Aug 15, 2018  
2015-2016 Catalog 
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information

Return to: About UC Merced  



The University of California, Merced, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Counseling and Psychological Services is accredited by APPIC (Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers).

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UC Merced on Campus and in the Valley

The Campus

UC Merced’s three schools — the School of Engineering, School of Natural Sciences and School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts—offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs resources and laboratories further enrich students’ educational experience.

Adjacent to Lake Yosemite Park and just outside the city of Merced, UC Merced is continuing to develop in its convenient location at the center of California. Nestled between the Sierra Nevada range to the east and the Coast Ranges to the west, the over 800-acre campus is situated within a two-hour drive from San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean and Sacramento; less than two hours from Yosemite National Park and other Sierra Nevada destinations; and an hour from Fresno. Even closer to campus, the surrounding communities in Merced, Stanislaus and Mariposa Counties offer a unique selection of cultural, entertainment and recreational options for students to experience.

Full development of the campus is anticipated within three or four decades when UC Merced will serve an estimated 25,000 students.

An Institution Designed for Students

UC Merced students have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help create the student life experience for the students who will follow. You are invited to add to campus traditions, create new student organizations and activities, and offer your ideas on student services, planning priorities and university growth and development.

As a student at UC Merced, you can gain valuable skills through internships and service learning, expand your cultural and international awareness and understanding, develop your leadership potential and make lifelong friends through involvement in a variety of academic, student and recreation programs. Student government, intercultural and residential programs, intramurals, club sports and athletic teams, university events and a variety of clubs and organizations are among your many choices. Students also have access to a wide array of support services as well as academic, social, recreational and wellness activities.

Build the Future at UC Merced!

Academic Buildings

The first phase of campus development includes five academic buildings, in addition to housing and dining complex, and the Joseph E. Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center. At the heart of the campus, featuring a library collection that blends books and bytes, the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library is home to campus student services and administrative offices. It also is a welcoming meeting place for individual study, small group work and encounters with your friends. The majority of your classrooms and lecture halls are located in the Classroom and Office Building, adjacent to the Carol Tomlinson-Keasey Quad. The Classroom and Office Building features the 377-seat Lakireddy Auditorium, and other programmed space including teaching laboratories, and faculty and graduate student offices. The three-story Science and Engineering Building 1 accommodates teaching in both wet and dry research laboratories and computing laboratories. Science and Engineering Building 2 opened in Fall 2014, providing more space for instruction, research and offices. The Social Sciences and Management Building houses faculty offices, research labs, art classrooms and exhibition space and classrooms. The Student Services Building houses classrooms, offices and some students services. Future buildings on the over 800-acre campus include a second Classroom and Office Building scheduled to open in Fall 2016 and additional student housing.

The Community

In the neighboring city of Merced, students will find a small, vibrant community. Currently home to more than 80,000 residents, the city retains the charm of a small town—with short commute times—and many of the amenities of a larger community.

Many educational, cultural and co-curricular activities connect students with the city of Merced and the surrounding region, and students are encouraged to experience the warmth of UC Merced’s host community and discover its treasures. Wandering through the pedestrian-friendly downtown is a good place to start. Brick paved walking areas, alleys decorated with murals and Italian trellises, an award-winning multicultural arts center, a community playhouse, the newly restored Merced Theatre, and several historically significant buildings are among the features. Merced also is home to shops, restaurants, farmers markets and retail stores, with additional choices available in the nearby cities of Modesto and Fresno.

Serving the San Joaquin Valley Through the 10th University of California Campus

UC Merced’s history dates back to 1988, when the University of California Board of Regents first authorized planning for at least one additional campus based on projections of long-range enrollment demand.

The Regents targeted the San Joaquin Valley as the region where the tenth University of California campus should be located. As one of the fastest-growing regions in the state, the Valley population was one of the most distant from the nine existing UC campuses. The Regents wanted to encourage more Valley students to attend the University and to extend the University’s role in contributing to the region. Locating UC Merced in the San Joaquin Valley has given the campus access to a rich natural laboratory for scientific and cultural research. UC Merced’s proximity to the Sierra Nevada has also led to creation of a special relationship for education and research with three crown jewels of the U.S. National Park Service: Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.

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The University of California

Fiat Lux. Let There Be Light

Established in 1868, fewer than 20 years after California became a state, the University of California opened with 10 faculty members offering classes to 38 students the following year in Oakland. By 1873, the first academic buildings were completed on the UC Berkeley campus and the University moved to its new home. Today, the University of California serves more than 233,000 students and includes approximately 190,000 faculty and staff members. Encompassing 10 campuses, five medical centers, five law schools and a Statewide Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the University also manages three national laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy. The University has awarded more than 1.5 million degrees and has more than 1.7 million living alumni.

UC Faculty

A leading center for innovation for almost 150 years, the University of California has responded to the needs of California through research, education and public service, and has helped to transform the world. University of California faculty members and researchers are pioneers in fields as diverse as agriculture, biological sciences, engineering, the environment, the arts, economics, medicine and technology, and over 60 have garnered Nobel Prizes for their pioneering discoveries and advances of knowledge. Among the University’s current faculty are more members of the National Academy of Sciences than at any other university in the United States.

University of California: An Economic Force in California

The University also fuels the state and national economies through the creation of thousands of California jobs and billions of dollars in revenues, countless discoveries that improve our quality of life and research to support innovation in fields critical to the future of our country. Technology developed by the University powers many of the state’s top and emerging industries, and University of California faculty members and alumni have founded or led such major companies as Chiron, Genentech, Intel Corp., Apple Inc. and Gap, Inc. A driving force in the daily life of Californians, the University is a critical source of civic leaders, social service programs and providers, and teachers at all levels of education.

Research and Education Network

Teaching and research are strengthened within the University through an extensive network of laboratories, museums and galleries, UC Extension centers, and research and field stations, which provide valuable public service to the communities of California and the nation. The University of California further extends its resources to the public through its performing arts centers, athletic facilities and botanical gardens. With collections totaling more than 30 million volumes, the University’s libraries are yet another valuable public asset and are surpassed in size on the North American continent only by the Library of Congress collection.

UC Academic Preparation Initiatives to K-12 and Community College Students

Beyond its tripartite mission of teaching, research and public service, the University is committed to expanding the educational horizons of California’s students and is engaged in a growing number of initiatives to bolster achievement in the state’s schools and better prepare students for college. UC Merced’s academic preparation efforts, led by our Center for Educational Partnerships, connect with K-12 students through mentoring, tutoring, college advising and other academic programs, while community college students benefit from services that help them prepare for transfer to the University. The University of California’s school partnerships offer curriculum development, direct instruction and community engagement, sophisticated data analysis of required student tests and additional assistance for many of California’s lowest performing schools. For teachers and administrators, the University of California provides professional development opportunities designed to improve skills and effectiveness. Overall, the University of California’s K-12 academic preparation initiatives directly affect hundreds of thousands of students and educators each year.  For further information on UC Merced’s Center for Educational Partnerships, please visit

Governance of the University of California

The University of California system is governed by the 26-member Board of Regents, including 18 general members appointed by the Governor. Charged with setting general policy and making budgetary decisions for the University, the Regents also appoint the UC President, the 10 campus chancellors and other top administrators. Authority for University-wide academic matters is delegated to the Academic Senate, which is composed of faculty members and administrative officers from throughout the University of California system. For each campus, a division of the University of California Academic Senate guides academic policy. Students also have the opportunity to participate in policy-making at both the campus-wide and system-wide levels. For information about UC Merced’s Academic Senate, please visit For information on the University of California System, please visit

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Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship: Building

UC Merced is using the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) system for all major campus development and construction. The LEED™ system provides a national standard for what constitutes a “green building.” Using these stewardship elements in campus development will have the following environmental, economic, health and community benefits:

Sustainable Sites – 100 percent of the campus storm water flows into on site retention ponds that treat building and site contaminants.

Recycling and Regional Materials – Construction practices recycle and/or divert more than 90 percent of the job site waste from landfills, limit the distance that materials are transported to the site and incorporate recycled content materials and sustainable harvested wood products.

Indoor Environment – Buildings are designed to provide increased ventilation and use natural daylight, creating a more pleasant working environment inside.

Water Conservation – Water reduction in the buildings and landscape will lower the use of potable water up to 50 percent above minimum state standards by using fixtures that conserve wastewater, waterless urinals, drought-tolerant planting for landscaping and deep root tubes for trees, which direct water straight to the roots and eliminate excessive watering.

Indoor Air Quality – Paints, carpets and composite woods with low volatile organic compounds have been selected as a means to reduce indoor contaminants that might irritate or harm the comfort and well being of building occupants.

Energy – Campus buildings are designed to energy performance targets that are significantly better (30-60 percent) than required by California law (Title 24) and than found at other University of California campuses. The campus also employs a centralized heating and cooling strategy that significantly improves efficiency and shifts the electricity used for cooling to nighttime hours. This minimizes UC Merced’s impact on the state energy infrastructure.

Living Laboratory – UC Merced has installed an advanced building energy management and control system that allows centralized operation and monitoring of all building functions. This level of monitoring and control provides a unique opportunity to manage the campus efficiently and be a living laboratory for faculty and students to study and advance building energy science.

Environmental Stewardship: Landscape Preservation

Thanks to support from the State of California, the Virginia Smith Trust and groups such as the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, the creation of UC Merced will help protect an important part of California’s natural wetland and rangeland heritage. The Packard Foundation’s historic gift to UC Merced preserves more than 5,000 acres of vernal pool habitat next to the campus. Funding from the State of California has supported conservation easements, allowing continued grazing and preservation of thousands of acres of additional seasonal wetland habitat in eastern Merced County. As Founding Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey observed, “The creation of UC Merced provides an unparalleled opportunity for environmental preservation. Vernal pool habitat in eastern Merced County has been disappearing for decades. The preservation efforts undertaken as part of the creation of our campus will permanently protect thousands of acres of this sensitive habitat.”

The campus is exploring opportunities to integrate education, research, conservation and recreation uses to promote the sustainability of UC Merced Conservation Land & Biological Resources.

Environmental Stewardship: Recycling Program

UC Merced has made a commitment to campus recycling and currently uses a “single stream” recycling methodology. The Environmental Health and Safety Office coordinates the recycling of all electronic waste, light bulbs, batteries, and cell phones per state and federal law. Campus green waste is sent to the local landfill for mulching and reuse. Facilities Management and Dining Services continue to work cooperatively to address food related waste and a pre-consumer food composting program is in the planning stages. The university is committed to increasing its percentage of recycled materials that are diverted away from the county landfill.

Environmental Stewardship: Environmental Preferable Purchasing Program (EPP)

EPP considerations are incorporated into the qualitative analysis of competitive bids and contract awards. Campus furnishings, equipment, supplies and services are procured with a cradle-to cradle focus on environmentally preferable characteristics from raw material acquisition in manufacturing through the entire life cycle. Some examples of campus EPP results include: wood furniture from renewable forests, campus office seating up to 99% recyclable with 44% recycled content, Energy Star office equipment, computers, water coolers; laundry equipment among the highest rated in energy and water efficiency; copy paper with a minimum of 30% recycled content, library stacks and dorm room bed frames are recycled steel; and locally grown food and food containers composed of sugar cane. UC Merced received the “Best Practices Award” for “Buy Recycled – Sustainable Operations” at the 2006 UC/CSU Sustainability Conference hosted by UC Santa Barbara.

Planning and Designing for a Sustainable Campus and Community

UC Merced’s Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) creates a development framework (land uses, circulation and open space) to plan, design, build and operate the UC Merced campus at ever-increasing levels of sustainability.

The LRDP establishes goals and policies that mandate the use of broad-based, innovative sustainable techniques in facility and infrastructure design and construction. It includes integration with the research initiatives and innovations that are part of the overall campus research program, particularly in the area of solar power and building energy management systems.

Triple Zero Commitment by 2020

  • ZERO NET ENERGY: Through efficiency and renewable energy production.
  • ZERO WASTE: Divert from landfill all campus waste by reducing excess consumption and recycling to the maximum extent feasible.
  • ZERO CARBON FOOTPRINT: Produce zero net carbon emissions and prevent as much carbon emissions as it produces.


Create a unique architectural identity for the campus by employing passive environmental system, such as shading, orientation and roof configuration, as design features on campus buildings; use of sustainable materials; and designing campus buildings to employ renewable energy production systems.


Design campus landscaping to emphasize regional natives, avoid invasive or allergenic species, and select plants that are compatible with campus infrastructure, developing a palette of approved plant, ground cover and tree lists, as well as landscape design guidelines.


Considering its location in the San Joaquin Valley, UC Merced has the opportunity to access many foods locally, avoiding the environmental impacts of long-distance shipping while promoting the local economy. Products that are fresh, locally grown and produced, and environmentally friendly will be included in the campus’ food offerings. Composting of food wastes will be explored as well.

UC Merced Dining is engaged in the campus’ sustainable stewardship practices and committed to educate customers to enhance sustainability of our food resource and minimize waste. Some practices at UC Merced dining include:
•    Responsible Purchasing (utilize local vendors, usage of green chemicals, biodegradable and compostable packaging, and purchase from green businesses)
•    Cooking Practices (batch cooking, scratch cooking, and utilization of leftovers); and
•    Waste Reduction (commingled recycling, trash compacting, zero waste catering, biofuel from grease waste, pre-consumer composting, and coffee grind composting)

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UC Merced Mission Statement

As the 10th campus of the University of California, UC Merced will achieve excellence in carrying out the University’s mission of teaching, research and service, benefiting society through discovering and transmitting new knowledge and functioning as an active repository of organized knowledge. As a key tenet in carrying out this mission, UC Merced promotes and celebrates the diversity of all members of its community.

A research university is a community bound by learning, discovery and engagement. As the first American student-centered research university of the 21 century, UC Merced’s strong graduate and research programs will mesh with high quality undergraduate programs. New knowledge increasingly depends on links among the disciplines, working together on questions that transcend the traditional disciplines. UC Merced fosters and encourages cross-disciplinary inquiry and discovery. Interdisciplinary practice in research will nourish undergraduate learning, building a foundation to connect the ways that academic disciplines understand and grapple with society’s problems. Undergraduates will experience education inside and outside the classroom, applying what they learn through undergraduate research, service learning and leadership development. As apprentice scholars, graduate students will build their understanding of and ability to do independent research in their chosen field, as the groundwork for entering professional life. Lifelong learners will continue to hone their knowledge and workplace skills.

The 21 century promises new ways of connecting people to new knowledge and to one another. UC Merced is a network, not simply a single place, linking its students, faculty and staff to the educational resources of the state, nation and world. The idea of network extends to UC Merced’s relationships with neighboring institutions: educational, cultural and social. Born as a member of the distinguished network known as the University of California, UC Merced seeks strong and mutually supportive relationships with a variety of collaborators in its region: public and private colleges and universities; federal and state organizations that share UC Merced’s educational and research goals; and cultural and social institutions.

The idea of network will also be realized through the physical and intellectual integration between UC Merced and its surrounding community. The campus is planned as a model of physical sustainability for the 21 century, inviting all members of the campus and surrounding community to think and act as good stewards of the environment that they will convey to future generations.

UC Merced celebrates its location in the San Joaquin Valley, reflecting the poetry of its landscape, history, resources and diverse cultures, while capitalizing on and expanding the Valley’s connections to the emerging global society. UC Merced recognizes that research that begins with the natural laboratory at home can extend what is known in the state, nation and world.

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Principles of Community

The University of California, Merced is a public, land grant institution created to serve the communities of the San Joaquin Valley, the State of California, the nation, and the world through excellence in education, research and public service. 

These principles reflect our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures lifelong learning and growth for all of its members. Every member of the UC Merced community has a personal responsibility to acknowledge, practice and join us in our collective pursuit of the principles listed below:

We recognize and celebrate the identities, values, and beliefs of our community.

We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person while cultivating a campus climate rooted in mutual respect and compassion.

We uphold the right to freedom of expression and encourage a culture of dialogue, understanding, and civility in all interactions.  We seek to create a campus where a rich tapestry of ideas is shared, collaboration is embraced, and innovation is promoted.

We pursue excellence in teaching and learning through contributions from all community members fostering a culture of open exchange. 

We promote opportunities for active participation and leadership in our communities.

We champion civic engagement, environmental stewardship, research, and teaching that connects theory and practice to learning and doing. 

We take pride in building, sustaining, and sharing a culture that is founded on these principles of unity and respect.

The UC Merced Principles of Community were developed by the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion in collaboration with the campus community. 

These principles were issued on March 25, 2014.