Why Choose UCI
The University of California, Irvine offers more than 100 degree programs for master’s and doctoral students, in a setting that combines the strengths of a major research university with the bounty of an incomparable Southern California location. With more than 27,000 students (including about 5,000 graduate students), 1,100 faculty and 9,200 staff, we are among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system.
UC Irvine ranks first in the U.S. and fourth in the world among the 100 best universities less than 50 years old, according to an analysis by Times Higher Education. Founded in 1965, UCI also is the youngest university to gain membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities.
UCI is committed to the discovery and dissemination of state-of-the-art education through research, teaching and creative expression in world-class programs that celebrate the connections between different disciplines. Students come to UCI to make a meaningful difference in the world and to engage in interdisciplinary work that will help them become tomorrow’s academic, business and political leaders.
Located 40 miles south of Los Angeles and 90 miles north of San Diego, the campus is minutes from the ocean and just a short drive away from popular mountain resorts. With Orange County’s mild climate, it’s possible in the winter and spring months to play in the snow in the morning and swim with the dolphins in the afternoon. Featuring more than 40,000 acres of open space open to hikers, joggers and bikers alike, Irvine has been repeatedly ranked as the nation’s safest large city and has been named by Money magazine as one of the Top 25 cities to live in the United States. The city of Irvine has been ranked the safest city in the country for the eighth consecutive year.
UC Irvine’s strategic plan attests to the campus’ commitment to graduate education: “UCI will attract the best graduate students in the U.S. and the world through programs that offer the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research under the direction of renowned faculty. The university will provide students with state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and access to material and resources necessary for their work, and it will present opportunities for extensive interdisciplinary research outside their own departments. For those students who live and study on campus, housing and work spaces will create a quality of life unequaled even at other top-ranked universities.”
UCI has been a site of innovation since its founding in 1965. Both the campus and the City of Irvine provide opportunities for graduate students to test new ideas in community and industry settings. As the youngest campus elected to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, UCI has grown dramatically from 119 faculty in 1965 to 1,078 in 2010, and is projected to expand further in the years to come.
UCI’s highly distinguished faculty and graduate students have made their marks in many fields. Chancellor's Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior and Director of the Institute for Brain Aging and Dimentia Frank LaFerla investigates the molecular basis of degenerative brain and skeletal muscle diseases. Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus’ research has demonstrated that human memory can be more malleable than once believed, which has both theoretical and practical implications. Novelist and theorist Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s work in post-colonial literature has received global acclaim. To learn more about our stories of innovation, see the Feature Stories posted by our University Communications office.
UCI traces its roots to the late 1950s, when the University of California began planning for a new campus to meet the needs of Southern California's growing population. Orange County still contained vast open spaces, particularly on the Irvine Ranch, which gave the University a variety of options for locating a campus. In September 1960, The Irvine Company transferred title for 1,000 acres to the University of California. Due to a charter in the Company's policy which stated that its real property could not be donated to a public entity, a "friendly condemnation" of the property was agreed upon. As a result, the University paid The Irvine Company $1 for the 1,000 acres. See our UCI Story page for a look at UC Irvine’s most memorable milestones.