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UC San Diego

Nestled along the Pacific Ocean on 1,200 acres of coastal woodland, UCSD is a powerful magnet for those seeking a fresh, next-generation approach to education and research. Since its founding four decades ago, UCSD—one of the ten campuses in the world-renowned University of California system—has rapidly achieved the status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research.

Approximately 30,300 students and attend UCSD, pursing degrees in approximately 80 academic fields. The university is highly committed to cultivating an intellectual atmosphere where students from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds excel academically. UCSD conducts extensive outreach and retention activities to ensure that students from all groups are provided opportunities and are supported in the academic community. Diversity is an essential component of the university.

Points of Distinction

Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist Charles David Keeling was the first to confirm the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. His precise measurements, which he began calculating in 1958, produced a data set now known widely as the “Keeling Curve,” a benchmark of global warming studies.

The Jacobs School of Engineering is home to the world’s first full-scale outdoor shake table, designed to create realistic simulations of the most devastating earthquakes on record to advance seismic safety.

UC San Diego is unique among other UC campuses—our university offers undergraduates the “small college” concept patterned after those at Cambridge and Oxford. Each of the six undergraduate colleges has its own residence halls, student services, traditions and even graduation ceremonies. While the undergraduates remain part of one university, they also develop a sense of identity within the smaller family of their chosen college.

In 1986 UC San Diego established the first Cognitive Science Department in the world, which has become one of the leading centers of this field.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego is home to Gordon, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, with 4 petabytes of disk storage, 64 terabytes of random access memory and 300 terabytes of flash memory. Gordon has the ability to tackle the most vexing data-intensive challenges, from mapping genomes to creating ultra-detailed simulations of earth quakes.

Geisel Library at UC San Diego is the chief repository for the work of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), holding more than 8,000 original drawings, sketches, books and other memorabilia valued at $2.3 million.

San Diego’s first biotechnology company, Hybritech, was started in 1979 by a UC San Diego professor. Since then, UC San Diego faculty, staff and alumni have spun off more than 150 local companies, including more than one-third of the region’s biotechnology companies.

The first direct evidence of how a cancer gene works was achieved by UC San Diego biomedical researchers, including Russell Doolittle, who discovered the first cancer gene.

UC San Diego was one of the first universities in the nation and the first UC campus to found a privately-funded commercialization center—the von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement.

Sustainability is part of UC San Diego’s institutional DNA. More than 30 campus structures are equipped with solar panels and over a dozen buildings are LEED certified; wireless sensors are situated across campus to determine the best time to gain and expend energy; and more than half of the campus community utilizes alternative transportation.

Research Impact

UCSD's total research funding for the fiscal year ending June 30 was more than $1.1 billion, an increase of about $100 million over the previous year. The funding supports research in medicine, the sciences, the arts, oceanography, engineering and other fields.

Campus Accolades

15th in the World for Scientific Impact
UC San Diego was named 15th best research university in the world by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University's 2013 list that measured scientific impact of universities worldwide.

14th Best University in the World
In the prestigious 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities released by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong, UC San Diego was ranked the 14th best university in the world. In 2013, UC San Diego was ranked 20th best university in the world by the Center for the World University Rankings and 34th best in the world according to Times Higher Education's "World Reputation Rankings."

8th Best Public University in the Nation
For more than a decade, our campus has been listed among the nation's top 10 public universities by the U.S. News & World Report 2015 Best Colleges Guidebook. Our university is 37th among the nation's top 200 universities. The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering's undergraduate program is ranked 26th for their engineering doctorates program and garnered a 5th place spot in the Biomedical/Biomedical Engineering category.

6th Best for Happiest Freshmen
UC San Diego was ranked 6th in the nation for public universities with the "happiest" freshmen by's "Top 25 State Universities with the Happiest Freshmen" rankings for 2013.

Best High School in the Nation
The Preuss School UCSD, a charter middle and high school located on the campus of UC San Diego, has been named the top transformative high school in the nation by Newsweek magazine in their 2014 "America's Best High School" issue released in May. Preuss is also ranked best high school in San Diego County by the U.S. News and World Report's 2014 list of "Best High Schools," 5th best high school in California, 10th best charter school in the nation.

1st for Positive Impact
In 2014, for the fifth consecutive year, UC San Diego is ranked 1st in the nation by the Washington Monthly's College Guide based on the positive impact the university has had on the country.

5th in Research Funding
UC San Diego currently ranks 5th among top U.S. universities in total research and development expenditures by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

First Among Division II Sports
The 2013 National Collegiate Scouting Association's Power Rankings once again ranks UC San Diego 1st place among Division II colleges and 17th place overall, based on student-athlete graduation rates, academic strength and athletic prowess.