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University of California, Merced

United States
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Institution type Public

About University of California, Merced

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.

Campus information

The campus is bounded by Lake Yosemite on one side, and two irrigation canals run through the campus. The campus master plan was developed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, its initial infrastructure by Arup, and its first buildings were designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Thomas Hacker and Associates, and EHDD Architecture. The library and central power plant have been classified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold structures in terms of their high energy efficiency and low environmental impact. The campus is located about seven miles (11 km) north of downtown Merced in the middle of a cattle ranch.

Merced is in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley and serves as the county’s commercial, entertainment, cultural and governmental hub. With a population of 80,000 people, it retains the charm of a small town yet offers amenities routinely found in larger cities.

Known as the “Gateway to Yosemite,” the city boasts a low cost of living and first-rate quality of life. Merced enjoys close proximity to Yosemite National Park and is a convenient two-hour drive from San Francisco and Sacramento. The city is surrounded by natural beauty that includes meandering streams, walking trails, abundant parks and an extensive bike path system. The scenic Lake Yosemite, which is adjacent to the campus, offers beautiful views and seasonal recreational activities that include fishing and sailing.

Merced’s emerging downtown area is home to a number of quaint boutiques, coffee houses, a cinemaplex, eateries, historic buildings, cultural centers and the beautifully restored Merced Theatre. The city hosts a number of parades, annual events and celebrations such as Shakespearefest and the Merced Art Hop. Also located downtown is the Merced Multicultural Arts Center — a modern, open three-story facility that provides space and support for arts education, training, world-class performances and tours.


Living on campus is more than just a place to eat and sleep. Students who live on campus are within walking distance to classes and resources such as the library, computer labs, the health center, bookstore and recreational and athletic facilities. On-campus living also provides students with numerous opportunities to meet new people and establish friendships that can last a lifetime.

Where you live as a university student directly impacts the quality of your educational experience, and national statistics show that students who live on campus do better academically.

Learn more about on-campus living through Housing and Residence Life, including detailed information about residential facilities, services and amenities and living options.

  • Valley Terraces
  • The Summits- Tenaya Hall
  • The Summits- Half Dome
  • The Summits- Cathedral Hall
  • Sierra Terraces- Tuolumne Hall
  • Sierra Terraces- Mariposa Hall


Courses available 10

Accounting & Finance 1 Applied, Pure Sciences 3 Computer Science, IT 1 Engineering 1 Humanities & Social Sciences 5


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