University Communications and Public Affairs


At the University of California San Diego, we constantly push boundaries and challenge expectations. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has been shaped by exceptional scholars who aren’t afraid to take risks and redefine conventional wisdom. Today, as one of the top 15 research universities in the world, we are driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth and make our world a better place. 

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 six undergraduate colleges, five academic divisions and five graduate and professional schools.

UC San Diego was designated as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U in 2017 for its role as a leader in social innovation education. Only 43 universities around the world have received this prestigious designation and UC San Diego is the first University of California campus to be recognized. As part of the designation, UC San Diego joins the Changemaker Campus Network—a dynamic, global network of partners who share inspiration, connections and a desire to broaden their reach and impact around the world. 

One of the first universities in the nation to establish a department of nanoengineering, UC San Diego students work to develop innovative solutions to energy production, medical treatments and more.

By the Numbers

#1 UC San Diego enrolls the largest number of students among colleges and universities in San Diego County.
1,200 acres UC San Diego’s main campus sits on approximately 1,200 acres of coastland. The entire campus encompasses 2,163 acres, including medical and research facilities located across the county.
36,400 Total campus enrollment (as of Fall 2017)
88,451 Freshman applicants for 2017
4.08 Admitted freshman average high school GPA
$4.7 billion Fiscal year 2016-17 revenues; 20% of this total is revenue from contracts and grants, most of which is from the federal government for research.
7% Total educational appropriations from the State of California; yet a small investment in UC San Diego results in significant impact to the region’s economy, workforce and businesses
60% About 60 percent of undergraduate students received some form of financial aid in the 2016-17 academic year.
$1.160 billion UC San Diego received $1.160 billion in sponsored research support in fiscal year 2016-17 (July1-June 30), a 3 percent increase from the previous year. This marks the second consecutive year in which UC San Diego broke its own previous record.
9,186 Number of undergraduate and graduate degrees conferred in 2017.
185,000+ Number of UC San Diego alumni worldwide; 26 percent live in San Diego County, contributing income, payroll, property and sales taxes to the region
73% live in California, with the highest percentage (26%) in San Diego
6.9% live in the United States (outside of California)
<1% live abroad
19.1% address data unavailable
16 Number of Nobel laureates who have taught on campus
161 Memberships held by current and emeriti faculty, including Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, in one or more of the three prestigious National Academies; the National Academy of Sciences (84), National Academy of Engineering (27) and National Academy of Medicine (50).
4 Scripps Institution of Oceanography operates three 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 2016, the Navy-owned R/V Sally Ride became the newest addition to the Scripps Fleet and is considered one of the most technologically advanced oceanographic research vessels in the world.
30 Sustainability is part of UC San Diego’s institutional DNA. More than 30 campus structures are equipped with solar panels and more than 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.
Division 1 UC San Diego is reclassifying into the NCAA Division 1 Big West Conference, and will begin a full competitive slate in the 2020-21 academic year.

Economic Impact

Sustainability is part of UC San Diego's institutional DNA. Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, seen here during a visit to Sapphire Energy, prioritizes clean energy initiatives to enable our campus to function more efficiently.
1,000+ Number of companies that utilize or have utilized technology produced at UC San Diego.
440 Number of active UC San Diego-related companies located in California.
2,500+ In 2017, the UC San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization managed more than 2,500 inventions and over 550 intellectual property agreements.
#2 UC Patent Producer UC San Diego is second in the University of California system for the highest number of U.S. patents issued in 2016. In fiscal year 2016, UC San Diego issued 92 patents and launched 19 startups, becoming the top University of California campus for number of companies started.
$32.4 billion Total estimated annual sales of active UC San Diego-related companies in San Diego County, including those utilizing licensed technology.
$80 million The amount of wages that our region’s algae biotechnology industry generates each year according to a 2014 study conducted by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The industry, which is integrally tied to collaborative research driven by UC San Diego’s California Center for Algae Biotechnology, has fostered approximately 1,020 jobs, contributing over $175 million to the San Diego economy.
29,200 Direct jobs attributable to active UC San Diego-related companies.
#1 Our campus is the largest employer based in San Diego County.
30,671 Total number of full and part-time academic and staff employees at UC San Diego (as of April 2016).
26th in the World for Alumni Venture Capital Funding UC San Diego is ranked 26th among the top 50 universities in the world for producing venture capital-backed business founders. The ranking by Pitchbook Data, Inc., a venture capital data provider, is based on funding acquired between 2009 and 2014 – during that time, 91 UC San Diego alumni entrepreneurs received $740 million in investment capital.
Click here for the current annual financial report of the University of California, San Diego. For more campus innovation information, click here.

Private Support

As state funding continues to decrease, private support becomes increasingly vital to ensure access for all outstanding students, funding for innovative academic initiatives and recruitment of top graduate students and faculty.
$261.4 million UC San Diego celebrated a record-breaking increase in charitable gifts according to the Regents counting convention. The campus received a 23 percent increase in private support in fiscal year 2016-17 over the preceding year, thanks to almost 40,000 gifts and grants. Through fiscal year 2016-17, the Campaign for UC San Diego has raised $1.414 billion toward transforming the campus, the student experience and ultimately the way humanity approaches problems and develops solutions.
$1.347 billion Total combined endowment for the campus as of fiscal year 2016-17, managed by the UC San Diego Foundation and the UC Regents.

Global and National Rankings

UC San Diego is consistently ranked at the top in prestigious national and world rankings, including scientific impact and public service, as well as return on investment for graduates.
Among Top 3 for Positive Impact In 2017, Washington Monthly named UC San Diego the second best public university in the U.S. for promoting upward social mobility, producing groundbreaking research and serving the nation’s public interest. The national magazine’s annual rankings recognize what universities are doing for the public good and have consistently rated UC San Diego among the country’s best colleges for over a decade.
#1 for Women Graduates in STEM According to a study by BestColleges.com, UC San Diego is 1st in the nation for enrolling and graduating the most women with majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In addition, UC San Diego’s proportion of STEM graduates is three times the national average.
Changemaker Campus UC San Diego was been designated as a Changemaker Campus in 2017 by Ashoka U for its role as a leader in social innovation education. Only 40 universities around the world have received this designation and UC San Diego is the first University of California campus to be recognized.
Best High School in San Diego County The Preuss School UCSD—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 by U.S. News & World Report in their 2017 list of “Best High Schools.” Preuss was also ranked among the top five high schools in the State of California and among the top 15 charter high schools nationwide. And in 2017, Preuss was named one of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” in The Washington Post’s annual rankings of how successfully schools challenge their students.
Top Research Output UC San Diego was ranked 6th in the nation for total research output by the journal Nature in their 2016 index. The university also currently ranks 5th in the nation for total research and development expenditures by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
5th Best Public University in the World UC San Diego was named the fifth best public university across the globe by Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In its 2018 report, the London-based publication named UC San Diego 20th in the United States and 31st globally. Times also ranked UC San Diego the world’s top “Golden Age” university in the world in 2017 among institutions that were founded between 1945 and 1966.
Top 10 Best Public University in the Nation For more than a decade, U.S. News & World Report has included UC San Diego among the nation’s top 10 public universities. In the 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges guidebook, UC San Diego ranked 9th best public university in the nation. In addition, U.S. News named the campus's Jacobs School of Engineering the 11th best public engineering school among engineering colleges that offer doctorates.
14th in the World for Beneficial Research In 2017, the journal Nature named UC San Diego the world’s 14th best university for developing research that is used to create products or services that benefit society and spur economic growth. The rankings also praised the campus for its research output: nearly half of UC San Diego’s natural science papers appear in the Nature index, which measures research productivity in the globe’s top science journals.
12th in the Nation for Scientific Impact UC San Diego was named 12th best research university in the nation and the 25th best college in the world by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University’s 2017 list that measured scientific impact of universities worldwide.
Among the Top 20 Best Universities in the World In the prestigious 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities released by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong, UC San Diego was ranked the 15th best university in world. U.S. News and World Report named UC San Diego the 16th best university in the world and the nation’s 5th best public university in 2017 for research, global and regional reputation, international collaboration as well as number of highly-cited papers and doctorates awarded. In addition, the Center for the World University Rankings named UC San Diego the 17th best university in the world, 14th in the U.S. and third best public university in the nation in 2016.

Transforming Health Care

At the UC San Diego School of Medicine students are ahead of the curve when it comes to learning groundbreaking techniques to solve complex medical challenges, including training wth robotic surgery equipment designed for minimally invasive surgery procedures.
Ranked Nationally Among Best Hospitals UC San Diego Health and eight of its medical and surgical specialties have been recognized as among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2017-18. The rankings also named UC San Diego Health 2nd regionally and 7th in California among adult hospitals.
Top 10 for Residency Training UC San Diego School of Medicine was named one of the nation’s top residency training programs in the “2015 Top Medical Residency Programs” report by Doximity. Specialties placed in the top 10 for residency training in the West include internal medicine, anesthesiology, dermatology, obstetrics & gynecology, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology (diagnostic) and surgery.
Top 20 in the Nation The UC San Diego School of Medicine was named the 18th best in the nation among research-intensive programs in US. News & World Report's 2018 Best Graduate Schools Guidebook. The school was also ranked 12th in the primary care category, up nine spots compared to last year.
Outstanding Specialty Care In U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 “Best Hospitals” report, UC San Diego was ranked highly in eight specialties, including: Pulmonology (#13), Orthopedics (#20), Geriatrics (#34), Cancer (#40), Cardiology and Heart Surgery (#40), Neurology and Neurosurgery (#40), Gynecology (#42), and Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Surgery (#46). U.S. News & World Report also considered UC San Diego Health high-performing in Nephrology and Urology.
Among 'Most Wired' Health Systems In 2017, Hospitals & Health Networks magazine named UC San Diego Health one of the nation’s most wired health systems. The award recognizes hospitals and health systems that excel in using information technology (IT) to advance patient care and population health, protect the privacy and security of patient information and bring greater efficiencies to operations.
“Top Docs” More than 100 physicians from UC San Diego Health were named “Top Docs” in the 2017 San Diego Magazine “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence” annual survey. These physicians represent 45 diverse specialties, from infectious disease, surgery and oncology to obstetrics, cardiology and emergency medicine.
Top 100 In 2017, the UC San Diego Medical Center was named among "100 Great Hospitals in America" by Becker's Hospital Review. The Medical Center is also included on top 100 lists by Becker's for programs in heart and oncology as well as neurosurgery and spine.  
First Comprehensive Stroke Center In 2012, UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest is one of five facilities in the country—and the only center in San Diego County—to be recognized as one of the first Comprehensive Stroke Centers, the newest level of certification for advanced stroke care awarded by The Joint Commission.

Unmatched Value

At the Qualcomm Institute at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, students and researchers have access to some of the most cutting edge technologies, such as immersive 4D virtual reality spaces and high-tech simulation screens.
10th Highest Earning Graduates In 2017, Forbes ranked UC San Diego 10th among the top 25 Public Colleges with the Highest Earning Graduates. According to the report, UC San Diego alumni mid-career earnings are $108,000.
6th Best Earning Potential UC San Diego is ranked 6th among 25 peer institutions for earning potential of gradutaes. According to the 2017 study by the New York Times, by age 34, UC San Diego graduates earn an average salary of $65,300. ($77,700 for men and $57,300 for women).
17th Best Value Public University in the Nation In 2016, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named UC San Diego the 17th best 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.
5th for Graduate Mid-Career Salary A 2016 analysis of graduates' compensation from Money.com data shows that UC San Diego is the 5th best college for students seeking a path from an affordable public college to a high-paying job. Using data from Payscale, Money.com found that the average mid-career salary for a UC San Diego graduate is $106,000 and the average early career salary is $53,700.

Graduate Programs

Art practice and theory merge at the UC San Diego visual arts department, one of the top programs in the nation for research in contemporary art, where undergraduates, MFA and Ph.D. scholars dialogue and collaborate across disciplines.
Graduate Programs Ranked Top 25 in the Nation Graduate programs at UC San Diego continue to rank highly as noted in the 2017 “America’s Best Graduate Schools” guidebook, released by U.S. News Media Group, publishers of U.S. News & World Report.
  • Fine Arts: time-based media/new media (3rd), fine arts (13th)
  • Engineering: biomedical/bioengineering (3rd), best engineering school (13th)
  • Health Sciences: drug and alcohol abuse research (10th), School of Medicine research program (18th), primary care (21st), pharmacy (25th), clinical psychology (25th)
  • Sciences: neuroscience/neurobiology (2nd), discrete mathematics and combinations (3rd), plasma physics (7th), biochemistry (10th), computer science systems (11th), condensed matter physics (13th), biological sciences (14th), computer science theory (14th), computer science (15th), physics (16th), earth sciences (16th), chemistry (21st), mathematics (23rd)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities: behavioral neuroscience (4th), econometrics (4th), international politics (4th), cognitive psychology (8th), public finance (8th), political science (9th), comparative politics (10th), development economics (10th), American politics (11th), political methodology (12th), microeconomics (12th), Latin American history (12th), economics (12th), psychology (13th) 
5th Best Drama School in the World In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter ranked UC San Diego’s Department of Theatre and Dance 5th in the world among drama schools with an MFA program. 
6th Best MFA Program in the Nation In their 2017 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.
Top 25 for Entrepreneurship The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego was ranked 25th in The Princeton Review’s “Top 25 Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurship of 2018.” The ranking recognizes the best programs for students aspiring to launch their own businesses.
#1 Executive MBA Program in San Diego In 2015, UC San Diego Rady School of Management’s Executive MBA Program was ranked 1st in San Diego, 2nd in California and 33rd globally by The Economist.
Top University to Study International Relations In 2018, UC San Diego was ranked second among public universities and 11th overall in Foreign Policy magazine’s rankings of top U.S. undergraduate institutions to study international relations. The university’s master’s program for policy careers in international relations ranked first among public institutions globally. UC San Diego’s Ph.D. program for those seeking an academic career in international relations also secured the top spot among public universities across the world.

Additional Rankings

Named among the top schools for surfing in the nation, UC San Diego is situated within walking distance to Black's Beach where sun and surf attract visitors all year round.
6th in World for High-Quality Science UC San Diego ranked 6th among leading research institutions in the world for “high-quality science,” based on its research publications in highly selective science journals. The global assessment and rankings were conducted by Nature Index, a database of author affiliations and institutional relationships, and appeared in a supplement in the scientific journal Nature.
World’s Most Influential Researchers Thirty-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' 2017 Highly Cited Researchers report.
Top 3 Academic Institution in Earth and Environmental Research in 2016 the journal Nature ranked UC San Diego second in the United States and third worldwide among academic institutions in earth and environmental research based on total contribution to studies published in major science journals.
Top School for Peace Corps Service UC San Diego ranks 14th nationally on the Peace Corps’ 2016 list of “Top Colleges and Universities,” marking the sixth consecutive year that UC San Diego has been named in the top 15. There are currently 36 UC San Diego undergraduate alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers; in total, the campus has produced 807 volunteers.
4th in the Nation for Economic Diversity The New York Times named UC San Diego 4th in the nation for providing access to low-income students in their 2017 College Access Index. The report assesses economic diversity based on the number of and graduation rate of students who receive Pell grants and the net cost, after financial aid, colleges charge both low and middle-income students.
Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly University College Choice, an online publication that helps students select a school, named UC San Diego the 9th best public university for LGBTQ students in their 2017 list of the “50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students.” In addition to being in the top 10 among public schools, UC San Diego was ranked 19th overall among public and private universities in the U.S.
Top 10 “Coolest School” Sierra magazine named UC San Diego the 7th “Coolest School” in the nation in 2015 for displaying a deep and thorough commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues and encouraging environmental responsibility.
World's 3rd Most Beautiful Library In 2017, CNN Travel named UC San Diego’s Geisel Library the 3rd most beautiful library in the world in their list of the top 7 most architecturally inspiring libraries.
Doctoral Programs Ranked 1st in the Nation Three doctoral programs offered at UC San Diego—Biological Sciences, Bioengineering and Scripps Institution of Oceanography—are ranked 1st in the nation according to the results of the 2010 National Research Council (NRC) Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs, conducted every ten years. Additionally, biomedical sciences was ranked 2nd, neurosciences 4th and linguistics 9th in the nation, while 60% of all UC San Diego's doctoral programs are among the top 20 in their fields nationwide.
Top Teach For America Contributor UC San Diego was named 12th in the nation among schools contributing the most graduates to Teach For America in 2015. Corps members commit to teaching for at least two years in under-resourced schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.
Top Academic Surfing School in the Nation 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.

More information about university rankings

Active Faculty Honors

An outstanding faculty is the hallmark of a great institution. Our students learn directly from leading scholars, including 16 Nobel laureates who have taught at UC San Diego in the past five decades. Additionally, Professor Emeritus Yuan-Cheng Fung and current Professors Shu Chien and Terrence Sejnowski are members of all three of the prestigious National Academies—National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. Our university has been shaped and led by leading innovators such as former faculty member Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm Inc. and National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipient, as well as passionate educators including former University of California President and UC San Diego Chancellor Richard Atkinson, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Education.

From left: Nobel Laureate and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Mario Molina and Medal of Science recipient Marye Anne Fox.
Nobel Prize Harry Markowitz, economics (1990); and Mario J. Molina, chemistry (1995). 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 Mario Molina, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Richard Somerville and Lynne Talley.
Fields Medal Michael Freedman, mathematics (1986); Efim Zelmanov, mathematics (1994).
National Medal of Science Margaret Burbidge, astrophysics (1983); Walter Munk, geophysics (1983); Craig Venter, pharmacology (2009); Marye Anne Fox, chemistry (2010); Shu Chien, bioengineering (2011).
Presidential Medal of Freedom Mario Molina (2013).
Pulitzer Prize Roger Reynolds, music (1989); and Rae Armantrout, poetry (2010).
Kyoto Prize Walter Munk, geophysics (1999).
MacArthur Fellows Edwin Hutchins, cognitive science (1985); Nancy D. Cartwright, philosophy (1993); Kun-Liang Guan, pharmacology (1998); Guillermo Algaze, anthropology (2003); Carol Padden, communication (2010); and Stefan Savage, computer science (2017).
Tony Award Judith Dolan, theatre and dance (1997).
Grammy Award Kamau Kenyatta (2014).
John von Neumann Theory Prize in Mathematics Ruth Williams, (2016).
Academy Award Henrik Wann Jensen, computer science and engineering (2004).
Wolf Prize George Feher, chemistry (2007).

Notable Former Faculty and Alumni Honors

From left: MacArthur Fellow Carrie Mae Weems; Tony Award winner Paloma Young; Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Sally Ride; and National Medal of Technology and Innovation winner Irwin Jacobs.
Nobel Prize Harold Urey, chemistry (1934); Linus Pauling, chemistry, (1954); Francis Crick, physiology or medicine (1962); Linus Pauling, peace, (1962); Maria Goeppert-Mayer, physics (1963); Robert Holley, physiology or medicine, (1968); Hannes Alfven, physics, (1970); George Palade, physiology or medicine, (1974); Renato Dulbecco, physiology or medicine, (1975); Roger Guillemin, physiology or medicine, (1977); Susumu Tonegawa, ’68, physiology or medicine, (1987); Paul Crutzen, chemistry, (1995); Sydney Brenner, physiology or medicine, (2002); Robert Engle, economic sciences, (2003); Clive Granger, economic sciences, (2003); Roger Tsien, chemistry (2008); and Bruce Beutler, ’76, physiology or medicine, (2011).
National Medal of Science Harold Urey, chemistry (1964); Linus Carl Pauling, chemistry (1974); Roger Guillemin, medicine (1976); Margaret Burbidge, astrophysics (1983); George Palade, medicine (1986); Michael Freedman, mathematics (1987); Roger Revelle, oceanography (1990); Marshall Rosenbluth, physics (1997); Yuan-Cheng Fung, bioengineering (2000); Charles David Keeling, geosciences (2001); Andrew Viterbi, electrical and computer engineering (2007); Craig Venter, ’72, pharmacology (2008).
National Medal of Technology and Innovation Irwin Jacobs (1994).
Pulitzer Prize Bernard Rands, music (1984).
Balzan Prize Roger Driscoll, political science (1986); Roger Revelle, oceanography (1986); James Freeman Gilbert, geophysics (1990); Wolfgang Berger, geosciences (1993); and Harmon Craig, geophysics (1998).
Tony Award Jefferson Mays, ’91, (2004); and Paloma Young, ’06, (2012).
Emmy Award Larry Groupe, musical composition (1999, 2008).
Presidential Medal of Freedom Sally Ride (2013).
Fields Medal Michael Freedman, mathematics (1986); and Shing-Tung Yau, mathematics (1982).
MacArthur Fellows Elizabeth Bates, cognitive science (1983); Ramon Arturo Gutierrez, ethnic studies (1983); Richard Schoen, mathematics (1983); Michael Freedman, mathematics (1984); Arnold Mandell, psychiatry (1984); Shing-Tung Yau, mathematics (1985); David Rumelhart, psychology (1987); Michael Schudson, communication (1990); Patricia Smith Churchland, philosophy (1991); Russell Lande, biology (1997); George Lewis, music (2002); Emily Ann Thompson, history (2005); and Carrie Mae Weems, photography and video art (2013).
Nebula Award Greg Benford, ’67 (Best Novelette, If the Stars Are Gods, 1975; Best Novel, Timescape, 1980); Kim Stanley Robinson, ’74 and ’82 (Best Novella,The Blind Geometer, 1987; Best Novel, Red Mars, 1993); and David Brin, ’78 and ’81 (Best Novel, Startide Rising, 1984).
Wolf Prize Roger Tsien, medicine (2008).