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About the University of California

"The distinctive mission of the University is to serve society as a center of higher learning, providing long-term societal benefits through transmitting advanced knowledge, discovering new knowledge, and functioning as an active working repository of organized knowledge. That obligation, more specifically, includes undergraduate education, graduate and professional education, research, and other kinds of public service, which are shaped and bounded by the central pervasive mission of discovering and advancing knowledge."  

Mission statement from the University of California Academic Plan, 1974-1978 

The University of California opened its doors in 1869 with just 10 faculty members and 38 students. Today, the UC system includes more than 280,000 students and more than 227,000 faculty and staff, with 2.0 million alumni living and working around the world. 

For more than 150 years, UC has expanded the horizons of what we know about ourselves and our world. Our campuses are routinely ranked among the best in the world, but our reach extends beyond campus borders. 

Our students, faculty, staff and alumni exchange ideas, make advancements and unlock the secrets and mysteries of the universe every day. They engage with their local governments, serve California schools, protect the environment and push the boundaries of space. 

Education and research as pioneering as California itself 

From all backgrounds, ethnicities and incomes, UC attracts the best and brightest. UC undergraduates come from all over California, and they work hard to make it to college. In fact, 37 percent of UC students come from low-income families. 

UC's faculty are the drivers behind innovations in biotechnology, computer science, art and architecture — and they bring that knowledge, that greatness, directly to the classroom. 

Thousands of California jobs, billions of dollars in revenues, and countless everyday household items — from more plentiful fruits and vegetables to compact fluorescent light bulbs — can be traced back to UC discoveries. Similarly, many of the state’s leading businesses are based on UC technology, founded by our faculty or led by UC graduates. 

UC is a part of your life, every day 

Besides world-class classrooms and labs, UC has dozens of museums, concert halls, art galleries, botanical gardens, observatories and marine centers — academic resources, but also exciting gathering places for the community. Another half million people benefit from UC Extension’s continuing education courses and from Cooperative Extension’s agricultural advice and educational programs located throughout the state. 

 UC System at a glance:  

  • 10 campuses, Nine UC campuses offer undergraduate and graduate education; one (UCSF) is graduate/professional only.  
  • 5 academic medical centers, UC’s medical centers provide broad access to top-ranked specialized care, support clinical teaching programs, and develop new therapies.  
  • 3 national laboratories, UC has been involved in managing three national labs for the U.S. Department of Energy since 1943.  
  • 18 health professional schools, UC trains nearly half the medical students and medical residents in California 
  • UC Agricultural and Natural Resources, UC’s statewide network of researchers and educators is focused on delivering science-based solutions for priority problems in California agriculture, natural resources and human development. There are 58 cooperative extension offices across the state. 
  • 160 academic disciplines 
  • 800 degree programs 
  • 280,380 students 
  • 227,700 employees 
  • 2.0 million living alumni 
  • 64 Nobel laureates 
  • 430,000 jobs supported 
  • $46.3 billion contributed to California economy 
  • Secures $7 in federal and private dollars for every $1 in research funding provided by the state of California 
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