UCLA is like a city within a city, drawing more than 60,000 people daily to its 419-
acre campus, nestled in the hills of west Los Angeles five miles from the Pacific Ocean.
The “metropolis” of UCLA includes some ten libraries, two museums and an art gallery,
three gardens, an elementary school, day-care facilities, residential complexes and buildings
that house nearly 7,000 people, several theaters and performing arts auditoriums, stores,
restaurants, gyms, a basketball arena, and a hospital. Additionally, the campus has its own police department, a chiller/cogeneration plant that assures the campus of low-cost power, hot
water, and efficient cooling, its own postal system, a fleet of buses, and several newspapers.
I love the view from the top of Janss Steps. Looking west, you can see
the residence halls rising above the green athletics field and Drake Stadium. In
the distance are the Santa Monica Mountains. Looking east, you face the heart
of campus, where Royce Hall and Powell Library, the campus’ oldest and most
famous buildings, stand majestically. Between them is a beautiful quad area
and a brick fountain. Just breathtaking!
In fact, UCLA and Los Angeles have nurtured one another through the years, ever
since the precursor to UCLA, a two-year teaching college, was established in the little
pueblo town of Los Angeles in the 1880s. As Los Angeles grew, so did UCLA. Founded in
1919, the university moved to its current Westwood home in 1929.
From then on, both the school and the city enjoyed phenomenal growth and development.
Today, Los Angeles has the second largest population in the United States, and
UCLA educated 37,000 students and is the most popular university in the United States
In just over eighty years, the university has earned a worldwide reputation for the
excellence of its programs and the achievements of its students and faculty. It has distinguished
itself as the only campus among the nation’s top ten research universities that was
established in the twentieth century.
UCLA is a large and complex institution devoted to undergraduate and graduate
scholarship, research, and public service. Known for academic excellence, many of its
programs are rated among the best in the nation, some among the best in the world.
For more information, please visit www.ucla.edu.
UCLA really is the best of all worlds. Its prime location in metropolitan Los Angeles
near the Pacific Ocean, Hollywood, and Los Angeles International Airport makes it an international
gateway for culture and entertainment. The climate here is mild and pleasant all
year. UCLA itself, as one of the finest research universities in the world, draws top scholars
and scientists from around the globe, prime research dollars, worldwide attention for its
cutting-edge research, and a reputation for all-around excellence. Many of its academic
programs are ranked in the top ten nationally. Its medical center has been named the best
hospital in the western United States for the thirteenth straight year. It is a leader in new
technology. UCLA is one of the top athletics schools. It is known for the diversity and quality
of its student body.
And UCLA’s reach can be felt all over the city, nation, and world, as the campus and
its people outreach to those in need, from poverty-stricken inner-city Los Angeles families
to war refugees. Both UCLA Extension, which is the largest urban-based continuing education
program in the United States, and the Medical Center have several satellite sites to
serve those all over the city. Professors conduct research in all parts of the world, and their
work—whether it’s laying the groundwork for the Internet or finding a cure for AIDS—
Not only that, but UCLA is, from anyone’s perspective, a beautiful campus. The handsome
red brick and terra-cotta Romanesque buildings at the center of campus evoke
distinction and refinement, while some of the newer buildings shout innovation and
creativity, and the gorgeous landscaping, striking architecture, and stunning views lend
an inherent harmony to the entire campus.
No wonder UCLA is the most sought-after school in the nation!
As with anything, academic life at UCLA is all about balance. It’s about choosing a
balanced class load, balancing class and work schedules, and balancing schoolwork and
It’s very easy, especially with new students, to lose that balance—for an active social
life (i.e., partying) to leave no room for studying—or, at the other extreme, to become too
overwhelmed with schoolwork to enjoy the recreational and extracurricular activities that
are so important to a well-rounded college experience.
It often takes a while for students to find the groove that works for them—the best
times to take classes, the best ways to study, how to approach test-taking, how to get away with
the minimum amount of work—but trying to find that balance early on can be a real boost.
Orientation and academic counselors are available to help students plan class
schedules and give advice about ways to lead a balanced college life. The campus also offers
some academic skills and support workshops that can help as well.
Unlike most schools, UCLA operates on a three-quarter, not a two-semester, system. This
means more classes overall and less time per class, as instruction lasts only ten weeks
a quarter plus one week for finals.
Students generally take three to four classes per quarter. Most lower-division
classes earn five units each; undergraduates need a minimum of 180 units to graduate. Class
time averages four hours a week per course. Grades are based on a four-point, letter-grade scale.
Students will take a combination of upper-division and lower-division coursework.
Lower-division courses tend to be broad, introductory courses taken by first- and second-year
students to satisfy general education requirements or major prerequisites. These are often large lectures with a smaller discussion section. Upper-division classes are more focused classes that tend to be taken usually during the junior and senior years of school by those
majoring in the department.
The majority of UCLA’s 25,300 undergraduates choose majors from departments in the
College of Letters and Science, which is the intellectual core of the campus with thirty-eight
academic departments and thirty-seven specialized programs offering 103 majors.
Additionally the campus has eleven professional schools, four of which grant undergraduate
degrees: the arts and architecture, engineering, nursing, and theater, film, and television.
The members of the faculty at UCLA are some of the most distinguished in the world;
among them are Nobel Laureates, Guggenheim fellows, Fulbright scholars, and members of
the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Students will find them to be very knowledgeable and passionate about their subject
matter, and most take a genuine interest in their students. The discussion sections and
some seminar classes are usually led by graduate student teaching assistants.
Class grades are usually determined by some combination of midterms, finals,
quizzes, paper, research or other projects, homework assignments, and participation.
Students must declare a major by their junior level of school. The average time to
graduation is four years and a quarter.
North and South Campuses
There exists at UCLA a healthy rivalry between its liberal arts and its science majors. An
invisible line separates the north campus from the south campus, which indicates not
just a physical distinction but an academic one as well: The north campus houses the arts,
theater, film and television, the humanities, and the social sciences, while engineering, the
medical complex, and the life and physical sciences call the south campus home.
General Education Clusters
Students are required to take, usually during the first couple of years of study, a set of
general education (GE) courses intended to introduce them to the richness and diversity
of the various academic departments and broaden their intellectual perspective. Taking GE
courses is also a way for students in search of a major to explore different academic areas.
UCLA recently revamped its general education requirements by reducing the number
of required courses to focus on writing, discussion, and broad theory in three “foundation”
themes: arts and humanities, society and culture, and scientific inquiry.
Entering freshmen can gain invaluable academic experience by taking a Freshman
Cluster course. Each cluster course spans three quarters and is team-taught by faculty members from various disciplines across campus. Each course focuses on a common theme,
such as the global environment, and presents students with an interdisciplinary perspective
for approaching certain problems. Freshmen get priority in the new Fiat Lux Program
which provides seminar courses for small groups of students (15) with UCLA’s top faculty in a
broad range of subjects.
Taking a cluster course is also a good way for incoming students to meet other freshmen
and develop a sense of academic connectedness during the first year, get introduced
to a variety of disciplines, and form relationships with faculty early on, as well as sharpen
writing, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and information literacy skills that they
need to excel at UCLA.
UCLA is devoted to providing interested undergraduates with opportunities to conduct
research, either alongside faculty or on their own projects. Several renowned programs
support undergrads in independent research or partner students with faculty mentors in valuable
research training and experience for advanced work and preparation for graduate school.
The Undergraduate Research Centers, which support scholarly, critical, and creative
undergraduate research in the college, provide individual counseling, administer stipends
and scholarships, sponsor the undergraduate research journals, and organize campuswide
undergraduate research events, among other roles.
Additionally, students can engage in research for academic credit by enrolling in
classes with a research component. This can include classes where a research assignment
or paper is part of the coursework; special classes or programs within a department with a
focus on research; or the departmental honors program, which awards honors to students
who complete two quarters of individual research culminating in a senior thesis.
Many students also find jobs in labs or as assistants to professors, which is also a
great way to gain exposure to research.
Research has provided me with a very rewarding way to not only learn
about science, but also contribute to its body of knowledge. Most importantly, it
has fostered my independence. From presenting work at professional conferences
to the writing of papers and abstracts, I was forced to do many things on my own
which were quite different from my classroom work.
Other Educational Opportunities
For those with personal or professional interests outside of Los Angeles, or a sense of
wanderlust, there are several ways for students to combine education with travel.
The most obvious choice is to spend a year abroad. The UC system’s Education
Abroad Program (EAP) offers study opportunities at more than one hundred universities in
thrity-six countries. Students continue to be registered at UCLA and receive university
units, grades, and financial aid.
If the year-long program is too much of a commitment, EAP also has one-term programs
and summer programs in a variety of countries. UCLA Summer Sessions also offers
summer programs abroad. In these programs, UCLA faculty members teach UCLA courses
in a foreign city that is relevant to the subject matter.
The Center for American Politics and Public Policy, which sponsors the Quarter in
Washington, D.C. Program, and the EXPO Internship and Study Abroad Services are two
other sources for national and international study opportunities. The Center for Community
creates opportunities for students to enhance their studies with work in the community or government
Most Popular Fields of Study
If you decide to apply to UCLA, you’re in good company: No other university in the
nation receives as many applications for freshman admission as UCLA, making it the country’s
most popular school among applicant four years running with more than 50,000 applications
received for a recent freshman class. Of those applicants, UCLA admitted 11,963 and enrolled 4,564. Because of the sheer number of students hoping to be admitted to
UCLA, getting in has, predictably, become extremely competitive.
Grades and Test Scores
Here’s a sense of what it takes in terms of grades and test scores: The overall grade point
average of those students admitted for the same freshman class, including extra
weight given to honors and advanced placement courses, was 4.23. The raw grade point
average, without calculating extra points for honors and AP courses, was 3.77. The median
SAT I score of admitted students was 1,322. And admitted students took an average of 18.2
honors and advanced placement courses.
Academic Performance and Personal Achievement
While strong academic performance is exceedingly important and at least half the entering
class is selected solely on academic criteria, UCLA does admit some students on a combination
of academic performance and personal achievement. Personal achievement includes
leadership and initiative in school or community organizations, special talents, ethnic/cultural
awareness, and overcoming general life challenges particular to the student’s environment, personal/
family situation, social or economic difficulties, or lack of educational opportunities.
The vast majority of Bruins come from California, though students hail from all over
the nation and world. In fact, UCLA is considered one of the most racially, ethnically, and
culturally diverse universities in the country and, as such, is especially committed to
recruiting top underrepresented high school students.
In addition to requiring the SAT or ACT standardized tests and two SAT Subject Tests—
in two different subject areas—UCLA also asks applicants to submit a personal essay. No
topic is specified for the essay; its purpose is to give admissions officers a better, more personalized
feel for the applicants since UCLA does not conduct interviews as part of the
admissions process. The personal statement also gives applicants a chance to provide information
about themselves complementary to the rest of the application.
The application filing period for freshmen applying for fall admission of the following year
is November 1–30. Application forms are available from California high school and community
college counseling offices and at University of California campuses. Prospective
students may also print an application or enroll on-line at http://www.ucop.edu/pathways, the University of California’s comprehensive admissions web site. One application can be used to
apply for any of the University of California’s eight campuses that offer undergraduate instruction.
The application cost for each school is $40. Notification of admission is sent out in March.
Another, and somewhat less cutthroat, way to get into UCLA is by transferring from a
community college. A lot of partnership programs are in place between UCLA and
California community colleges that help facilitate the transfer process.
UCLA is consistently ranked one of the top ten universities in the nation in surveys
of academic excellence and is considered—at under $4,225 a year (for in-state students)
in a recent year—a real bargain among the most competitive colleges. However, students—
and their families—must still come up with the money as well as cough up an additional
several thousand for books and living expenses. This is where financial aid comes in.
More than fifty percent of UCLA students receive some sort of financial aid; the average
annual award amount is $8,000. Many also work part time.
Federal, state, and university funds provide four types of aid: scholarships based on
grades and other achievements; need-based grants; loans that must be paid back after
graduating; and work-study money, which is need-based and earned through part-time
Entering undergraduates can apply for many state and federal scholarships in the
scholarship section of their University of California application. Between January 1 and
March 2, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to
qualify for other forms of financial aid.
FAFSA applications are then evaluated for financial need, which is calculated by subtracting
what students and their families can contribute from the estimated cost of education.
The expected contribution amount takes into account the student’s and parents’ total
income and assets (excluding home equity), savings, taxes, mandatory living expenses, parents’
ages and need for retirement income, number of children and other dependents in the
family household, family members in college, and certain unusual financial circumstances.
The university then creates an awards package
using several funding sources to cover the balance.
Aid packages contain the maximum grant and university
scholarship amount for which a student qualifies.
Funds are generally distributed evenly over fall, winter,
and spring quarter. In most cases, students must
maintain at least half-time enrollment to receive aid.
Additionally, there are numerous opportunities
for private scholarship, and the financial aid office
and other resources can help match students with
scholarships. UCLA and Westwood also offer plenty of
opportunities for student employment for those who
choose to work to help pay for school.
Student Financial Aid Details
UCLA is one of the most populated campuses nationwide, with several times the
number of students as at a small, liberal arts college, so for a new student, being just one
of so many faces in the crowd can be intimidating. But who’s got the time to feel out of place
or lonely when there are so many different ways to meet people and get involved?
Granted, it’s not always easy to meet other students in a 200-person lecture, so the
key to a large social circle at UCLA is really to break the campus down to its component
parts. Again, think of the campus as a large city, and go out and find a sense of community in
smaller-group situations, whether it’s through involvement in a community service group,
participation in recreation class, or working on the student newspaper. Small group settings
can be found in most classes. More than half of all classes have twenty-five students or less.
The great thing is that you’ll make friends across the campus, and through those people
meet more and more people. Ninety percent of freshmen live on campus, and the vast
majority of all undergrads live within a half-mile of UCLA.
So it really doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone, you soon will. Just have fun
doing the things that interest you—UCLA and Los Angeles certainly aren’t lacking for
activities, just read on!—and before you know it, you’ll be making friends and leading an
active social life.
Dorm and Apartment Life
The best way to feel a part of the college social community is to live on or near campus.
The majority of the noncommuting student population lives either in residence halls,
suites, and complexes, which are situated at the northwest part of campus, or in Westwood
apartments located in a pocket southwest of the campus.
For freshmen, social life tends to revolve around the dorms. At UCLA, about ninetythree
percent of incoming freshmen live on campus, so it’s really the best way to meet
others during the first year. Students will have close contact with their roommates and
those on their floor, and will tend to make many friends—some lifelong—from this group.
Students also have the option of choosing a “theme” floor, in which all those on the
floor share a similar interest, such as the great outdoors, the arts, or health and fitness. All
residence halls and complexes are coed except for designated single-sex theme floors.
UCLA’s Office of Residential Life offers a variety of academic and social programs for
residents, while formal and informal gatherings, outings, parties, and other activities are
always taking place, as well.
Looking back at my freshman year in the dorms brings back many fond
memories. There was the time when eight or nine of us packed in a pickup truck
to go to the USC football game. I remember my friends singing karaoke on my
stereo to the Grease soundtrack. I was so happy when some twenty people piled
into my dorm room at midnight and sang “Happy Birthday” to me when I
turned eighteen. I remember us ordering Thai food when late-night hunger
struck. I remember us throwing water balloons out our sixth-story window at
unfortunate passersby. I’ll never forget creating gross concoctions with our leftover
foods and daring each other to eat them. And I’ll always remember a gaggle
of us girls having long, serious talks, giving each other makeovers, and getting
ready to hit the town.
While apartment life is less social and structured than living in the dorms, many students
by their second or third year have their groups of friends, have found their interests
and niches, and feel the need to be more independent. Most often, four students share a
two-bedroom apartment, and social life tends to revolve around roommates and friends,
hanging out at the apartment, or going out to parties or Westwood.
Parties and Nightlife
The apartments are the setting for a lot of the parties students attend. Usually several
apartment parties take place each Friday and Saturday night, and the students who
hold them often make them open to anyone who wants to come.
Fraternity houses usually hold parties every Thursday night for members and invited
and female guests. Each house also has one or two big theme parties a year that are open
to most students. Fraternities and sororities also often have private parties, exchanges, and
other activities for their members.
By the time the students who used to frequent parties reach the age of twenty-one,
they can often be found hanging out at Westwood bars and restaurants, where the big student
nights tend to be Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The students who have cars and find that Westwood has grown too small for them
often explore the nightlife offered by Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Manhattan and Hermosa
Beach hotspots. UCLA is a designated “transportation hub” for three major municipal bus
services. The campus is served by hundreds of bus stops each day.
Students can also often be found catching a new movie being shown at one of
Westwood’s numerous theaters or hanging out at restaurants and coffeehouses in Westwood.
With more than 850 campus clubs and organizations, from student government to
sports clubs, cultural organizations to fraternities and sororities, one would be hardpressed
not to find a group to join. But if so, then with a minimum of three people, students
can start and register their own campus group.
Here is just a sampling of the variety of campus groups and programs available to students.
- Aspiring writers, journalists, photographers, and designers may find invaluable experience
working on the student paper, the Daily Bruin, which is one of the largest daily
newspapers in Los Angeles.
- The talented and the spirited might find a spot with the UCLA Marching Band or on the
Spirit Squad as a cheerleader or yell leader.
- The Undergraduate Students Association Council has six elected offices (president,
internal vice president, external vice president, three general representatives) and
seven student commissions (Academic Affairs, Campus Events, Community Service,
Cultural Affairs, Facilities, Financial Supports, and Student Welfare). How about running
for office or joining the staff of an elected student official?
- The Community Service Commission serves Los Angeles through more than twenty
programs to help disenfranchised groups such as juvenile inmates, the homeless, the mentally and physically disabled, the impoverished, and the abused. More than 2,500
students offer their services on a volunteer basis. Numerous other opportunities for
volunteer work and community service exist across campus.
- Help bring entertainment and cultural programming to campus by joining the Campus
Events Commission or the Cultural Affairs Commission. Campus Events is responsible for
bringing speakers such as Bill Gates, David Letterman, Whoopie Goldberg, Jesse Jackson,
and Matt Groening to campus, as well as bands such as Rage Against the Marchine, Green
Day, 10,000 Maniacs, and No Doubt for concerts. Cultural Affairs sponsors WorldFest, a celebration
of campus diversity, and the annual Memorial Day weekend Jazz/Reggae Festival.
- UCLA has an active Greek system. More than forty organizations, many with their own
houses, provide members with multiple opportunities for social and academic support,
leadership development, community service, and networking. At various times during the
year, but particularly during the fall and spring, the various houses launch a series of
“rush” events to recruit new members. About ten percent of the student population takes
part in Greek life.
Feeding the homeless through Hunger Project was one of my greatest
memories of UCLA. I feel like I made a true contribution to society. I took action
in a cause that I truly believed in. Being at UCLA opened that door of opportunity
for me and motivated me to create change.
For those who enjoy playing sports as much as watching them, enter UCLA Recreation.
The comprehensive recreation center includes facilities such as a weight room, tennis
and racquetball courts, swimming pools, and a rock-climbing wall; programs such as martial
arts, tennis, dancing, Tae-Bo and yoga classes; outdoor adventure trips; sailing, kayaking,
and surfing lessons through the UCLA Marina Aquatic Center; private lessons; and refereed
intramural sports competitions. Working out at the gym, taking some of the classes, or going
on a trip are great ways to get in shape, let out some of that stress, and meet other students.
It can also be a way to try new sports or discover one that can last a lifetime.
There are also plenty of opportunities at UCLA Recreation for student employment
or involvement, from umpires for the IM tournaments to counselors for Bruin Kids summer
camp; from lifeguards to class instructors and trip leaders. In most cases, the recreation
center provides training for these positions.
Enrolled students do not have to pay anything extra for use of the facilities. A pass
to take the drop-in fitness classes costs $45 a year. Some classes require a small fee. Classes
at the marina and outdoor trips tend to be somewhat steeper, but still a bargain.
For complete information, go to www.recreation.ucla.edu.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
Sports fans rejoice! With more national championships
in men’s and women’s sports than any other
university, UCLA is unsurpassed in the world of college
athletics. When one talks about UCLA sports, one talks
about winning championships, breaking records, and
creating legends. UCLA has under its belt a total of
107 national championships, among them eighty-six
NCAA team titles, the highest in the nation. Legendary
coach John Wooden made UCLA a basketball institution when he led UCLA to a record-setting eighty-eight straight wins and ten national titles in
UCLA has also been a consistent powerhouse in the Olympic Games. At the 2000
Sydney games, fifty-eight Bruins—alumni and current and incoming students—competed
in fifteen sports, the most of any university. UCLA also ranked number one among all
universities in gold medals (eight), overall medals (eighteen), number of different gold
medalists (eight), and number of different medalists (seventeen). In fact, UCLA students
and graduates have won so many gold medals that, as a group, they’ve consistently made
the top ten on a country-by-country ranking. In a tally of gold medals, UCLA was the third
most-decorated “country” in the 1984 Los Angeles games, the fourth in 1988 in Seoul, the
ninth in 1992 in Barcelona, and the seventh in 1996 in Atlanta.
What does all this mean for UCLA students and Bruins sports fans? Come football season
each fall, it means treks to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the nation’s most famous college
football stadium and home to UCLA’s football team, for tailgating and barbecuing, exciting
sports action, and suffusing feelings of school spirit and pride—just take a look at the alumni
families in full Bruin regalia and you’ll understand. The annual UCLA vs. USC crosstown rivalry
game is probably the most anticipated single annual sporting event. It’s highlighted by “Beat
USC” week activities, including a huge pep rally and bonfire two nights before the game.
I remember when UCLA’s basketball team won the national championships
in 1995. It was the most amazing, unforgettable feeling. My friends and
I watched it on television and after the victory, we all walked into Westwood,
where it seemed as though the whole school had gathered. So there we were,
hundreds and thousands of proud and joyous Bruins celebrating, yelling,
screaming, cheering, laughing, and hugging. It was my proudest Bruin memory
Basketball season induces similar bouts of Bruin fanaticism. The most diehard students
regularly camp out overnight in front of the ticket office to get the best student seats
in the house—arena level at Pauley Pavilion. At the games you’ll find the atmosphere and
the clapping, cheering, and chanting traditions infectious. Don’t worry if you can’t watch
the games live: There is a good chance that a group of Bruins will be yelling and cheering,
crowded in front of a television at someone’s apartment or at a bar, especially during “March Madness.” As the name would suggest, college basketball fans across the nation get
a little insane for about two weeks every year during the NCAA basketball tournament, in
which UCLA is a regular contender.
Those whose idea of sports enjoyment runs more toward the likes of volleyball, tennis,
baseball, gymnastics, water polo, and track and field will still find plenty to cheer about at
UCLA, which is also a national leader in those sports. Additionally, UCLA, on occasion, hosts
major sporting events in its arenas. For example, the Mercedes-Benz Tennis Cup, which draws
the world’s top male tennis players, is held annually at UCLA’s Los Angeles Tennis Center.
For more information, visit www.uclabruins.com.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball
- Troy Aikman, football
- Arthur Ashe, tennis
- Jimmy Connors, tennis
- Gail Devers, track
- Florence Griffith Joyner, track
- Eric Karros, baseball
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee, track
- Karch Kiraly, volleyball
- Reggie Miller, basketball
- Jackie Robinson, baseball
- Bill Walton, basketball
UCLA graduates receive an education that prepares
them for careers in almost any field, to be leaders,
newsmakers, decision makers, policy makers, entrepreneurs. Alumni have found jobs in all
fields, whether it’s in entertainment, sports, the corporate world, politics, or wherever they
choose to be.
Some students get recruited or find jobs before graduating. Others find that the Career
Center and Alumni Association provide a lot of career planning and networking advice and
- Tom Bradley, Former Mayor, Los Angeles
- Lloyd Bridges, Actor
- Ralph J. Bunche, 1950 Nobel Peace
- Carol Burnett, Actress-Comedienne
- Benjamin Cayetano, Governor, Hawaii
- Francis Ford Coppola, Screenwriter,
Director, and Producer
- R. Walter Cunningham, NASA Astronaut
- James Dean, Actor
- Agnes de Mille, Choreographer
- Mike Medavoy, Chairman, Phoenix
- Jim Morrison, Musician
- Michael Ovitz, President, The Walt
- Rob Reiner, Actor/Director
- Tim Robbins, Actor/Director
- Harold M. Williams, President and
CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust
- John Williams, Composer and Conductor