UC San Diego SearchMenu

How Does the College System Work?

Find out how UC San Diego's undergraduate college system works.

Geisel Sunset

UCSD’s college system is unique in the UC system – we’re proud of that, and we think you will be, too. The colleges provide their students with many of the advantages of a small liberal arts college plus the opportunities and resources of a large research university. The colleges are small communities within the university as a whole. Each one is home to a diverse group of students from all majors and backgrounds. Most students who enter UCSD as freshmen will live at their colleges for their first two years here.

How will the colleges benefit me?

Among their many advantages, the colleges:

  • Make it easy to make friends and feel connected to the university through shared residential, academic, and extracurricular experiences in your small college community.
  • Add academic breadth to your focused study in the major by offering a choice of general education programs distinctive to each college.
  • Provide you with ready access to college staff in Academic Advising, Student Affairs, and Residential Life. With staff working closely together, the colleges are an easy-to-access home base for problem-solving and the identification of needed resources.
  • Offer you comprehensive academic advising on the selection of major and minors, changes of major, general education and graduation requirements, four-year plans, education abroad, academic internships, academic support services, and other issues not covered by the specialized advising for majors offered by students’ major departments.
  • Make it possible for you to get more individualized attention from advisers and other support staff than in other large research universities.
  • Offer you more, and more diversified, opportunities for extra-curricular activities and leadership development than at other universities. Each college has its own student government, organizations, activities, and traditions that complement and enhance student life of the campus as a whole.

As a college student, how will I be part of UCSD?

As a UC San Diego student you will:

  • Take only your college’s core courses and writing program courses with students from your home college. You’ll take the great majority of your courses with UCSD’s world class professors together with students from all the colleges.
  • Take advantage of campus-wide facilities such as Geisel Library, the Price Center, the Cross Cultural Center, the Women’s Center, the LGBT Center, the Black Resource Center, Raza Resource Centro, the Veterans Resource Center, and our world-class sports and recreation facilities.
  • Utilize UCSD central student services such as the Student Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, Financial Aid, the Career Services Center, wellness programs, and other campus-wide programs such as Education Abroad and the Academic Internship Program.
  • Participate in campus-wide student activities such as the Associated Students (UCSD’s student government), intercollegiate athletics, intramural and club sports, and all-campus student organizations, service opportunities, and social activities sponsored by the campus Center for Student Involvement. Triton spirit is campus-wide!