University of California System

UCLA is part of the University of California (UC) system, which traces its origins to 1868 when Governor Henry H. Haight signed the Organic Act that provided for the first California “complete university.” Classes began the next year at the College of California in Oakland. In 1873 the first Berkeley campus buildings were completed, and the university moved into its new home. The following June, bachelor’s degrees were conferred on 12 graduates.

Today, the University of California is one of the largest and most renowned centers of higher education in the world. Its 10 campuses span the state, from Davis in the north to San Diego in the south. In between are Berkeley, San Francisco, Merced, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Irvine. All campuses adhere to the same admission guidelines and high academic standards, yet each has its own distinct character and academic individuality. Riverside, for example, excels in the plant sciences and entomology; Davis has a large agricultural school and the only UC veterinary medicine program; San Diego offers excellent oceanography and marine biology programs; and San Francisco is devoted exclusively to the health sciences. Among the campuses are six medical schools and four law schools, as well as schools of architecture, business administration, education, engineering, and many others.

The UC campuses have a combined enrollment exceeding 273,000 students, over 77 percent of them California residents. About one-fifth study at the graduate level. Some 150 laboratories, extension centers, and research and field stations strengthen teaching and research while supplying public service to California and the nation. The collections of over 100 UC libraries on the 10 campuses are surpassed in size in North America only by the U.S. Library of Congress collection.

The UC faculty is internationally known for its distinguished academic achievements. On its 10 campuses the University of California has 32 living Nobel laureates, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences is the largest of any university in the country.

The UC system is governed by a Board of Regents whose regular members are appointed by the Governor of California. In addition to setting general policy and making budgetary decisions for the UC system, the Regents appoint the President of the University of California, the 10 chancellors, and the directors and deans who administer the affairs of the individual campuses and divisions of the University of California. The Regents delegate authority in academic matters to the Academic Senate, which determines academic policy for the University of California as a whole. The Senate, composed of faculty members and certain administrative officers, determines conditions for admission and granting of degrees, authorizes and supervises courses and curricula, and advises UC administrators on budgets and faculty appointments and promotions. Local divisions of the universitywide Academic Senate determine academic policy for each campus. Students also participate in policymaking at campus and system levels.