University of California – Santa Barbara

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The University of California – Santa Barbara first opened in 1891 as the Anna Blake School with industrial arts training. Three decades later, it became the Santa Barbara State College and was modeled as a “Williams College of the West.” In 1944, Governor Earl Warren oversaw its conversion into the state’s public, land-grant university system. Endowed for $265 million, the RU/VH research institution now enrolls over 23,400 Gauchos and employs 1,100 faculty, including six Nobel Prize laureates. UCSB occupies a sprawling, 1,055-acre campus near the suburb of Goleta between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific.

According to the U.S. News, UC-Santa Barbara is America’s 37th best university, 57th top value, and eighth best public college with 92 percent retention. In particular, UCSB is acclaimed for the 23rd best education, 10th best physics, and 34th top computer science programs nationally. Forbes magazine ranked the University of California – Santa Barbara as the West’s 18th best university. On Niche, UCSB earned an A+ for the country’s 24th “Best Student Life” and 24th “Best College Campus.” PayScale applauded UC-Santa Barbara with the #7 highest salary potential for engineering graduates. The Times Higher Education even placed UCSB 48th globally.

University of California – Santa Barbara Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed through 2023, the University of California – Santa Barbara is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. This regional, third-party organization is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Specific departments have also obtained approval from:

• Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
• National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD)
• American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA CoA)

University of California – Santa Barbara Application Requirements

Classified as “more selective,” the University of California – Santa Barbara accepts only 33 percent of applicants on average. First-year freshmen must complete a 15-course, college-prep curriculum with a “C” or better for a high school diploma. Four years of both English and math is strongly recommended. Californians should earn a cumulative GPA above 3.0, but non-residents need at least a 3.4. Using the latest scoring scale, UCSB students achieve a mean SAT score of 1360 and ACT score of 28. Undergraduate transfers are only accepted with 60+ semester credits and a 2.4 GPA or higher from other regionally accredited colleges.

Graduate admission to UC-Santa Barbara always mandates receiving a four-year bachelor’s from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent. International learners need to certify their English proficiency with a minimum TOEFL score of 550 or SAT Reasoning Test score of 560. Unconditional acceptance will require a “B” average or better throughout undergrad study. Although a limit isn’t set, the GRE or MAT must be taken within the last five years. Other graduate program requirements will vary. For example, the Ph.D. in Computer Science seeks a scientific background with a 3.5 GPA or better. The M.Ed. in Special Education necessitates initial California teaching licensure too.

The UC Application is available online from August 1st until November 30th for students interested in the University of California – Santa Barbara. Graduate departmental deadlines are slightly different. For instance, the Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures accepts applications until December 15th. Don’t forget to attach the following:

• Payment for the $70 application filing fee
• Official academic records from each school
• Standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, GRE, or MAT)
• Verification of English proficiency if foreign
• One-page personal statement of purpose
• Two to three letters of recommendation
• Resume or curriculum vitae (grad only)

Tuition and Financial Aid

California residents enrolling as full-time undergraduates pay $12,294 for yearly tuition. Non-resident undergraduates are charged $38,976 per year full-time. Campus-based fees add $1,779 extra. Room and board is estimated to cost $13,605 annually with $1,431 for textbooks. Unless waived, health insurance is purchased for $3,150 too. Total annual cost of attendance is roughly $35,289 (in-state) and $61,971 (out-of-state). Graduate students actually pay slightly less for full-time enrollment. On average, master’s and Ph.D. costs are $11,220 (in-state) and $26,322 (out-of-state) each year.

The NCES reports that 71 percent of UCSB students are assisted financially. More than $218 million is given through aid yearly. Institutional awards, such as the Regents Scholarship, Music Scholarship, ROTC Scholarship, Athletic Scholarship, Luis Leal Social Sciences Scholarship, and William R. Reardon Scholarship, are abundant. Federal funding is available via the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, and TEACH Grant. “Golden State” residents could obtain the Cal Grant, University of California Grant, and Middle Class Scholarship. UC-Santa Barbara also maintains the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan for families making below $80,000 combined. The Dream Scholars Program helps AB 540 students who’re undocumented. Federal Work-Study (FWS) jobs and graduate assistantships come with tuition waivers. Students may also borrow the Perkins, Stafford, PLUS, and Short Term Emergency loans.

Student Experience

The University of California – Santa Barbara is a prestigious, trend-setting AAU member offering more than 200 majors across five colleges. Within a collaborative culture, students study on a quarter system for unique bachelor’s programs like the Aquatic Biology B.S., Feminist Studies B.A., Hydrologic Sciences B.S., Pharmacology B.S., and Portuguese B.A. The Graduate Division offers dynamic advanced training from Geography to Brain Science and Chicana Studies. With a student-faculty ratio of 18:1, UCSB professors are accessible for individualized attention. The Education Abroad Program (EAP) sends scholars to partnering schools like the University of Auckland and Lund University.

Learning opportunities outside the classroom are numerous at UC-Santa Barbara. There are over 100 research units finding cutting-edge breakthroughs, such as the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, Confucius Institute, and Southern California Earthquake Center. Historians can explore more than 3 million bound volumes in the Davidson Library. Budding artists find inspiration within the AD&A Museum, which houses the Ken Trevey Collection of American Realist Prints. Aspiring oceanographers dive into the Santa Barbara Channel from the Marine Science Institute. UCSB’s idyllic campus also places students near Stearns Wharf, Arroyo Burro Beach, and Shoreline Park for relaxation.

Approximately 40 percent of UC-Santa Barbara students live on-site, so campus life is booming. Learners can select from 200+ clubs, such as Eta Sigma Phi, Circle K International, Transgender Social Group, Hermanos Unidos, and College Republicans. At Harder Stadium, Etravaganza is held annually for free with performers like Snoop Dogg, Drake, and Nas. Students also attend the 12-hour Dance Marathon in Rob Gym to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. The athletically inclined can compete in the NCAA Division I Big West Conference with 20 varsity teams. Around 700 students compete in club sports like sailing and rugby at the University of California – Santa Barbara.