aau-500px.pngRadical Excellence: UC Santa Cruz is among the newest members of the Association of American Universities, an achievement that underscores the impact and quality of the campus’s research and graduate and undergraduate education. Membership in the AAU provides UC Santa Cruz greater opportunity to shape and advocate for the future of higher education.

The association, founded in 1900, has 66 members, including six other UCs, flagship public universities such as Ohio State University, land-grant universities like Purdue University, and private institutions, such as Harvard.

The high-impact research conducted at UC Santa Cruz complements the campus’s guiding commitment to access and student success. U.S. News and World Report ranks UC Santa Cruz No. 2 among universities in the nation for promoting social mobility. The ranking is determined by how well a university enrolls and graduates low-income students.

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.

Twelve faculty members are members of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 are members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and 36 have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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:

Faculty Honors and Awards

College Guides, Surveys, and Magazines

  • In its 2019 listings, U.S. News & World Report rated UCSC 26th nationally among public doctoral universities. In the same publication, UCSC was highly rated for its commitment to undergraduate education, as well as its ethnic diversity, and its commitment to veterans.
  • In 2018, UCSC's graduate and undergraduate programs in computer game design were ranked among the top in the U.S. (Princeton Review)
  • In 2018, College Factual ranked UCSC 6th in the nation in Film, Video, and Photographic Arts, thanks to its innovative film and digital media programs.
  • In 2015, U.S. News and World Report ranked UC Santa Cruz as one of the top best-value universities in the U.S. UC Santa Cruz was the highest-ranked UC and the second-highest ranked public university on the list.
  • In 2017, Variety magazine named UCSC one of the top "stellar film schools" in the U.S.
  • In 2017, CollegeNET ranked UCSC 13th in the nation—and 2nd among UC campuses—for social mobility.

Making a World of Difference

  • In 2021, Princeton Review named UC Santa Cruz the No. 3 public university in the nation for students focused on making an impact on the world.
  • In 2021, U.S. News and World Report ranked UC Santa Cruz No. 4 for promoting social mobility.
  • Since 2015, the Sierra Club has ranked UCSC as one of the top 25 greenest colleges and universities in the U.S. in its Cool School ranking. UCSC has consistently earned a perfect score in the "innovation" category.
  • Since 2010, UCSC has been in the Princeton Review Green College Honor Roll. In 2020, UCSC earned 97 out of 99 possible points. 
  • In 2016, UCSC was the No.1 Hispanic-Serving Institution in the U.S. for alumni Peace Corps participation, tied with San Diego State University.
  • UCSC has won several awards for its innovative transportation programs, including a bike shuttle, vanpools, student bus passes, and the Zipcar car-sharing program.
  • 55% of campus land is designated as protected natural landscape.
  • Approximately 25% 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

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