Campus Overview

UC Santa Cruz, a premier institution within the 10-campus University of California system, is renowned for its distinguished faculty, natural beauty, and vibrant campus community. Situated at the northern tip of the majestic Monterey Bay and near the heart of Silicon Valley, UC Santa Cruz combines the intimacy of a small liberal arts college with the depth and rigor of a major public research institution.

Since its founding in 1965, UC Santa Cruz has evolved into a global research university and a creative powerhouse, attracting students, faculty, and staff united by a commitment to social and environmental justice. The campus has grown from 652 students in 1965 to its current (2022–23) enrollment of 18,834 students.

UC Santa Cruz offers 73 undergraduate majors within the divisions of arts, engineering, humanities, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences, and advanced degrees in 66 academic programs. Its residential college system (Cowell, Stevenson, Crown, Merrill, Porter, Kresge, Oakes, Rachel Carson, Nine, and John R. Lewis) also provides undergraduates with a sense of community, belonging, and academic support that is unique to UC Santa Cruz.

In 2019, Cynthia Larive began her tenure as the 11th chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, followed by the appointment of Lori Kletzer as campus provost and executive vice chancellor. Under Chancellor Larive and CP/EVC Kletzer’s leadership and dedication to moving the campus forward, the university embarked on a new strategic planning process, Leading the Change, formally launched in fall 2022.

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#2 for making an impact in the world
Princeton Review, Public Schools 


for racial and gender diversity in leadership
Women’s Power Gap Initiative 

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Top 10 for excellence in undergraduate teaching
U.S. News and World Report, Public Universities

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UCSC is a founding member of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities

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UC Santa Cruz earned the Seal of Excelencia

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1 of only 5 universities that have the Association of American Universities (AAU), Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) distinctions

Last modified: Sep 14, 2023