While often confused by people from out of state with its better known cousin, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has made a well-deserved name for itself thanks to the strength of its academic and research programs.
Located on an urban campus in the sprawling southern city of Birmingham, Ala., UAB offers students a chance to attend a leading university while also soaking up southern culture in one of the region’s most historic cities.
Primarily known for its medical school and research programs, the university also offers a nationally ranked quality education in a number of other areas, including business and the sciences. The university is also well-regarded for its research, particularly in the area of human health and medicine.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers 140 degree programs which include bachelor’s, master’s doctoral and professional certifications. The programs are divided into 12 colleges. The most popular majors at UAB include health-related professions, such as medicine, business, education and psychology. While about 40 percent of the classes at UAB have 20 students or less in class, many classes can have 100 or more students. The overall student to faculty ratio is 17 to 1.
Rankings and Reviews
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is highly regarded by many college review publications, which give the university high marks for both its teaching efforts and its research programs. The Princeton Review in 2010 ranked the University of Alabama at Birmingham as one of the best colleges in the southeast, and said the university was one of the best 371 colleges in the nation. A 2009 ranking of universities around the world ranked UAB among the top 200 colleges and universities in the world and the top 100 in the United States. U.S. News and World Report gives the university high marks for its chemistry, mathematics and physics programs and has top rankings for its biological sciences program and school of public health. The university’s nursing program is ranked 21st in the nation and it also has a well-regarded business and engineering program.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits institutions in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas, and also accredits some overseas American schools in Latin and South America. SACS accredits more than 13,000 colleges, universities, high schools and other institutions.
In addition to its purely academic pursuits, the university is also a well-regarded research institution. In the 2007-2008 academic year alone, the university received more than $400 million in research grants and contracts, and UAB ranks among the top 20 universities in the country in terms of federally-funded research programs.
Much of the university’s research is related to medicine and biological sciences, but there are a number of other areas the university conducts research into as well. Recently a research company that spun off from UAB research into middle infrared lasers was acquired by a Massachusetts firm and will do further work in the Birmingham area.
Also, the university recently received more than $23 million for research and action to eliminate disparities in health care for minorities in Alabama. In addition to its teaching and research activities, the university also runs the UAB hospital, a well-regarded health care facility.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The University of Alabama at Birmingham practices a selective admissions policy.
Students applying for the fall should submit applications no later than May 1. Students applying for the spring should submit applications no later than November 1. High school students who want to be considered for scholarships should apply no later than December of their senior year.
Students should have a full complement of academic courses in high school, including four years of English, three years each of math, science and social studies and three additional core courses and two years of a foreign language.
More than 80 percent of students who apply to the university are accepted.
Entry into certain programs, such as the college’s pre-med or medical school may have further requirements.
As of May, 2010, all students applying to the university must pay a $35 application fee.
Students applying to the University of Alabama at Birmingham are eligible for federal grants and student loans. There are also a number of grants and scholarships offered by the state of Alabama, the university and other organizations that students may be eligible for. Each year UAB awards $99 million in need-based financial aid for students.
For example, the university awards Presidential Scholarships of between $7,000 and full tuition for new students with a GPA of 3.0 and ACT scores of 33-36. Golden Excellence Scholarships of $6,000 are awarded to students with a 3.3 GPA and 28-32 ACT score.
New freshmen from out of state can win a Blazer Elite Scholarship of $10,000 if they have a 3.0 GPA and an ACT score of 28 to 36. The university also awards a number of scholarships tied to certain programs at the university, such as health sciences, physics, etc. The university’s office of financial aid also stands ready to help students find other grants and scholarships they may be eligible for.
Student Financial Aid Details
Located in south Birmingham, the UAB campus has Southern style with an urban flavor. The main campus takes up about 83 city blocks and seems to be constantly under construction and renovation.
At the center of campus life at UAB is the UAB Recreation Center. This 150,000 sq. ft. facility houses four basketball courts, aerobics studios, weight rooms, climbing wall, an indoor track, game room, a KidsZone and much more. The center was opened in 2006.
There are five student housing facilities on campus, which offer private rooms to many students. The campus has about 2,000 student apartments and suites.
UAB has more than 200 clubs and organizations on campus, including eclectic groups such as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has 16 Greek fraternities and sororities.
The student body is 65 percent white, but there is also a large African American presence on campus (27.1) percent. Other ethnic groups make up much smaller percentages of the student body. Sixty percent of students are women.
One excellent amenity that UAB provides for its students is the Campus Green. Divided between a north and south section the park is a wonderful green space for students to enjoy, located near several important parts of the campus, including Blazer Hall, the campus dining facility and the campus recreation center.
For students interested in checking out the nightlife, downtown Birmingham has many pubs and bars for students to enjoy. As a major city, Birmingham also plays host to many concerts and other athletic and cultural events. The Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil is a huge annual musical event aimed at raising funds for local charities draws about 30,000 people per year and usually draws big musical acts. The most recent event drew Cee Lo Green, Weezer and other top musical acts.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The University of Alabama at Birmingham does not have the long and storied football tradition that the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa does, but it has had some success in its athletic endeavors. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is an NCAA Division I school and is a member of Conference USA.
The university offers men’s baseball, basketball, football, golf, soccer, tennis. UAB offers women’s basketball, cross country, golf, rifle, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball.
Basketball is the crown jewel of UAB’s athletic program. The UAB basketball team has made 14 appearances in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1978, including three Sweet 16 and one Elite Eight appearances. The team has been in the Final Four twice. The women’s team is also strong, with two NCAA tournament appearances and four appearances in the WNIT.
The football team did not come into existence until the 1990s. Thus far its most notable accomplishment was a 2004 appearance in the Hawaii Bowl.
The university also has a highly regarded men’s soccer team, which has made a number of bowl appearances.
The university’s colors are forest green and white, with gold accents. UAB teams are referred to as the Blazers, and the team mascot is a dragon.
UAB and the University of Memphis have an annual Battle of the Bones football game that includes amateur BBQ contests, leading to the game being called the BBQ Bowl.
UAB also has a large statue of a dragon on campus, which has become the focal point of many student traditions.
Additional School Information
UAB is one of three autonomous parts of the University of Alabama System. The university gained this autonomy in 1969. UAB is run by a president, who reports to the chancellor of the University of Alabama System. UAB is the biggest employer in Alabama, providing jobs to more than 50,000.
The College Board College Handbook, 2010 . 47th ed. New York: College Board, 2009. Print.
McGrath, Anne. Ultimate college guide 2010 . 7th ed. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Inc., 2009. Print.
“Prospective Students (Apply).” UAB – Welcome – The University of Alabama at Birmingham. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2011. <http://main.uab.edu/Sites/apply/>.