Campus Overview

Brief campus history

The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master's degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus's undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

Faculty and students

Faculty and emeriti who have been attracted to Santa Cruz include 13 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 20 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and 28 members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Overall faculty strength enables UCSC to offer high-quality programs in letters, arts, and science.

The September 2003 issue of Outside magazine ranked UCSC 1st out of 40 colleges "that turn out smart grads with top-notch academic credentials, a healthy environmental ethos, and an A-plus sense of adventure."

In an analysis reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2007, UCSC ranked 3rd nationally on the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index among doctoral programs in music. In the same analysis, UCSC ranked 3rd nationally on the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index among doctoral programs in environmental health engineering (environmental toxicology).

In a survey of U.S. engineering schools reported in the January 2007 ASEE Prism, UCSC ranked 3rd in the nation in the percentage of master’s degrees awarded to women (44.2 percent). The Jack Baskin School of Engineering celebrated its 12th anniversary in 2009.

In competition with scholars throughout the United States, UCSC students and alumni have won National Science Foundation Fellowships, Fulbrights, and other prestigious awards in numbers that far exceed expectations for a campus of this size.

Undergraduate academic life and the residential colleges

All undergraduates, whether they live on campus or off, are affiliated with one of the UCSC colleges (Cowell, Stevenson, Crown, Merrill, Porter, Kresge, Oakes, Eight, Nine, and Ten). Although students take classes in any number of colleges and academic units throughout the campus, core courses within each college provide a common academic base for first-year and transfer students.

In addition to their course work on campus, many UCSC students participate in fieldwork and exchange programs. Off-campus internships are an integral part of programs in community studies, economics, environmental studies, health sciences, Latin American and Latino studies, psychology, and teacher education. An undergraduate major in global economics requires international field study, a unique aspect of the program within the UC system. Students also can arrange to study at other UC campuses, at the University of New Hampshire or the University of New Mexico, in Sacramento, in Washington, D.C., or at host institutions affiliated with the UC Education Abroad Program in 34 countries.

At the conclusion of work in their major, all UCSC seniors must pass a comprehensive examination or, in some majors, complete a senior thesis or equivalent body of work.

Expanding programs in graduate studies

Graduate study began at UCSC in 1966 with programs in astronomy, biology, and history of consciousness, a program that combines the humanistic disciplines with links to the social sciences, natural sciences, and arts. In 1967, graduate programs in chemistry, literature, and Earth & planetary sciences were introduced. Additional graduate programs have been established in anthropology, computer engineering, computer science, digital arts and new media, economics, education, environmental studies, environmental toxicology, history, linguistics, mathematics, music, ocean sciences, philosophy, physics, politics, psychology, science communication, social documentation, sociology, and theater arts. In 2005, an Ed.D. in collaborative leadership was initiated with San Jose State and Cal State, Monterey Bay. In 2006, a Ph.D. program in music was approved. In 2008, a new Ph.D. program in film and digital media was approved for fall 2010.

Expanding programs in engineering

Building on UCSC’s core Computer Science and Computer Engineering Departments, in 1997, UCSC began its first professional school, the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, and introduced a new undergraduate electrical engineering major. This was followed in 1998 by a major in information systems management. In 1997-98, UCSC began offering a "distance-learning" version of the M.S. in computer engineering, with a concentration in networking engineering, at its Silicon Valley facilities. In 2001, an undergraduate major in bioinformatics was launched and, in 2003, M.S. and Ph.D programs in bioinformatics were initiated. The school is in the process of hiring faculty, which has led to new Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics & Statistics Departments. In 2003, retired engineer and philanthropist Jack Baskin gave additional funding for a new engineering building, Engineering 2, and to create an endowed chair in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering, which began in 2004. In 2006, a computer science: computer game design B.S. major was approved, as was an M.S. and Ph.D. program in statistics and stochastic modeling. In 2007, a B.S. program in bioengineering was approved. The Baskin School celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2007, and Jack Baskin again provided funds to set up an endowed chair in technology and information management. In 2009, M.S, and Ph.D. programs in technology and information management were approved.

World-class research and grant funding

In conjunction with graduate teaching and intellectual inquiry, the campus is home to two Organized Research Units: the Institute of Marine Sciences and Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics. The University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory is a Multicampus Research Unit headquartered at UCSC. UC's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP), a Multicampus Research Unit, includes a branch on the UCSC campus established in 1999. UCSC also is one of several UC campuses sponsoring the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3), and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), two of the California Institutes for Science and Innovation established in 2000–02. Over the years, UCSC has been awarded more than $1.2 billion for contracts and grants within these units and in numerous other campus research programs (including more than $131 million in 2007-08).

Private support

The ten UCSC colleges--each a separate community with its own buildings and administration--are built around a core of shared university facilities. These include the main and science/engineering libraries, performing arts buildings, visual arts studios, classrooms, computer facilities, and a complex of highly specialized buildings for the physical & biological sciences, and engineering. Athletic facilities are provided on the east and west sides of the campus.

Significant private funds--more than $382.5 million through the 2008-09 year--have been donated to build or enhance academic, student-life, and other facilities at the campus, as well to fund programs, research, and scholarships.

Architectural history

The campus was planned by architect John Carl Warnecke and landscape architect Thomas Church. Ralph Rapson designed the original Theater Arts Center. Antoine Predock of Albuquerque was the architect for the award-winning Music Center, and SRG Partnership of Portland, Oregon, for the Seymour Center at Long Marine Lab. The Engineering 2 Building, which was dedicated in fall 2004, won a merit award for design from the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter. Anshen + Allen Los Angeles was the architect for Engineering 2.

The architects for the residential colleges were as follows: Cowell--Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons; Stevenson--Joseph Esherick & Associates; Crown--Ernest J. Kump Associates; Merrill--Campbell Wong & Associates and Wong & Brocchini; Porter--Hugh Stubbins and Associates; Kresge: MLTW/Moore-Turnbull; Oakes: McCue, Boone & Tomsick; College Eight: Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris; Colleges Nine and Ten: Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis.

Institutional growth and academic opportunity

UCSC is increasing both its enrollment and resources and diversifying its educational and research opportunities over the next decade. New academic programs are being added during this period of growth. Another major objective is to provide for a growing number of students, faculty, and staff of diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultural experiences.

UCSC is moving forward with planning its Silicon Valley Center in order to respond to UC's increasing enrollment; intensify partnerships with the area's community colleges, state universities, and businesses; and develop exemplary distance learning. A 10-year, $330 million program establishing a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) at NASA Ames was initiated in 2003. UARC provides research and educational capabilities to meet NASA's requirements and to develop future human resources in science and technology. The center received an “excellent” rating from NASA in fall 2008.

In March 2009, UCSC and the Foothill-De Anza Community College District announced a partnership with NASA Ames Research Center to establish a joint education and research community.

The Center for Adaptive Optics and the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building opened in 2002. The Engineering 2 Building opened in 2004. A new Physical Sciences Building and a Humanities 1 Building were completed in 2006. McHenry Library is undergoing renovation and expansion, scheduled for completion in 2009. McHenry will remain open during the construction period.

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