University of California, Santa Barbara - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of California, Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara is a noted research institution located on the edge of the...

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California

UC Santa Barbara is a noted research institution located on the edge of the Pacific. Students benefit from the natural research environment. The serene atmosphere is conducive to academic success, as well as many outdoor and recreational activities offered by the University.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
20,607 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
47% male — 53% female
6% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
923 full-time faculty
180 part-time faculty
17 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
95% of first year students live on campus
39% of all students live on campus

Retention Fall 2015

93% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

81% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 7%
Hispanic/Latino 26%
Black or African American 2%
White 35%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 19%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 8%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%

Freshman Seminars

Incoming first year students at UCSB have the opportunity to participate in freshman seminars. Class sizes for freshman seminars are capped at 20 students, allowing for a small-group setting that fosters student-faculty interaction. Seminars cover interesting topics, and allow student to explore areas of study outside of their “declared” major. Seminars meet for 10 hours a quarter and are worth one credit. Below are examples of freshman seminars currently offered at UCSB:

  • Eye on the Prize: Nobel Prizes in the Sciences
  • Close Looking: Examining Works of Art
  • Death, Revenge, and Madness in Icelandic Literature and Culture
  • Latin America in Film
  • The Creationism, Intelligent Design, Evolution Controversy

First Year Residential Experience

The First Year Residential Experience is an introduction to university life. Santa Barbara strongly encourages first year students to consider it as an option for the many benefits it affords. Students that belong to the community are taught how to access university resources, receive counseling from academic advisors, and bond with their classmates.

Second Year Residential Experience

SYRE is an extension of the first year experience. Students involved in this residential community focus on building leadership and citizenship skills. Many participants work as mentors and guide students living on the first year residential floor.


The UCDC program is a partnership between California schools and Washington DC. Though this program, students from UCSB and other California institutions are able to work, study, and intern in the nation’s capital. UCDC is open to junior and senior students looking to expand their educational and hands-on experience. There are several different ways to experience the UCDC program. Some students elect to do an internship, which requires 32 hours of work a week. Other participants choose to complete a research seminar and take elective courses for credit. All interested students must carry a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program is highly selective, so students need to keep in mind that even some qualifying GPAs don’t get chosen.

The University of California Center in Sacramento (UCCS)

UCCS is an awesome program open to UCSB students. The center, located in Sacramento, coordinates and supports internship and coursework opportunities for students. One of the major attractions is the state’s capital. Because the center is located in Sacramento, students have the unique opportunity to observe public policy processes as they happen. The two programs offered by UCCS are Public Policy and Summer Journalism. In order to qualify for either program, students must be in their sophomore, junior, or senior year.

University of California Education Abroad Program

UCEAP supports global education and internships for California schools. There are 393 programs, in 43 countries, providing students with plenty of options to choose from. Some of the most popular destinations include: Australia, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Singapore, and Spain.

Scottish Parliament Internship, UC Center Edinburgh

The Scottish Parliament Internship is an amazing and unique opportunity to gain an up-close look at the political governing body in Edinburgh, Scotland. Students enrolled in this program serve as full-time interns and work side-by-side with a member of the Scottish Parliament. The program’s language of instruction is English, and students from all disciplines are invited to apply.

EUREKA! Undergraduate Research

EUREKA! is an awesome, hands-on program that introduces first year STEM students to the greater science community. Students involved in EUREKA! have the opportunity to explore career options and network with faculty and peers within the program. EUREKA! also offers opportunities for undergraduate research, a privilege most often awarded to upperclassmen.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries x
Choral groups x
Concert band x
Dance x
Drama/theater x
International Student Organization x
Jazz band x
Literary magazine x
Marching band  
Model UN x
Music ensembles x
Musical theater x
Opera x
Pep band x
Radio station x
Student government x
Student newspaper x
Student-run film society x
Symphony orchestra x
Television station x
Yearbook x

Common Core

Arts/fine arts x
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) x
Foreign languages x
History x
Humanities x
Mathematics x
Philosophy x
Sciences (biological or physical) x
Social science x


Other: Major Requirements, GPA requirement (minimum 2.0 by time of graduation). Academic Residence Requirement: students must be registered at UCSB for a minimum of 3 regular quarters, and at least 35 of the final 45 units must be completed in the college/school in which the degree is to be awarded.

Class size breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 537 434 468 115 67 202 172 1995

UCSB Sustainability: Service Learning Program

UCSB Sustainability gives interested students the chance to learn about smart environmental practices in and around the campus and community. Students gain hands on experience working as interns on sustainability projects. Participants of the program learn from mentors, leaders within the field, and like-minded peers. There are two projects in connection with the Service Learning Program: ECOalition and Partners in Environment.

  • ECOalition is a network of shared information regarding student-led organizations and projects.
  • The Partners in Environment is based on three foundational values: environmentalism, volunteerism, and collaboration. Members of this project focus on recruiting volunteers for organizational events.

Living Learning Communities

Living Learning Communities are a great way to engage with other students that share similar interests and academic goals. UCSB offer several different LLC options, all of which foster personal and intellectual growth and support. There are three categories for LLCs. Check out the options below:

Culture & Identity LLCs

  • Global Living Experience: This LLC is a collaborative environment, brought together by members of all different nationalities. The Global Living Experience is best suited for students interested in studying foreign language or international studies. The LLC is represented by vast diversity, and all members are encouraged to learn from one another and be accepting of different customs.
  • Asian & Pacific Islander Scholars
  • Black/African American Scholars
  • Chicano/Latino Scholars
  • Multicultural Experience
  • Rainbow House
  • First Generation

Lifestyles LLCs

  • Outdoor Adventure: Do you love to play outdoors and enjoy nature? How about skiing, climbing, camping, and more? If so, the Outdoor Adventures LLC is for you. Participants of this community enjoy fun activities in and around nature. The LLC takes advantage of its location in Santa Barbara, and students get to participate in activities in the mountains and near the ocean!
  • Substance-Free
  • Serenity
  • Wellness

Special Interest and Academic LLC’s

  • Women Science & Technology House: This LLC option is for women pursuing careers in the STEM fields. It’s a known fact that men dominate positions in science, technology, engineering and math. But this LLC is out to put a dent in that reality. The women involved in this LLC are part of a tight-knit community that encourages success among peers and provides academic and personal support.
  • Creative & Performing Arts
  • First Year Residential Experience
  • Second Year Residential Experience
  • Transfer Living
  • Green Living
  • Scholars Floors
  • College of Creative Studies House


Coed dorms x
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students x
Apartments for single students x
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students x
Fraternity/sorority housing x
Cooperative housing x
Theme housing x
Wellness housing x
Other housing options  

Internship Scholarship Program

An internship is a great way to get hands on experience and gain industry-related knowledge. Many employers consider internships a necessary first step to choosing a career and securing a position. Experience demonstrates that a student has taken academic theories and concepts and applied them to a work setting. There is no standard for payment when it comes to internships. Some positions are paid, while others for not. Unpaid positions can turn away talented students who cannot financially bear the experience without compensation. The Internship Scholarship Program addresses this problem and awards select students for securing positions and performing research.


Admissions Fall 2015

70,536 Total Applicants 
23,026 Total Admissions 
4,473 Total Freshman Enrollment

32.64% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Closing Date: Nov 30 

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores
Application Essay

Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Class rank
State residency
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 530 660
SAT Math 560 700
SAT Writing 510 630
ACT Composite 26 31
ACT Math 26 32
ACT English 26 33
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $11,220 $35,928
Fees $2,748 $2,748
Total $13,968 $38,676
Room and Board (on campus) $14,594 $14,594
Estimated Total On Campus $28,562 $53,270


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-2015 estimated

$25,326 First year students
$22,572 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015 estimated

82% on average, the percentage of need that was met
26% of financial need students that had need fully met

$17,948 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$6,250 Average need-based loan