The Best UC Schools Ranked

In 2023, California-bound students are both the luckiest and unluckiest in the world when it comes to higher education. The state’s University of California (UC) system boasts an unparalleled array of world-class public universities at a bargain price. However, the exceptional institutions and their affordable tuition have led to a surge in applicants. This guide aims to provide insights into the best UC schools, emphasizing that each offers a fantastic education and excellent postgraduate outcomes. Here’s a breakdown of the rankings and key data for each UC school.

UC School Rankings – 2023:

1) UCLA:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,423
  • Freshman Applicants: 149,813
  • Acceptance Rate: 8.6%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 4.21-4.33

Overview: UCLA stands as one of the most selective public universities globally, known for its diversity. With high rankings across various departments, UCLA alumni find success in companies like Disney, Google, and Amazon.

2) UC Berkeley:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,479
  • Freshman Applicants: 128,225
  • Acceptance Rate: 11.4%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 4.17-4.31
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Overview: UC Berkeley’s esteemed graduate schools contribute to its international reputation. Graduates often land positions in tech giants such as Google, Apple, and Facebook.

3) UC Irvine:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 28,662
  • Freshman Applicants: 119,209
  • Acceptance Rate: 21%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 4.08-4.29

Overview: UC Irvine excels in social sciences, psychology, business, and biology. The Samueli School of Engineering and the Bren School are highly regarded, with graduates finding opportunities at Boeing, Disney, and Google.

4) UC San Diego:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 33,096
  • Freshman Applicants: 131,245
  • Acceptance Rate: 23.7%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 4.12-4.30

Overview: UCSD leads in biology, social sciences, engineering, and computer science. Notable alumni populate major tech companies like Google, Qualcomm, and Apple.

5) UC Santa Barbara:

  • Freshman Applicants: 111,000
  • Acceptance Rate: 25.9%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 4.15-4.31

Overview: UC Santa Barbara boasts strong programs in communication, computer science, engineering, physics, and the performing arts. Graduates often find employment at Google, IBM, and Adobe.

6) UC Davis:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 23,459
  • Freshman Applicants: 94,759
  • Acceptance Rate: 37.5%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 4.06-4.30
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Overview: UC Davis excels in biology, social sciences, psychology, and engineering. Graduates find success in companies like Genentech, Google, and Microsoft.

7) UC Santa Cruz:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,502
  • Freshman Applicants: 66,034
  • Acceptance Rate: 47.1%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 3.94-4.25

Overview: UC Santa Cruz’s popular majors include biology, social sciences, computer and information sciences, and psychology. Proximity to Silicon Valley opens doors to top companies like Google and Apple.

8) UC Riverside:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 22,911
  • Freshman Applicants: 54,687
  • Acceptance Rate: 68.1%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 3.81-4.20

Overview: UC Riverside stands out for its diversity, offering 80+ majors. Alumni work for major corporations like Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, and Microsoft.

9) UC Merced:

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,343
  • Freshman Applicants: 29,914
  • Acceptance Rate: 90.4%
  • Middle-50% GPA: 3.50-4.08

Overview: UC Merced, though a newer addition, is gaining popularity. With a high acceptance rate and strong programs, it attracts a diverse and talented student body.


While rankings provide a useful starting point, it’s essential to consider individual academic and career goals when choosing a UC campus. All nine UC schools offer outstanding education, setting students up for a low-debt future. For more detailed admissions information, visit the respective university guides. Remember, these rankings are tools to navigate the admissions landscape, not strict guidelines for your academic journey.

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