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University of California, San Diego: Admission, Courses, Financial Aid and more
An overview of the University of California, San Diego, its admission procedure, scholarships, latest news, programs, campus culture and enrollment.

Overview and Rank
University of California, San Diego is a public research university located in La Jolla, California. It is currently the 38th highest ranked university in the United States according to the US News university ranking system. UC San Diego is also rated 14th in the US for scientific impact in all sciences according to the CWTS Leiden ranking system.

[Image: 800px-UCSD-Warren_Pano.jpg]
A panoramic picture of Warren College Mall, containing the Geisel Library and the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Prospective students for undergraduate admission to UC San Diego can apply online using the University of California Admission Application ( In addition to the application, UC San Diego requires ACT with Writing scores or SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, math and writing with all scores from the same sitting. Students interested in biotechnology should also consider taking 2 SAT subject tests in areas related to the field they wish to pursue, as UC San Diego strongly suggests these subject tests for students pursuing degrees in engineering, biological and physical sciences. UC San Diego also requires a minimum 3.0 GPA for california residents and 3.4 for out of state students. The average SAT score of admitted students is 1700 and an ACT score of 24.

For graduate admissions, UC San Diego requires at least a 3.0 GPA and a Bachelor’s degree. Prospective students must also submit 3 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and GRE general test scores. Some departments, such as Bioengineering, do not require the GRE subject test, but others such as Biomedical Sciences recommends a subject test in Biology, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology or Chemistry. The exact requirements for each department can be found at: .

Enrollment (Fall 2012):
Enrolled Undergraduate Students: 22,676
Enrolled Graduate Students: 4,588
Enrolled Medicine/Pharmacy Students: 1,788
Male: 48%
Female: 52%
Accepted: 35.5%

Tuition(California Resident*): $13,302
Room & Board: $11,978
Books/Personal Expenses: $3,756
Total: $30,525

*Additional Cost for Non CA Residents: $22,878

Financial Aid:
Students can find out if they are eligible for financial aid by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . The parent contribution to financial costs is determined through analysis of their net worth while considering factors such as family size and additional children enrolled in a college or university. The student’s contribution consists of any summer work in addition to work during the academic year, as well as student’s assets and student loans. In addition to need based aid from state, federal, and university sources, students can apply for merit based and ‘restricted’ scholarships. Merit based scholarships are based only on academic achievement while restricted scholarships are special scholarships which also consider need, background, and field of interest (including some with a preference for students in physical and life sciences). A full list of the restricted scholarships can be found at: . For undergraduate students who wish to pursue additional research while at UC San Diego, the University provides several research scholarships which will fund these activities. To be eligible for these research scholarships, students must be enrolled during the entire summer and the research must be above and beyond the scope of normal coursework. These scholarships award $3,500 and there are several specifically given for research in biological, life, physical and health sciences and engineering. A full list of these scholarships can be found at:

Academics and Biotechnology Related Study
UC San Diego is a relatively large public university with a sizeable undergraduate population, so there are many potential majors from which a person interested in biotechnology can choose from, including a B.S. in Biotechnology itself. The following is a list of majors which may be of interest to biotechnology minded students:

Bioengineering (BE)
Bioengineering (B.S.)
Bioengineering (Biotechnology) (B.S.)
Bioengineering (Bioinformatics) (B.S.)
Bioengineering: BioSystems (B.S.)

Biological Sciences
Biochemistry and Cell Biology (B.S.)
Biology with Specialization in Bioinformatics (B.S.)
Ecology, Behavior and Evolution (B.S.)
General Biology (B.S.)
Human Biology (B.S.)
Microbiology (B.S.)
Molecular Biology (B.S.)
Physiology and Neuroscience (B.S.)

Chemistry and Biochemistry
Biochemistry/Chemistry (B.S.)
Bioinformatics (B.S.)
Chemical Education (B.S.)
Chemical Physics (B.S.)
Chemistry (B.S.)
Environmental Chemistry (B.S.)
Molecular Synthesis (B.S.)
Pharmacological Chemistry (B.S.)

Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
Computer Science with Specialization in Bioinformatics (B.S)

Mathematics - Scientific Computation (B.S.)

Physics (B.S.)
Physics - Biophysics (B.S.)
Physics with Specialization in Computational Physics (B.S.)
Physics with Specialization in Materials Physics (B.S.)

In addition, students may wish to pursue a minor which complements their study in one of these fields, such as Physics, Applied Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, and General Biology. Undergraduate students may also wish to participate in extra scientific research beyond what is found in their normal curriculum. For many majors, there are special classes that can be taken as electives called “Special Studies Courses” which allow students to conduct research independently or in small groups. There is also an additional program, the Academic Enrichment Program (AEP), whose purpose is to expose undergraduates to research and prepare them for graduate programs. Students conduct research guided by faculty mentors and may have the opportunity to present their work at undergraduate conferences.

UC San Diego also has 69 graduate programs across 5 graduate schools. Of particular interest to those interested in biotechnology are:
- Bioengineering
- Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
- Biological Sciences
- Biology (Joint Doctoral Program SDSU/UCSD)
- Biomedical Sciences
- Chemical Engineering
- Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Nanoengineering

The Bioengineering degree offers one of the widest selections of specializations including:
- Biodynamics
- Bionanotechnology and Biophotonics
- Biofabrication and BioMEMS
- Biomechanics
- Biomedical Imaging
- Biosensors, Instrumentation and Microscopy
- Blood substitutes
- Cardiac Mechanics
- Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
- Cartilage Tissue Engineering
- Cell and Tissue Engineering
- Computational Biology
- Genomics and Genetic Circuits
- Integrative Network Biology
- Microcirculation;
- Microhemodynamics
- Molecular Bioengineering and Biomechanics
- Muscle Physiology and Biomechanics
- Network Genomics
- Neural Engineering and Ophthalmology
- Vascular Bioengineering

In addition to about a year of core courses, a qualifying examination and dissertation defense, there is also a requirement of 4 quarters of teaching in order to receive the PhD.

UC San Diego is located in La Jolla, California, in a warm climate near the Pacific Ocean. Due to its location, nightlife and over 500 student organizations, UC San Diego is often ranked one of the happiest universities in the US. The campus is spacious with many green areas including eucalyptus groves and even a sea port. There is a large student building on campus, the Price Center, which houses multiple restaurants, bookstore, and a movie theater. The campus also has the popular Che Cafe which is known for its underground music scene and even many performances by well known bands. In addition to over 17,000 parking spaces, UC San Diego also has a free shuttle system for students and faculty with routes around campus, nearby residential areas, and shopping centers. The university also subsidizes local public transportation as well as having a free bike rental program. San Diego is also looking to expand its trolley service to the campus, making it easier for students to travel to the nearby city which is the 8th largest in the US and contains many additional attractions.

Image Source: by Znode - Creative Commons-licensed content
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