The Best UC Schools and Rankings

Historically, the UC school system is one of the earliest and best university systems in the United States. The University of California system comprises various campuses across the state. The famous UC schools have a large student enrolment and also attract thousands of students across the United States and other countries.

The University of California is made up of ten campuses, which include UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Riverside, UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, and UC San Francisco. The University of California San Francisco (US San Francisco) is a graduate school in the UC system.

In this article, we have listed the best UC schools according to their recent. If you intend to study at any of the University of California schools, perhaps you should find out where your preferred university is ranked. Additionally, we have also included information about the admission rate at each UC school and how you can apply to them.

The Best UC Schools

History of the University of California System

The establishment of the UC school system dates back to the 19th century. The University of California was established in 1863 in Oakland, California. Six years later, the University of California held its first classes with 10 faculty members and just 40 students in attendance.

The University of California relocated to Berkeley, California in 1873. As the year progresses, the university established other branch locations across California.

Presently, the University of California has ten campuses across the state, with an overall student enrolment estimated at 285,800 and 227,000 faculty members and staff. The University of California has graduated notable alumni, with more than 2 million living individuals.

Alumni of the UC schools include Nobel laureates, living billionaires, CEOs, Turning Award winners, Olympic medallists, and Academy Award winners.  

The UC schools offer various undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. UC San Francisco offers only graduate and professional degree programs in medical and health sciences.

Also Read: Easiest Major to Get Into UCLA: UCLA with High Acceptance Rates

Ranking of the UC Schools

The UC system has one of the best public research institutions on the West Coast of the United States. The nine campuses in the UC system are unique and dedicated to offering top-quality education.

The ranking of the UC schools is not determined by the University of California system. U.Snews and World Report releases the rankings of the University of California schools based on their performances annually.

So here we will look at the recent rankings of the University of California schools.

UC SchoolsU.Snews &World Report National University Rankings
UCLA20th 
UC Berkeley22nd
UC Santa Barbara28th
UC San Diego34th
UC Irvine36th
UC Davis38th
UC Riverside83rd
UC Merced93rd
UC Santa Cruz103rd 

Now, let us look at the nine UC campuses and discuss a bit about their admission rate.

#1. UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles became a part of the UC system in 1919. Located in Los Angeles, California, UCLA is among the best public research institutions on the West Coast and is ranked top among other UC schools.

The University of California, Los Angeles offers more than 330 academic programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. The total student enrolment at UCLA comprises 46,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

UCLA is organized into 13 undergraduate and graduate divisions. The University of California, Los Angeles schools and colleges include the College of Letters and Sciences, School of the Arts and Architecture, Samueli School of Engineering, School of Nursing, Luskin School of Public Affairs, Herb Alpert School of Music, and School of Theatre, Film and Television.

UCLA graduate schools include the School of Education and Information Studies, Anderson School of Management, School of Law, David Geffen School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, and Fielding School of Public Health.

Being one of the best UC schools, the University of California Los Angeles receives over 100,000 applications annually. UCLA is highly recognized globally as an institution with reputable background. The multitude applying to the university seeks to study in a world-class learning environment, with the best faculty members ready to educate young minds.

Despite receiving thousands of applications, UCLA admits about 10% of its entire applicant. The recent admission statistics show that UCLA admitted 12,000+ students out of 149,813 applicants. 

UCLA is the most selective school in the UC system, with an admission rate estimated below 10%.

School Address

University of California, Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States
  • Phone: (310) 825-4321

#2. UC Berkeley

Found in 1868, UC Berkeley is the oldest campus in the University of California system. Berkley is California’s first land grant university and its student enrolment includes 31,000 undergraduates and 13,000 graduate students.

UC Berkeley is one of the most highly rated campuses in the UC school system. UC Berkeley offers more than 350 academic programs in different areas of study. 

Berkeley houses several undergraduate and graduate divisions. Its Haas School of Business offers undergraduate majors and MBA programs. The university’s College of Letters and Sciences offers more than 60 academic programs in biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities.

Other UC Berkeley schools and colleges include the College of Chemistry, Graduate School of Education, the Division of Computing, Data Sciences and Society, College of Engineering, College of Environmental Design, the School of Information, School of Law, School of Public Policy, School of Optometry, School of Social Welfare, College of Natural Resources, and the School of Public Health.

On average, about 120,000 students apply to UC Berkeley each year. UC Berkeley will go on to admit below 14% of its overall applicant. The recent admission statistics indicate that UC Berkeley has an acceptance of 11.4%.

UCLA and UC Berkeley are highly selective when it comes to admission. These UC schools require the best academic record from applicants. The average high school GPA to get into UCLA or UC Berkeley is 4.0.   

School Address

University of California Berkeley

  • Berkeley, CA 94720, United States 
  • Phone: (510) 642-6000

#3. UC Santa Barbara

The establishment of UC Santa Barbara dates back to the late 19th century. In 1944, UC Santa Barbara became a part of the University of California system. Located in Santa Barbara, California, UC Santa Barbara offers more than 200 academic programs at undergraduate and graduate levels.

The University of California Santa Barbara houses three undergraduate colleges and two graduate divisions. The undergraduate colleges at UC Santa Barbara include the College of Letters and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Creative Studies.

Its graduate division comprises Gevirtz Graduate School of Education and Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.

Just like UCLA and UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara receives about 100,000 applications annually. The selectivity at UC Santa Barbara admits 25% of its total applicants. UC Santa Barbara’s current admission rate is estimated at 25%, which is very competitive.

School Address

University of California Santa Barbara

  • Santa Barbara, CA 93106, United States
  • Phone: (805) 893-8000

Also Read: UC Berkeley Acceptance Rate, Admissions, Tuition, SAT, ACT, Rankings

#4. UC San Diego

UC San Diego came into existence in 1960. Located in San Diego, California, the University of California San Diego is one of the best schools in the UC system. 

UC San Diego like every other UC school offers undergraduate majors and a variety of graduate degree programs. The students enrolled at UC San Diego consist of 43,000+ undergraduate and graduate students.

UC San Diego’s main campus is close to the Pacific Coastline, and the university is the southernmost campus among the University of California Schools. There are twelve undergraduate, graduate and professional schools at the University of California San Diego.

The University of California San Diego receives thousands of applications, and recent statistics show that over 140,000 applications were received in the last admission cycle.

Despite receiving thousands of applications, UC San Diego keeps its admission rate below 25%. Currently, the overall acceptance rate at UC San Diego is 23.7%.

School Address

UC San Diego

  • 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, United States
  • Phone: (858) 534-2230

#5. UC Irvine

Established in 1965, the University of California Irvine is a research institution in Irvine, California, and one of the campuses in the UC system. UC Irvine is a member of the iconic Association of American Universities and at some point been compared to the famous Ivy League.

The academic programs offered at UC Irvine include 87 undergraduate and 129 graduate and professional degree programs. The overall student enrolment at UC Irvine comprises over 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The admission process at UC Irvine is very competitive and challenging. The university admission rate stands at 21%, despite receiving over 100,000 applications in the last admission.

School Address

University of California Irvine

  • Irvine, CA 92697, United States
  • Phone: (949) 824-5011

Also Read: UCI Acceptance Rate, Admissions, SAT/ACT, GPA, Tuition, Ranking

#6. UC Davis

UC Davis was initially established as an agricultural branch of the UC system before it became one of the UC campuses in 1959. Located in Davis, California, UC Davis was the seventh campus established in the UC system.

UC Davis has an enrolment of over 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students and also offers more than 100 academic programs in different fields of study.

In the last admission cycle, UC Davis admitted about 35,000 students out of 94,759 applicants. The admission rate at UC Davis is approximately 37%, which is considered selective.

School Address

University of California, Davis

  • One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, United States
  • Phone: (530) 752-1011

#7. UC Riverside

Found in 1954, the University of California Riverside is one of the campuses in the UC system. The UC Riverside main campus spans 1,900 acres in Riverside, California and the university also has a branch campus in Palm Desert.

UC Riverside is home to over 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students. UC Riverside offers undergraduate majors and a variety of graduate degree programs in different fields of study.

The number of applications received at UC Riverside annually is estimated at 54,000. The admission rate at UC Riverside is less selective when compared to UCLA and UC Berkeley. Presently, UC Riverside has an acceptance rate of 68.1%, according to recent admission statistics

School Address

University of California, Riverside

  • Riverside, CA 92521, United States
  • Phone: (951) 827-1012

#8. UC Merced

The University of California, Merced is the newest research institution in the UC system. Established in 2005, UC Merced has the smallest student enrolment, with about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a semester-based academic calendar.

The university’s main campus spans 815 acres in Merced, California and offers academic programs in engineering, social sciences, natural sciences, arts, and humanities.

UC Merced is a new school with the potential to match the accomplishment of other UC schools. The University of California, Merced is already attracting young and inquisitive students across the world and more are expected to apply in time to come.

The acceptance rate at UC Merced is almost 100%. As a new university, UC Merced received about 29,900 applications in the last admission cycle. It admitted 27,046 students, leaving the admission rate at UC Merced at 90.4%.

School Address

University of California, Merced

  • 5200 N. Lake Road Merced, CA 95343, United States
  • Phone: (209) 228-4400

#9. UC Santa Cruz

The University of California, Santa Cruz was established in the same as UC Irvine (1959). UC Santa Cruz is located on Monterey Bay near the Pacific coastline. The University of California, Santa Cruz’s main campus sits on 2,100 acres in Santa Cruz, California.

The enrolment at UC Santa Cruz comprises 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, with academic programs offered in engineering, humanities, arts, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences.

On average, about 60,000 applications are received at UC Santa Cruz. UC Santa Cruz has an overall admission rate estimated at 47%, according to recent admission statistics.

School Address

University of California, Santa Cruz

  • 1156 High St. Santa Cruz, CA 95064, United States
  • Phone: (831) 459-0111

What Are My Admission Chances at any of the UC schools?

If you intend to study at any of the campuses in the UC system, first, you should have an excellent academic record. The average GPA requirement for most UC schools is 4.0. However, possessing good grades and high test scores is not a guarantee for admission.

There are several factors considered during admission at most UC schools. For instance, UCLA is the most selective campus in the UC system, and students are not admitted to UCLA based on academic performance only.

At UCLA, they consider several factors such as extracurricular activities, initiative, sense of leadership, academic goals, community involvement and what students will contribute to the community on campus if admitted.

So before you apply to any of the University of California schools, these are the things to consider.

Also Read: UCR Acceptance Rate, Admission, SAT/ACT, Tuition, Ranking

How to Apply to UC Schools

The University of California system has its unique application platform for students who intend to apply. The Common Application or the Collation Application is not accepted at any of the UC campuses.

With the University of California application, you can apply to the nine UC schools with a single application. The application fee attached to each UC school is $70 for domestic students and $80 for international students.

Do UC Schools Require SAT or ACT?

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic led the UC schools to adopt the test-optional policy. The nine University of California schools are test-optional and do not require SAT or ACT scores.

However, students applying to the UC schools can submit their best SAT or ACT scores if they choose, and those not submitting any score will not be at disadvantage.

The University of California intends to remove test requirements in the next few years and will introduce a new UC-specific standardized test.

Conclusion

The University of California is home to almost 300,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The best UC schools have graduated notable alumni including Nobel laureates, living billionaires, CEOs, and Academy Award Winners.

 Now that you know the best UC schools according to rankings, and how to apply to them, you should decide which UC campus is suitable for you.

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