Founded as an experiment in 1960, UC San Diego scholars aren’t afraid to challenge convention if it means we can accelerate answers to our society’s most pressing issues. As one of the top 20 research universities in the world, we are driving change far beyond our walls to advance society and propel economic growth. And the world has taken notice.
UC San Diego's main campus is located near the Pacific Ocean on approximately 1,200 acres of coastal woodland in La Jolla, California. The campus sits on the ancestral homelands of the Kumeyaay Nation. Kumeyaay people continue to have an important and thriving presence in the region. UC San Diego's rich academic portfolio includes seven undergraduate colleges, six academic divisions and six graduate and professional schools.
UC San Diego is making waves in the rankings. Globally and nationally, our campus is recognized for improving social mobility, offering a high-quality education at an affordable price, producing powerful research, advancing health care and more.
Top “Golden Age” University
In 2020 for the fourth year in a row, Times Higher Education ranked UC San Diego 1st among the world’s top “Golden Age” universities—the best higher education institutions that were founded between 1945 and 1966.
Academic Ranking of World Universities
In the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities released by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, UC San Diego was ranked the 14th best university in the nation and 18th in the world. The campus was also ranked 3rd best public university in the U.S.
U.S. News and World Report
U.S. News and World Report listed UC San Diego as 21st in their 2021 Best Global Universities rankings, which are evaluated based on research; global and regional reputation; international collaboration; and number of highly-cited papers.
Times Higher Education
UC San Diego was named the 34th best university across the globe by Times Higher Education in their 2022 World University Rankings, which assessed more than 1,600 public and private institutions around the world. The campus was also named 20th best in the U.S.
Center for World University Rankings
The Center for the World University Rankings named UC San Diego the 34th best university in the world, 22nd in the U.S. and eighth best public university in the nation in 2021.
U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools
The Preuss School UC San Diego—a charter middle and high school for low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college—was ranked the best high school in San Diego County for the fifth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report in their 2021 list of “Best High Schools.” The school was also ranked the 6th best school in the State of California among nearly 3,000 schools.
UC San Diego was ranked third among the nation’s top public colleges, according to the Forbes 2021 list of America’s Top Colleges. UC San Diego was No. 15 out of the complete list of 600 four-year private and public colleges in the country.
In 2021, Washington Monthly named UC San Diego the sixth best public university in the nation for contributions to social mobility, research and public service.
Money Magazine Best Colleges for Transfers
In 2018, UC San Diego admitted nearly half of all transfer students who applied. The campus was named sixth in the nation among colleges where transfer students are succeeding in large numbers, according to Money Magazine’s 2018 list of “10 Best Colleges for Transfer Students.”
U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges U.S. News & World Report named UC San Diego 8th in their 2022 Best Colleges rankings based on measures including retention and graduation rates, social mobility, faculty resources and academic reputation The guidebook also named the campus 13th among the best colleges for veterans.
Campus Pride and BestColleges
UC San Diego was named the 9th best public university in the nation for LGBTQ+ students according to a new ranking by Campus Pride in partnership with BestColleges. The “2020 Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students” ranking, which placed the campus 17th overall, recognizes higher education institutions that provide both a quality academic experience as well as a safe and inclusive space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) students.
Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education
UC San Diego was ranked the 39th best university nationwide in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking 2021 report. The ranking of more than 800 universities is based on 15 individual performance indicators and responses from more than 170,000 college students.
Three doctoral programs—Biological Sciences, Bioengineering and Scripps Oceanography—are ranked 1st in the nation according to the results of the 2010 National Research Council Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs, conducted every ten years.
UC San Diego ranked 4th among public research institutions in the U.S. by Nature Index for “high-quality science,” based on research publications in highly selective science journals in 2020. The campus also ranked 24th in the world out of 500 institutions and 10th among U.S. universities.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography operates four research vessels and an innovative Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP), enabling faculty, students and researchers to address our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges within a cutting-edge mobile laboratory. In 2019, the oceanographic research vessel Bob and Betty Beyster became the newest addition to the Scripps Fleet.
In 2019, Nature Index ranked UC San Diego 9th in the world among the top 200 institutions in biomedical sciences in their first-ever assessment based upon published research in a targeted set of high-quality scientific journals. Among the top 200 health care institutions worldwide, UC San Diego Health Sciences ranked seventh.
UC San Diego was named 13th best research university in the nation and 43rd best college in the world by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University in their 2021 report that measured scientific impact of universities worldwide.
Fifty-two faculty members at UC San Diego are among the world’s most influential researchers—those whose studies were among the top one percent most-cited publications in their fields based on their publications over the past decade—according to Clarivate Analytics’ 2020 Highly Cited Researchers report.
More than 100 research centers on campus.
Best Value Rankings
In 2020, UC San Diego placed third among public universities in Money’s annual ranking of the best colleges in America, ranked by value.
UC San Diego has been ranked the 11th best public university in the country among colleges that pay off the most in a 2019 ranking by CNBC. The rankings measured UC San Diego’s costs, financial aid packages and the earnings for alumni at the start of their career ($61,300), as well as the mid-point ($94,050) and after they have been in the workforce for more than ten years ($126,800).
In 2019, Forbes ranked UC San Diego 13th among America's Best Value Colleges. Scores are based on net price, net debt, alumni earnings, timely graduation, school quality and access for low-income students.
In 2019, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named UC San Diego the 19th best in-state value public university in the nation based on its academic quality and affordability, including high four-year graduation rates, low average student debt at graduation, the availability of financial aid and overall great value.
In 2020, Washington Monthly named UC San Diego 23rd Best Bang for the Buck among public universities in the western U.S.
UC San Diego was named a Social Mobility Innovator by CollegeNET, Inc. for successfully enrolling students from low-income backgrounds, graduating them into promising careers and fostering a campus culture based on inclusive excellence. UC San Diego has ranked among the top 10 percent of schools on the index for the past four years.
Graduate Program Rankings
The Hollywood Reporter named UC San Diego's Department of Theatre and Dance MFA and undergraduate program fifth in the world in their list of the best places to get an acting degree in 2021. Also, the department's undergraduate program was named among the top five in the nation for the best bachelor's degrees to help launch an acting career in their 2018 report.
UC San Diego Rady School of Management's full-time MBA program has been ranked 10th in the nation for entrepreneurship by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2019.
UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management MBA program ranked 21st in The Princeton Review’s survey naming the top graduate schools for entrepreneurship studies.
In their 2021 rankings, College Choice named UC San Diego’s Master’s in Fine Arts Program 6th in the nation based on academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability and average annual salary of early career artists.
Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2018 rankings named UC San Diego 11th in the nation for best undergraduate institutions to study international relations. The rankings also named UC San Diego's master's program for policy careers in international relations in the 15th spot and Ph.D. program for an academic career in international relations in the 7th spot.
UC San Diego Rady School of Management’s two-year MBA program has been ranked 14th in the world in a 2018 The Times Higher Education and Wall Street Journal business school report. The ranking was determined using data provided by schools and a survey of the schools’ alumni.
Time-based media/new media (7th), fine arts (10th).
Biomedical/bioengineering (3rd), best engineering school (9th), computer engineering (14th), electrical engineering (16th), aerospace engineering (17th), mechanical engineering (17th), and civil engineering (20th).
School of Medicine research program (19th), School of Medicine primary care (28th), and pharmacy (18th).
Discrete mathematics and combinatorics (3rd), neuroscience/neurobiology (5th), geophysics and seismology (8th), biochemistry (10th), computer science systems (11th), programming language (13th), biological sciences (16th), computer science theory (14th), earth sciences (15th), computer science (16th), physics (17th), mathematics (19th), and chemistry (20th).
Social Sciences and Humanities
Behavioral neuroscience (4th), econometrics (4th), international politics (5th), cognitive psychology (8th), public finance (10th), political science (8th), comparative politics (10th), sociology of culture (10th), development economics (11th), political methodology (17th), economics (12th), American politics (13th), labor economics (16th), psychology (13th), history (30th), sociology (31st) and English (53rd).
UC San Diego’s academic programs, taught by recognized experts, prepare students to stand out and lead change. As a student-centered university, all undergraduates belong to a tight-knit college community and are equipped to succeed through supplemental learning, faculty-mentored research opportunities, student success coaches and more.
Divisions and schools
Undergraduate residential colleges
Undergraduate Disciplinary Areas by Student Population
Science and Mathematics
Arts and Humanities
Top 5 Undergraduate Majors by Student Population
Computer Science and Engineering
Students at UC San Diego are curious about the world around them and eager to make a difference. Both academically exceptional and socially conscious, our undergraduate and graduate scholars set the bar high. They travel the world on service learning trips to improve public health and sustainability; they develop exciting entrepreneurial ideas and launch companies; and they work alongside faculty members on diverse research projects, from civic engagement to ocean aerosols and materials inspired by nature.
Total student population (Fall 2020)
Freshman applicants (Fall 2021)
Transfer applicants (Fall 2021)
Of admitted transfer students come from California Community College
Total number of all undergraduate matriculated students (Fall 2020)
Graduate and Professional Students
Total graduate and professional students
MD and pharmacy students
Degrees Conferred 2020
About Faculty, Staff and Alumni
There is a spirit of bold ingenuity shared among the UC San Diego community. Faculty members are sought-after experts in their field, equally passionate about tackling our world’s toughest problems and training the next generation of student leaders. Staff bring heart and creativity to advance the mission of our campus. And alumni stand out as distinct thinkers who make waves in diverse fields.
Total number of faculty
Number of ladder-rank faculty
Student teachers and research assistants
Faculty Awards (including Faculty Emeriti)
Memberships held by current and emeriti faculty in National Academy of Sciences (85), National Academy of Engineering (32) and National Academy of Medicine (46).
UC San Diego faculty who have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest general science organization in the world and publisher of the journal Science.
UC San Diego faculty who have been selected for the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, which awards the brightest early career scientists in the U.S. and Canada whose drive, creativity and insight make them a researcher to watch.
Sixteen Nobel laureates have taught at UC San Diego. The current faculty Nobel laureate is Harry Markowitz, economics (1990). In addition, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to former vice president Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose roster of researchers lists nearly two dozen Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists including Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Richard Somerville and Lynne Talley.
National Medal of Science
Michael Freedman, mathematics (1987); Craig Venter, pharmacology (2009); Marye Anne Fox, chemistry (2010); and Shu Chien, bioengineering (2011).
Dr. Napoleone Ferrara (2012); Don Cleveland (2017); James McKernan (2017); Joanne Chory (2017)
American Academy of Arts and Letters
Chinary Ung (2020); Lei Liang (2021 Music Award); Anthony Davis (2021)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Susan Ackerman (2019); Yishi Jin (2019); John Wixted (2019); Paul M. Churchland (2020); Vicki H. Grassian (2020); Margaret S. Leinen (2020); David G. Victor (2020); Ananda Goldrath (2021); Eileen Myles (2021); and Stefan Savage (2021).
Michael Freedman, mathematics (1986); and Efim Zelmanov, mathematics (1994).
Judith Dolan, theatre and dance (1997).
John von Neumann Theory Prize in Mathematics
Ruth Williams (2016).
Michael Freedman, mathematics (1984); Arnold Mandell, psychiatry (1984); Edwin Hutchins, cognitive science (1985); Michael Schudson, communications (1990); Patricia Smith Churchland, philosophy (1991); Nancy D. Cartwright, philosophy (1993); Russell Lande, biology (1997); Kun-Liang Guan, pharmacology (1998); Guillermo Algaze, anthropology (2003); Carol Padden, communication (2010) and Stefan Savage, computer science (2017).
Roger Reynolds, music (1989); Rae Armantrout, poetry (2010); and Anthony Davis, music (2020).
Kamau Kenyatta (2014).
Henrik Wann Jensen, computer science and engineering (2004).
As a billion-dollar research enterprise framed by the Pacific and positioned in the heart of one of the most densely concentrated innovation hubs in the nation, UC San Diego is a unique place where fresh ideas are translated into solutions to benefit society.
San Diego’s first biotechnology company, Hybritech, was started in 1979 by UC San Diego School of Medicine professor Ivor Royston. Hundreds of other groundbreaking local companies have roots with our university, from telecommunications giant Qualcomm, Inc.; to Ballast Point Spirits, one of the region’s earliest craft breweries; and Portfolium, a unique student electronic portfolio network.
UC San Diego is the top employer based in San Diego County.
Over 1,000 companies utilize, or have utilized, technology created at UC San Diego.
In 2018, UC San Diego faculty and students were granted 106 patents for their work.
The Milken Institute identified UC San Diego among the top five in the nation for startup creation in their 2017 report, "The Best Universities for Technology Transfer."
Technologies invented by UC San Diego are being put into practice by companies in 30 states across the U.S., with the majority utilized by companies in California.
Total start-ups launched in 2018 by faculty, students and staff.
Licenses created in 2018 by UC San Diego faculty and students.
In 2018, the UC San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization managed 2,539 inventions and more than 460 new intellectual property agreements.
Total annual economic impact in California—more than the entire annual revenue of the state of Arizona.
Direct jobs attributable to active UC San Diego-related companies.
Jobs throughout California directly and indirectly supported by UC San Diego.
Total number of full and part-time academic and staff employees at UC San Diego (as of April 2019).
Total estimated annual sales of active UC San Diego-related companies in San Diego County, including those utilizing licensed technology.
As the region’s leading research university, the campus continues to have a significant impact on San Diego’s economy. Philanthropic and research support enables our scholars to achieve critical breakthroughs that will impact lives for generations to come.
During fiscal year 2020-21, the Campaign for UC San Diego raised a record-breaking $376.4 million. This is the fourth consecutive year the university has generated over $300 million in private support—bringing the campaign total to more than $2.63 billion.
Fiscal year 2019-20 revenues; 19% of this total is revenue from contracts and grants, most of which is from the federal government for research.
UC San Diego received $1.54 billion in sponsored research funding for FY2021 (July 1-June 30), a 6% increase over the previous year.
Total combined endowment for the campus as of fiscal year 2020, managed by the UC San Diego Foundation and the UC Regents.
At UC San Diego, we strive to make a difference in all that we do—it is an integral part of our university mission. Our faculty members don’t just teach, they conduct breakthrough research that changes lives locally and globally. Staff members unite to better the local community through hundreds of hours of volunteer work. And students are shaped into global changemakers through service-learning projects around the world.
Association of Public and Land-grant
Universities (APLU) Designation
In 2017, UC San Diego was named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), a designation that fewer than 60 universities nationwide have achieved. The designation recognizes universities that are leaders in spurring regional economic development, including workforce enhancement, innovation and entrepreneurship and civic growth.
UC San Diego was designated as a Changemaker Campus in 2017 by Ashoka U for its role as a leader in social innovation education. Only a select number of universities around the world have received this designation. UC San Diego is the first University of California campus to be recognized.
Highest population of low-income students (11 percent) among peer institutions. (New York Times, 2017).
Fifth in the nation for the number of disadvantaged students who have greater prospects of becoming high wage earners as adults. (New York Times, 2017).
Best public university in the nation for social mobility, research and public service. (Washington Monthly, 2021).
Top fifteen for number of alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers. In total, the campus has produced over 800 volunteers.
Number of hours Chancellor Khosla encourages all campus community members to volunteer each year as part of the university’s Volunteer50 Program.
Number of student organizations on campus that have a primary focus on service.
Number of local low-income and first-generation college students who have been awarded a Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship.
Number of annual community service hours contributed by faculty, staff and student volunteers.
Making College Attainable:
Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program
More than 850 local low-income and first-generation college students have been named Chancellor’s Associates Scholars. When combined with other financial aid, the award covers students’ tuition, on-campus living expenses, books and more—essentially a full scholarship.
UC San Diego engages the local community through numerous social, environmental and educational initiatives, including:
UC San Diego Health—the region’s only academic health system—is dedicated to clinical, research and teaching excellence. For decades, UC San Diego Health and its schools of medicine and pharmacy have been advancing medicine through breakthrough discoveries — including pioneering firsts in surgery, imaging, cancer treatment and cardiovascular care. And with more than 1,500 doctors and scientists who are published experts in their fields, UC San Diego Health is well equipped to deliver the highest quality patient-centered primary and specialty care.
UC San Diego Health is ranked first in San Diego and fifth in California, placing it among the nation’s best hospitals (U.S. News and World Report, 2021-2022).
among public schools for National Institutes of Health research funding FY19 (UC San Diego School of Medicine NIH awards)
best school of medicine in the nation for primary care (U.S. News and World Report, 2021)
physicians in 47 specialties named Top Docs (San Diego Magazine, 2019)
Faculty members in the schools of medicine and pharmacy.
Students, postdocs, residents and fellows.
Patients receiving treatment in clinical trials.
UC San Diego Health employees.
Total yearly outpatient visits to UC San Diego Health
Beds at UC San Diego Health medical centers.
UC San Diego Health provides over $476 million in charity care and other benefits to the community (FY 2019).
Research awards (FY 2019).
'A's For Hospital Safety
UC San Diego Health's hospitals in both La Jolla and Hillcrest earned top marks from The Leapfrog Group in 2020 for keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors.
Top Teaching Hospital
UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest was named a 2018 Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group, which places it among the top 10 percent of teaching hospitals for patient safety and quality. No other UC hospital earned this top teaching hospital recognition.
U.S. News and World Report “Best Hospitals” 2021-22
UC San Diego ranks in the top 50 nationally in ten specialties. More than 4,750 medical centers across the nation were ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
Pulmonology and Lung Surgery
Gastroenterology and GI Surgery
Cardiology and Heart Surgery
Neurology and Neurosurgery
Ear, Nose and Throat
UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project
For two decades, the Student-Run Free Clinic Project has helped people of all ages and circumstances access high-quality health care, regardless of their ability to pay. The project assists community members with a range of critical health services, including psychiatric care.
UC San Diego Health Firsts
Discovered insulin resistance is a primary cause of Type II diabetes.
First to show that memory could be enhanced in Alzheimer’s disease patients by stopping the action of a brain chemical called acetylcholinesterase (AChE). These findings led to the development of some of the first treatments.
Performed the first pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), an operation for removing blood clots from the pulmonary arteries to treat chronic pulmonary hypertension.
First to learn of associations between a lack of Vitamin D and breast and other cancers.
Uncovered the first direct evidence of how a cancer gene works.
First to identify the neurobiological early-warning signs of autism during a child’s first year of life, a finding that offers the potential for earlier diagnosis, intervention and improved clinical outcomes for autistic children.
The Hamilton Glaucoma Center, founded in 2004, is the first facility in the world dedicated solely to glaucoma clinical and laboratory research.
First to define the concept of gene therapy as a way to treat diseases by using gene transfer techniques.
UC San Diego Health Academics
As part of our academic enterprise, UC San Diego Health has three professional schools, each located on the university campus in La Jolla.
The Integrated Scientific Curriculum combines clinical medicine and medical science. Students get hands-on clinical instruction at institutions including UC San Diego Health hospitals, the VA San Diego Medical Center, Naval Medical Center San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Founded in 2000, the Skaggs School enrolls an average of 240 Pharm.D. students, 60 Ph.D. students and 30 pharmacy residents yearly.
The innovative and flexible curriculum leads to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, taught by a stellar health sciences faculty in a program closely associated with the outstanding clinical, research and academic programs in the School of Medicine.
The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science
The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science was founded in 2019 with a $25 million lead gift from the Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation, seed money to grow in a new era of public health research, education and rapid societal change, with a mission to create and promote healthier populations on a local, national, and global scale.
The school leverages UC San Diego's interdisciplinary and collaborative culture to develop and implement solutions to reduce or eliminate disparities in disadvantaged or underserved communities and improve the overall health of our communities.
UC San Diego Health Clinical Facilities
To fulfill our mission, UC San Diego Health maintains a two-campus strategy integrating research, teaching and clinical care at locations in Hillcrest and La Jolla. Each medical complex supports acute in-patient care and a spectrum of outpatient primary and specialty medical and surgical services, including ambulatory and emergency patient care.
Jacobs Medical Center
Opened in 2016 | 364 beds | Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and hospital-based Birth Center | Advanced surgical, cancer and cardiac rehabilitation care
Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center
Opened in 2011 | 54 beds | San Diego’s first Comprehensive cardiovascular center | Global leader in pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE)
Moores Cancer Center
Opened in 2005 | Region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Shiley Eye Institute
Opened in 1991 | Anne and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center | Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center | Hamilton Glaucoma Center
Community-based clinics and specialty services
Our work often focuses on outreach to underserved communities and members of health disparity groups.
More About UC San Diego
Meandering the campus, you might stumble upon a giant bear made of boulders, part of UC San Diego’s iconic public art collection. Or discover the immersive SunCAVE, a 360-degree virtual reality space where you can be transported to an archaeological site across the globe. UC San Diego shines in so many ways—from developing the first cognitive science department to being the top surfing school in the nation. Learn more about our unique university.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist Charles David Keeling was the first to confirm the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a benchmark of global warming studies.
In 2018 UC San Diego was ranked 1st nationally among “Top 10 Surf Colleges” by Surfer Magazine. Criteria included high academic standards, notable alumni as well as access to high quality surf. UC San Diego’s surf team has won six national championships.
In 1963, UC San Diego Professor Maria Goeppert Mayer became the second woman in history to win a Nobel Prize in Physics.