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Experience Santa Clara University

Historic church and Walsh administration building at Santa Clara University. <br/>Image courtesy of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:SCUMATT" title="wikipedia:User:SCUMATT">SCUMATT</a> at <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/" class="extiw" title="wikipedia:">English Wikipedia</a>. Used under the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Creative_Commons" title="w:en:Creative Commons">Creative Commons</a> <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en">Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported</a> license.
Historic church and Walsh administration building at Santa Clara University.
Image courtesy of SCUMATT at English Wikipedia. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Santa Clara University (SCU), a private Jesuit university is in the middle of Silicon Valley. A sun-drenched campus, beautiful mission style buildings, stately palm and flowering trees greet you as you walk through Santa Clara University. It is a very beautiful campus, located in Santa Clara, CA, a small city in the Silicon Valley. Take a virtual tour to see for yourself. SCU is in a safe residential neighborhood, surrounded by houses, schools, nearby eating options and reasonably close to Safeway, Costco, and other big box stores. Since Santa Clara is a city, the feel around SCU is more suburban.

Campus Life: Nearly 64% of the campus comprises of undergraduates, with 5,520 undergraduates enrolled on campus. The 3,122 graduate students include both full time and part time students. SCU offers Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees, as well as an MBA degree.

Almost all the incoming freshman live on campus in Residential Learning Communities which are thematically organized. Currently there are 9 RLCs and they need to be ranked when applying for housing. Each RLC has their own programs and events throughout the week. By sophomore year, nearly 45% of the undergraduates live off campus. Housing is expensive in Santa Clara but can come out to be more cost effective, as many students share accommodations. For students who stay away from the immediate vicinity, there is a bus stop outside the SCU campus that helps with commuting.


SCU has strong academics with some classes that students can find challenging. Students report that they feel that the professors care about the student performance in class. Free tutoring is also available on campus. Students are required to take core courses in Arts/Fine Arts, English, Humanities, Foreign Language, Technology, Religious Beliefs, Social Sciences, Sciences and Math. The teaching is performed by both full time and part time faculty, almost all of whom hold a doctoral degree in their areas of expertise. Most class sizes have students less than 30 students, though a few core classes can have nearly 50 students in the class.

The most popular majors at SCU are business, engineering, communication and psychology. This is not surprising given its proximity to the tech world. The Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation, a new construction slated to open in 2022 will be housing all of SCU’s STEM efforts. Computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and bioengineering are some of their popular departments. SCU hosts many labs where cutting edge and collaborative research is conducted. Take a virtual reading tour of the labs by clicking on each department.

The Leavy School of Business is one of SCU’s crown jewels. Students choose their major by the end of sophomore year and the choices range from accounting, finance, marketing, management and economics. They also offer a 4+1 program where in 5 years a student graduates with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. SCU offers a two-tiered advising program to their business students where the students are paired with a peer advisor and a faculty advisor. The business school is also very popular with part time and full time graduate students. The Leavy school is host to the Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Bronco Accelerator for startups. The approach towards business is very Silicon Valley forward with additional focus on venture capital, funding, startups, etc.

Finally, their College of Letters and Sciences hosts the other majors at SCU. Some of their most popular majors are computer science, biology, communication and psychology. Students in computer science have the choice of a year BS+MS program, as do students in applied mathematics. SCU’s Musical Theatre is a very well regarded and competitive program.

Career Placement

What really sets SCU apart from many colleges of its ilk is its proximity and connection to the companies in Silicon Valley. SCU graduates tend to find internships and employment with Silicon Valley companies such Apple, Google, Cisco, Intel, Facebook…the list is extensive. SCU always had a well-regarded graduate program in business administration, but today that regard has extended to undergraduate programs in business, engineering, finance, and more. Many graduates have noted the robust placement that SCU offers. Additionally SCU also offers a co-op program.

Extra-Curricular Activities

There are many things to do beyond academics at SCU. The activities range from Pep Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Model UN, Literary Magazines and Newspapers, Dance, Musical Theatre, Musical Ensemble, Opera, Orchestra, Campus Ministries, Choral Groups, Film Society and Radio and Student Government.

Party Scene

Students say that there is a fairly big party scene at SCU.


SCU Broncos are a Div. I sports school and school spirit is at display during the football games. Though some students have mentioned that they would like more of a school spirit to be displayed.

Cost and Finances

SCU is on the expensive side of the cost spectrum for colleges. They offer some need-based aid and a few merit scholarships. 40% of their enrolled students were offered some form of need based aid and the reported average aid amount is $33,000. 21% of the enrolled students were offered merit aid with an average amount of $15,875. There are very few athletic scholarships. Only 3.7% of the students were offered an athletic scholarship, with an average amount of $36,000.

47% of the enrolled students were also offered loans towards their net cost of attendance. The median debt ranges from $16,000-25,000. 36.4% of 2019 graduating class had loans with an average debt burden of $25,640. These graduates can look forward to a salary of $31,000-$93,000 based on their major and employment.

This is just a bird’s eye view of Santa Clara University. Check out the virtual tour, look at the Google photos of SCU, visit the links and read our post of a SCU student about her experience of being a Bronco.