About UC Merced

Kolligian Library photo

UC Merced opened Sept. 5, 2005, as the 10th campus in the University of California system and the first American research university of the 21st century. Situated near Yosemite National Park, the campus significantly expands access to the UC system for students throughout the state, with a special mission to increase college-going rates among students in the San Joaquin Valley. It also serves as a major base of advanced research, a model of sustainable design and construction, and a stimulus to economic growth and diversification throughout the region.

Current Schools

Planned Schools

  • School of Management
  • School of Medicine

UC Merced offers a growing list of majors, minors and graduate programs taught by more than 140 full-time faculty members, visiting professors and lecturers, who have come to us from some of the world's top-ranked universities.

Students at UC Merced

UC Merced has an active student body that is engaged in both the campus and surrounding communities.

UC Merced Students

UC Merced Students.

Our Students

As of fall 2013, UC Merced has more than 6,200 undergraduate and graduate students making up the Bobcat community.

They are some of the best and brightest students from around the country, and are integral to the university’s mission of education, research and public service.

Since 2005, our students have formed almost 200 clubs and organizations, written their own constitution and created a thriving governing body. They participate in research across the campus, serve internships at companies, nonprofits and in government, study abroad, contribute to the local community through outreach projects and pride themselves in having helped build the foundations of this campus.

In addition, our graduate and undergraduate students are conducting some of the most cutting-edge research of our time, including  stem cells, artificial intelligence and renewable energy.

A Focus on Research

Faculty Research at UC Merced

Chemist Jason Hein recycles the acetone used in his lab, a practice that is both cost-effective and environmentally sound.

Just like at other UC campuses, academic research is a critical part of UC Merced's mission. The process of discovery provides our students with a deeper understanding of the world and its cultural, social, natural and engineered systems, but more, it solves issues and challenges that are critical to the growth, health and overall wellbeing of the region, the state, nation and world.

Our researchers are conducting groundbreaking work in diabetes, cancer, bacterial diseases, antibiotic resistance, solar energy, climate change, water quality and availability, ecology, engineering, archaeology, cultures, history, political science, computer science, and much, much more.

Special research institutes established at the university include:

In addition, startup funding has been received for the:

UC Merced has also entered into collaborative research partnerships with the:

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland is leading the campus as it continues on the path to becoming a renowned research university.

UC Merced Leadership

In May 2011, the UC Board of Regents appointed Georgia College & State University President Dorothy Leland as UC Merced's chancellor. She took office July 1, 2011, following the retirement of Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang. He took office March 1, 2007, following the retirement of Founding Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, who died in 2009.

A Member of the UC System

Like all University of California campuses, UC Merced operates under the direction of the UC president and is governed by The Regents of the University of California, a 26-member board established under the California Constitution.

UC Merced is the first new UC campus built since 1965. It was authorized by the California Legislature in 1988 to address the higher-education needs of the state's fastest-growing region — the San Joaquin Valley, with a population of 6.5 million residents — and increase access to the UC system for the state's top achievers.

UC Merced’s presence in the Valley is helping address chronically low levels of educational attainment in the region.

Since the fall of 2004, the year before UC Merced opened, applications to UC campuses from Central Valley residents have increased 111 percent and admissions have risen 78 percent (as of September 2013).

For the 2013-14 academic year, freshman enrollment exceeded last year’s then-record class size by about 100 students.

Students hail primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area (30 percent), the greater Los Angeles area (30 percent) and the San Joaquin Valley (40 percent) and comprise the most diverse incoming class in the university’s history.

UC Merced leads the UC system in the percentage of students from underrepresented ethnic groups, low-income families and families whose parents did not attend college.

For more details of our campus’s demographics, visit our Fast Facts page.

A Strategic Investment

UC Merced strives to help improve the standard of education within the Valley through educational outreach centers in Bakersfield and Fresno. These centers offer:

  • Professional development programs for K-12 teachers and administrators
  • Interaction with students at each of the 144 Valley high schools
  • Educational opportunities for students who want to take summer classes

UC Merced also contributes to the economic growth of Central California. In the San Joaquin Valley, where unemployment and poverty rates substantially exceed California averages, campus construction has supported thousands of jobs, stimulating new business development and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy each year.

So far:

  • Since its inception in 2000, UC Merced has contributed about $1 billion to the San Joaquin Valley.
  • Research expenditures at the University of California, Merced, increased by more than 9 percent in the 2012-13 fiscal year, to a record $17.3 million.
  • Cumulative research expenditures since 2003 total more than $103.5 million.
  • The university is one of the largest employers in Merced County with more than 1,300 employees, including faculty and staff members.
  • The campus's economic contribution to the region and the state of California is nearing $2 billion since the beginning of operations in July 2000.
  • UC Merced's future medical school will increase access to health care for Valley residents and address the specific health problems commonly found here.
The Science & Engineering Building and Beginnings Sculpture

All of our buildings are constructed to meet and earn LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Green from the Ground Up

Sustainability is a hallmark of the UC Merced campus, and everyone here – faculty, staff and students – take it very seriously.

UC Merced is the only American university with every building on campus environmentally certified. As of summer 2013, we have:

  • One silver LEED certification
  • eight gold LEED certifications
  • two platinum LEED certifications
  • five platinum certifications pending

We are also pledged to a Triple Zero Commitment, an ambitious plan to consume zero net energy and produce zero landfill waste and zero net emissions on our campus by 2020. This means we will increase efficiency and renewable energy production, eliminate campus waste to landfills and prevent as many carbon emissions as we produce.

UC Merced many practices across campus enhance its sustainability. Other initiatives include:

  • A recyclable take-out dining system at the Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center that is projected to save the campus thousands of pounds of packaging each year;
  • Campus purchasing practices that promote the acquisition of items made from recycled materials and use minimal packaging;
  • A 1 megawatt solar-panel array that helps power the campus;
  • Campus water stations that allow people to refill water bottles, rather than buying new ones

Also a part of our green-campus goal: land conservation. Through a special collaboration with the Packard Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and the state of California, the campus set aside 25,000 acres of grassland habitat for permanent conservation, 6,500 acres of which comprises the new Vernal Pools-Grasslands Nature Reserve, open space adjacent to campus that will be used for research and community outreach, but never developed.

Gift from PG&E

PG&E has donated two Honda Civics, powered by natural gas, to UC Merced.

Philanthropic Support

Private support lies at the heart of our university's vital partnerships with the community. Our gracious donors have continued to show support for UC Merced's mission by contributing funds to fill the gap where public funding ends. UC Merced recorded $5.04 million in private gift and grant support in 2012-13.

This tremendous support ensures our university will continue research efforts that enhance the lives of Californians for years to come.