Washington Monthly Recognizes UC San Diego as a Top Five U.S. University

Washington Monthly has named the University of California San Diego the second ranked public university in the U.S. for promoting upward social mobility, producing groundbreaking research and serving the nation’s public interest. The national magazine’s annual rankings recognize what universities are doing for the public good and have consistently rated UC San Diego among the country’s best colleges for over a decade.

“It is an honor to once again be recognized as an exceptional university for demonstrating multiple pillars of academic excellence,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “From our research in climate science and the human microbiome, to our commitment to public service and social mobility, UC San Diego’s academics center on tackling the pressing challenges of our time to benefit humankind.”

The Washington Monthly rankings methodology measures how well universities produce research, train the next generation of scientists and PhDs, and instill in their graduates an ethos of public service.

The magazine editors noted, “UC San Diego, our second-ranked public university, is a research powerhouse where over one-third of students come from first-generation and low-income families. Very few institutions manage the combination of academic excellence and economic opportunity so well.”

Washington Monthly also rates colleges that are doing the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. UC San Diego was listed as 24th in the Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the West category.


UC San Diego performed very well in the rankings for preparing undergraduates for graduate school as well as discovering new technologies and creating ideas.

The campus recently set a record $1.16 billion in sponsored research funding for the FY2017 (July1 – June 30), a 3 percent increase from the previous year.

The university also introduced its new Centers for Integrative Health, which unifies a number of current, complementary programs at UC San Diego including integrative medicine, mindfulness, integrative nutrition, integrative research and integrative education.

In addition, a recent medical discovery by campus researchers may have uncovered a path to a vaccine for two types of currently incurable strep throat.

 Social mobility

Washington Monthly praised UC San Diego for its socioeconomic diverse student body, and recruiting and graduating low-income students. About 60 percent of students on campus receive some form of financial aid. Also, one-third of students are the first in their family to attend college or come from a low-income household.

UC San Diego has received praise for being accessible and affordable from numerous organizations and institutions.  A recent study reported by the New York Times named the university as one of the best colleges in the country for providing upward social mobility to diverse students across California and the country. Among highly selective public universities, UC San Diego has the highest population of low-income students; and, with a degree from the campus, these students have a high probability of thriving in the middle class and beyond.


As part of its academic mission, UC San Diego encourages students to give back to their country. The school prepares students to succeed in today’s world with interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and solutions-oriented skillsets. These efforts were recently recognized with an official Changemaker Campus designation from Ashoka U, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs.

The recognition is the outcome of an extensive three-year selection process. Only 40 universities around the world have earned the Changemaker distinction and UC San Diego is the first University of California campus to receive this designation.

The university is home to 565 registered student organizations—with 82 organizations that have a primary focus on service.  On average, nearly 20,000 UC San Diego students complete more than 3 million hours of community service every year.

In addition, Chancellor Khosla’s Volunteer 50 campaign challenges all faculty, students and staff to perform 50 hours of service per year by connecting the campus community with volunteer opportunities and showcasing their collective impact.

Service is also an important component to many campus traditions throughout the academic school year, such as Parent and Family Weekend and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For more information about the Washington Monthly rankings, click here.

This article was originally published on UC San Diego News Center.