University of California

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Not to be confused with its formerly synonymous first campus, the University of California, Berkeley.

Coordinates: 37°48′08″N 122°16′17″W / 37.802168°N 122.271281°W / 37.802168; -122.271281

University of California
The logo of the University of California 1868
Latin: Universitas Californiensis
Motto Fiat lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Let there be light
Established 1868
Type Public university system
Endowment $13.141 billion (2014)[1]
Budget $25.46 billion (2015)[2]
President Janet Napolitano
Academic staff
19,700 (Spring 2015)[2]
Administrative staff
135,900 (Spring 2015)[2]
Students 238,700 (Spring 2015)[2]
Undergraduates 188,300 (Spring 2015)[2]
Postgraduates 50,400 (Spring 2015)[2]
Location Oakland, California, U.S.
Campus 10 campuses under direct control (nine with undergraduate and graduate schools, one professional/graduate only), one affiliated law school, one national laboratory
Colors Blue & Gold

The University of California (UC) is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. 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.

As of spring 2015, the University of California has 10 campuses, a combined student body of 238,700 students, 19,700 faculty members, 135,900 staff members and over 1.6 million living alumni.[2]

Its first campus, UC Berkeley, was founded in 1868, while its tenth and newest campus, UC Merced, opened for classes in fall 2005. Nine campuses enroll both undergraduate and graduate students; one campus, UC San Francisco, enrolls only graduate and professional students in the medical and health sciences. In addition, the independently administered UC Hastings is located in San Francisco but is not part of the UCSF campus.[3]

The University of California's campuses boast large numbers of distinguished faculty in almost every field and it is widely regarded as one of the top university systems in the world. The University of California has won the highest number of Nobel Prizes in totality. Seven of its undergraduate campuses are ranked among the top 100, six among the top 50, and two among the top 25 U.S. national universities for 2015, public or private, by U.S. News & World Report.[4] Among public schools, two of its undergraduate campuses are ranked in the top 5 (UC Berkeley at 1 and UCLA at 2), five in the top 10 (UC Santa Barbara at 8, UC Irvine and UC San Diego tied at 9, and all except the newly opened UC Merced in the top 100 (UC Davis at 11, UC Santa Cruz at 34, UC Riverside at 58, U.S. News & World Report Rankings 2016[5]). UC Berkeley is ranked third worldwide among public and private universities and two others—UCLA and UC San Diego—are ranked among the top 15 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.[6]


Berkeley (1868)
Los Angeles (1919)
Riverside (1954)
Davis (1959)
San Diego (1960)
Irvine (1965)
Santa Cruz (1965)
Merced (2005)
UC Office of the President in Oakland

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 Act, the California Legislature established an Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in 1866.[7] 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. In turn, the Trustees of the Contra Costa Academy were granted a charter on April 13, 1855, for a College of California. State Historical Plaque No. 45 marks the site of the College of California at the northeast corner of Thirteenth and Franklin Streets in Oakland. Hoping both to expand and raise funds, the College of California's trustees formed the College Homestead Association and purchased 160 acres (650,000 m²) of land in what is now Berkeley in 1866. But sales of new homesteads fell short.

Governor Frederick Low favored 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. In 1867, he suggested a merger of the existing College of California with the proposed state university. On October 9, 1867, the College's trustees reluctantly agreed to merge with the state college to their mutual advantage, but under one condition—that there not be simply a "Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College", but a complete university, within which the College of California would become the College of Letters (now the College of Letters and Science). Accordingly, the Organic Act, establishing the University of California, was signed into law by Governor Henry H. Haight (Low's successor) on March 23, 1868.[8]

The University of California's second president, Daniel Coit Gilman, opened the Berkeley campus in September 1873. Earlier that year, Toland Medical College in San Francisco had agreed to become the University's "Medical Department"; it later evolved into UCSF. In 1878, the University established Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco as its first law school. The California Constitution was amended to designate Hastings as the "Law Department" of the University of California in consideration of a $100,000 gift from Serranus Clinton Hastings. It is now known as Hastings College of the Law. UC Hastings is the only University of California campus which is not governed by the Regents of the University of California.

In August 1882, a southern branch campus of the California State Normal School opened in Los Angeles.[9] The southern branch campus would remain under administrative control of the San Jose State University (California's oldest public university campus, established in 1857) until 1919, when by act of the California state legislature the school merged with the University of California in Berkeley, California, and was renamed the Southern Branch of the University of California.[10] This Southern Branch became UCLA in 1927. In 1944, the former Santa Barbara State College—renamed UC Santa Barbara—became the third general-education campus of the University of California system.

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 1959, the Legislature promoted the "Farm" and "Experiment Station" to the rank of general campus, creating, respectively, UC Davis and UC Riverside.

In 1932, Will Keith Kellogg donated his Arabian horse ranch in Pomona, California, to the University of California system. However, the land remained largely unused and ownership was transferred to the California State University system in 1949. Kellogg's old ranch became the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.[11]

The San Diego campus was founded as a marine station in 1912 and, in 1959, became UCSD. UC established additional general campuses at Santa Cruz and Irvine in 1965. UC Merced opened in fall 2005.

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%. The University does not currently adhere to all tenets of the original Master Plan, such as the directive that no campus was to exceed total enrollment of 27,500 students in order to ensure quality. Three campuses, Berkeley, Davis, and Los Angeles, all currently enroll over 30,000.


UC researchers and faculty are responsible for 5,505 inventions and 2,497 patents. UC researchers create 3 new inventions per day on average.[12]

The University of California and most of its campuses are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU). Collectively, the system counts among its faculty (as of 2002):

Eight campuses operate on the quarter system, while Berkeley and Merced are on the semester system. However, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and all UC law schools operate on the semester system.

UC Libraries[edit]

At 34 million items,[14] the University of California library system contains one of the largest collections in the world. Each campus maintains its own library catalog and also participates in the systemwide union catalog, MELVYL. Besides on-campus libraries, the UC system also maintains two regional library facilities (one each for Northern and Southern California), which each accept older items from all UC campus libraries in their respective region. As of 2007, Northern Regional Library Facility is home to 4.7 million volumes, while SRLF is home to 5.7 million.


The University of California did famous research on the SAT exam. They found that after controlling for familial income and parental education, so-called achievement tests known as the SAT II had ten times more predictive ability of college aptitude than the SAT I (AKA the SAT math and verbal sections).[15]


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 current 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 Assembly, 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 directly in charge of the first campus, Berkeley, and in turn, all other UC locations (with the exception of Hastings College of the Law) were controlled by the Berkeley campus. In 1952, the system was reorganized so that day-to-day "chief executive officer" functions for each campus were transferred to Chancellors who were entrusted with a high degree of autonomy.[16] In turn, all Chancellors (again, with the exception of Hastings) report as equals to the UC President. Today, the UC Office of the President and the Office of the Secretary of the Regents of the University of California share an office building in downtown Oakland that serves as the UC system's headquarters.

UC Presidents[edit]

On August 13, 2007, President Dynes announced that he would step down effective June 2008, or until his replacement was selected. However, he also announced that Provost Wyatt (Rory) Hume would take over as the system's chief operating officer, effective immediately. Three state lawmakers had publicly demanded his resignation for his handling of the executive pay compensation scandal that stemmed from UC system Provost M. R. C. Greenwood's violation of UC conflict-of-interest rules. (She had created a management job at UC headquarters for a friend with whom she owned rental property, and a subordinate, Winston Doby, improperly helped create a year-long internship for her son at UC Merced.)[17][18][19]

Incoming President Mark Yudof took over on June 16, 2008.[20] In January 2013, Yudof announced his plan to resign as president of the University of California, effective August 31, 2013.[21] Yudof was succeeded by Homeland Security Secretary and former Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano, the first woman to hold the office of UC President.[22]


The state of California currently spends US$2.56 billion or 2% of its annual budget (2011–12) on the UC system, down from US$3.04 billion or 3.8% of its annual budget in 2000-01. 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.[23] Undergraduate student fees have risen 90% from 2003 to 2007.[24] In 2011, for the first time in UC's history, student fees exceeded contributions from the State of California.[25]

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco recently ruled 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.[26]

Faculty pay[edit]

Faculty compensation is comparable with institutions of similar academic ranking[27] but slightly higher than in the California State University system. As of September 2007, instructors earned up to $53,200, assistant professors up to $69,200, associate professors up to $97,100 and full professors up to $164,700.[28] According to the 2007–2008 payscale, the following pay ranges apply per fiscal year with Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (COLA):[29]

Position Salary range Maximum off-scale limit
Lecturer $50,292–$140,724 N/A
Senior lecturer $92,400–$140,724 N/A
Assistant Professor $53,200–$69,200 $90,000
Associate Professor $66,100–$83,700 $111,700
Full Professor $77,800–$142,700 $178,600

However, for the 2009–2010 school year, most UC faculty and staff were furloughed and lost up to 10% of their salary.[30]

Criticism and controversies[edit]

The members of the UC governing structure have been criticized for confusion about their roles and responsibilities and for enjoying controversial perks.

In 2008, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the regional accreditor of the UC schools, criticized the UC system for "significant problems in governance, leadership and decision making" and "confusion about the roles and responsibilities of the university president, the regents and the 10 campus chancellors with no clear lines of authority and boundaries".[31]

Besides substantial six-figure incomes, the UC President and all UC chancellors enjoy controversial perks such as free housing in the form of university-maintained mansions.[32] In 1962, Anson Blake's will donated his 10-acre (40,000 m2) estate (Blake Garden) and mansion (Blake House) in Kensington to the University of California's Department of Landscape Architecture. In 1968, the Regents decided to make Blake House the official residence of the UC President. As of 2005, it cost around $300,000 per year to maintain Blake Garden and Blake House; the latter, built in 1926, is a 13,239-square-foot (1,229.9 m2) mansion with a view of San Francisco Bay.[32]

All UC chancellors traditionally live for free in a mansion on or near campus that is usually known as University House, where they host social functions attended by guests and donors.[33] UCSD's University House has been closed since 2004 due to mold and severe structural deficiencies; renovation attempts have been halted indefinitely by the discovery that the home sits on top of legally protected Native American burial remains.[34]

In 2011, the California Student Sustainability Coalition launched a campaign to end California higher education’s use and support of coal and the coal industry “as it is fundamentally incompatible with our colleges and universities’ strong commitments to sustainability”. They state that the UC's heavy investment in the Russell 3000 Index, “a pooled fund that contains holdings in the top 3000 companies in the US by size...through the Russell fund, the UCs own shares of every major coal company in the US”.[35]

In 2011, the California Student Sustainability Coalition released a press release reporting the following: “According to data released today, the University of California Regents hold $234 million in 15 of the largest coal mining and coal burning corporations including Massey Energy, Patriot Coal, and Ameren Corp., with millions more possibly in individual campus foundations. Records of endowment holdings through 2011 show that the $234 million the UC holds in the "Filthy 15" coal companies includes: - $25.8 million in Southern Company, the 4th largest carbon polluter internationally; - $12.1 million in Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company; - $19.1 million in Duke Energy, responsible for 1,248 deaths due to pollution in 2009.”[36]

Campuses and rankings[edit]

At present, the UC system officially describes itself as a "ten campus" system consisting of the campuses listed below.[37] These campuses are under the direct control of the Regents and President.[citation needed] Only ten campuses are listed on the official UC letterhead.[38]

Although affiliated with the UC system, the Hastings College of Law is not controlled by the Regents or President; it has a separate board of directors and must seek funding directly from the Legislature. However, under the California Education Code, the Juris Doctor from Hastings is awarded in the name of the Regents and bears the signature of the President.[39] Furthermore, Education Code section 92201 states that Hastings "is affiliated with the University of California, and is the law department thereof".[40]

Campus Founded Enrollment[41] Endowment[1] Athletics Rankings
Affiliation Nickname ARWU[42] U.S. News & World Report[43] QS World University Rankings[44] THE World University Rankings[45]
Berkeley 1868 36,204 $3,913,416,000 NCAA Div I
Golden Bears 4 20 26 13
Davis 1908 34,155 $955,986,000 NCAA Div I
Big West
Aggies 57 41 85 44
Irvine 1965 29,588 $382,301,000 NCAA Div I
Big West
Anteaters 50 39 163 106
Los Angeles 1919 42,190 $3,226,030,000 NCAA Div I
Bruins 12 23 27 16
Merced 2005 6,195 $35,768,000 NAIA
Golden Bobcats
Riverside 1954 21,297 $179,669,000 NCAA Div I
Big West
Highlanders 101-150 113 265 167
San Diego 1960 30,310 $752,079,000 NCAA Div II
Tritons 14 39 44 39
San Francisco
(Graduate only)
1873 4,759 $2,043,171,000 N/A Bears 18 N/A N/A N/A
Santa Barbara 1909 22,225 $257,987,000 NCAA Div I
Big West
Gauchos 38 37 129 39
Santa Cruz 1965 17,203 $153,825,000 NCAA Div III
Banana Slugs 93 82 269 144

In 2008 the University of California was awarded the Sustainability Showcase Award from the California Sustainability Alliance. The Alliance recognized the UC system for their innovative sustainable and green practices, programs and policies.[46]

Student profile[edit]

Racial and/or ethnic background (2012)
Students[47] California[48] United States[49]
(includes Indian, Filipino, Pakistani, and East Asians)
33% 14% 5%
Black 03% 7% 13%
(of any race; includes Chicanos and Latinos)
18% 38% 17%
Non-Hispanic White 31% 39% 63%
Native American (<1%) 2% 1%
International student 09% N/A N/A
Other 05% N/A N/A


While the UC campuses are operated fairly efficiently, some—especially UC Berkeley—do have a reputation among their students and alumni for mediocre customer service.[50][51] The most common symptoms are long lines for even simple administrative tasks, long wait times before phone calls are answered, and overcomplicated paperwork that is often required. In August 1990, UC Berkeley attempted to ease the tedium of standing in line by setting up televisions that showed comedians making jokes about standing in line.[52] This situation has been largely ameliorated by the replacement of most enrollment and advising procedures with Internet-based systems.

Labor unions[edit]

There are a total of about 180,000 employees in the UC system.[53] Most UC employees beside faculty and administration are represented by labor unions. Unions in the UC system include:[54]


Each UC school handles admissions separately, but a student wishing to apply for undergraduate admission uses one application for all UCs. Graduate and professional school admissions are handled directly by each department or program to which one applies.

Before 1986, students who wanted to apply to UC for undergraduate study could only apply to one campus. Students who were rejected at that campus that otherwise met the UC minimum eligibility requirements were redirected to another campus with available space. Students who didn't want to be redirected were refunded their application fees. In 1986, that system changed to the current "multiple filing" system, in which students can apply to as many or as few UC campuses as they want on one application, paying a fee for each campus. This significantly increased the number of applications to the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses, since students could choose a campus to attend after they received acceptance letters, without fear of being redirected to a campus they did not want to attend.[55]

The University of California accepts fully eligible students from among the top one-eighth (1/8) of California public high school graduates through regular statewide admission, or the top 9% of any given high school class through Eligibility in the Local Context (see below). All eligible California high school students who apply are accepted to the University, though not necessarily to the campus of choice.[56][57] Eligible students who are not accepted to the campus(es) of their choice are placed in the "referral pool", where campuses with open space may offer admission to those students; in 2003, 10% of students who received an offer through this referral process accepted it.[58] In 2007, about 4,100 UC-eligible students who were not offered admission to their campus of choice were referred to UCR and UC Merced, the system's newest campus.[59] In 2015, all students rejected by their campus of choice were redirected to UC Merced, which is now the only campus that has space for all qualified applicants.[60]

The old Undergraduate admissions are conducted on a two-phase basis. In the first phase, students are admitted based solely on academic achievement. This accounts for between 50 to 75% of the admissions. In the second phase, the university conducts a "comprehensive review" of the student's achievements, including extracurricular activities, essay, family history, and life challenges, to admit the remainder. Students who do not qualify for regular admission are "admitted by exception"; in 2002, approximately 2% of newly admitted undergraduates were admitted by exception.[61]

Since then, UC campuses have been evaluating students under "comprehensive review", based on these 14 factors:[62]

  1. Academic grade point average in all completed "a-g" courses, including additional points for completed University-certified honors courses.
  2. Scores on the ACT Assessment plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test, and two SAT Subject Tests.
  3. Number of, content of and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum "a-g" requirements
  4. Number of and performance in University-approved honors courses and Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and transferable college courses.
  5. Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 9 percent of the student's high school class at the end of his or her junior year ("eligible in the local context" or ELC).
  6. Quality of the student's senior-year program, as measured by the type and number of academic courses in progress or planned.
  7. Quality of the student's academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in his or her high school.
  8. Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas.
  9. Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
  10. Recent, marked improvement in academic performance, as demonstrated by academic GPA and the quality of coursework completed or in progress.
  11. Special talents, achievements and awards in a particular field, such as visual and performing arts, communication or athletic endeavors; special skills, such as demonstrated written and oral proficiency in other languages; special interests, such as intensive study and exploration of other cultures; experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership, such as significant community service or significant participation in student government; or other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate the student's promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of a campus.
  12. Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of the student's high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs.
  13. Academic accomplishments in light of the student's life experiences and special circumstances.
  14. Location of the student's secondary school and residence.

The process for determining admissions varies. At some campuses, such as Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Santa Cruz, a point system is used to weight grade point average, SAT Reasoning or ACT scores, and SAT Subject scores, while at Davis, Berkeley, Irvine, and Los Angeles, academic achievement is examined in the context of the school and the surrounding community.

Race, gender, national origin, and ethnicity have not been used as UC admission criteria since the passing of Proposition 209. However, this information is collected for statistical purposes.

Eligibility in the Local Context[edit]

Eligibility in the Local Context, commonly referred to as ELC, is met by applicants ranked in the top 4% (9% as of 2011) of their high school class in terms of performance on an 11-unit pattern of UC-approved high school courses. Beginning with fall 2007 applicants, ELC also requires a UC-calculated GPA of at least 3.0. Fully eligible ELC students are guaranteed a spot at one of UC's undergraduate campuses, though not necessarily at their first-choice campus or even to a campus to which they applied.[56]

Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP)[edit]

See EAOP The Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) was established in 1976 by University of California (UC) in response to the State Legislature's recommendation to expand post-secondary opportunities to all of California’s students including those who are first-generation, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and English-language learners.[63] As UC's largest academic preparation program, EAOP assists middle and high school students with academic preparation, admissions requirements, and financial aid requirements for higher education.[64] The program designs and provides services to foster students’ academic development, and delivers those services in partnership with other academic preparation programs, schools, other higher education institutions and community/industry partners.[65]

Admitted freshman profile[edit]

Fall 2015[edit]

Campus GPA ACT SAT composite
(out of 2400)
SAT reading SAT math SAT writing Applicants Admits Admit rate California
UC Berkeley 4.19 31 2094 686 710 698 78,923 13,330 16.9% 65.5% [66]
UC Los Angeles 4.18 31 2064 675 702 687 92,722 16,027 17.3% 58.3% [67]
UC San Diego 4.13 30 2035 657 705 673 78,091 26,495 33.9% 61.1% [68]
UC Davis 4.07 29 1924 618 670 636 64,626 24,670 38.2% 64.2% [69]
UC Santa Barbara 4.05 29 1937 629 665 643 70,565 23,074 32.7% 75.8% [70]
UC Irvine 4.04 28 1878 598 662 618 71,778 27,796 38.7% 66.1% [71]
UC Santa Cruz 3.88 27 1828 593 632 603 45,550 23,284 51.1% 75.5% [72]
UC Riverside 3.78 26 1746 566 604 576 38,515 21,582 56.0% 89.1% [73]
UC Merced 3.67 24 1616 529 556 531 18,860 12,178 64.6% 94.8% [74]
System-wide (duplicated counts) 4.0 28 1902 617 656 629 559,630

(avg. 62,181)


(avg. 20,937)


(avg. 33.8%)

72.3% [75]


For each campus's athletics teams, see: #Campuses and rankings (above), at Columns 6 (nickname) and 11 (Athletics)

Peripheral enterprises[edit]

The University of California has a long tradition of involvement in many enterprises that are often geographically or organizationally separate from its general campuses, including national laboratories, observatories, hospitals, continuing education programs, hotels, conference centers, an airport, a seaport, and an art institute.

National laboratories[edit]

This map shows the locations of the ten UC campuses and the national laboratories associated with UC. A third national laboratory associated with UC is in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The University of California directly manages and operates one United States Department of Energy National Laboratory:

UC is a limited partner in two separate private limited liability companies that manage and operate two other Department of Energy national laboratories:

Laboratory missions[edit]

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducts unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines with key efforts focused on fundamental studies of the universe, quantitative biology, nanoscience, new energy systems and environmental solutions, and the use of integrated computing as a tool for discovery.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory uses advanced science and technology to ensure that U.S. nuclear weapons remain reliable. LLNL also has major research programs in supercomputing and predictive modeling, energy and environment, bioscience and biotechnology, basic science and applied technology, counter-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and homeland security. It is also home to the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

Los Alamos National Laboratory focuses most of its work on ensuring the reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons. Other work at LANL involves research programs into preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and US national security, such as protection of the US homeland from terrorist attack.

The UC system's ties to the three laboratories have occasionally sparked controversy and protest, because all three laboratories have been intimately linked with the development of nuclear weapons. During the World War II Manhattan Project, Lawrence Berkeley Lab developed the electromagnetic method for separation of uranium isotopes used to develop the first atomic bombs. The Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs have been involved in designing U.S. nuclear weapons from their inception until the shift into stockpile stewardship after the end of the Cold War.

Historically the two national laboratories in Berkeley and Livermore named after Ernest O. Lawrence, have had very close relationships on research projects, as well as sharing some business operations and staff. In fact, LLNL was not officially severed administratively from LBNL until the early 1970s. They also have much deeper ties to the university than the Los Alamos Lab, a fact seen in their respective original names; the University of California Berkeley Radiation Laboratory and the University of California Radiation Laboratory at Livermore.

Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore[edit]

The UC system's ties to the labs have so far outlasted all periods of internal controversy. However, in 2003, the U.S. Department of Energy for the first time opened the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) contract for bidding by other vendors. UC entered into a partnership with Bechtel Corporation, BWXT, and the Washington Group International, and together they created a private company called Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS). The only other bidder on the LANL contract was a Lockheed Martin Corporation-created company that included, among others, the University of Texas System. In December 2005, a seven-year contract to manage the laboratory was awarded to the Los Alamos National Security, LLC.[76]

On June 1, 2006, the University of California ended its direct involvement in operating Los Alamos National Laboratory. Management of the laboratory was taken over by Los Alamos National Security, LLC. Approximately 95% of the former 10,000 UC employees at LANL were rehired by LANS to continue working at LANL.

On October 1, 2007, the University of California ended its direct involvement in operating the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Management of the laboratory was taken over by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, a limited liability company whose members are Bechtel National, the University of California, Babcock and Wilcox, the Washington Division of URS Corporation, Battelle Memorial Institute, and The Texas A&M University System.

Other than UC appointing three members to the two separate board of directors (each with eleven members) that oversee LANS and LLNS, UC now has virtually no responsibility for or direct involvement in either LANL or LLNL. UC policies and regulations that apply to UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California no longer apply to LANL and LLNL, and the LANL and LLNL directors no longer report to the UC Regents or UC Office of the President.

High-performance networking[edit]

The University of California is a founding and charter member of the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, a nonprofit organization that provides high-performance Internet-based networking to California's K-20 research and education community.

Other national research centers[edit]

The University of California also works with the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Federal Airfield in California. In September 2003, a ten-year contract valued at more than $330 million was awarded to UC to establish and operate a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC)—the largest grant ever awarded the University. UC Santa Cruz manages the UARC for the University of California, with the goal of increasing the science output, safety, and effectiveness of NASA's missions through new technologies and scientific techniques. Since 2002, the NSF-funded San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego has been managed by the University of California, which took over from the previous manager, General Atomics.


The University of California manages two observatories as a multi-campus research unit headquartered at UC Santa Cruz.

The Astronomy Department at the Berkeley campus manages the Hat Creek Radio Observatory in Shasta County.

UC Davis Medical Center
UC Davis Medical Center
UC Irvine Medical Center
UC Irvine Medical Center
UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center
UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center
UCSD Medical Center
UCSD Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center

Medical centers and schools[edit]

The University of California operates five medical centers throughout the state:

Each medical center serves as the primary teaching site for that campus's medical school. UCSF is perennially among the top five programs in both research and primary care, and both UCLA and UCSD consistently rank among the top fifteen research schools, according to annual rankings published by U.S. News and World Report.[77] The teaching hospitals affiliated with each school are also highly regarded—both UCLA and UCSF's medical centers are in U.S. News and World Report's 2010–11 Honor Roll for Best Hospitals in the United States.[78] UC also has a sixth medical school—UC Riverside School of Medicine, the only one in the UC system without its own hospital.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the UC hospitals became the cores of full-fledged regional health systems; they were gradually supplemented by many outpatient clinics, offices, and institutes. Three UC hospitals are actually county hospitals that were sold to UC, which means that UC currently plays a major role in providing healthcare to the indigent. The medical hospitals operated by UC Irvine (acquired in 1976), UC Davis (acquired in 1978), and UC San Diego (acquired in 1984), each began as the respective county hospitals of Orange County, Sacramento County, and San Diego County.

There are two medical centers that bear the UCLA name, but are not operated by UCLA: Harbor–UCLA Medical Center and Olive View – UCLA Medical Center. They are actually Los Angeles County-operated facilities that UCLA uses as teaching hospitals.

UC Extension[edit]

For over a century, the University has operated a continuing education program for working adults and professionals. At present, UC Extension enrolls over 500,000 students each year in over 17,000 courses. One of the reasons for its large size is that UC Extension is a dominant provider of Continuing Legal Education and Continuing Medical Education in California. For example, the systemwide portion of UC Extension (directly controlled by the UC Office of the President) operates Continuing Education of the Bar under a joint venture agreement with the State Bar of California.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources[edit]

The University of California division of Agriculture and Natural Resources plays an important role in the State's agriculture industry, as mandated by the UC's legacy as a land-grant institution. In addition to conducting agriculture and youth development research, every county in the state has a field office with county farm advisors. The county offices also support 4-H programs and have nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisors who assist local government. Currently, the division's University of California 4-H Youth Development Program[79] is a national leader in studying thriving in the field of youth development.[citation needed]

UC Natural Reserve System[edit]

The NRS was established in January 1965 to provide UC faculty with large areas of land where they could conduct long-term ecosystem research without having to worry about outside disturbances like tourists. Today, the NRS manages 39 reserves that total more than 756,000 acres (3,060 km2).

Travel and conference facilities[edit]

  • UC Berkeley's Cal Alumni Association operates travel excursions for alumni (and their families) under its "Cal Discoveries Travel" brand (formerly BearTreks); many of the tour guides are Berkeley professors. CAA also operates the oldest and largest alumni association-run family camp in the world, the Lair of the Golden Bear. Located at an altitude of 5600 feet in Pinecrest, California, the Lair is a home-away-from-home for almost 10,000 campers annually. Its attendees are largely Cal alumni and their families, but the Lair is open to everyone.
  • Berkeley Lab operates its own hotel, the Berkeley Lab Guest House, available to persons with business at the Lab itself or UC Berkeley.
  • UCLA operates both its own on-campus hotel, the UCLA Guest House, and a lavish conference center at Lake Arrowhead. During the summer, the conference center hosts the Bruin Woods vacation programs for UCLA alumni and their families.
  • UC Santa Cruz leased the University Inn and Conference Center in downtown Santa Cruz from 2001 to 2011 for use as off-campus student housing.
  • The UC system's Education Abroad program operates two mini-campuses that support UC students, faculty, and alumni overseas: California House in London and La Casa de la Universidad de California in Mexico City. UC Center Sacramento supports students interning with the California state government. None of these facilities have on-site housing, but there is also a UC Washington Center in Washington, D.C. with a dormitory for students interning with the federal government.

University Airport[edit]

UC Davis operates the University Airport as a utility airport for air shuttle service in the contractual transportation of university employees and agricultural samples. It is also a public general aviation airport. University Airport's ICAO identifier is KEDU.


UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography owns a seaport, the Nimitz Marine Facility, which is just south of Shelter Island on Point Loma, San Diego. The port is used as an operating base for all of its oceanographic vessels and platforms.

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]