University of California, Santa Cruz - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of California, Santa Cruz
UC Santa Cruz has a steadfast commitment to the intellectual growth of its students....

University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

UC Santa Cruz has a steadfast commitment to the intellectual growth of its students. The University promotes active engagement with the community as well as environmental stewardship. Faculty work closely with students providing individualistic attention that drives real results.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
16,231 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
47% male — 53% female
5% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
567 full-time faculty
260 part-time faculty
18 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

48% of students live on campus.

Retention Fall 2015

88% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

78% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 31%
Black or African American 2%
White 33%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 21%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 7%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%

UCDC Program

The UCDC program allows qualified students the chance to study or intern in Washington DC for a quarter. The program is highly competitive and only open to juniors and seniors. Students of all majors are invited to apply. On top of the general application, individuals must submit academic records, a written statement, and letters of recommendation. Selected students live, study, and work in the nation’s capital. The program places UCSC students among participants from other UC campuses, which creates a professional and social network among students.

Study Abroad

UCEAP offers study abroad programs to students at all ten UC campuses. There are currently options available in 43 countries, and only 50% of the programs have language requirements. Students can receive UC credit for their work abroad, and some can even petition to have their classes count toward their major or minor. There are program options available for all time lengths and majors. All students are welcome to participate as soon as their sophomore year.

UC Quarter and Summer Abroad
The University allows students to study abroad through other UC campus programs. Below are the campus-specific study abroad programs:

  1. UC Berkley Summer Abroad (examples)
    1. Politics of Development: Santiago, Chile
    2. International Migration: Barcelona, Spain
    3. Business Chinese: Taipei, Taiwan
    4. Irish Theatre: Dublin, Ireland
    5. French Language, Culture, and History: Paris, France
  2. UC Davis Study Abroad (examples)
    1. South Africa, From City to Safari
    2. China, A Taste of China
    3. Japan, Life Sciences
    4. Austria, Vienna—Crossroads of Central Europe
    5. Cuba—Narratives of Resistance
  3. UC Los Angeles Summer Travel Study (examples)
    1. Art History—London
    2. Asia American Studies—Hawaii
    3. Global Studies—Shanghai
    4. International and Area Studies—Hong Kong
    5. Sociology—New York City
  4. UC Riverside Summer Abroad (examples)
    1. History in Athens, Greece
    2. Media and Cultural Studies in Tokyo, Japan
    3. Computer Science and Engineering in Lausanne, Switzerland
    4. Botany & Plant Studies in Gamboa, Panama
    5. Biology in Gobabeb, Namibia
  5. UC San Diego Global Seminars (examples)
    1. Parma, Italy
    2. Quito, Ecuador
    3. Granada, Spain
    4. Berlin, Germany
    5. Athens, Greece
  6. UC Santa Barbara Summer Travel Study
    1. Procida, Italy
    2. London, England

General Education

UC Santa Cruz is dedicated to graduating strong, well-rounded individuals. In order to prepare students for the challenges they’ll face after graduation, the university has established a set of general education requirements. Every student is expected to complete the following Gen Eds before they can graduate:

  • Cross-Cultural Analysis—one course required (5 credits)
  • Ethnicity and Race—one course required (5 credits)
  • Interpreting Arts and Media—one course required (5 credits)
  • Mathematical and Formal Reasoning—one course required (5 credits)
  • Scientific Inquiry—one course required (5 credits)
  • Statistical Reasoning—one course required (5 credits)
  • Textual Analysis and Interpretation—one course required (5 credits)
  • Perspectives—(5 credits) in one of the following categories
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Human Behavior
  • Technology and Society
  • Practice—(2 credits) in one of the following categories (Collaborative Endeavor, Creative Process, Service Learning) 
  • Composition—2 courses (10 credits)

Special Approval Courses—Individual Study

Individual study occurs when a student co-designs a course to suit their academic and personal needs. Most often, a student will seek a special approved course when the curriculum fails to meet their goals. In any case, a faculty member must be willing to supervise the individual study, and it must be approved by the appropriate department. Courses can be worth either 2 or 5 credits.

Economics Field Study Program

The Economics Field Study Program is a chance for students to connect what they have learned in the classroom to professional experience. Most students complete their field work locally, but a handful of participants have done their work in areas like the Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Education Field Programs

The Education Field Programs are not limited to students that are pursuing careers as educators. In fact, students can enroll if they just want to expand their liberal arts experience to appreciate the institution of education. Field study in education explores topics like learning theory, educational thought and philosophy, and diversity. Students take what they learn from these topics and apply them to different situations they encounter when they are gaining hands on experience.

Latin America and Latino Studies Field Work

UCSC encourages all of its students to pursue fieldwork in Latin American studies. There are several ways to get involved, and the University’s location makes it easy for students to find and secure internship and field work positions.

Psychology Field Study Program

UCSC invites select students to participate in the Psychology Field Study Program. Qualified students have the chance to apply academic theories to professional experience . Participants commit 10 hours a week to a community agency, and faculty help students connect their coursework to their field study. The program is only open to junior and senior psychology students.

10 Colleges

There are ten different colleges at UC Santa Cruz—each with its own distinctive community and academic focus. UCSC’s colleges function as living learning communities and provide amazing benefits like academic support, student-faculty collaboration, and social activities. Students can indicate their college preference during the admissions acceptance process. Below are the following colleges offered at UCSC:

  • Cowell College: The Pursuit of Truth in the Company of Friends
  • Stevenson College: Self and Society
  • Crown College: Science, Technology, and Society
  • Merrill College: Cultural Identities and Global Consciousness
  • Porter College: Ars Longa, Vita Brevis—Life is Short, Art Endures
  • Kresge College
  • Oaks College: Communicating Diversity for a Just Society
  • College Eight: Environment and Society
  • College Nine: International and Global Perspectives
  • College Ten: Social Justice and Community

The Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program

CUIP allows undergraduates to build important job skills like leadership and time management while working on a campus project. Under the direction of a mentor, students take an active leadership role that allows them to step out of their comfort zone and test their boundaries. The program requires students to work 15 hours a week and provides a scholarship to pay for a large portion of the registration fees.

Environmental Studies Internship

The Environmental Studies Internship is an important component of the environmental studies major. That being said, the internship is not limited to that specific area of study. Any UCSC student can apply. The program places students in group and individual internship positions at domestic and international agencies. There are part and full time options available, and students can receive up to 15 credit hours for their work.


Admissions Fall 2015

45,532 Total Applicants 
22,897 Total Admissions 
3,620 Total Freshman Enrollment

50.29% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 510 630
SAT Math 540 670
SAT Writing 510 630
ACT Composite 25 30
ACT Math 24 29
ACT English 24 31
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $11,220 $35,928
Fees $2,241 $2,241
Total $13,461 $38,169
Room and Board (on campus) $14,952 $14,952
Estimated Total On Campus $28,413 $53,121


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

82% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
52% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$16,599 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$5,820 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates