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The largest and most diverse of Cal’s colleges and schools — encompassing three quarters of its undergraduates and half its of its faculty and graduate students — L&S sits at the core of UC Berkeley’s intellectual preeminence. The College is renowned for the distinction of our faculty and students, the scope of our research, and the breadth, depth and innovation of our liberal arts program.
Throughout the College’s history, discoveries made here have transformed lives and changed the way we think about the world. Our faculty discovered vitamin E, identified the flu virus, and led the fight against disease. Berkeley researchers invented the cyclotron, discovered new worlds inside the atom, unveiled mysteries of the universe, shed light of the evolution of human ancestors and on the evolution of human languages. And the books, poems, and other creative pursuits of our scholars have left their mark in every field of knowledge, winning awards as prestigious as Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes.
Perhaps most importantly, our teachers shaped minds of generation after generation of students, whose accomplishments equaled or surpassed those of their mentors.
UC Berkeley has long been ranked in the top tier of preeminent universities on all national and international rankings of academic excellence. According to the last study conducted by the National Research Council, UC Berkeley ranks first nationally in the number of graduate programs in the top 10 in their fields (35 out of Berkeley’s 36) and first nationally in the number of distinguished programs for the scholarship of the faculty. UC Berkeley is also the only university in the nation to achieve top-five rankings of all its Ph.D. programs. U.S. News & World Report also ranks UC Berkeley consistently as the nation’s top public university.
Berkeley draws its undergraduate from the top 10 percent of California’s high school graduates, as well as from every state and some 75 foreign countries. While Berkeley is well known for its stellar graduate programs, undergraduate teaching is a campus priority. The College of Letters and Science leads this effort by exposing students to the widest range of exiting coursework and opening doors with scholarships and research opportunities. As a result of these efforts and opportunities, more Berkeley undergraduates go on to earn Ph.D.’s than those of any other college or university. Perhaps the most crucial ingredient in building and sustaining the excellence of our programs is the great quality of our graduate students. These students are attracted to Berkeley by the high quality of the faculty. In turn, faculty members depend on excellent graduate students to perform much of their research. And undergraduates benefit directly as well, by being guided throughout their undergraduate careers by exceptional graduate students. Berkeley graduate students receive about 80 National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowships per year out of 900 awarded. Cal is also among the universities receiving the highest number of Fulbright fellowships.
At the heart of U.C. Berkeley’s achievements is a faculty made up of highly distinguished researches and scholars. While many of them are celebrated for their awards and honors, the single most important contribution a teacher can make is to spark the joy of discovery and knowledge in their students.
"I'm happiest about how well my students have done,” says Michael Manga, professor of Earth and Planetary Science and winner of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. “We're training the next generation of academics and researchers.”
The L&S faculty includes 9 of the 20 Nobel Prizes on the campus (including four current faculty members), 2 out of 3 Pulitzer Prizes, and 11 out of 15 MacArthur “Genius” Awards.
The presence of some of the world’s most prestigious faculty attracts half a billion dollars in research funding to Berkeley to advance human knowledge and contribute to the greater good of society. From discoveries about the expanding universe to creating atomic-sized engines and exploring new approaches to treating AIDS, Berkeley is home to big concepts and great minds that probe them.
With more distinguished research programs than any other U.S. university, Berkeley and L&S offer students research excellence across the disciplines, a chance to work alongside world-class researchers, and access to state-of-the-art research centers and facilities. Here faculty and students are involved the multidisciplinary research that brings together experts from a multitude of research areas to solve mysteries bigger than any one field of study.
Berkeley is also unique for its commitment to including undergraduate students in research enterprises. Undergraduate Research Fellowships allow students to participate in groundbreaking research with our professors. And many of the laboratories, libraries and specialized equipment used to conduct the groundbreaking research Berkeley is known for are also available to Berkeley undergraduates.
More than any other university, Berkeley offers students the opportunity of a lifetime through access to higher education and academic excellence.
- One-third of our undergraduates are eligible for Pell Grants, which means they come from families that earn less than $45,000 a year.
- Berkeley serves more of these economically disadvantaged students than all of the eight Ivy League universities combined.
- More than two thirds of our students have at least one parent born outside of the country
- Twenty-eight percent of our freshmen are the first in their families to attend college.
- More than 9,000 Cal undergraduates receive $45 million in scholarships each year.
And in turn, our students make us proud:
- We award more Ph.D’s, more bachelor’s degrees leading to Ph.D.’s, and more Ph.D.’s to women and minorities than any other university.
- Cal continues to be the only school in the country to have produced more than 3,000 Peace Corp volunteers.