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Defining the Future of the Public Research University

The University of California, San Diego is a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public institution that provides opportunity for all. Recognized as one of the top 15 research universities worldwide, a culture of collaboration sparks discoveries that advance society and drive economic impact. Our students, who learn from Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows and National Academy members, are committed to public service. For the fifth consecutive year, UC San Diego has been ranked first in the nation based on research, civic engagement and social mobility. We are one campus with multiple pillars of excellence, a top ten public university that is transforming lives, shaping new disciplines and advancing the frontiers of knowledge.

Points of Distinction

  • UC San Diego’s Geisel Library is the world’s largest repository of the original work of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), holding more than 10,000 original drawings, sketches, books and other memorabilia. The UC San Diego Library is recognized as a leader in digitization and digital preservation, and is collaborating with the Library of Congress and other partners in developing best practices for large-scale digital preservation.
  • UC San Diego’s Shake Table
    Surgeons at UC San Diego Health System have performed more pulmonary thromboendarterectomies (PTE) – a lifesaving surgery to clear the lung’s arteries of scar like tissue that robs patients of their ability to breathe – than any other institution in the world. Pioneered in 1970 by Kenneth Moser and Stuart Jamieson, the UC San Diego PTE program has a mortality rate of less than 1 percent for over 3,000 surgeries to date, the lowest known postoperative mortality rate worldwide.
  • UC San Diego is unique among other UC campuses—our university offers undergraduates the “small college” concept patterned after those at Cambridge and Oxford universities. 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.
  • The Office of Research Affairs oversees the university’s $1 billion annual research enterprise, helps guide 20 multidisciplinary Organized Research Units and ensures that UC San Diego research produces maximum scientific and societal impact.
  • 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
    In 1985 Extension took the leadership role in creating CONNECT, the first innovation-business accelerator of its kind, which since then has assisted in the formation of 3,000 companies in the San Diego region. The highly praised program has been modeled in more than 50 regions around the world. In 2006 to broaden its mandate to include public advocacy, CONNECT spun out to become a trade association with Extension as a member and sponsor.
  • Recognized by Newsweek as the top transformative high school in the nation for three years in a row, The Preuss School UCSD is a unique charter middle and high school for low income, highly motivated students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. Preuss graduates are consistently accepted to four-year colleges and universities at a rate of more than 90 percent, and almost 100 percent go on to some form of higher education.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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

31,502 Total campus enrollment (as of Fall 2014)
78,056 Freshman applicants for 2015
4.13 Admitted freshman average high school GPA
$3.6 billion Fiscal year 2013 revenues; 27 percent of this total is revenue from contracts and grants, most of which is from the federal government for research
7.1% Total revenue 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% Percentage of students who received financial aid (2013-2014 academic year). 15 percent of graduate students received a fellowship award.
$1.012 billion Research funding secured during fiscal year 2015 to support research in all fields. One of the nation’s 10 largest centers for science, engineering and medicine, UC San Diego’s research funding has surpassed $1 billion four times in the past six years.
8,133 Number of degrees conferred in 2014:
74% received a bachelor's degree
26% received a graduate degree
51.5% men
48.5% women
162,000+ Number of UC San Diego alumni worldwide; 29.9 percent live in San Diego County, contributing income, payroll, property and sales taxes to the region
76.9% live in California, with the highest percentage (29.9 percent) in San Diego
8.2% live in the United States (outside of California)
<1% live abroad
14.6% address data unavailable
16 Number of Nobel laureates who have taught on campus
155 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 (26) and Institute of Medicine (45).

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.
650+ Companies launched by and/or utilizing technology produced by UC San Diego faculty, staff and alumni, including many San Diego biotech and technology firms.
200+ Number of active local UC San Diego-related companies.
3,000+ At fiscal year-end 2014, the UC San Diego Technology Transfer Office managed more than 3,000 innovations and approximately 439 active license agreements. During this period, 16 new start-up companies were formed with licensed UC San Diego technology.
Top Patent Producer According to the 2014 UC Technology Commercialization Report, University of California researchers submitted 1,769 inventions—an average of nearly five a day, 365 days a year. UC San Diego generated 233 U.S. and foreign patents and was top among all UCs in terms of total active inventions (3,009), total active U.S. patents (859) and total active foreign patents (886).
$31.6 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 drive 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.
29,986 Total number of full and part-time academic and staff employees at UC San Diego (as of June 2014).
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.

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.
$752 million Total combined endowment for the campus as of fiscal year 2014, managed by the UC San Diego Foundation and the UC Regents.
$148.3 million Over 45,000 gifts were made by nearly 30,000 unique donors in fiscal year 2014, helping to continue UC San Diego’s legacy of achievement. Nearly $92 million was from charitable gifts, with another $56 million from private grants. For more information or to offer support, visit giving.ucsd.edu

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 the Top 20 Best Universities in the World In the prestigious 2015 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 world for the third consecutive year. In their first-ever global ranking of universities, U.S. News and World Report named UC San Diego the 18th best university in the world in 2014 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 21st best university in the world, 16th in the U.S. and fourth best public university in the nation in 2015.
14th in the World for Scientific Impact UC San Diego was named 14th best research university in the world by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University’s 2014 list that measured scientific impact of universities worldwide.
8th 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 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges guidebook, UC San Diego ranked 8th best public university in the nation and 37th best university in the U.S. among more than 200 public, private and for-profit institutions. The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering’s undergraduate program was ranked 26th for the second consecutive year in the category for engineering schools that award doctorates.
Best High School in the Nation The Preuss School UCSD, a charter middle and high school located on the campus of UC San Diego, was named the top transformative high school in the nation by Newsweek magazine for three years in a row. In 2015, U.S. News and World Report named Preuss the best high school in San Diego County, 5th best in California and 9th best charter school in the nation in their annual “Best High Schools” list. The Daily Beast ranked Preuss as the top “change-making” school in their “America’s Top High Schools 2014” list.
1st for Positive Impact In 2015, for the sixth 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 in terms on enabling social mobility, research productivity and civic engagement.
5th in Research Funding UC San Diego ranks 5th among top U.S. universities in total research and development expenditures by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for fiscal year 2013.
6th in the Nation for Research Output UC San Diego was ranked 6th in the nation, 2nd among all U.S. public institutions and 13th in the world for total research output by the journal Nature in their 2014 index.
1st Division II Sports In 2014, for the eighth consecutive year, UC San Diego has been ranked No. 1 among all NCAA Division II institutions nationwide in the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) Power Rankings. UC San Diego was ranked 12th place overall based on student-athlete graduation rates, academic strength and athletic prowess.

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.
Best Hospital in San Diego UC San Diego Health was recognized as 1st among San Diego’s adult hospitals and 5th in California by the 2015-2016 U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” issue, and ranked among the best in the nation in twelve specialty areas. Eight of these areas were named among the top 25 nationally, including cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology and GI surgery; geriatrics; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; pulmonology; and urology.
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 100 The UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest was named among the top “100 Great Hospitals in America” by Becker’s Hospital Review in 2014. Becker’s also included the UC San Diego Health System in their “100 Hospitals with Great Women’s Health Programs” as well as the UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center among the top “100 Hospitals with Great Heart Programs” in 2014. In addition, the UC San Diego Health System was named among Becker’s 2013 list of “100 Hospitals with Great Neurosurgery and Spine Programs.”
Leapfrog Top Hospital The Leapfrog Group named UC San Diego Health System to its 2014 list of Top Hospitals. Awarded to hospitals nationwide for demonstrating excellence in hospital safety and quality, the Leapfrog Top Hospital award is an elite distinction given to less than seven percent of all eligible hospitals.
“Top Docs” More than 100 physicians from UC San Diego Health System were named “Top Docs” in the 2014 San Diego Magazine “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence” annual survey. These physicians represent 40 diverse specialties from internal medicine to oncology, obstetrics, cardiovascular and surgical care.
14th in the Nation The School of Medicine is ranked 14th in research-intensive programs among 128 medical schools with the primary care program is ranked 38th out of 114 medical schools in the U.S. News and World Report Best Graduate Schools Guidebook, 2015 Edition.
First Comprehensive Stroke Center 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 Best Earning Potential Graduates of UC San Diego were ranked 10th for salary earning potential in the 2013-2014 PayScale.com report measuring top state schools across the nation. UC San Diego was also ranked 4th best public university for its return on investment for alumni who are California residents in the 2012 College Salary Report by Payscale.com.
15th Best Return on Investment The 2015 college salary report by Payscale.com ranks UC San Diego the 15th best public university for its return on investment (ROI)––what students pay to attend versus what they get back in lifetime earnings––for alumni who are California residents. UC San Diego also is listed as the 11th best public university in the U.S. for mid-career (15 years of experience) salary of alumni, which averages $102,100 annually.
Top University for Return-On-Investment UC San Diego has earned top recognition in The Princeton Review’s new 2015 rankings for the return-on-investment the campus offers to students. The campus was ranked the nation’s 31st best college for students seeking great academics, outstanding career preparation and generous financial aid.
Among "Best Bang for Buck" In 2015, UC San Diego was named 12th in the West in Washington Monthly’s new book, “The Other College Guide,” which ranks schools with the best value based on net price, graduation rates and whether alumni earn enough to pay off their loans.
Best Value University Money ranked UC San Diego 32nd in the nation among universities providing the best value in higher education. The 2015 report was determined by 21 factors in three equally weighted categories, including educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings.

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 2015 “America’s Best Graduate Schools” guidebook, released by U.S. News Media Group, publishers of U.S. News & World Report.
  • Fine Arts: multimedia—visual communications (7th), fine arts (13th), sculpture (21st)
  • Engineering: biomedical/bioengineering (2nd), best engineering school (17th)
  • Health Sciences: biomedical sciences (7th), drug and alcohol abuse research (9th), AIDS research (11th), School of Medicine research program (17th), primary care (19th), pharmacy (23rd)
  • 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 (1st), cognitive psychology (3rd), econometrics (4th), international politics (5th), comparative politics (11th), political science (8th), public finance (9th), comparative politics (11th), microeconomics (12th), Latin American history (12th), American politics (14th), psychology (14th), economics (15th)
17th in the World for Faculty Research The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego has been ranked 17th in the world for faculty research and 8th for alumni entrepreneurship in the Financial Times’ Global MBA rankings 2014, out of more than 700 full-time MBA programs surveyed worldwide. Among business schools in California, Rady ranks 1st for percentage of female students, 2nd for value, 2nd for career progress and 3rd for percentage of international students. In 2014, Rady School ranked 1st in the nation in intellectual capital by Bloomberg Businessweek, which measured faculty research published in the top 20 business journals from 2009 to 2013—the only MBA program in San Diego to be ranked.
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 percent of all UC San Diego's doctoral programs are among the top 20 in their fields nationwide.
International Relations Programs Top World Rankings Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2015 rankings named UC San Diego’s undergraduate international relations program and master’s program for policy careers in international relations 13th best in the world. In addition, UC San Diego’s PhD program for students pursuing an academic career in international relations was named 7th best in 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.
Best Algae Biofuel Research in the Nation UC San Diego is home to the top two algae biofuel research programs in the nation, ranked by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) in 2014. Scripps Institution of Oceanography biofuel research team led by Mark Hildebrand ranked first, while the UC San Diego Consortium for Algal Biofuels Commercialization (CAB-Comm), led by Stephen Mayfield, took the number two spot. Both laboratories work to develop renewable fuels and bio-products from algae and promote sustainable energy resources.
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.
#2 Best School for Biology UC San Diego ranked No. 2 in the country for the best place to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, according to USA TODAY. The 2014 ranking is based on data provided by College Factual and Payscale.
Top English Language Institute The English Language Institute (ELI), which is led by UC San Diego Extension, was ranked 2nd in the world and first in the U.S. in 2014 by Ryugaku Journal—a Tokyo-based publication affiliated with Japan’s largest study-abroad program. Japanese students who have studied abroad provided survey input, giving outstanding marks for ELI’s variety of programs, improvement gained as well as international student services support.
2nd Best Surfing School in the Nation In 2015 UC San Diego was ranked 2nd nationally among “Top Academic Surf Schools” and “Core Surf Schools” by The Inertia, a website that focuses on surfing news and lifestyle. Criteria included average student incoming freshman GPA and SAT scores as well as access to high quality surf. UC San Diego’s surf team has won six national championships.
Top 20 Best Food The Daily Meal named UC San Diego 19th in the nation in their 2014 “75 Best Colleges for Food in America.” High marks were gained for the campus’s professionally-trained chefs, number of food-centered events on campus, sustainability education programs and award-wining dining services.
Top School for Peace Corps Service UC San Diego ranks 15th nationally on the Peace Corps’ 2015 list of “Top Colleges and Universities,” marking the fifth consecutive year that UC San Diego has been named in the top 15. There are currently 39 UC San Diego undergraduate alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers; in total, the campus has produced 790 volunteers.

More information about university rankings

Current Faculty Honors

From left: Medal of Science recipient Shu Chien, Nobel Laureate Roger Tsien and Medal of Science recipient Marye Anne Fox
Nobel Prize Harry Markowitz, economics (1990); Mario J. Molina, chemistry (1995); Roger Tsien, chemistry (2008). 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); and Carol Padden, communication (2010).
Tony Award Judith Dolan, theatre and dance (1997).
Academy Award Henrik Wann Jensen, computer science and engineering (2004).
Wolf Prize George Feher, chemistry (2007); and Roger Tsien, medicine (2008).

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); Francis Crick, physiology or medicine (1962); Maria Goeppert-Mayer, physics (1963); George Palade, physiology or medicine, (1974); Renato Dulbecco, physiology or medicine, (1975); 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); 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).