University of California, Merced

The University of California (UC), Merced, the youngest campus in the world-renowned University of California system.

Opened to undergraduates in 2005, UC Merced was the first new University of California campus in 40 years, and the first American research university of the twenty-first century. UC Merced experienced a significant milestone by appearing in the U.S News & World Report rankings for the first time in 2017. UC Merced now ranks #42 among public universities and #97 overall among national universities and remains the youngest university in the top 100. It ranks #1 in AASHE’s 2022 Sustainable Campus Index, and #5 for creating social mobility and #13 for economic diversity in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report. UC Merced is ranked #49 nationally by Washington Monthly, #70 by Times Higher Ed, #80 by Money Magazine and #86 by Hispanic Outlook on Education. UC Merced achieved R2 status (“doctoral-granting university with high research activity,” per the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education) in record time and is now setting a very ambitious trajectory towards quickly earning an R1 designation. Additionally, the campus has earned Carnegie’s prestigious Classification for Community Engagement, a testament to its deep commitment to serving the Central Valley. Since welcoming its first freshman class, UC Merced has grown in enrollment to 9,104 students, including 775 graduate students in its three schools: School of Engineering, School of Natural Sciences, and School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

The 2020 Project campus expansion nearly doubled the campus’s physical capacity to support enrollment growth to 10,000 students. The University now intends to grow to 15,000 by 2030. The impact of UC Merced’s rapid ascent reaches beyond its campus and continues to transform the region, economically, academically and environmentally. UC Merced maintains a focus on sustainability, research, diversity, and community. It leads the UC system in the percentage of students from underrepresented ethnic groups, low-income families and families whose parents did not attend college.

UC Merced is becoming well-known nationally for its state-of-the-art facilities and extensive growth plan, its talented and diverse student body, and for its well-established recognized research programs in fields such as agricultural technology; biomedical, behavioral and health sciences; climate science and sustainable systems and solutions; theoretical, computational and data sciences; and inequality, social justice, and policy. In 2022, UC Merced was named an Agricultural Experimental Station, joining four other University of California campuses, in recognition of its research strengths in this area. 

UC Merced has recruited an outstanding, award-winning faculty, currently numbering 315 ladder-rank and 156 non ladder-rank, that is highly productive in research. Thus far, two UC Merced faculty have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 35 faculty have won National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards, and 3 have won NIH Career Development Awards. The faculty can be characterized as relatively early in their careers (roughly 35% are assistant professors) and many take highly interdisciplinary approaches to research and teaching. This talent has attracted major grants from leading research supporters, such as NSF, NIH, DOE, DOD, USDA, NASA, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and major national foundations. Working with faculty, students, and staff across the UC Merced community, as well as with leaders from the UC System and regional community.