University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego (popularly known as UCSD) is a public, coeducational university located in La Jolla, California. Founded around the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1959, it has grown to become one of the most selective University of California campuses.

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UCSD excels in the humanities, sciences and engineering, aided by a strong local biotechnology sector. In 1995, the National Research Council ranked UCSD faculty the 10th best in the nation, and ranked numerous programs among the top ten in the United States in terms of quality: neurosciences (1st), oceanography (1st), biomedical engineering (2nd), physiology (2nd), pharmacology (3rd), theatre and dance (3rd), genetics (6th), geosciences (6th), cell and developmental biology (7th), anthropology (9th), biochemistry and molecular biology (2nd), political science (2nd), aerospace engineering (10th), and mechanical engineering (10th). UCSD also counts among its research centers the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

The 2004 Princeton Review and Fiske Guide to Colleges 2004 both ranked UCSD's admissions as "most selective" and the college has received top academic ratings, year after year with a national ranking of 35th in the Nation and 7th among public universities and is ranked 3rd among public universities in California, just behind rival schools Berkeley and UCLA.

The Princeton Review also reported that UCSD applicants are among the "most competitive" in the nation although this is a superlative description generously used throughout their assessment of other colleges. Similar to the applicant pool of all other UCs, 99% of the pool is in the top 10% of his or her high school class. Students that apply to UCSD also overwhelmingly apply and are sometimes accepted to USC, UCLA, Berkeley, New York University (NYU) and Stanford.

UCSD is an important research center, with annual research funding totalling over $600 million. The National Science Foundation has ranked UCSD first in the UC system and sixth in the nation in terms of Federal R&D expenditures. Furthermore, some 200 San Diego companies have been founded by UCSD faculty and alumni, and over 40% of the people employed in the San Diego biotechnology industry work in UCSD spin-offs. Sixteen UCSD faculty members have won the Nobel Prize, nine of whom are currently on the faculty. UCSD faculty also include nine MacArthur Fellows and 146 Guggenheim Fellows. UCSD ranks sixth in the nation in terms of National Academy of Science membership.

For the 2004-2005 academic period, UCSD received 41,330 freshmen applications of which 17,269 students were offered admission (a small number of these offers required students to enter in winter quarter). The admit rate was about 42%. 22% of those admitted to UCSD choose to attend (First-time freshman profile (, forming an entering class of 3874. The group of admitted students this year attained a mean weighted high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.96 and an average composite SAT score of 1243 (Undergraduate profile (


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UCSD's distinctive Geisel Library, named for Theodor Seuss Geisel ("Dr. Seuss") and featured in UCSD's logo.

Undergraduate colleges

The undergraduate college system is one of the most unique and distinctive characteristics at UCSD. The university boasts a system of residential colleges inspired by those at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, and somewhat similar to the system installed at UC Santa Cruz and Princeton University. The most important difference between Santa Cruz's residential college system and UCSD's however, is the predominant academic philosophy behind each college.

UCSD's six colleges are Roger Revelle College, John Muir College, Thurgood Marshall College, Earl Warren College, Eleanor Roosevelt College, and the new and unnamed Sixth College. Each of the colleges has a defined academic philosophy that structures their general education requirements and their eventual goal of what an ideal scholar should be. The only major differences between the colleges are their academic philosophies, places of residence, and their core writing course (required for every student in the college).

It is important to note undergraduates can major in any discipline offered at UCSD without regard to their undergraduate college. However, the colleges issue undergraduate diplomas and hold individual commencement ceremonies.

  • Roger Revelle - UCSD's first college was named in honor of UCSD's founder, Roger Revelle and opened in 1964, at height of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Revelle College remains focused on developing "a well-rounded student who is intellectually skilled and prepared for competition in a complex world." Revelle general education requirements are both rigorous and highly structured and attempt to follow the traditions of a classic liberal arts college. Revelle's stated goal of creating "Renaissance scholars" is reflected in their general education requirements, which ensure that a student graduating from the college has experienced a wide array of subjects from a year of physics to proficiency in a foreign language. Revelle College's core writing course is known as Humanities (HUM), and is a fairly straightforward Western Civilization course that incorporates writing, history and other social science requirements into a five quarter (1.5 year) sequence that attempts to understand the greater social and literary developments throughout Western culture.
  • John Muir - John Muir College, named after John Muir, the famed environmentalist and founder of the Sierra Club, boasts a humanitarian emphasis focused on the "spirit of self-sufficiency and individual choice." Its general education requirements are more loosely structured than the other colleges, with an emphasis on "sequences" and individual study. The college opened in 1967, at the height of the American environmentalist movement triggered in part by Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring. John Muir College describes itself as the "Heart of UCSD," and boasts a strong and distinct character after nearly forty years of existence. The flexibility of the general education requirements often encourages a large number of students to pursue multiple bachelor degrees. Muir College's writing program incorporates college level writing over a 2 quarter period.
  • Thurgood Marshall - Thurgood Marshall College, named after Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice and lawyer for the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, emphasizes "scholarship, social responsibility and the belief that a liberal arts education must include an understanding of [one's] role in society." Marshall College's general education requirements emphasize this culture of community involvement and multiculturalism; Marshall is the only college to offer a minor in community service. Originally, Third College was envisioned as a college devoted to various aspects of historical study. But by the time the college began enrolling students in 1970, the college's aim was more in keeping with the spirit of 1960s student protests and political activism. In keeping with the college's revolutionary mission, students pushed for the new college to be named "Lumumba-Zapata College" in honor of famous twentieth century revolutionaries Patrice Lumumba and Emiliano Zapata. Amid the conflict among students, faculty -- including figures such as Herbert Schiller and Herbert Marcuse -- and the university's administration over the college's larger mission, the name was never approved. An attempt in the early 1990s to name the college after Martin Luther King failed when King's family refused the honor, preferring to build a King College in the South. The college remained simply Third College until 1993, when it was named in the wake of Marshall's death. Marshall College's required writing program is called Dimensions of Culture (DOC), and is a 3 quarter (1 year) sequence that explores race, identity, imagination, tradition, and the law in the United States.
  • Earl Warren - Named after the three term California governor and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Warren College emphasizes the connection between one's undergraduate education and one's personal and career goals. Founded in 1974, Warren College seeks to create students that are well-rounded and as a result, very desirable in the post-collegiate job market. By dividing all majors into math/physical sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, Warren College allows students to pursue a major of their choice while also requiring six classes in a specific major in each of the other fields (i.e., a history major would take six classes in political science and six classes in biology as well). The idea behind this general education plan is to foster a greater well-roundedness in a college student in hopes of making them more viable in the job market. Warren College is home to a large number of engineering students because it has tailored the structure of their general education requirements slightly differently for students pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering. In 2006 the college will be adding a new building dedicated to the study of Information Technology. Warren College's core writing course incorporates general college level writing for students over a 2 quarter period.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt - Eleanor Roosevelt College (commonly referred to as ERC), was named after former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and seeks to continue her global vision by emphasizing the development of world citizens through scholarship, leadership and service. The college was founded as Fifth College in 1988, in the wake of the end of the Cold War across the globe; during the inaugural class of students (1988-1989) the Berlin Wall collapsed, marking the reunification of Germany and the radically changing of world politics. ERC arose out of an attempt to make the sense of the new changes happening in a post-Cold War world and promotes the creation of internationally-minded, culturally aware students and citizens. More than one-third of all ERC students take this focus to heart by studying abroad on a variety of programs, including EAP (the University of California study abroad program). The Making of the Modern World (MMW) is a six-quarter core writing sequence required of all ERC students. It is designed to encourage historical and comparative thinking and in an interdisciplinary way educate students about the Western and non-Western cultures studied in the course sequence. Disciplinary perspectives (and general education requirements) covered in MMW include those from literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, political science, and the fine arts. MMW is the most intensive and challenging writing program offered at the six colleges; the course spans 6 quarters (2 years) and as such helps to attract students generally interested in integrating global and international worldviews into their future career plans.
  • Sixth College - UCSD's newest college is as of yet unnamed, but currently helmed by its ambitious provost, Gabrielle Weinhausen. Sixth encourages exploration of the "historical and philosophical connections among culture, art and technology." Opened in September 2002, Sixth College seeks to create student scholars that are dynamic, cutting edge, and well-versed in modern technology. Sixth College's core writing course is called Culture Art and Technology (CAT), a one year long sequence that attempts to integrate writing skills within a greater technological and modern era context. Richard C. Atkinson, a former UCSD and University of California chancellor was strongly considered for the name of the college until he withdrew his support. Various names such as Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Leonardo da Vinci have been mentioned as possible names for the college, but one has not yet been chosen that best embodies the college's goals and ideals.

Schools and major divisions

While the colleges constitute the most important division for undergraduate students, courses and programs at UCSD are divided into the subdivisions listed below:


The school's sports teams are called the Tritons. UCSD's perennial strengths are in water sports (Swimming and Water Polo), soccer, volleyball, men's rowing, and tennis. UCSD participates in the NCAA's Division II and in the California Collegiate Athletics Association, although water polo competes at the Division I level. In addition to UCSD's NCAA teams, the school fields a number of respectable club sports teams. The UCSD Surfing Team, for example, has won the national title six times. UCSD prides itself on ranking academics above all, and is the only NCAA Division II school that does not offer athletic scholarships, although it does offer a plethora of academic ones. In 2005, NCAA created a rule that makes it mandatory for Division II programs to award athletic grants; UCSD, though, will likely be granted an exception. However, a measure has been proposed to begin offering small grants to all intercollegiate athletes in order to meet this requirement.

Notable people

External links

University of California
Berkeley | Davis | Irvine | Los Angeles | Merced | Riverside
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