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 15 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 six undergraduate colleges, five academic divisions and five 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 2018 for the second year in a row, Times Higher Education ranked UC San Diego 1st among the world’s top “Golden Age” universities—the best 100 institutions that were founded between 1945 and 1966. Read more
U.S. News and World Report
U.S. News and World Report named UC San Diego the 17th best university in the world and the nation’s 5th best public university in 2018 for research; global and regional reputation; international collaboration; number of highly-cited papers; and doctorates awarded. Read more
Academic Ranking of World Universities
In the prestigious 2019 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 the nation and 18th in the world. The campus was also ranked 4th best public university in the U.S. Read more
Center for World University Rankings
The Center for the World University Rankings named UC San Diego the 27th best university in the world, 21st in the U.S. and seventh best public university in the nation in 2019. Read more
Times Higher Education
UC San Diego was named the 30th best university across the globe by Times Higher Education in their 2019 World University Rankings, which ranked 1,000 public and private institutions around the world. The campus was also named 20th best in the U.S. Read more
According to a 2016 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. Read more
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 third year in a row by U.S. News & World Report in their 2019 list of “Best High Schools.” The school was also ranked the 7th best school in the State of California based on performance on state assessments, graduation rates and college preparation. 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. Read more
In 2019, Washington Monthly named UC San Diego the best public university in the nation for contributions to social mobility, research and public service. UC San Diego has topped the rankings nine times over the past decade. Read more
New York Times College Access Index
The New York Times ranked UC San Diego 4th in the nation for a commitment to economic diversity in their 2017 College Access Index. The ranking is based on a combination of the number of lower-and middle-income students that UC San Diego enrolls and the price of tuition. Read more
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.” Read more.
College Choice, an online publication that helps students select a school, named UC San Diego the 9th best public university in the nation for LGBTQ students in their 2017 list of “50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students. Read more
U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Guidebook
U.S. News & World Report named UC San Diego 10th in their 2019 Best Colleges guidebook based on academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduate rate performance and alumni giving. The guidebook also named the campus 14th among U.S. public colleges in a new ranking, “Top Performers for Social Mobility," based on how many low-income students enroll and their average graduation rate. Read more
UC San Diego received $1.35 billion in sponsored research support for FY2019 (July 1-June 30). The university reached a new milestone for the fourth consecutive year. This tops last year’s $1.2 billion by 10 percent. Read more.
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.
Nature ranked UC San Diego 2nd in the U.S. and 3rd worldwide among academic institutions in earth and environmental research based on total contribution to studies published in major science journals in 2016.
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 2019. Read more.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography operates three research vessels and an innovative Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP). In 2016, the Navy-owned R/V Sally Ride became the newest addition to the Scripps Fleet.
UC San Diego was ranked 6th in the nation for total research output by the journal Nature in their 2016 index.
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. The campus also ranked 6th among academic U.S. institutions, and UC San Diego Health Sciences was named 7th.
UC San Diego was named 11th best research university in the nation and 29th best college in the world by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies of Leiden University in their 2018 report that measured scientific impact of universities worldwide.
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.
Forty-five 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’ 2018 Highly Cited Researchers report. Read more.
More than 100 research centers on campus.
Best Value Rankings
A 2016 analysis of graduates’ compensation from Money.com data shows that UC San Diego is the fifth 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. Read more
UC San Diego is ranked 6th among 25 peer institutions for earning potential of graduates. 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). Read more
In 2019, Money Magazine named UC San Diego the 9th best school in the nation for gaining a quality education at an affordable price in their Best Colleges for Your Money ranking. Read more
UC San Diego has been ranked the 11th best public university in the country among colleges that pay off the most in a new 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). Read more
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. Read more
In 2017, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named UC San Diego the 20th 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. Read more
In 2017, Washington Monthly named UC San Diego 20th Best Bang for Buck among public schools in the western U.S. Read more
UC San Diego ranks 23rd among the top 50 U.S. universities and colleges for amount of money alumni made over 20 years after earning a degree in the 2017 Top 50 Best Value Colleges by ValueColleges.com. Read more
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. Read more.
Graduate Program Rankings
The Hollywood Reporter named UC San Diego's Department of Theatre and Dance MFA Program 3rd in the world for top graduate schools to earn an acting degree in 2019. 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 22nd in The Princeton Review’s “Top 25 Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurship in 2020” report. It was the only California graduate program to be recognized within the report.
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.
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.
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 (3rd), fine arts (13th).
Biomedical/bioengineering (5th), best engineering school (11th).
Drug and alcohol abuse research (10th), School of Medicine research program (21st), pharmacy (25th) and clinical psychology (25th).
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 (4th), cognitive psychology (8th), public finance (8th), political science (9th), comparative politics (10th), development economics (10th), American politics (11th), microeconomics (12th), Latin American history (12th), political methodology (12th), economics (12th), psychology (13th) and English (24th).
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 number of undergraduate students (Fall 2018)
Graduate and Professional Students
Total graduate and professional students
MD and pharmacy students
Degrees Conferred 2018
Candidate in Philosophy
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
Current Faculty Awards
Memberships held by current and emeriti faculty in National Academy of Sciences (76), National Academy of Engineering (84) and National Academy of Medicine (44).
Sixteen Nobel laureates have taught at UC San Diego. Current faculty Nobel laureates include: Harry Markowitz, economics (1990); and Mario J. Molina, chemistry (1995). 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 Mario Molina, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Richard Somerville and Lynne Talley.
National Medal of Science
Margaret Burbidge, astrophysics (1983); Walter Munk, geophysics (1983); 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)
Michael Freedman, mathematics (1986); and Efim Zelmanov, mathematics (1994).
Walter Munk, geophysics (1999).
Judith Dolan, theatre and dance (1997).
John von Neumann Theory Prize in Mathematics
Ruth Williams (2016).
MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship
Edwin Hutchins, cognitive science (1985); Nancy D. Cartwright, philosophy (1993); Kun-Liang Guan, pharmacology (1998); Guillermo Algaze, anthropology (2003); and Carol Padden, communication (2010).
Roger Reynolds, music (1989); and Rae Armantrout, poetry (2010).
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Mario Molina (2013).
Kamau Kenyatta (2014).
George Feher, chemistry (2007).
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.
More than $312 million was raised during fiscal year 2017-18, a 17 percent increase from the prior year. The funds go toward the university’s $2 billion goal as part of the Campaign for UC San Diego. Since the campaign was launched in 2012, $1.82 billion has been raised. Read more
Fiscal year 2017-18 revenues; 20% of this total is revenue from contracts and grants, most of which is from the federal government for research.
UC San Diego received $1.2 billion in sponsored research support for FY2018 (July 1-June 30). The university reached a new milestone for the third consecutive year. This tops last year’s $1.16 billion by 4 percent and places UC San Diego 7th in the nation among research universities for sponsored research. Read more.
Total combined endowment for the campus as of fiscal year 2017-18, 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. Read more
Highest population of low-income students (11 percent) among peer institutions. (New York Times, 2017).
Best public university in the nation for social mobility, research and public service. (Washington Monthly, 2018). Read more
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).
in the nation among schools contributing the most graduates to Teach For America (2015).
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. Learn more
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. Read more
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 the 7th best hospital in California (U.S. News and World Report, 2018).
in the nation for National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding FY 2017.
best school of medicine in the nation for primary care (U.S. News and World Report, 2019)
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 $260 million in benefits to the community, including $49 million in charity health care. (FY 2017).
Faculty research awards (FY 2018).
'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 2019 for keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. Read more.
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. Read more
U.S. News and World Report “Best Hospitals” 2019-20
UC San Diego ranks in the top 50 nationally in four specialties. More than 4,500 hospitals across the nation were ranked. Read more
Neurology and Neurosurgery
Cardiology and Heart Surgery
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. Learn more
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 two professional schools, both located on the university campus in La Jolla.
UC San Diego School of Medicine
Founded in 1968, the UC San Diego School of Medicine accepts 125 students each year out of approximately 5,000 applicants.
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. Learn more
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. Learn more
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.
UC San Diego Medical Center—Hillcrest
Opened in 1966 | 390 beds | Comprehensive Stroke Center | Area’s only Regional Burn Center | Level I Trauma Center | Owen Clinic for HIV/AIDS Learn more
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 Learn more
Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center
Opened in 2011 | 54 beds | San Diego’s first Ccmprehensive cardiovascular center | Global leader in pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) Learn more
Moores Cancer Center
Opened in 2005 | Region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center Learn more
Shiley Eye Institute
Opened in 1991 | Anne and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center | Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center | Hamilton Glaucoma Center Learn more
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.
The Jacobs School of Engineering is home to the world’s first first full-scale outdoor shake table, designed to create realistic simulations of earthquakes to advance seismic safety. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
In 1963, UC San Diego Professor Maria Goeppert Mayer became the second woman in history to win a Nobel Prize in Physics. Read more
Number of public artworks that make up UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection. Read more
In 1986, UC San Diego established the world’s first cognitive science department, which has become one of the leading centers of this field. Read more
Number of original drawings, sketches, books, and photographs created by Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, that are housed at the UC San Diego Library. Read more
UC San Diego is transitioning into the NCAA Division 1 Big West Conference. Read more
UC San Diego has 12 men’s and 11 women’s competitive sports teams. Read more
Number of NCAA national team sport championships earned.
UC San Diego has won 262 national, regional and conference championships. Read more
Number of Tritons that have been named to All-America teams.
Over three dozen buildings at UC San Diego are LEED-certified, including three platinum, 17 gold, six silver and six certified. Read more
UC San Diego’s campus vehicle fleet is one of the greenest in the nation with more than 50 percent comprising hybrid, electric or alternative fuel vehicles. Read more
Considered one of the most advanced in the world, UC San Diego’s microgrid generates approximately 85 percent of the electricity used on campus annually, saving more than $8 million a year. Read more