UCSD Majors

UCSD Majors – Introduction

The University of California – San Diego is ranked #34 on the U.S. News Best Colleges list. With over 160 UCSD majors to choose from, including some of the best college majors for undergraduates in the country, it’s no wonder that UCSD admissions receives thousands of applications each year. 

University of California San Diego majors are divided into eight academic schools, where students can explore their passions as they decide which college major is right for them. With over 140 UCSD majors to choose from, you are guaranteed to find something to match your interests

Trying to decide what to major in at UCSD? We’ve got you covered. In this guide to UC San Diego majors, we will explore how many majors at UCSD you have to choose from, including the most popular UC San Diego majors. We’ll also discuss which of the UC San Diego majors are the hardest and most competitive. Finally, we’ll discuss which ones make the list of best college majors. 

After reviewing UC San Diego majors, we’ll examine the list of UCSD minors available to students who want to pursue an area of study outside of their chosen major. Finally, we’ll consider how prestigious UC San Diego is based on statistics from UCSD admissions, UCSD enrollment, and the UCSD application. 

How many majors does UCSD have?

If you have already started your UCSD application, you might wonder how many University of California San Diego majors are offered on campus and how that will influence your choice of what to major in. There are over 160 undergraduate UC San Diego majors available to students. Among the UC San Diego majors, there are also specializations available based on which of the UCSD majors you choose to study.  

UCSD boasts a “distinctive and experimental approach” across all UCSD colleges and all UCSD majors and minors. At UCSD, your choice of college does not affect your choice of college major. In other words, you can choose what to major in regardless of which college you are in at UCSD.

ucsd majors

Each college has a unique educational philosophy and environment for students to choose from, including distinct residence facilities, faculty members, and general education requirements, without limiting students’ areas of academic study. This means that you have access to the entire UCSD college major list as you decide what to major in. 

However, there are some majors at UCSD that are harder to get into than others.  Next, we’ll dive into the best college majors at UCSD, the most popular UCSD majors, and which of the UCSD majors are the most competitive. 

What majors is UCSD known for? 

Because the college major list at UCSD is extensive, you might feel overwhelmed as you explore which of the UCSD college majors is right for you. Now that we know how many UCSD majors are offered on campus, let’s find out which college majors at UCSD are considered some of the best college majors available. 

According to Niche, the following are top three best college majors at UCSD:

1. Biology

Biology is a common choice of major at many schools, and UCSD is no exception. In fact, UCSD routinely tops the list of top-ten best schools to pursue a college major in biology. If you’re considering a pre-med track, you might choose to major in biology at UCSD before applying to medical school.

Photo by Nhia Moua on Unsplash

2. Cognitive Science

Cognitive science is also one of the top UCSD majors. If you choose to study cognitive science, you’ll gain a deep understanding of how the brain works and set yourself up for a career in psychology or a related field.

ucsd majors
Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

3. International Studies

International studies is another top UCSD major. Students who major in international studies often pursue careers in government or international relations.

Photo by Kaung Myat Min on Unsplash

The most popular college majors at UCSD also include: 

Computer ScienceEconomics
Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyAnatomy
International StudiesComputational and Applied Mathematics
Cognitive ScienceBiology
Political Science and GovernmentCommunications

As you review the UCSD college major list, you might notice that there are no pre-professional majors available, like pre-med or pre-law. Although these options often appear on lists of best college majors, they are not available at UCSD. If you are interested in pre-med or pre-law, you may declare a college major in any academic discipline. You can always fulfill pre-med requirements with a college major in a related field. 

The college major list above contains just a few of the college majors that UCSD is known for. For an extensive UCSD college major list, please visit their Departments and Majors page to learn more. 

UCSD majors: Which are the hardest and most competitive?

With so many University of California San Diego majors to explore, you might wonder which UCSD majors are the best college majors. You may also be curious about which are the hardest or most competitive college majors. 

Understanding which college majors are the most competitive could impact your choice of what to major in. As you research potential college majors, pay attention to any statistics you find regarding that major. These may include the number of students enrolled in a major or how selective a program is. 

Some UC San Diego majors are incredibly popular—so much so that there are conditions and criteria for selecting certain UC San Diego majors. The following University of California – San Diego majors are capped. A capped major is a college major that limits enrollment.

The capped UCSD majors for all students include: 

If you choose one of the capped UCSD majors on your UCSD application, you should also select an alternate college major. Since these UCSD majors limit their enrollment, it’s best to choose a non-capped college major as your backup, just in case. 

Keep this in mind as you review the UCSD college major list and determine which of the UC San Diego majors most interest you. Your major interest should factor in when you think about how to get into UCSD

What minors are offered at UCSD? 

Now that we know more about the college majors at UCSD, let’s look at UCSD minors. A minor refers to “a set of courses within a well-defined subject.” Your minor offers you to engage with academic programs beyond your chosen UCSD major.

There are over 100 UCSD minors available to undergraduate students. In order to add one of the UCSD minors to your degree program, you must complete a total of 28 units or classes, including at least 20 upper-division units. 

If you are an undergraduate student and want to declare one of the UCSD minors, you must follow these steps

Four Steps to Declaring a UCSD Minor

1. Make sure you understand the general university requirements for UCSD minors. 

Lower division classes can apply to both your UCSD majors and minors. So, it’s important to read and understand the university’s policy on minors. 

2. Check on specific requirements for the minor you’ve selected.

Once you have selected a minor, check in with your academic advisor to verify your college’s requirements. Some rules may affect your eligibility for declaring a minor, so it’s best to do your research early. 

3. Be aware of department and college approval requirements. 

To declare any of the UCSD minors, you must have department approval. Additionally, you may need college approval if you are not in good standing or are declaring a second minor. 

4. Complete an Undergraduate Declaration of Minor using the UCSD majors and minors tool.

If you plan to declare a minor, you must do so through the UCSD majors and minors tool. Once your request is reviewed, you will be notified if you received approval for that specific minor. 

Is UC San Diego prestigious?

With applications to UCSD admissions increasing each year, it’s clear that UC San Diego is considered one of the more prestigious universities in the nation. The number and quality of UCSD majors and minors contribute to UCSD’s reputation. 

The total UCSD enrollment is approximately 35,000 students. UC San Diego has an acceptance rate of 34%, making it a most selective university. At UCSD, the student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1, with 47% of its classes enrolling 20 students or fewer. 

ucsd majors

Many factors impact college enrollment, including college majors. UC San Diego falls within the Top 50 colleges and universities and often features on lists of best college majors. As UCSD admissions becomes increasingly competitive, it’s important to do your research on which UC San Diego majors interest you early. That way, you can complete your UCSD application well before the deadline. 

With these statistics in mind, deciding what to major in at UCSD can feel like a big decision. As you begin researching the UC San Diego majors available, take note of which college majors excite you the most. Then, use your college major list to compare UCSD majors. Look at any required courses, whether they are capped, and any major-specific benefits or opportunities. This can help you narrow down your options. 

For more information about UCSD admissions, UCSD enrollment, and UC San Diego majors, check out our UCSD guide

UCSD Majors – Final Thoughts 

With so many UCSD majors and minors to choose from, you’re sure to find an exciting and challenging program to pursue during your time on campus. As you explore the majors at UCSD, you might find you have no idea which majors to add to your own college major list, and that’s okay! Consider starting with the UCSD majors highlighted in this guide and see if any spark your interest.

As you explore college majors, focus on fit. It’s important that your future college major matches your passions, interests, and strengths. Otherwise, you might be bored or unhappy when it comes time to take classes within your college major. 

Choosing what to major in is exciting! Don’t let the process become stressful based on the extensive list of UCSD majors and minors available. Keep your goals and interests in mind as you decide which major is right for you.  

Are you wondering what to major in or have questions about how to choose a college major? CollegeAdvisor.com has the answers and advice you need to decide which college major is right for you. Our expert advisors will help guide you through the entire UCSD application process, from choosing your major to writing your supplemental essays. That way, you can feel confident submitting your final application. 

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This guide to UCSD majors was written by Claire Babbs, UT Austin. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates from top universities. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 576-0953.