaining the information to me in his office hours. His labs are relatively easy but make sure you read it before hand and go to office hours if you need help with the write-ups. He is an extremely nice and extremely smart professor. he doesn't take bull shit from anybody so don't use that as a strategy to try to pass the course. This class is not by any means easy but it's organic chemistry - it will never be an easy class with any teacher. Bottom line: he is fair and kind and gives you more than enough opportunity to learn the material well and get a good grade. You have to put in effort!!


Senior
A
Elective
May 2008
Professor Costanzo was an exceptional teacher. The class is hard, any organic chemistry class is going to be hard. However, professor Costanzo really demonstrated a love for his subject and he conveyed that to our class by the way he taught. he is very open to questions, he will spend tons of extra time in office hours going over the work. he gives practice problems and review sheets for the tests. I also had him for lab and he was fun and fair. His tests are difficult but if you do the practice problems he gives you, you should be fine. he doesn't tolerate people who don't try, get a bad grade ,and then complain. Also, he doesn't curve. But, he is a great teacher! I would take his class again hands down!


Junior
A
Required (Support)
Jun 2010
Costanzo is possibly my favorite teacher I\'ve had at Cal Poly. He understands that the students taking 312 are there to fulfill a requirement and aren\'t necessarily chem or biochem majors, so while the material can be hard, he finds ways to make it more interesting and applicable to other disciplines. He has a tendency to go over things quickly in lecture, but is more than happy to answer questions or give help in office hours. The exams are tough but fair - he tells you exactly what will be on them and they\'re usually very similar to the worksheets he provides. Given the opportunity, I would take another class with Costanzo in an instant.


Junior
C
Elective
Feb 2012
Moderated Comment
He has a great guy image and I used to really like him... . Sucks, he was awesome.


5th Year Senior
A
General Ed
Dec 2012
So much attitude for a very meh teacher


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Nov 2013
Costanzo is the best chem teacher out there. He knows how to deliver the material clearly and is very helpful when questions are asked. He usually has a workshop to go with his class and it is the only reason i am doing so well in the class. Costanzo also gives you exactly what to study for each quiz and exam. Take his class!


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2013
Dr. Costanzo is the key to O-chem. and he's adorable.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2014
Costanzo is the greatest professor I've ever had at Poly. He is energetic, extremely knowledgeable, and super approachable if you're struggling. He's always very clear about what is on the exams and what you need to study. Doesn't mask the fact that Ochem is a hard subject; make sure to go to EVERY lecture and EVERY lab because he does go pretty fast and it's easy to fall behind (labs are pretty fun so that shouldn't be an issue).


Senior
F
Required (Major)
Dec 2015
Professor Constanzo is a great guy. Even though I got an F, I have no hard feelings with him and I'm going to agree with the other great reviews about this professor. He's young, he's energetic, and he's obviously passionate about Ochem. Here's my only issue with the class he taught: he's so good at simplifying the material, it's very easy to feel overconfident about what you are learning and underestimate his quizzes and tests. You MUST MUST MUST listen to him. If he tells you to begin studying on a certain day, you gotta do it. He's an excellent professor but this is NOT an easy class. There is nothing he does to make it easier than the other classes- it's all on you to take him seriously and heed his every bit of advice offered. Go to his office hours AND the free tutoring offered by the Frat in the science building. This was something I failed to do and I wish I had done it early on. The important thing to know is that Costanzo does not try to trick you. He is one of the most understanding professors I've seen and will literally help you pass the class IF you show him improvement/talk to him about it. If you're slipping up, he will try to seek you out and help you as best he can. Just know that there are a LOT of nomenclature, synthesis, and reaction problems on ALL the tests (and the quizzes after week 4). And GO TO EVERY LECTURE. Seriously. You may be an A student when it comes to science classes, but go to his every.day. The *fun* stuff he refers to as "Grandma Slides" are going to be on the TESTS. And you will have to answer questions in detail about them, you cannot just glance at the powerpoints and expect to be ok. Also, just memorize the elements of the periodic table that are most frequently used in Ochem (he'll tell you week 1). You need to memorize the position of the elements so you can quickly refer to electronegativities and sizes of various atoms. My advice: don't get cocky like I did. I had everything down on week 3, then felt overly optimistic about the next tests/quizzes. I got my next quiz back and that sucked. The next test was even worse. I fell into a slum and was too embarrassed to visit the professor and get the help I needed. I convinced myself I could teach myself and catch up on my own. Don't fall into that trap. If you did not heed my advice ^ or Costanzo's, early on DO NOT GIVE UP. Visit him the first moment you receive an unexpected grade or don't understand a concept. He will tell you everything builds on top of each other. You gotta believe him.The only thing that doesn't get carried over onto the next tests and quizzes are: drawing orbitals (s,p,d), and bond angles. EVERYTHING else you should expect to be tested on multiple times. This class was not impossible but it's not an easy A. I got an F because I got cocky in the beginning, didn't do enough practice problems/repetition middle of the quarter or utilize the resources available to me, and I could not catch up to the material I fell behind on because I was too embarrassed to talk to the professor. Should you not pass the class... don't feel bad. Recognize why you didn't succeed and avoid them the next time you take the class. My graduation is offset now by half a year because I didn't pass this class. But I accept that because it was 100% on me. Take Costanzo, don't get overconfident, and be sure to let him know what's going on/what your concerns are so he can help you!


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2016
Costanzo is the bomb. I sucked the crap out of ochem and he really went above and beyond to help me out literally in any way he could. My grade does not reflect how much I learned in his class. He keeps lectures crazy interesting and always finds a way to connect the material to every day life or just things normal people care about. He doesn't curve which is a huge bummer and his quizzes are pretty tough unless you stay on top of the material. The two midterms are not crazy hard again, they are modeled like the quizzes so you know what's going to hit you. He gave a heads up on every topic that would be on the exam which was awesome, but just a bummer for me that I wasn't naturally good at ochem. The final is easier than the midterms in my opinion but you still definitely need to study a ton!

CHEM 316


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2008
Dr, Costanzo is very helpful. He will look over your lab report before you turn it in and tell you what you should fix on it--this basically guarantees you will get 100% on it. He taught the Chem 316 lab because there were no more teachers and there were about 14 of us trying to get into a lab section. He decided to teach it last minute but was completely prepared and willing to help each of us anyways. His labs were always really laid back, as well as his office hours. He helped the 316 students a lot, even though he wasn't teaching the 316 lecture he would go out of his way to help us on homework problems. Dr. Costanzo is a great teacher and if I could have taken another class with him again, I would in a heartbeat. Don't be fooled by how he looks--when he walked in, everyone thought he was a student because he's really young--but he really knows his stuff and won't put up with your crap!


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2010
Costanzo is a badass. You take Costanzo if you want to learn. Not an easy class but comparing my level of understanding to students with other ochem professors, I seem to know so much more. Probably the hardest of the ochem professors but I don\'t regret taking him for an istant.


Sophomore
F
Required (Major)
Jan 2011
Hes young, funny, and a genuinely cool guy. He is passionate about the subject and he seems to really care for his students. He also expects a hell of a lot from his students...Ochem is tough but he makes it tougher...He moves through the material lightning fast and isn't as clear as he should be. I put 10x as much work in for his class to get an F as my friends did in other 316 classes to get Bs and Cs. I wouldnt say he is impossible but for students that dont get Ochem intrinsically Costanzo is a lot harder than he needs to be.


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2011
Costanzo is one of those teachers who teaches well, the only problem is the class is hard. If you were to show up to his lectures and take another teacher's test you would get an A easy.


Junior
C
Elective
Mar 2011
There's a reason why Costanzo got teacher of the year and was recognized at the homecoming game this past year. He is EXTREMELY helpful in office hours and he is completely aware of the difficulties students encounter when studying organic chemistry. His quizzes and tests are extremely fair and if you go to office hours regularly AND put at least 20 min a day into the class.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Major)
Dec 2011
He is the best teacher EVER!!! Take him if you can. O chem is very difficult but he helps you understand.


Sophomore
D
Required (Support)
Nov 2012
Prof Constanzo is a great guy! He is approachable and funny, however he moves VERY quickly during lecture so make sure you don't miss a single lecture or you will fall far behind. Compared to other Ochem teachers, I also know he requires us to memorize everything (no period table is even given on the tests) whereas many of the other classes don't have to. Theres 5 quizzes, 2 midterms and the final and he drops your lowest quiz score. I would recommend Costanzo, but make sure to take the SWS class because the practice quizzes in that class are pretty much identical to his actual quiz.


Junior
A
Required (Support)
Nov 2012
Firstly, I wish he wasn't married. But Other than his looks, and charisma, he is great. A very straightforward, energetic, and organized Professor. He does throw hard Spectroscopy and cis/trans and ring expansion problems on tests that slaughter everyone, but a lot of extra credit is available during the second half of the quarter- take advantage of this and an A will be in your reach. There are five 25 point quizzes, two 100 point midterms and a 200 point final. The lowest quiz score is dropped. I HIGHLY recommend taking the workshop along with it. And the key to this class is memorization and a little creativity. When in doubt, slow down, keep it simple, and remember what you learned. Goodluck


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Dec 2012
Dr Costanzo is a great guy and one of my favorite teachers i have ever taken, but requires a lot of work. He is very helpful in office hours and lab but it is important not to miss class because he goes very quickly over the material. I found myself studying a lot more than other people with different teachers and getting worse grades because of his difficult spectroscopy problems and other random questions. I would definitely recommend him but make sure to go to every class and office hours!

CHEM 317


Sophomore
A
Elective
Mar 2010
One phrase: Clutch money I have never had professor as helpful in office hours as this professor. Office hours are key! Studying outside for hours is obviously necessary for every o-chem class. If you make every office hour, than it is a great supplement to studying his practice problems. The tests are straight forward, which is different from other o-chem professors. He tells you exactly what will be on the test and then you study that inside and out, and you should be fine. Class is not curved because about five-ten kids will get A\'s on the tests, so they are obviously fair tests. STUDY THE MECHANISMS, if you know them forwards (and in some cases backwards) you will be fine. RING EXPANSIONS ARE ON EVERY TEST, so be sure to know what they are, and how they usually work. Aside from that, a very fair teacher that makes the tests challenging, but definitely ace-able which gets him the phrase clutch money.

CHEM 318


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Nov 2011
One of the best teachers I have ever had. He presents the material very clearly and will give you all the credit that you deserve. He is difficult, but O chem is difficult. You will learn so much. Do anything to take Costanzo!


Junior
B
Elective
Jun 2013
Costanzo is legitimately the coolest teacher I've had at Cal Poly. He's by far the fairest grader I've ever had 'cause he realizes that Ochem's a really tough subject and he wants you to do well. He's totally up front about what's gonna be on the test, you know exactly what to study and know it's gonna be one of the harder questions in that section. He's also really cool about partial credit on everything, he actually looks at what you've put and tries to give you credit for whatever he can. Also, he's super friendly and approachable, and just has a good time when he's teaching. Bottom line, take Costanzo for Ochem cause he's the man.

CHEM 349


Junior
A
General Ed
Jun 2017
Nothing against Costanzo - but I do not recommend this class. Stupid amount of work for a GE. The last thing I want to do during finals week is write this 10 page research paper. The only work for this class are two presentations and the paper. This helps keep the work at a minimum throughout the quarter, but then when these projects come up it is a couple days of hours upon hours of working on it. Especially because the 50 minute presentation is a group project it is hard to do ahead of time. Costanzo doesn't actually lecture, each class is a group presentation and then an hour of group discussion that is painfully repetitive and a bunch of circular reasoning. I took this because I thought it would be interesting and was honestly very disappointed.

CHEM 517


Graduate Student
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2013
The guy is awesome but I think everyone knows that he sleeps with one it two students a year. None of us know who gets picked but it definitely happens. I personally have zero problem with this but other students might be concerned

CHEM 545


Graduate Student
A
Required (Major)
May 2010
Dr. Costanzo is an extremely talented chemist and a superb instructor. I actually had him for my first Organic Chem Lab as well as for the second part of the Polymers and Coatings series. He knows polymer synthesis in and out and is very adept at transferring that knowledge to you. The take home exams were the some of the most challenging yet rewarding tasks I have been assigned while at Poly. He grades completely fair and is extremely helpful in his office hours. He is young and understands what it is to be a student. If you have an opportunity to take him in any class I would highly recommend doing so.


Graduate Student
A
Required (Major)
Nov 2010
This guy is a freaking BALLER! Take him if you can. OCHEM is difficult, polymers chem is awesome! Either way you get a great lesson. Be prepared to put forth the time needed, and you will be rewarded. He will fail you if you do not try.


Graduate Student
A
Required (Major)
Apr 2014
Hands down the best teacher I've ever had at Poly. Extremely approachable, great at explaining things, absolutely hilarious, and patient. I wish I had taken Ochem with him!!

COMS 810


Graduate Student
B
Required (Support)
Nov 2016
During this entire quarter all I could think about was how this professor reminded me of that small little dog that runs through the back of scene 23 in The Incredibles by Pixar. Seriously, if you look it up you will only be able to see it...