University of California in San Diego

About University of California in San Diego

The University of California - San Diego (UCSD) is a public, 4-year research university located in La Jolla, California, about 15 miles north of San Diego. The university first began as Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1903. In 1960, the university received its final name change and admitted its first graduate students the same year. Shortly after, the university began admitting undergraduate students and assumed operation of a county hospital that would eventually become UCSD Medical Center. U.S. News and World Report ranked UCSD 8th in its 2013 Top Public Schools category and 38th among national universities. Student athletes, nicknamed Tritons, compete at the NCAA Division II level.


UCSD operates 6 undergraduate colleges, and students can pursue an undergraduate major in the college of their choice. Each college has its own general education requirements, allowing students to tailor their education to personal, academic, and extracurricular activity interests. The university offers about 42 areas of study for undergraduate degree seekers, with different majors available in each area. In the 2010-2011 academic year, the most popular undergraduate programs included psychology, economics, and biology.

UCSD has roughly 68 graduate programs, including several joint doctorate programs with San Diego State University and a joint health law degree with the California Western School of Law. As of 2010-2011, the most popular master's degree program was business administration and management, and the most popular doctorate degree program was medicine.

The university has a total of 6 libraries to meet the research needs of students, faculty, and the public. The Geisel Library building, named after Audrey and Theodor Geisel (who is better known as Dr. Seuss), houses the Arts, Mandeville Special Collections, Science & Engineering, and Social Sciences and Humanities libraries. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library has closed, but its holdings are being relocated to the Geisel building. The Biomedical Library has its own on-campus location near the university's School of Medicine. Collectively, these libraries hold over 7 million print and electronic books and periodicals.


UCSD accepts Fall quarter admission applications from November 1 through November 30. Applications can be submitted online through the University of California (UC) website, and there is a $70 application fee. Required application materials include high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Undergraduates also need to select a college and a major when applying for admission. Every undergraduate major can be pursued under any college.

Admission is granted to students depending on SAT or ACT scores, high school GPA and completion of college preparatory coursework during high school. California residents must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, while non-residents are required to have at least a 3.4 GPA. Admission is guaranteed for applicants in the top 9% of graduates of participating California high schools. The UC system has a policy of placing qualified applicants at another UC campus if they're not accepted into their chosen university.

Tuition & Financial Aid

As of the 2012-2013 school year, undergraduates who are California residents pay between $23,760 (living with parents) and $30,045 (on campus) in tuition, university fees, transportation, books and supplies, personal expenses, room and board. The range for out-of-state students is $46,638 to $52,923, depending on where the student lives. A wide variety of merit and interest-based scholarships are available for incoming and continuing students, including research and study-abroad scholarships. To qualify for federal scholarships, students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid by March 2.

School Type 4-year, public*
Degrees Offered Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; certificates*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Quarter**
School Setting Large city*
Student Body 23,046 undergraduates, 5,547 graduates in Fall 2011*
Student Housing On-campus and off-campus housing available; new students must submit a housing application and Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by May 1**
Schools and Programs 6 undergraduate colleges; 42 undergraduate areas of study, 68 graduate programs**
Student-Faculty Ratio 19 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2010-2011:
Bachelor's: Psychology (515)
Master's: Business administration and management (126)
Doctorate: Medicine (128)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 56% in 4 years
84% in 6 years
87% in 8 years*
Admission Rate 38% in Fall 2010*
Entering Class Size About 3,493 in Fall 2011*
First-Year Retention Rates Fall 2010-2011: 96% for full-time students, 60% for part-time students*
Average SAT and ACT Scores of Admitted Students SAT composite middle 50% range: 1710-2080
ACT composite middle 50% range: 25-31 (Fall 2010)*
Application Due Date November 1 - November 30**
Decision Notification Date Mid-March - March 31**
Tuition Annual undergraduate tuition is $13,234 for CA residents, $36,112 for non-residents (includes fees; 2012-2013)**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving it) 2010-2011 (full-time beginning undergraduates): Federal grants (48%), state and local grants (45%), institutional scholarships (61%), federal loans (53%)*
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 75% of full-time beginning undergraduates in 2010-2011*

Sources: *IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics, **University of California - San Diego

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0021, La Jolla, CA 92093-0021
  • Phone: (858) 534-4831
  • Website:

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