University of California San Diego

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Updated August 6, 2020

The University of California, San Diego is a public university that is part of the University of California School System. Plans for the college came about in the 1950s, but it wasn't until 1960 that the school opened its doors. The University of California developed the university as a research institute that would offer more opportunities for students interested in research than any other college within its system. Though it still emphasizes the importance of research today, students can enroll in less intensive programs that focus more on classroom learning than independent research. Also known as UCSD and UC San Diego, it now has more than 200 degree programs available on its campus, which includes both graduate and undergraduate programs.

While UC San Diego started out with just a few hundred students, its enrollment increased to more than 24,000 undergraduate students and more than 6,000 graduate students in recent years. One reason for its sudden population increase is the recognition that it received from major organizations and publications. U.S. News and World Report included UC San Diego on its rankings of the top colleges in the country, the top public colleges in the country and the top schools in the world. UC San Diego is also home to a large number of professors who won Pulitzer Prizes and other major awards before working for the university or after becoming teachers.

University of California San Diego Accreditation Details

Every student applying for college should care about accreditation because it determines whether or not they will receive any financial assistance from the federal government. The University of California, San Diego has two different types of accreditation that students should learn about before enrolling. The university has institutional/regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The WASC actually performs regular inspections of the university to ensure that it meets all the standards to keep its accreditation. Students may also want to look into program accreditation and see if the program they want to enter has accreditation. This type of accreditation comes from several organizations, including:

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

University of California San Diego Application Requirements

UC San Diego introduced a new online application procedure that makes it easier for students to apply to its graduate school. All interested students must create an account with the site and list a valid email address. The university will mail a confirmation code to the address on file. Students will then enter that code on the website and begin the application process. When filling out the application, the student must list the program that he or she wants to enter. Though the admissions office looks over applications first, each department has the final say as to whether an applicant will receive an acceptance letter. Those admitted to the program will find out through the online system.

All students applying must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and an official transcript that shows the GPA. The transcript should also prove that the applicant received a degree from an accredited university. Many of the graduate programs at UC San Diego also require that students take one of the standardized tests and submit letters of recommendation. They generally need to mail in at least three letters of recommendation and request that the testing board mail their official scores from the General Records Examination or a similar test to the university.

Tuition and Fees

Before applying to graduate school, students often spend some time looking at how much the university charges. UC San Diego charges tuition rates of around $3,700 each semester. Those who take three full semesters will pay around $16,400 each year, which includes tuition and any standard fees. Those entering one of the grad programs coming from outside of California will pay tuition rates of around $8,700 a semester or around $31,500 a year. Fees charged by the university give students the right to use athletic facilities, research libraries and other services on campus. The total amount charged includes a fee for health insurance, but students who already have health insurance can save around $1,100 every semester.

UC San Diego offers a wide range of financial aid packages and assistance for those who complete and submit the FAFSA before starting classes. Some of the programs and departments on campus offer jobs as assistants, trainees and fellowships. Many positions cover the total cost of tuition and fees, and some positions pay students throughout the year and give them stipends for their books and supplies. Graduate students also qualify for unsubsidized student loans, and those who enroll on a part time basis may qualify for alternative loans as well.

Graduate Psychology Program

The Department of Psychology is one of the oldest departments at UC San Diego. Originally founded in 1965, the department introduced a graduate program to help students learn more after completing a bachelor's degree and gain some practical experience in the field before searching for a job. Though the graduate program is general in nature, there are several key areas that students can choose to concentrate their studies in once they enroll. Those areas include cognitive psychology, neuroscience, social psychology, developmental psychology and sensation and perception. The university is home to the Center for Brain and Cognition, which allows students to gain some practical research experience studying the way the brain reacts to different situations.

UC San Diego also has a PhD psychology program available to students who have both a bachelor's and a master's degree. It is also available as a joint doctoral program with the Psychiatry Department on campus. Graduates earn a medical degree and can continue the steps necessary for working as a licensed psychiatrist. Many of the courses that students in the PhD program take deal with experimental psychology. The university designed the program to allow students to complete their studies in around five years. Students entering this program at the University of California, San Diego will find that the university offers them financial aid packages for each of the five years they remain enrolled.

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