See what students say:


UC San Diego is widely regarded by students as "one of the top science universities in the United States." As a result, the school attracts bright students who benefit from "access to cutting edge technology and theories" and "great opportunities for undergraduates to do research." Professors "are incredibly knowledgeable about their material, and many of them are actively doing research in their field." Research opportunities are widely available to undergraduate science majors. However, sciences are not the only attraction here. The university is home to six colleges, a system that students say is "a great way to not feel like a small fish in a huge ocean." Whereas it might seem like some science professors "are more interested in research than teaching," students say, "Humanities professors tend to be more accessible and more interested in their students as well as what they are teaching." Overall, however, "professors are very helpful and willing to take extra time to help students understand material." Given the fact that this is a large public university, students say, "Professors are extremely willing to help and mentor students if you seek them out." Another major benefit to attending a large university is that "there are a lot of resources, and there is always a faculty member or organization that will help you achieve what you want." Students say, "This university will undoubtedly set the new standard of what it means to be an elite public university in the years to come."

Student Body

The typical student at UC San Diego "is a little nerdy and studies a lot." "Doing well academically at UC San Diego is an extreme priority, even to students who are not good students. Most of the students are geared toward extended education or professional school." However, "there are plenty of students who balance academics with other things, like sports or clubs." The student body "has such a diverse range of personalities" that most anyone "can fit in here because it's such a big school, and there are so many different organizations and places where you can find people that enjoy the same things as you." Students say that the population of students in the humanities has been growing "rapidly" in recent years, but some still see room for improvement among the diversity of the student body. There are those who would love "to see more students become socially conscious" to enhance the overall student body experience on campus.

Campus Life

Students love to take advantage of UC San Diego's "unbeatable location," ten minutes from the beach and a quick ride away from downtown San Diego. It is easy to enjoy "all the nature around the campus by hiking, biking, [and] camping," or taking surf lessons, which "are offered on campus for a modest fee." It is also "super easy to get to San Diego proper for a fun night out." There is a perception that social life is somewhat lacking on the campus itself, which may be the result of UC San Diego being such a large, academically intensive school. While some students have trouble fitting a social life into their busy study schedules, others say that, in fact, there are "tons of resources and ways to get involved" on campus; students "just have to actively seek them." Plenty of people "play sports or participate in clubs." "Lots of people enjoy...small parties but the party scene isn't too big here." In the spring, the Sun God Festival is "always a popular event" that brings the entire campus together. There "is not really a huge emphasis on the athletics department," much to the annoyance of some students. However, students who make the most of their experience here maintain, "There is always an event going on and so many clubs to be involved in. From the Greek life, to the intramural sports, to the variety of clubs, there is literally a place for everyone."


Acceptance Rate
Average HS GPA

GPA Breakdown

Over 3.75
3.50 - 3.74
3.25 - 3.49

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SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
550 - 670
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
590 - 750
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile
(enrolled students)
560 - 690

Concordant SAT Scores

SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
640 - 730
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
650 - 780

ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
25 - 32

Testing Policies

ACT Writing Policy
ACT with Writing required


Regular — November 30

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Academic GPA
Standardized Test Scores
Application Essay

Selectivity Rating

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Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
10 - 19
Most frequent lab / sub section size
10 - 19

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


  • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, and Gender Studies

  • African Studies
  • Area Studies, Other
  • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, and Gender Studies, Other
  • Asian Studies/Civilization
  • Central/Middle and Eastern European Studies
  • Chinese Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Ethnic, Cultural Minority, and Gender Studies, Other
  • European Studies/Civilization
  • French Studies
  • German Studies
  • Hispanic-American, Puerto Rican, and Mexican-American/Chicano Studies
  • Italian Studies
  • Japanese Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Pacific Area/Pacific Rim Studies
  • Polish Studies
  • Russian Studies
  • South Asian Studies
  • Spanish and Iberian Studies
  • Women's Studies

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology/Biological Sciences, General
  • Biophysics
  • Cell/Cellular Biology and Histology
  • Microbiology, General
  • Molecular Biology

  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

  • Management Science, General

  • Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs

  • Communication and Media Studies, Other
  • Communication Studies/Speech Communication and Rhetoric
  • Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other
  • Radio, Television, and Digital Communication, Other

  • Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services

  • Audiovisual Communications Technologies/Technicians, Other

  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

  • Computer and Information Sciences, General
  • Computer and Information Sciences,Other
  • Computer Programming/Programmer, General
  • Computer Science

  • Education

  • Mathematics Teacher Education
  • Physics Teacher Education
  • Urban Education and Leadership

  • Engineering

  • Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Agricultural/Biological Engineering and Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering, General
  • Computer Engineering, Other
  • Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Engineering Science
  • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering

  • English Language and Literature/Letters

  • English Language and Literature, General

  • Foreign languages, literatures, and Linguistics

  • French Language and Literature
  • German Language and Literature
  • Italian Language and Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Russian Language and Literature
  • Spanish Language and Literature

  • History

  • Asian History
  • History, General

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities

  • Humanities/Humanistic Studies
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other

  • Mathematics and Statistics

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics, General
  • Mathematics, Other
  • Statistics, General

  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Biological and Physical Sciences
  • Classical, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology
  • Neuroscience

  • Natural Resources and Conservation

  • Environmental Science

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

  • Jewish/Judaic Studies
  • Logic
  • Religion/Religious Studies

  • Physical Sciences

  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry, General
  • Geology/Earth Science, General
  • Physical Sciences
  • Physics, General

  • Psychology

  • Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
  • Comparative Psychology
  • Developmental and Child Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Psychology, General
  • Psychology, Other
  • Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology

  • Social Sciences

  • Anthropology
  • Anthropology, Other
  • Archeology
  • Economics, General
  • Political Science and Government, General
  • Sociology
  • Urban Studies/Affairs

  • Theology and Religious Vocations

  • Religious Education
  • Theology and Religious Vocations, Other

  • Visual and Performing Arts

  • Art History, Criticism and Conservation
  • Dance, General
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General
  • Fine/Studio Arts, General
  • Music History, Literature, and Theory
  • Visual and Performing Arts, Other



Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


Notable Faculty

Prominent Alumni

Susma Tonegawa
1987 Nobel Laureate in Medicine

Bill Atkinson
Co-founder of Apple Computer

Mike Judge
Animator, filmmaker

Tim Roemer
U.S. congressman/U.S. Ambassador to India

K. Megan McArthur
NASA Astronaut

Donald W. Murphy
CEO of The Freedom Center

Craig Venter
Founder of the Institute of Genomic Research

Academic Rating

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Regional Alumni
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes

Information from PayScale:

Starting Median Salary (Up to Bachelor's degree completed, only)

Mid-Career Median Salary (Up to Bachelor's degree completed, only)

Starting Median Salary (At least Bachelor's degree)

Mid-Career Median Salary (At least Bachelor's degree)

Percent High Job Meaning

Percent STEM

Students Say

Professional success is practically synonymous with UCSD. Indeed, according to, the average starting salary for San Diego grads is $58,600. Students looking to jumpstart their search can easily turn to the Career Services Center. Here undergrads have the opportunity to meet with advisors to explore the breadth of career options, conduct assessments and research various industries. Most importantly, the Center hosts job fairs and networking events every quarter. These present great opportunities for undergrads to learn about internships, part-time gigs and full-time positions. Companies that have recently attended include Amazon, Boeing, Apple, Chevron Corporation, California State Auditor, Hulu, Groupon, Intel Corporation, and the Peace Corps.

The Teaching + Learning Commons at UC San Diego is both a physical space on campus and a curricular effort. Both are focused on empowering successful graduates who can quickly distinguish themselves and advance in the workplace. We spoke with Dr. Gabriele Wienhausen, the inaugural faculty director who was responsible for the launch of The Commons. Dr. Wienhausen explains that the Teaching + Learning Commons recognizes that "the curriculum inside and outside the classroom are not separate but intertwined. Here we intentionally re-bundle those experiences." Those packages include research opportunities, community-service projects, study abroad programs, internships, and experiential entrepreneurship. To give a sense of these experiences, Dr. Wienhausen told us about Global Ties, a program that addresses critical needs facing non-profit organizations that would need otherwise cost-prohibitive support to advance their missions. Students work on cross-disciplinary teams and spend multiple quarters on their projects, earning university credit in the process. The Teaching & Learning Commons always gives students different ways to present an educational narrative to employers or grad schools that goes beyond grades and degrees. Students in the Global Ties program, for example, are able to capture that activity and the corresponding skills they've gained on an official, Co-Curricular Record that can be issued along with their transcript. A guiding philosophy of the Teaching + Learning Commons is that "soft-skills" which students can transfer to the workplace, like information fluency, problem-solving, and critical thinking, are just as important as developing technical expertise in an academic discipline.


Application Deadlines
Notification Date
Mar 15

Required Forms

State Aid

Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Tuition (In-State)
Tuition (Out-of-State)
Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

On-Campus Room and Board
Comprehensive Fee

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology
Federal and Institutional

Scholarships and Grants


Federal Academic Competitive Grant Federal National SMART Grant Federal TEACH Grant-Loan
Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Other
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Institutional non-need-based scholarship or grant aid is available

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
College/university loans from institutional funds
Federal Perkins Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender

Financial Aid Rating


Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Foreign Countries Represented



48% female
52% male
6% are out of state
98% are full time
2% are part time


Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Large Urban

Housing Options

Apartment Married
Apartment Single
Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
International Student

Special Needs Admissions

Joanna Boval

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations

14% join a fraternity
14% join a sorority


Athletic Division
Division II

9% participate in intramural sports

Men's Sports (Tritons)
13 Sports

Crew Rowing
Cross Country
Track Field Outdoor
Water Polo
Women's Sports (Tritons)
12 Sports

Crew Rowing
Cross Country
Track Field Outdoor
Water Polo

Student Services

Day Care
Womens Center
LGBT Support Groups
Minority Support Groups
Army ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: San Diego State University
Navy ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: University of San Diego
Air Force ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: San Diego State University


As a leader in conservation and sustainability, the University of San Diego works to foster an ethic of innovation and preservation. USD has installed more than five thousand photovoltaic panels throughout the campus, generating 8 percent of its power needs through a 1.23-megawatt renewable energy system. The university maintains its beautiful landscaping through satellite controlled smart irrigation sensor systems that automatically conserve water after rainfall. The university’s efficiency savings from 2010–2011 includes 6 million kilowatts of electricity and well over 30 million gallons of water. The University reduced its energy consumption by 20 percent and reduced its water consumption by 39 percent over its peak consumption years (2005 and 2010 respectively). All recycling bins on campus accept plastics 1–7 along with other common recyclables. Additionally, nearly 1.5 million pounds of green waste is diverted annually by being chipped and reused as soil or composted off site USD also opened a full time electronic waste collection center, collecting over 1,000,000 pounds of old electronics. This collection center, the first of its kind on a college campus, diverts e-waste from landfills and developing nations with the goal of raising money for student scholarships. The university offers environmental courses allowing students to participate in hands-on environmental research projects. The Center of Peace and Commerce is a joint project of the School of Business Administration and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies that aims to drive the new global economy to measure success in the five P’s “people, planet, profit, peace and prosperity.” USD’s Career Services Office and Office of Community Service Learning jointly sponsor an annual “Careers with a Conscience” program. USD is the lead institution for one of six national programs dedicated to Climate Change Education funded by the National Science Foundation. This multidisciplinary and multi-institution program is focused on creating new resources for and education of decision makers and community leaders. USD also houses the Climate Collaborative a unique collaboration of academia, utilities, community foundations and local governments sharing best practices to prepare for the impacts of Climate Change.

School Has Formal Sustainability Committee

Sustainability-focused degree available

School employs a sustainability officer

Public GHG inventory plan

% food budget spent on local/organic food

Available Transportation Alternatives

School Adopted A Policy Prohibiting Idling

School Developed Bicycle Plan
Data provided by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS®, as of March, 2017.

Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Undergraduates that Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

through bookstore, Dell, Sun, HP, IBM, Apple, Sony and others.

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Jessica Rogers
Campus Tours Coordinator

Office of Admissions and Outreach
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0075



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Geisel Library
Stuart Art (sculpture) Gallery
Sun God Statue
Ocean Cliffs-Torrey Pines State Reserve
Stephen Birch Aquarium and Museum
Price Center and Price Center East. The Loft UCSD. The La Jolla Playhouse.

Most Popular Places Off Campus
San Diego Zoo
Balboa Park
Gaslamp Quarter
Old Town
San Diego Wild Animal Park SeaWorld

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: Yes
Dates: Year-round
Times: Mon-Sat 11am
Average Length: 2 hours

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions
Not Available


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Coach Directly

Advance Notice
3 weeks

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available


Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Admissions Office



Types of Transportation Available to Campus
San Diego International Airport is 15 miles from campus. Taxis, shuttles and public buses are available for the ride to campus from the airport. Amtrak trains and Greyhound/Trailways buses serve downtown San Diego. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System provides bus service in the area and the San Diego Trolley runs on 2 lines from the Amtrak depot.

Driving Instructions to Campus
From I-5, exit to Gilman Dr. W. Follow it to the information kiosk, where you may get a parking permit, campus map, and directions. Parking is free on weekend.

Local Accommodations
The closest hotel to the university is the Residence Inn by Marriott (8901 Gilman Dr.; 858-587-1170). Another within walking distance is the Radisson Hotel of La Jolla (3299 Holiday Ct.; 858-453-5500).

Articles & Advice