Recent Achievements

Reputation for Excellence: Approaching the 50th anniversary of its opening in fall 1965, UC Santa Cruz has already earned national and international recognition both for the impact of its research and for its long-established commitment to quality undergraduate instruction.

A campus with world-class facilities and one of the most visually spectacular settings in higher education, UC Santa Cruz provides unparalleled opportunities for students to learn through hands-on experience. A commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement are also central to UCSC's core values.

Faculty include two of the University of California’s honored University Professors, 26 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 14 members of the National Academy of Sciences, and 34 members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Recognition of the faculty's outstanding research has resulted in steady increases in contracts, grants, and private funding across all five academic divisions, including UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering. UCSC faculty and researchers regularly receive more than $100 million annually in external funding, with funding in contracts and grants totaling $686 million over the past 5 years. In the 2013-14 year alone, donors also contributed more than $50 million in private funds to the campus.

Research Impact: The following are just some of the ways in which the quality of UC Santa Cruz research has been recognized in recent years:

  • In 2014, UC Santa Cruz was rated 1st in the world for research influence by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, tied with MIT.
  • The computer engineering Ph.D. program was rated 1st nationally for publication impact by the National Research Council in 2010.
  • In 2010, the UCSC Economics Department was ranked 7th in the world — and 6th among all academic departments — for research in international finance, according to Research Papers in Economics (RePEc).
  • In 2014, the UCSC Social Sciences Division was ranked 7th in the U.S. for faculty impact in the news media. (Center for a Public Anthropology)
  • In 2012, UCSC's graduate programs in computer game design were ranked among the top 10 in the U.S. (Princeton Review)
  • In 2013, UCSC placed 11th in the annual Leiden Ranking, which measures the scientific performance of 500 major universities worldwide.

Faculty Honors and Awards

  • In 2014, James Gill, professor of Earth and planetary sciences, was elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
  • Nathaniel Mackey, professor emeritus of literature, was named in 2014 the winner of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.
  • In 2013, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Sandra Faber was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama. The medal is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon scientists.
  • Medical robotics expert Jacob Rosen was named a Health Care Hero by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2012.
  • Professor of astronomy and astrophysics Jerry Nelson was awarded the 2012 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering from the Franklin Institute.
  • Literature Professor Karen Tei Yamashita and Assistant Professor of Film and Digital Media John Jota Leaños won United States Artists awards for 2011.
  • Michael Dine, distinguished professor and chair of physics at UC Santa Cruz, received the 2010-11 Outstanding Faculty Award from the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy awarded the 2011 E. O. Lawrence Award in Biological and Environmental Sciences to Tom Guilderson, a lecturer in ocean sciences at UC Santa Cruz.
  • In 2010, Jerry Nelson, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, shared the $1 million Kavli Prize in Astrophysics with two other researchers for their innovations in the field of telescope design.
  • In 2010, professor of Earth and planetary sciences Gary Glatzmaier was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer in the U.S.
  • UCSC literature professor Nathaniel Mackey was awarded a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for poetry.

College Guides, Surveys, and Magazines

  • In 2014, the Princeton Review named UCSC one of the top best-value public universities in the U.S., for the third year in a row.
  • UC Santa Cruz ranked No.1 on Campus Explorer's list of "best colleges for outdoorsy people" in 2012.
  • In 2013, Affordable Colleges Online ranked UCSC 5th in the U.S. in terms of "lifetime return on investment" for computer science degrees.
  • In 2011, the Atlantic Magazine ranked Santa Cruz and nearby Watsonville Number 5 on a list of the Most Artistic Cities in America.
  • In 2014, College Factual ranked UCSC 7th in the nation in Film, Video, and Photographic Arts, thanks to its innovative film and digital media programs.
  • UCSC was listed as one of the 100 "best values in public colleges" in 2011 by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.
  • In 2013, UCSC was rated 32nd nationally among public doctoral universities by U.S. News & World Report.
  • In 2012, UC Santa Cruz was highlighted as up-and-comer by the Washington Post, which examined schools that are ranked in the U.S. News & World Report and cited UCSC as one of the “young, fast-growing schools that are swiftly ascending into the top rank.”
  • In 2010, Forbes Magazine listed UCSC as one of the 23 most beautiful campuses in the world.
  • UC Santa Cruz was among 25 colleges featured in Newsweek Magazine's special fall 2009 college issue, which called the campus a place for "Overachievers Who Need to Stop and Look Around."

Making a World of Difference

  • In 2012, UCSC researchers were funded by the National Cancer Institute to create the Cancer Genomics Hub (CGHub), a large-scale data repository and user portal for the National Cancer Institute's cancer genome research programs. And in 2014, the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute released a new Ebola genome browser to assist global efforts to develop a vaccine and antiserum to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus.
  • PETA2, the young adult division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, rated UC Santa Cruz as the number-one most vegan-friendly college in 2011.
  • In 2013, the Princeton Review listed UCSC among the top greenest schools in the country.
  • In 2011, UCSC won a $2.6 million grant for organic farming research.
  • In 2011, UCSC brought a delegation of students and staff members to a Taiwanese university to share green tips.
  • In 2011, Sierra Magazine ranked us No. 7 among America's 10 Greenest Schools.
  • UC Santa Cruz ranked 19th in the large-school category for alumni participation in the Peace Corps in 2014.
  • UCSC has won several awards for its innovative transportation programs, including a bike shuttle, vanpools, student bus passes, and the Zipcar carsharing program.
  • Fifty-five percent of campus land is designated as protected natural landscape.
  • Approximately 25 percent of produce served in dining halls is organic, with much of it coming from local providers, such as the Farm and Garden run by UCSC's Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS).

Other recent awards