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University of Alabama at Birmingham

Coordinates: 33°30′07″N 86°48′28″W / 33.5020°N 86.8079°W / 33.5020; -86.8079
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Former name
Medical College of Alabama (1859–1966)
Birmingham Extension Center (1936–1966)
College of General Studies (1966)
The University of Alabama in Birmingham (1966–1969)
TypePublic research university
EstablishedJune 16, 1969; 55 years ago (June 16, 1969)
Parent institution
University of Alabama System
Academic affiliation
Endowment$1 billion[1]
Budget$4.34 billion (2021)[2]
PresidentRay L. Watts
ProvostPam Benoit
Academic staff
Total staff
Location, ,
United States

33°30′07″N 86°48′28″W / 33.5020°N 86.8079°W / 33.5020; -86.8079
CampusMidsize city, 636 acres (2.57 km2)
NewspaperThe Kaleidoscope
ColorsGreen, white, and gold[6]
Sporting affiliations
MascotBlaze the Dragon

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public research university in Birmingham, Alabama. Founded in 1969 and part of the University of Alabama System, UAB has grown to be the state's largest employer, with more than 24,200 faculty and staff and over 53,000 jobs at the university. The university is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".[7]

UAB offers 140 programs of study in 12 academic divisions leading to bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees.[8] In the fall of 2020, UAB enrolled 22,563 students from more than 110 countries.[9] The UAB Health System, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, is affiliated with UAB.

The UAB athletic teams known as the Blazers compete in 18 varsity-level sports in the NCAA Division 1 - American Athletic Conference. [10]Its official varsity colors are green and gold.[11] The Blazers have won 11 conference championships to date.


In 1936, in response to the rapid growth of the Birmingham metropolitan area and the need for the population to have access to a university education, the University of Alabama established the Birmingham Extension Center.[12] The center operated in an old house in downtown Birmingham at 2131 6th Avenue North and enrolled 116 students. In 1945, UA's newly established four-year School of Medicine moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham and took over management of Jefferson and Hillman hospitals. In 1957 enrollment at the extension center stood at 1,856. By 1959, research grants, training grants, and fellowships exceeded $1 million, and ground was broken for a new Children's Hospital.

By the 1960s, it grew apparent that the extension center was becoming a university in its own right. An engineering building was built close to the medical center in 1962. In September 1966, the Extension Center was renamed the College of General Studies and elevated to a full four-year program. That November, the College of General Studies and the School of Medicine were merged into the University of Alabama in Birmingham, with Dr. Joseph Volker as "Vice President for Birmingham Affairs"–reflecting that it was still treated as an offsite department of the main campus in Tuscaloosa. An Advisory Board for UAB was created in 1967. In 1969, the legislature created the University of Alabama System. UAB became one of three four-year institutions within the new system, which also included UA and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in Huntsville. Volker became UAB's first president.[12]


UAB campus and downtown Birmingham

UAB is located on the Southside neighborhood of downtown Birmingham, Alabama, occupying more than 100 city blocks and surrounded by three historic district neighborhood including the Five Point South, Glen Iris, and the Southside.[13] There is a blend of public and private property inside the university limits. I-65, 10th, 11th, and 12th Avenues South, 22nd Street South, and 2nd Avenue South are the boundaries of UAB campus. The campus has more than 216 academic, residential, and recreational facilities spread across around 636 acres, or roughly 16 million square feet of building area. [14] [15]

The UAB strategic plan's pillars are supported by the campus master plan, which places an emphasis on innovative facilities and improved growth management. The campus master plan also includes the creation of eight zones concentration locations: Academics, Athletics & Recreation, Cultural, Hospital/Highlands, Residential, Research, Southern Research, and Support with overlapping zone areas of collaboration such as Academic, Research, and Hospital. Honors Hall, the Collat School of Business, the School of Nursing, University Hall, Gold Hall, McMahon Hall, McCallum Basic Health Science Building, Early Learning Center, and the Technology Innovation Center are amongst the recently completed building construction projects on the university. The Science and Engineering Complex's second phase project, the Altec/Styslinger Genomic Medicine & Data Sciences Building, the Marnix E. Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation Conference Center, Biomedical Research and Psychology Building, Unity Park, Department of Art and Art History, Cooper Green Mercy Health, University Emergency Department, Rehabilitation Pavilion, 14th Street Parking Deck, and the Southern Research Biotechnology Building are among the ongoing constructions in the university. Since 2013, about 1.1 million gross square feet of new facilities have been added to UAB's footprint through the completion or ongoing development of 17 major university construction projects. [16] [17][18]

UAB Campus Green[edit]

UAB Campus Green in Birmingham, Alabama

UAB’s Campus Green, also referred to as "the Green," is an open green area and a quadrangle intended for usage by members of the university community and visitors. It was built in 2008 and considered to be the focal point of the campus. The University's long-term master plan, which describes Campus Green as "the signature open space and the center of the academic core," includes the quadrangle as a key element.[19] The Green is surrounded by green grasses, plants, shrubs, trees and walkways, that include 10th Avenue South, University Boulevard, the Chemistry Building, University Dining Facility, Camp Hall, Blazer Hall, Heritage Hall, University Hall (UAB College of Arts & Sciences) and the Campus Recreation Center. The Green is a part of a centuries-old higher education tradition that offers a serene outdoor space for introspective thought and communal gathering. [20] [21]

UAB Arts[edit]

The Alys Stephens Center is home to the performing arts of the city of Birmingham and is the residence venue for events by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, UAB's theater and music departments and other globally recognized performers. The Alys Stephens Center is the hub of UAB's Cultural Arts Corridor, located on the cultural zone of the campus, which houses the cutting-edge Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts (AEIVA) that brings the arts into the community through its ArtPlay and Arts in Medicine programs. [22]

Organization and administration[edit]

UAB is governed by the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. The board is self-nominating and composed of 15 elected members and two ex officio members. Board members are confirmed by the Alabama State Senate.[23]

The president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is appointed by the chancellor. The president also chairs the board of the UAB Health System.[24] Richard Marchase was named interim president on August 21, 2012, after the retirement of Carol Garrison.[25][26][27][28] In February 2013, Ray L. Watts became UAB's seventh president.[29]

College and schools[edit]

UAB is composed of one college, nine schools, an honors college and a graduate school. These academic divisions offer 57 bachelor's degree programs, 69 master's degree programs,3 specialist's, 42 doctoral programs, and 3 professional degrees..[30] [31]

List of colleges and schools and year founded[edit]


UAB's endowment reached more than 1 billion dollars after a 2018 campaign goal. It includes more than 103,000 donors, which is the largest fundraising campaign effort in UAB history. [32]

Research Expenditures[edit]

UAB received more than $715 million in research grants and extramural awards for FY 2022.[33]


UAB is a large, four-year research university and is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".[34] UAB has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1970, according to the U.S. Department of Education.[35]UAB offers degrees in the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels from the schools in Business, Education, Engineering, Graduate School, Health Professions, Nursing, Public Health, and the College of Arts and Sciences. It also houses the Honors College and the three professional schools that offer professional degrees in Dentistry, Medicine, and Optometry. UAB has inaugurated some new programs in bioinformatics, cancer biology genetics and genomic sciences, digital forensic immunology and neuro-engineering that are the first of its kind in the US. [36]

UAB Medicine[edit]

With almost 2 million clinical visits and care provided every year, UAB is considered one of the largest academic medical centers that offers patient care to the state of Alabama and the surrounding areas. The institution is also training future medical professionals and advancing medical science through study and research at health-related professional schools of UAB; Dentistry, Health Professions, Nursing, Optometry, Public Health and the Heersink School of Medicine. A number of managed hospitals are part of the UAB Health System, including the UAB Hospital, the Valley Foundation, the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, the UAB Carolan Eye Hospital Authority, the Medical West Hospital Authority, the L.V. Stabler Hospital, J. Paul Jones Hospital, Brian Whitfield Memorial Hospital, Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority, and other local hospitals. Ascension St. Vincent's and UAB Health System have formed a collaborative partnership to expand access to healthcare through numerous locations and wellness initiatives. Diabetes, mental and behavioral health, and health disparities are addressed by this partnership. Additionally, it maintains close relationships with other public and private nonprofit organizations that are housed on and around the UAB campus, such as the Children's of Alabama and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The UAB Health System, a distinct not-for-profit organization, oversees, coordinates, and manages the medical facilities connected to UAB.[37]

With 1,207 beds, the flagship UAB Hospital is the largest in Alabama and the eighth largest in the nation. It is home to the only Level 1 adult trauma center in the state and the only hospital in Alabama to consistently rank among U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals."[38] The O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only center in Alabama and the surrounding four states to get an NCI designation, and it leads the country in advancing cancer research, care, and education.[39]

Providing a peer-reviewed proof of concept for xenotransplantation and paving the way for a steady, sustainable supply of life-saving organs, UAB successfully tested the first human preclinical model for transplanting genetically modified pig kidneys into humans in January 2022.[40]

Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[42]137
Washington Monthly[43]196
WSJ/College Pulse[44]256
U.S. News & World Report[47]147


In the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings, UAB was tied for the 137th best national university and was ranked tied for the 64th best public university.[48]

UAB graduate programs was ranked in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report "Best Graduate Schools" including Healthcare Management (1st), Nursing; Masters (10th) and Doctoral (11th), Nursing-Anesthesia (29th), Medical School in Primary Care (24th) and in Research (35th), Physician Assistant (8th), Public Health (18th), Biostatistics (31st), Occupational Therapy (37th) and Physical Therapy (21st). Other programs are also ranked including Part-time MBA (98th), Education (117th), Engineering (112th), Biological Sciences (74th), Chemistry (136th), Clinical Psychology (70th), Computer Science (132nd), Mathematics (117th), Physics (152nd), Psychology (97th), Social Work (60th), and Sociology (84th).[49]

In 2018-19, Times Higher Education ranked UAB 1st "Young University" in the US and 12th around the world for two consecutive years among institutions that are 50 years old or younger.[50] Also, UAB ranked 160th worldwide, around top 8% among global universities according to 2023 U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities ranking. [51]

Student profile[edit]

In fall semester of 2018, the UAB student body consisted of 13,836 undergraduates, 6,933 graduate students and 1,154 professional doctoral students from all 67 Alabama counties, all 50 states and more than 110 foreign countries. [52] The undergraduate student body was 56% non-Hispanic white, 26% Black/African-American, 6% Asian, 5% two or more races, 3% Hispanic, and 3% International.[53]

Faculty and staff[edit]

UAB has more than 3,000 faculty.[54] Eight faculty members from UAB have been elected to the National Institute of Medicine.[55] The student-faculty ratio at UAB is 18:1.


UAB has eight libraries.[56]

Research and economic impact[edit]

Shelby Biomedical Research Building in University Boulevard, Birmingham, Alabama

In 2023, UAB invested $780 million in research expenditures. Funding has increased by $351 million, or 82%, over the previous ten years. In terms of all federal research expenditures, UAB is ranked 21st among public institutions. It also ranks in the top four percent of public universities and the top one percent of all organizations for NIH funding in FY23. In addition, UAB's six health-related schools including the Heersink School of Medicine rank among the top 20 public universities in terms of NIH funding for FY 2023. [57]Additionally, UAB obtained unprecedented funding from organizations including the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Energy, as well as for clinical trials funded by the industry.[58] It is creating novel treatments for the most debilitating diseases that affect humans, such as diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease; developing new materials for everything from stronger military equipment to bio-coatings for cardiac stents; fighting cybercrime committed worldwide via computers in a unique cyber forensics center in partnership with the FBI, Homeland Security, and corporate partners like Facebook and Google; and making important strides in climatology, marine biology, and medicine in remote areas of Antarctica.

The O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is established in 1971, is the only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the state of Alabama and the surrounding area to receive this designation from the National Cancer Institute, and one of only 56 such centers nationwide. For 48 years, the center has been continuously funded, enabling it to conduct state-of-the-art cancer research and provide patient care in the four-state area. [59]

The Engineering and Innovative Technology Development division has been the major developer and supplier of cryo-equipment for the International Space Station since 1990. It has also supported the development of specialized research instruments for land and microgravity-based research experiments. [60]

The Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HIIE), established in 2014, housed at the Collat School of Business aims to promote economic growth, facilitate the commercialization of research, and assist in the formation of businesses. The institution has employed a multifaceted approach to foster innovation in the living sciences, with a special focus on biotechnology, and has assisted in the creation of startups. [61]

Economic impact[edit]

In 2022, UAB contributed $12.1 billion to Alabama's economy, up 41% from $7.15 billion in 2016. More than $371 million in state and local taxes were produced by UAB, which also maintained or supported 107,600 employments in Alabama. More than $115.4 million in community impact is produced by UAB academics, staff, and students through donations and volunteer work to nearby NGOs. Furthermore, the UAB Health System provides charitable care worth about $363.1 million to underprivileged communities in Birmingham and around the state. [62]

Student life[edit]

Student body composition as of May 2, 2022
Race and ethnicity[63] Total
White 55% 55
Black 24% 24
Asian 7% 7
Hispanic 6% 6
Other[a] 6% 6
Foreign national 2% 2
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 34% 34
Affluent[c] 66% 66
UAB Hill Student Center

There are over 300 student organizations on the UAB campus. About six percent of undergraduate men and eight percent of undergraduate women are active in UAB's Greek system.[64] UAB's students also run media outlets, including a weekly newspaper, a radio station, and a semi-annual magazine.[65] The school also has an intramural program.[66]

Student housing and residential life[edit]

UAB offers off-campus housing, residential halls, campus dining and recreation, and more. Residence halls at UAB include:[67]

  • Blazer Hall
  • Blount Hall
  • Camp Hall
  • Gold Hall
  • McMahon(Green) Hall
  • Rast Hall
  • Denman Hall (demolished in 2023)[68]

UAB Bands[edit]

UAB Bands consists of multiple ensembles including the Marching Blazers, Wind Symphony, Blazer Band, Symphony Band, Percussion, Summer Community Band, and Birmingham Youth Wind Symphony. Students and the UAB community have the opportunity to participate and join the UAB Bands and to perform in local, national, and international stage. [69]

Marching Blazers[edit]

Under the guidance of Dr. Clifford "Ski" Winter, the 135-member UAB Marching Blazers made their debut at a home football game on September 17, 1994.The Marching Blazers went to Ireland in 2013 to participate in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin and won the title of "Best International Band" competing in the Limerick International Band Competition. They also went to Hawaii to perform at USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor on March 2015. [70]

With more than 200 members, the Marching Blazers add to UAB campus life by performing at football games, pep rallies, and numerous other campus-wide events. The group is usually requested to perform as the exhibition band at state and regional marching band competitions. [71]


The Kaleidoscope is the official student-run newspaper of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) that published breaking news to quizzes on campus. It produced weekly printed newspaper but transitioned to digital and online news outlet starting in Fall 2020. The Kaleidoscope was first issued in 1967, two years before the university become autonomous from Tuscaloosa campus.[72]


UAB's athletic teams are known as the Blazers. The school athletic colors are green and gold.[73] The Blazers currently participates in NCAA Division I, as a member of the American Athletic Conference, including 7 men’s sports teams and 11 women’s sports teams.[74]

The school started its intercollegiate athletic program in 1978.[75] The program was inaugurated with men's basketball by Gene Bartow. Bartow served as the school's head basketball coach and athletic director for 18 years. Bartow led UAB to the NCAA Tournament seven times. Bartow retired from coaching in 1996. The following year, UAB renamed its basketball venue from UAB Arena to Bartow Arena in his honor.

In December 2014, the university announced that the programs for football, bowling and rifle were being eliminated at the end of the 2014–2015 academic year, citing soaring operating costs.[76] This decision was later reversed and the programs were reinstated.[77]

On July 1, 2023, UAB officially joined as a member of the American Athletic Conference. The mayor of Birmingham declared July 1st as UAB Day to celebrate and commemorate UAB’s entry to the American Conference league. [78]

Men's basketball[edit]

UAB Blazers Men's Basketball vs. Tulsa at Bartow Arena

UAB Blazers men's basketball was introduced in 1978, marking the beginning of their athletics program. UAB was able to entice Gene Bartow to leave his position as UCLA's head coach in order to launch the Blazers program. The Blazers have made 17 appearances in the NCAA Division 1 men's basketball tournament and have reached the Elite Eight, and the Sweet Sixteen 3 times. [79]

Blazers men’s basketball have won multiple conference title including their first year as a member of the American Athletic Conference, the 2024 American Conference men’s basketball tournament Champions. The Blazers play home games at Bartow Arena.


Inaugural game at the new home stadium Protective Stadium of the UAB Blazers football - UAB VS.Liberty

UAB Blazers football team’s first game was in 1991 in the Division III, headed by Jim Hilyer, the first head coach of the Blazers football team.[80]The UAB football program was terminated after the 2014 season but was reinstated and returned in 2017 shortly thereafter due to budget cuts. The Blazers have won 2 conference titles and 3 bowl games including the recent 2022 Bahamas Bowl, defeating Miami of Ohio. A new stadium, Protective Stadium, has been the home of the Blazers starting from the 2021 season.

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]


  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


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External links[edit]