University of California, San Diego

EducationWorld February 2021 | Institution Profile

Initially funded by donations from the city council to provide engineering education, over the past half century the multi-disciplinary UCSD has established a global reputation for teaching and research – Dipta Joshi

UCSD vista: high global ranking

One of ten campuses of the University of California’s public education system, over the past half century the University of California at San Diego (UCSD, estb.1960) has established a global reputation for teaching and research. In the World University Rankings league tables of Times Higher Education and QS, UCSD is ranked #33 and #54 respectively.

Sited on the erstwhile Camp Mathew military training ground and contiguous to the country’s first marine research station — the Scripps Institution of Oceanography — UCSD was initially funded 60 years ago by donations from the city council to provide higher education to “students desirous of entering into the professional field of engineering”. Today, its Jacobs School of Engineering ranks #9 and its department of bioengineering ranks #4 in America’s Best Engineering Schools Rankings of US News and World Report.

Currently, UCSD’s 12 academic schools and divisions offer 140 undergraduate, 35 postgraduate, 47 doctoral and five professional education programmes to 40,066 students from 100 countries worldwide, mentored by 2,959 faculty including 16 Nobel laureates. The university’s incumbent chancellor is Pradeep Khosla, an alum of IIT-Kharagpur. UCSD’s alumni roll call features D.J. Patil, the first data scientist of the White House; Nick Woodman, founder, CEO of GoPro and Kate Rubins, NASA astronaut and the first scientist to sequence DNA in space, among others.

After remaining shut for over six months to check the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UCSD campus began in-person instruction for students last September. However, students are required to test for Covid contagion every week.

San Diego. The second largest city of California state, San Diego (pop.1.3 million) is reputed for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbour, scenic beaches and parks, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology industry hub. Popular city attractions include the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, SeaWorld, and Legoland among others.

A 20-minute drive from downtown San Diego is La Jolla county which hosts the main UCSD campus, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on three sides and Mt. Soledad on the fourth. Outdoor activities include surfing, kayaking, snorkelling, and scuba-diving at La Jolla’s ten pristine beaches; hang-gliding and hiking through the Torrey Pines Nature Reserve; and visiting the Birch Aquarium.

La Jolla’s idyllic Mediterranean climate ensures that temperates year-round are ambient. The average daily temperature is 21.4°C. Summers (June-August) are warm and winters (December-February) are slightly cooler.
Campus facilities. The university’s 1,200-acre woody coastal campus is located in the scenic seaside town of La Jolla. The campus hosts 761 buildings, natural eucalyptus reserves, the Birch Aquarium, a museum, and the world’s largest outdoor ‘shake table’ that enables researchers to simulate and study earthquake vibrations. The San Diego freeway passes through the campus.

The university’s bibliotheques include the Biomedical and Geisel libraries hosting over seven million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials. The Geisel library is a tribute to legendary children’s author and San Diego’s very famous resident, Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss (1901-1991). This architecturally splendid library building is surrounded by UCSD’s seven residential colleges — Revelle, John Muir, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sixth, and Seventh College — their halls of residence and several research centres.

In keeping with tradition of America’s great universities, UCSD offers state-of-the-art sports infrastructure including a 200,000 sq. ft multi-purpose athletics facility, two Olympic-sized swimming pools, a softball field, track and field stadium, soccer stadium, an athletics training and rehabilitation centre, tennis courts, an aquatic centre and a baseball diamond. In addition, there are 550 students clubs on campus that host carnivals, sporting events and music festivals, through the year.

To conform with social distancing norms mandated by the Covid-19 pandemic, several outdoor classrooms and study spaces have been constructed over the past few months.

Admission. Admission into UCSD is highly selective with an acceptance rate of 38 percent. Minimum eligibility criteria for admission into its undergrad programmes are completion of class XII/Plus Two, proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS) and SAT/ACT scores. However in light of the pandemic, “the university will not consider SAT or ACT test scores as a factor in admissions decisions for Fall 2021”. Students who have passed the class XII exams of the International Baccalaureate (IB), Geneva and Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), UK boards are permitted to submit their English language subject scores as proof of English language proficiency. Admission application forms should be submitted online together with academic transcripts, an admission essay and recommendations from guidance counsellor/school principal. The application fee is $140 (Rs.10,326) and the deadline for submission is December.

For admission in postgrad programmes, minimum eligibility criteria are a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university, IELTS/TOEFL and GRE scores. However every academic department has its specific admission requirements.

For further details, contact 92093-0021 (858) 534-4831. Email: [email protected]/ [email protected] Applicant students can also register for virtual admission advising:

Accommodation. First year students are required to live on campus. Each of the seven residential colleges maintain separate gender-inclusive student residential halls and apartment housing facilities. Housing contracts include meal plans at the college’s 12 dining locations.

Degree programmes: UCSD hosts seven undergraduate colleges, six academic divisions and six graduate and five professional schools.

Scholastic Options at UCSD

University of California San Diego hosts seven undergraduate colleges: Revelle, John Muir, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sixth, and Seventh College. Students are expected to rank preferences of college in their application papers.

The undergraduate degrees menu comprises 140 courses categorised into six categories — engineering, biological sciences, political science, social sciences, mathematics, and arts and humanities. In addition, 35 postgrad and 47 — doctoral level programmes are offered.

The university’s five professional schools include the Rady School of Management, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

For details of degree programmes, visit

Tuition & other fees (per annum)

Tuition fees $14,679
Housing and meals $15,336
Books and supplies $1,125
Personal expenses $1,392
Transportation $738
supplemental tuition $29,754
Total $63,024

* payable by all international students
NB: $ = Rs 73.70

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