Introducing UCSC

2013-14 General Catalog

The University of California

The University of California was chartered as a land-grant college in 1868. From its rural beginning, the university has developed into one of the world’s most distinguished universities, acclaimed for its research, scholarship, and dedication to undergraduate and graduate education. There are 10 University of California campuses located regionally throughout the state: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. In addition, there are some 800 associated research institutes, laboratories, agricultural field stations, and extension centers serving California and the nation. The university is the primary state-funded academic agency for research. Its library collection, with 37 million volumes, is among the best in the country.

The University of California faculty, more than 11,800 in number, is distinctive in its 31 living Nobel Laureates and 269 members of the National Academy of Sciences—more than any other college or university system. Faculty membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences totals 463.

The University enrolls more than 183,000 undergraduates selected from the top 12.5 percent of the state’s high school graduates and approximately 50,000 graduate students. The 1.7 million living alumni enrich the nation with public service and leadership.

The Santa Cruz Campus

Since its inception in 1965, the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been dedicated to excellence in undergraduate education, graduate studies, and research. UCSC students can take advantage of innovative academic planning combined with the research resources and scholarship strengths of the University of California system. At UC Santa Cruz, a program of general education is enhanced with opportunities for academic specialization.

Among the faculty and emeriti drawn to UC Santa Cruz by the opportunity for innovative teaching and scholarship are 13 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and 33 members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Numerous faculty have been awarded Guggenheim Fellowships, and several have been awarded national awards for distinguished teaching. Furthermore, three faculty members, three bachelor’s degree recipients, and two Ph.D. recipients have been named MacArthur Fellows, and since 1972, when UC Santa Cruz began participating in the program, about 115 Fulbright scholarships have been awarded to UC Santa Cruz students and alumni. Six UC Santa Cruz alumni have been awarded Pulitzer Prizes.

The planned enrollment of the campus in fall 2013–14 is approximately 17,000 students, of whom 1,500 will be graduate students. UCSC seeks and welcomes students, faculty, and staff of diverse ethnic and cultural experiences. UCSC plans to increase both its enrollment and resources and to diversify its educational and research opportunities over the next few years. New facilities are being built to meet current and future needs. The McHenry Library has been expanded by more than 75 percent, and the original building has been seismically reinforced. The 27,000-square-foot Digital Arts building was completed in 2010.

The residential colleges are an important part of the Santa Cruz undergraduate experience. The 10 colleges divide the university into smaller communities, each serving as a social and intellectual gathering place for 1,400 to 1,700 students and 30 to 110 faculty fellows from a variety of academic disciplines. Every undergraduate student affiliates with a particular college while participating in a campuswide academic program. All of the colleges are interdisciplinary, and all academic majors are open to students from all colleges.

Each college has a distinctive quality derived from its core course and extracurricular programs and from its faculty and their academic disciplines. Detailed descriptions of the 10 colleges can be found in The Colleges section of the catalog.

Undergraduate education. The campus offers more than 60 major programs within the arts, engineering, humanities, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences—as well as interdisciplinary-major programs and minors. A complete list of academic programs and concentrations appears on the Fields of Study chart, and detailed descriptions begin in the Programs and Courses section of the catalog.

The major and minor programs are administered by departments. In most cases, departments are composed of faculty in the same field, but interdisciplinary programs draw on faculty from several fields.

At Santa Cruz, letter grades are assigned in all credit courses. In addition, academic performance in each course may be recorded by a narrative performance evaluation. (See Evaluating Academic Performance.)

Undergraduate education at Santa Cruz is focused on the individual student. UCSC’s college core courses give first-year students a small-seminar experience in their first term; intensive work in writing, discussion, and critical reasoning; as well as an orientation to academic life. To fulfill UCSC’s rigorous comprehensive requirement, every senior must pass a comprehensive examination or complete an equivalent body of work.

Individual research is encouraged, and hundreds of research papers coauthored by Santa Cruz undergraduates and their professors have been published in journals. Undergraduate research opportunities are highlighted at

Annually, more than 500 Santa Cruz students broaden their academic careers through the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), which allows students to incorporate full-time study abroad as UC credit toward their degrees. The EAP provides a vital international connection for academic and personal growth in an increasingly interdependent world (see International Education Office).

The UCSC campus strongly encourages undergraduate students to take advantage of the many opportunities for public service such as those provided through the campus’s field programs, colleges, and Career Center. Individual studies, apprentice teaching, field studies, and internships can be important parts of the undergraduate experience (see Field Programs).

Graduate education. The UCSC campus offers graduate programs in more than 30 fields. Within the graduate programs, there are a range of options for concentrated study in a specialized field. Graduate study at Santa Cruz emphasizes close interaction between faculty and students, independent student research, supervised teaching experience, and interdisciplinary work. Further graduate information is provided in the Graduate Education section of the catalog.

A number of major university research units are based or have a branch at the Santa Cruz campus: UC Observatories (UCO), the Institute of Marine Sciences, the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics, the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3), and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). The campus supports other organized research endeavors ranging from Dickens studies, to Chicano/Latino research, to agroecology. Programs stem from existing academic strengths and from the unique assets afforded the campus by its location in the Monterey Bay region (see Resources for Learning and Research).

The central UC Santa Cruz campus occupies 2,000 acres on the west side of the city of Santa Cruz, on Monterey Bay, about 75 miles south of San Francisco and 35 miles southwest of San José. Expansive meadows at the campus entrance gradually slope up to a redwood forest that covers most of the site. Each residential college is within easy access of the campus’s central core, which includes an extensive library, science laboratories, lecture halls, art studios, theater arts and music centers, a student union, and athletic facilities. Although the campus is spread out over many acres of hilly terrain, its programs are accessible to people with mobility impairments (see Disability Resource Center).

The city of Santa Cruz is a well-known recreational area and center for the arts. Mild weather, miles of beaches, and many cultural opportunities combine to make Santa Cruz an enjoyable place to study and live.

Accreditation. The University of California, Santa Cruz, is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education.

Specific degree programs at UC Santa Cruz are also accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering), the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training (Chemistry), and the California State Commission on Teacher Credentialing (Education).

Persons interested in reviewing accreditation documents should contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Kerr Hall, (831) 459-2351, or

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Revised 09/01/13