Yes, there are 7 colleges at UCSD! The idea behind this was to provide a college experience centered around smaller groups of students as compared to being in a large university (which UCSD is!). The concept was modeled along the lines of colleges at Oxford and Cambridge where students have their own residence halls, eating arrangements, general education requirements and educational philosophy. Some students describe it to be akin to Houses of Hogwarts.
The 7 colleges at UCSD are:
Before we get to the details, the broad difference between the 7 colleges are:
- General education requirements that need to be fulfilled
- The residence halls and location on campus
- Writing sequences (part of the gen ed requirements)
- Useability of AP credits
- Educational philosophy and emphasis.
To give you a better understanding of the colleges, we combed through information on UCSD site, Reddit posts and YouTube student uploads.
Revelle was modelled on the lines of a traditional liberal arts college. Its stated aim is to create a “Renaissance” scholar. Revellle has very strong general education requirements spanning from Humanities, math, Sciences, Social Sciences, Fine Arts to Language. Revelle is known for its writing course in Humanities (HUM), which is described by many students to be an intensive and challenging course that combines writing, history and social sciences. The HUM course is spread out over a 5 quarters sequence. Almost every student generated post on Revelle talks about the HUM course sequence, so it is an important part of the Revelle experience.
Many students at Revelle go onto to do graduate school in medicine, law, or management. It is possible to graduate from Revelle with a double major or pursue an individualized interdisciplinary study. Some students have mentioned that biology majors/pre med majors seem to prefer Revelle as their first choice. While anecdotal, some Reddit posts also indicate a focus on STEM majors. Since location of residence halls are an integral part of the UCSD experience, check out what Revelle has to say about their community. Students seem to like their dining hall and find other activities fairly easy to get to.
“Towards a life in balance” is the philosophy of Warren college. All students are required to a take a 2 quarter writing course in addition to a 2 courses in Ethics and Society. Warren colleges also requires that its students take two additional programs of study beyond the student’s major, thus ensuring that every student covers 1. Humanities and Fine Arts 2. Math and Sciences and 3. Social Sciences. Warren also seems to have a focus on engineering which has been echoed in Reddit posts by students and by the description of the program of concentrations for engineering and non engineering students. You can also pursue minors at Warren.
Warren is located away from the main concentration of colleges. Students say that it can take 10-15 minutes to get to other colleges and places of interest. Some have mentioned that the food options can be better. Check out some of the activities that make the Warren experience.
Students say that there is an emphasis on Global citizenship at ERC. ERC has almost similar number of general requirements like Revelle. At it’s core is the Making of the Modern World (MMW), an interdisciplinary required sequences of courses spanning from history, anthropology, literature, political science and sociology. AP or IB credits cannot be used to exempt any quarter of the MMW course. Students are also required to meet a foreign language requirement, take a course in fine arts, 2 courses that help develop quantitative skills, 2 courses in sciences and 3 course that focuses on a single geographical location and an upper division writing course. ERC also offers Study Abroad opportunities.
Reddit posts mention that the dorms are quite nice, though a bit isolated from the main campus. Some have mentioned a 10-15 minute walk. However most students seem to like the ERC dorms and it is close to the beach.
The philosophy at John Muir College is all about environment and its sustainability. According to many students, the general education requirements at Muir while numerous are not individually very onerous. Every student needs to take two writing supplements, make their selection of a course (presented as a triad) in Social Sciences, Sciences/math, 2 courses in Humanities and Foreign Language. AP and IB credits can be used towards fulfilling the general education requirements. You can also use 3 courses from your major towards the general education requirements. Many students have been fairly complimentary of the flexibility of the general education requirements.
Most students seem to like the location of Muir College. Many have mentioned that it is centrally located and have been happy with their dorms and dining/market options.
The guiding philosophy at Marshall is about social justice, diversity of culture in America. In support of the philosophy, all students must take a three quarters sequence called the Dimensions of Culture which touches on the themes of diversity, justice and imagination. The students are also required to complete 2 courses in Math/Statistics/Logic, 1 course each in Physics/Chemistry/Biology, 2 courses in Humanities and Culture, 1 course in Fine Arts and 4 courses across a variety of subjects beyond their field of study for disciplinary breadth. They truly seem to follow the breadth of a liberal arts curriculum. In adhering to the tradition of public service, students can intern at any public service organization across the country or volunteer at a San Diego charter school in lieu of a GE requirement.
Students find the location of Marshall college quite central. Students have mentioned that they like the dining options at Marshall.
Their theme is about the intersection of culture, arts and technology. That is reflected in their mandatory three quarter core sequence called Culture, Art and Technology (CAT)!. You are also required to take 1 course in Information Technology Fluency as well as 10 breadth courses in subjects such as social sciences, math, sciences and art.
The location and the dorms get mixed reviews from students. Most of them are not too fond of the location, though they do like the dorms/apartments for freshmen. The dining options also did not get the best reviews, but some students said that were quite okay.
Seventh is a brand new college whose inaugural year is going to be 2020! There is not much posted on UCSD’s site about its general requirements or the thesis. Their theme appears to be interdisciplinary and using varied perspectives to go deeper into your major. It does not really reveal too much. We’ll update this as we come to know more about it.
From the various Reddit and forum posts, it appears that there is going to be some rearrangement of housing locations of the college. Some students have posited that the Seventh college will occupy the current transfer student housing location called the Village. It looks like it is a bit far from the other college locations.
That concludes our synopsis of the UCSD colleges. You can read their official synopsis here. The final item that is important is the AP credits that can be used at the various colleges. They have a chart for it. So check it out as you make your choices. Finally, there has been concern whether student can graduate from UCSD within 4 years. According to UCSD, most students can graduate from UCSD within 4 years if they follow their tips and guidelines.
Enjoy learning more about UCSD and good luck!