The University of California (UC) is a public research university system in the U.S. state of
California. The system is composed of the campuses at Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles,
Hastings (located in San Francisco), Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara,
and Santa Cruz, along with numerous research centres and academic abroad centres. The system is the
state's land-grant university.
The University of California was founded on March 23, 1868, and operated in Oakland before
moving to Berkeley in 1873. Over time, several branch locations and satellite programs were
established. In March 1951, the University of California began to reorganise itself into something
distinct from its campus in Berkeley, with UC President Robert Gordon Sproul staying in place as
chief executive of the UC system, while Clark Kerr became the first chancellor of UC Berkeley and
Raymond B. Allen became the first chancellor of UCLA. However, the 1951 reorganisation was stalled
by resistance from Sproul and his allies, and it was not until Kerr succeeded Sproul as UC
President that UC was able to evolve into a university system from 1957 to 1960. At that time,
chancellors were appointed for additional campuses and each was granted some degree of greater
The University of California currently has 10 campuses, a combined student body of 273,179
students, 22,700 faculty members, 154,900 staff members and over 2.0 million living alumni. Its
newest campus in Merced opened in fall 2005. Nine campuses enrol both undergraduate and graduate
students; one campus, UC San Francisco, enrols only graduate and professional students in the
medical and health sciences. In addition, the UC Hastings College of the Law, located in San
Francisco, is legally affiliated with UC, but other than sharing its name is entirely autonomous
from the rest of the system. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University
of California is a part of the state's three-system public higher education plan, which also
includes the California State University system and the California Community Colleges system. UC is
governed by a Board of Regents whose autonomy from the rest of the state government is protected by
the state constitution.
The University of California also manages or co-manages three national laboratories for the
U.S. Department of Energy: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory (LLNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Collectively, the colleges, institutions, and alumni of the University of California make it
the most comprehensive and advanced postsecondary educational system in the world, responsible for
nearly $50 billion per year of economic impact. UC campuses have large numbers of distinguished
faculty in almost every academic discipline, with UC faculty and researchers having won 69 Nobel
Prizes as of 2020.
The Morrill Acts and the liberal arts college
In 1849, the state of California ratified its first constitution, which contained the express
objective of creating a complete educational system including a state university. Taking advantage
of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, the California State Legislature established an Agricultural,
Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in 1866. However, it existed only on paper, as a placeholder to
secure federal land-grant funds.
Meanwhile, Congregational minister Henry Durant, an alumnus of Yale, had established the private
Contra Costa Academy, on June 20, 1853, in Oakland, California. The initial site was bounded by
Twelfth and Fourteenth Streets and Harrison and Franklin Streets in downtown Oakland (and is marked
today by State Historical Plaque No. 45 at the northeast corner of Thirteenth and Franklin). In
turn, the Academy's trustees were granted a charter in 1855 for a College of California, though the
College continued to operate as a college preparatory school until it added college-level courses
in 1860. The College's trustees, educators, and supporters believed in the importance of a liberal
arts education (especially the study of the Greek and Roman classics), but ran into a lack of
interest in liberal arts colleges on the American frontier (as a true college, the College was
graduating only three or four students per year).
In November 1857, the College's trustees began to acquire various parcels of land facing the Golden
Gate in what is now Berkeley for a future planned campus outside of Oakland. But first, they needed
to secure the College's water rights by buying a large farm to the east. In 1864, they organised
the College Homestead Association, which borrowed $35,000 to purchase the land, plus another
$33,000 to purchase 160 acres (650,000 m²) land to the south of the future campus. The Association
subdivided the latter parcel and started selling lots with the hope it could raise enough money to
repay its lenders and also create a new college town. But sales of new homesteads fell short.
Governor Frederick Low favoured the establishment of a state university based upon the University
of Michigan plan, and thus in one sense may be regarded as the founder of the University of
California. At the College of California's 1867 commencement exercises, where Low was present,
Benjamin Silliman, Jr. criticised Californians for creating a state polytechnic school instead of a
real university. That same day, Low reportedly first suggested a merger of the already-functional
College of California (which had land, buildings, faculty, and students, but not enough money) with
the non- functional state college (which had money and nothing else), and went on to participate in
the ensuing negotiations. On October 9, 1867, the College's trustees reluctantly agreed to join
forces with the state college to their mutual advantage, but under one condition—that there not be
simply an "Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College", but a complete university, within
which the assets of the College of California would be used to create a College of Letters (now
known as the College of Letters and Science). Accordingly, the Organic Act, establishing the
University of California, was introduced as a bill by Assemblyman John W. Dwinelle on March 5,
1868, and after it was duly passed by both houses of the state legislature, it was signed into
state law by Governor Henry H. Haight (Low's successor) on March 23, 1868. However, as legally
constituted, the new University was not an actual merger of the two colleges, but was an entirely
new institution which merely inherited certain objectives and assets from each of them. The
University of California's second president, Daniel Coit Gilman, opened its new campus in Berkeley
in September 1873.
The UC affiliates
Section 8 of the Organic Act authorised the Board of Regents to affiliate the University of
California with independent self-sustaining professional colleges. "Affiliation" meant UC and its
affiliates would "share the risk in launching new endeavours in education." The affiliates shared
the prestige of the state university's brand, and UC agreed to award degrees in its own name to
their graduates on the recommendation of their respective faculties, but the affiliates were
otherwise managed independently by their own boards of trustees, charged their own tuition and
fees, and maintained their own budgets separate from the UC budget. It was through the process of
affiliation that UC was able to claim it had medical and law schools in San Francisco within a
decade of its founding.
In 1879, California adopted its second and current constitution, which included unusually strong
language to ensure UC's independence from the rest of the state government. This had lasting
consequences for the Hastings College of the Law, which had been separately chartered and
affiliated in 1878 by an act of the state legislature at the behest of founder Serranus Clinton
Hastings. After a falling out with his own handpicked board of directors, the founder persuaded the
state legislature in 1883 and 1885 to pass new laws to place his law school under the direct
control of the Board of Regents. In 1886, the Supreme Court of California declared those newer acts
to be unconstitutional because the clause protecting UC's independence in the 1879 state
constitution had stripped the state legislature of the ability to amend the 1878 act. To this day,
the Hastings College of the Law remains an affiliate of UC, maintains its own board of directors,
and is not governed by the Regents.
In contrast, Toland Medical College (founded in 1864 and affiliated in 1873) and later, the dental,
pharmacy, and nursing schools in SF were affiliated with UC through written agreements, and not
statutes invested with constitutional importance by court decisions. In the early 20th century, the
Affiliated Colleges (as they came to be called) agreed to submit to the Regents' governance at the
urging of President Benjamin Ide Wheeler, who had come to recognise the problems inherent in the
existence of independent entities that shared the UC brand but over which UC had no real control.
While Hastings remained independent, the Affiliated Colleges were able to increasingly coordinate
their operations with one another under the supervision of the UC President and Regents, and
evolved into the health sciences campus known today as the University of California, San Francisco.
North-south tensions and decentralisation
In August 1882, the California State Normal School (whose original normal school in San Jose
is now San Jose State University) opened a second school in Los Angeles to train teachers for the
growing population of Southern California. In 1887, the Los Angeles school was granted its own
board of trustees independent of the San Jose school, and in 1919, the state legislature
transferred it to UC control and renamed it the Southern Branch of the University of California. In
1927, it became the University of California at Los Angeles; the "at" would be replaced with a
comma in 1958.
Los Angeles surpassed San Francisco in the 1920 census to become the most populous metropolis in
California. Because Los Angeles had become the state government's single largest source of both tax
revenue and votes, its residents felt entitled to demand more prestige and autonomy for their
campus. Their efforts bore fruit in March 1951, when UCLA became the first UC site outside of
Berkeley to achieve de jure coequal status with the Berkeley campus. That month, the Regents
approved a reorganisation plan under which both the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses would be
supervised by chancellors reporting to the UC President. However, the 1951 plan was severely
flawed; it was overly vague about how the chancellors were to become the "executive heads" of their
campuses. Due to stubborn resistance from President Sproul and several vice presidents and
deans—who simply carried on as before—the chancellors ended up as glorified provosts with limited
control over academic affairs and long-range planning while the President and the Regents retained
de facto control over everything else.
Upon becoming President in October 1957, Clark Kerr supervised UC's rapid transformation into
a true public university system through a series of proposals adopted unanimously by the Regents
from 1957 to 1960. Kerr's reforms included expressly granting all campus chancellors the full range
of executive powers, privileges, and responsibilities which Sproul had denied to Kerr himself, as
well as the radical decentralisation of a tightly-knit bureaucracy in which all lines of authority
had always run directly to the President at Berkeley or to the Regents themselves. In 1965, UCLA
Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy tried to push this to what he saw as its logical conclusion: he
advocated for authorising all chancellors to report directly to the Board of Regents, thereby
rendering the UC President redundant. Murphy wanted to transform UC from one federated university
into a confederation of independent universities, similar to the situation in Kansas (from where he
was recruited). Murphy was unable to develop any support for his proposal, Kerr quickly put down
what he thought of as "Murphy's rebellion", and therefore Kerr's vision of UC as a university
system prevailed: "one university with pluralistic decision-making".
During the 20th century, UC acquired additional satellite locations which, like Los Angeles, were
all subordinate to administrators at the Berkeley campus. California farmers lobbied for UC to
perform applied research responsive to their immediate needs; in 1905, the Legislature established
a "University Farm School" at Davis and in 1907 a "Citrus Experiment Station" at Riverside as
adjuncts to the College of Agriculture at Berkeley. In 1912, UC acquired a private oceanography
laboratory in San Diego, which had been founded nine years earlier by local business promoters
working with a Berkeley professor. In 1944, UC acquired Santa Barbara State College from the
California State Colleges, the descendants of the State Normal Schools. In 1958, the Regents began
promoting these locations to general campuses, thereby creating UCSB (1958), UC Davis (1959), UC
Riverside (1959), UC San Diego (1960), and UCSF (1964). Each campus was also granted the right to
have its own chancellor upon promotion. In response to California's continued population growth, UC
opened two additional general campuses in 1965, with UC Irvine opening in Irvine and UC Santa Cruz
opening in Santa Cruz. The youngest campus, UC Merced opened in fall 2005 to serve the San Joaquin
After losing campuses in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to the University of California system,
supporters of the California State College system arranged for the state constitution to be amended
in 1946 to prevent similar losses from happening again in the future.
The Master Plan for Higher Education
The California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960 established that UC must admit
undergraduates from the top 12.5% (one-eighth) of graduating high school seniors in California.
Prior to the promulgation of the Master Plan, UC was to admit undergraduates from the top 15%. UC
does not currently adhere to all tenets of the original Master Plan, such as the directives that no
campus was to exceed total enrolment of 27,500 students (in order to ensure quality) and that
public higher education should be tuition-free for California residents. Five campuses, Berkeley,
Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego each have current total enrolment at over 30,000.
After the state electorate severely limited long-term property tax revenue by enacting Proposition
13 in 1978, UC was forced to make up for the resulting collapse in state financial support by
imposing a variety of fees which were tuition in all but name. On November 18, 2010, the Regents
finally gave up on the longstanding legal fiction that UC does not charge tuition by renaming the
Educational Fee to "Tuition." As part of its search for funds during the 2000s and 2010s, UC
quietly began to admit higher percentages of highly accomplished (and more lucrative) students from
other states and countries, but was forced to reverse course in 2015 in response to the inevitable
public outcry and start admitting more California residents.
Seven of the campuses are members of the Association of American Universities. In 2006 the
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) awarded the University of California
the SPARC Innovator Award for its "extraordinarily effective institution-wide vision and efforts to
move scholarly communication forward", including the 1997 founding (under then UC President Richard
C. Atkinson) of the California Digital Library (CDL) and its 2002 launching of CDL's e Scholarship,
an institutional repository. The award also specifically cited the widely influential 2005 academic
journal publishing reform efforts of UC faculty and librarians in "altering the marketplace" by
publicly negotiating contracts with publishers, as well as their 2006 proposal to amend UC's
copyright policy to allow open access to UC faculty research. On July 24, 2013 the UC Academic
Senate adopted an Open Access Policy, mandating that all UC faculty produced research with a
publication agreement signed after that date be first deposited in UC's e Scholarship open access
University of California systemwide research on the SAT exam found that, after controlling for
familial income and parental education, so-called achievement tests known as the SAT II had 10
times more predictive ability of college aptitude than the SAT I (AKA the SAT math and verbal
All University of California campuses except Hastings College of the Law are governed by the
Regents of the University of California as required by the Constitution of the State of California.
Eighteen regents are appointed by the governor for 12-year terms. One member is a student appointed
for a one-year term. There are also seven ex officio members—the governor, lieutenant governor,
speaker of the State Assembly, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, president and vice
president of the alumni associations of UC, and the UC president. The Academic Senate, made up of
faculty members, is empowered by the regents to set academic policies. In addition, the system-wide
faculty chair and vice-chair sit on the Board of Regents as non-voting members.
Originally, the president was the chief executive of the first campus, Berkeley. In turn, other UC
locations (with the exception of Hastings College of the Law) were treated as off-site departments
of the Berkeley campus, and were headed by provosts who were subordinate to the president. In March
1951, the regents reorganised the university so that day-to-day "chief executive officer" functions
for the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses were transferred in 1952 to chancellors who were vested
with a high degree of autonomy, and reported as equals to UC's president. As noted above, the
regents promoted five additional UC locations to campuses and allowed them to have chancellors of
their own in a series of decisions from 1958 to 1964, and the three campuses added since then have
also been run by chancellors. In turn, all chancellors (again, with the exception of Hastings)
report as equals to the University of California President. Today, the UC Office of the President
(UCOP) and the Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff to the Regents of the University of
California share an office building in downtown Oakland that serves as the UC system's
Kerr's vision for UC governance was "one university with pluralistic decision-making." In other
words, the internal delegation of operational authority to chancellors at the campus level and
allowing nine other campuses to become separate centres of academic life independent of Berkeley
did not change the fact that all campuses remain part of one legal entity. As a 1968 UC centennial
coffee table book explained: "Yet for all its campuses, colleges, schools, institutes, and research
stations, it remains one University, under one Board of Regents and one president—the University of
California." UC continues to take a "united approach" as one university in matters in which it
inures to UC's advantage to do so, such as when negotiating with the legislature and governor in
Sacramento. UC continues to manage certain matters at the systemwide level in order to maintain
common standards across all campuses, such as student admissions, appointment and promotion of
faculty, and approval of academic programs.
The State of California currently (2015–2016) spends nearly $3 billion on the UC system, funding
approximately 43.3% of the system. In 1980, the state funded 86.8% of the UC budget. While state
funding has somewhat recovered, as of 2019 state support still lags behind even recent historic
levels (e.g. 2001) when adjusted for inflation.
In May 2004, UC President Robert C. Dynes and CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed struck a private deal,
called the "Higher Education Compact", with Governor Schwarzenegger. They agreed to slash spending
by about a billion dollars (about a third of the University's core budget for academic operations)
in exchange for a funding formula lasting until 2011. The agreement calls for modest annual
increases in state funds (but not enough to replace the loss in state funds Dynes and
Schwarzenegger agreed to), private fundraising to help pay for basic programs, and large student
fee hikes, especially for graduate and professional students. A detailed analysis of the Compact by
the Academic Senate "Futures Report" indicated, despite the large fee increases, the University
core budget did not recover to 2000 levels. Undergraduate student fees have risen 90% from 2003 to
2007. In 2011, for the first time in UC's history, student fees exceeded contributions from the
State of California.
The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled in 2007 that the University of California
owed nearly $40 million in refunds to about 40,000 students who were promised that their tuition
fees would remain steady, but were hit with increases when the state ran short of money in 2003.
The University of California offers many graduate programs respectively in different filed of
medicine. Some of the popular master’s degrees include the Interprofessional Health Post-Bac
Certificate Program, Dentistry (DDS), Master of Science, among others.
It's a good idea to have everything prepared before you start your application so you're not trying
to track down information at the last minute.
Here's what you'll need:
1.Transcripts. Don't submit your transcripts to UC at this point, but refer to them as you fill out
the application to ensure the information you enter is accurate.*
2.Test scores. UC will not consider SAT or ACT test scores when making admissions decisions or
awarding Regents and Chancellor’s scholarships. If you choose to submit test scores as part of your
application, they may be used to determine your eligibility for the California state wide
admissions guarantee, as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility
or for course placement after you enrol.
3.Annual income for last year and the current year (your parents' if you're a dependent; your
income if you're independent). This is optional unless you're applying for an application fee
waiver or for the Educational Opportunity Program.
Social Security number, if you have one. We use this to match your application to things like
your test score report, final transcript(s) and, if you're applying for financial aid, your Free
Application for Federal Student Aid.
Citizenship status. You must enter your country of citizenship (or "No Selection"). If your
country of citizenship is outside the United States, you'll need to provide your immigration status
and your visa type.
4.California State wide Student ID (optional). Each K-12 student in California public schools is
assigned an ID number. If it's not printed on your transcript, ask your counsellor or registrar.
5.Credit card. If you prefer to pay by check, you can mail your payment.
1.A completed application
2.Official high school and college transcripts
3.Transcripts evaluated by an authorised agency
5.Verification of financial support
6.Certification of Finances
7.Proof of financial support
8.Letter of recommendation
9.Three PASS evaluation forms (PEFs)
10.Official Transcript Translations
11.Copy of passport
12.Essay or resume
13.Dean's institution evaluation
14.Copy of passport
1.Complete 15 year-long academic courses with a 3.4 GPA: 2 years of history (in place of U.S.
History, history of your country) 4 years of composition and literature in language in which you
2.Meet other requirements specific to your country.
3.Demonstrate English-language Proficiency.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions )
Why is the exam given in May?
: The exam is given in May so that your essay can be scored and your results returned to
your UC campus in time for you to select your fall classes in one of your campus's
orientation sessions, which typically begin in June or early July. The timing also allows
you to demonstrate your writing ability at the peak of your high school training.
I'm taking an AP English exam in May. Do I have to take the University wide
Analytical Writing Placement Examination, too?
A: Yes. The only UC freshmen from California who don't have to take the examination are
those who have test scores that satisfy the Entry Level Writing requirement recorded in
the University's admissions system on or before April 1.
Will taking an AP English class satisfy the requirement?
A: No. The AP English class is considered a high school course. Only a qualifying English
composition course offered by a college or university is acceptable. Check ASSIST.org to
see if a college-level English composition course taken at CA community college will
transfer to UC.
I don't live in California yet. Should I take the May exam?
A: No. The May exam is only for students who are currently living in California and who
have been selected to take the exam. If you live outside of California you'll have an
opportunity to take the exam on campus.
I have not been admitted to any UC campus, but I am on a campus waitlist.
Should I plan to take the May exam?
No. If you have not yet been officially admitted to any UC campus, or if you’re on a
waitlist for admission, do not pay the exam fee or take the May exam. However, if you’re
admitted prior to the test date and have not satisfied the Entry Level Writing
Requirement, contact us at (833) 404-5001 for a test centre assignment and to receive
important information about the exam.
Is there a fee for the exam?
A: Yes. There is a $110 fee for the Analytical Writing Placement Examination. You’ll
receive payment information with your test notification letter. The fee can be paid by
credit card using the Exam Fee Payment link on this website. The fee will be waived if you
received a waiver of the UC admission application fee.
How should I prepare for the Analytical Writing Placement Examination?
A: You've been preparing for the exam throughout your high school career. All the reading
and writing you've done so far should help you succeed on the Analytical Writing Placement
Examination. Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam, and arrive at the test
centre early. Then relax and do your best.
How is the exam developed?
A: New Analytical Writing Placement Examinations are carefully developed each year by
faculty members from UC’s writing and ESL programs. Individual passages are pretested in a
range of writing classes on several UC campuses before being recommended to the University
Committee on Preparatory Education (UCOPE). The UCOPE makes the final determination about
the exam administered the following May.
How do you set the passing standard?
A: From the pre-test essays, UCOPE assembles a set of papers representing the weakest to
the strongest performance. At its March meeting UCOPE reviews these essays and decides
independently on the scores. These essays and their UCOPE scores set the standard by which
the chief reader and the room leaders will score papers in June.
May I write a draft of my essay?
A: You’ll be able to plan your essay on scratch paper provided by the test supervisor.
However, readers of your essay will see only what you write in your essay booklet. It’s
perfectly fine to make corrections and revisions on an essay first drafted in the essay
booklet itself, as long as they're legible.
What if I finish early? May I leave before the two hours are over?
A: Yes. You should remember, though, that the readers who score your essay will assume
that it’s the product of two hours' work.
How will I find out how I did on the Analytical Writing Placement
A: About a month after you take the exam, you can log in to your campus’s student portal
to find out whether your essay satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement.
What if my essay doesn't satisfy the requirement?
A: If your examination essay doesn't satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement, you can
still satisfy the requirement before you arrive at your UC campus by achieving one of the
test scores that satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement, most commonly an AP English
score of 3 or above. Also, each campus's admissions website provides instructions for
enrolling in courses that will satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement.