12 Best Biology Schools in California – Study Abroad Nations (2023)

This is a well-detailed blog post on the best biology schools in California to facilitate admission for students who want to pursue a biology degree in the state of California.

Home to Stanford University, Hollywood, UCLA, and Disneyland, California is a vibrant place for studying and meeting a diverse range of people and cultures to broaden your study abroad experience and earn a degree from some of the best universities in the world. The state is also one of the right places to pursue a business degree.

Turns out we have a well-detailed blog post on the best business schools in California which gives further information on how to apply and the application requirements.

In the United States, Biology is one of the most popular majors as well as the hottest. Students with a degree program in any biology field are quickly employed, whether it is an associate, bachelor, master’s, or doctorate, they are in high demand.

Biology has grown to become a field with a wide range of disciplines that are studied separately, the courses under biology are:

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Molecular Biology
  • Marine Biology
  • Ecology
  • Cell Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Biophysics
  • Anatomy
  • Conservative Biology
  • Immunology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Zoology
  • Human Physiology
  • Computational Biology

These courses are under biology and most, if not all, are studied as a separate degree program in the undergraduate and graduate levels of study. Another thing all of these courses have in common is that you need to have a strong knowledge of biology before applying for them.

If it is a course that you want to study as a graduate degree program, you must satisfy biology in your undergraduate study before going into them. Biology is what is used to scientifically explain our world and its importance keeps showing itself day by day. It is used in all forms of medicine as well, to produce drugs that will counter sicknesses and diseases which is why the graduates are in high demand.

Going for a biology program is a good choice and choosing a good school for the program is an even better choice but maybe a bit of a hassle for your which is what this blog post is created for. This post on the best biology schools in California will help you make the right choice in choosing a school that is just right for you to make your career a successful one.

Without further ado, let’s get into the best biology schools in California.

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Top Best Biology Schools in California

Listed below are the best biology schools in California which are further discussed with the direct website link to learn more about specific program offering requirements.

  • Stanford University
  • The University of California, Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • The University of California, Irvine
  • The University of California, Santa Barbara
  • The University of California, San Diego
  • The University of Southern California
  • The University of California, Davis
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Pomona College

1. Stanford University

Stanford University is a prestigious institution with global recognition located in Stanford, California and its biology programs are recognized as well, making it rank among the best biology schools in California. The university can offer biology programs through its School of Humanities and Sciences which is just one of the academic programs at Stanford.

The School of Humanities and Sciences here at Stanford houses the Department of Biology which offers undergraduate, coterminal master’s program and a Ph.D. program. The undergraduate biology program is designed for students wishing to study biology, enter medical school, or get started in research. For students who seek an advanced degree in biology, the masters and Ph.D. program is for them.

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2. The University of California, Berkeley

Established in 1896 as a public land-grant research university in Berkeley, California, UC Berkeley is one of the best biology schools in California. The university has 14 colleges and schools offering more than 350 degree programs to students enrolled in the graduate and postgraduate levels of study.

There is no single department of biology at UC Berkeley, courses in the biological sciences are offered through many campus departments including the Departments of Integrative Biology, Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology, Optometry, Environmental Science, Policy & Management, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Plant &Microbial Biology which collectively offers 27 biology programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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3. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Caltech is a private research institute in Pasadena, California is known for its strength in science and engineering and its devotion to the instruction of pure and applied sciences. There are six academic divisions within the school with a strong emphasis on science and engineering. The Division of Biology and Biological Engineering offers biology and biology-related programs.

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The BBE division has seven research areas related to biology including Systems Biology, Microbiology, Biological Engineering, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics, and more. The graduate degree options are Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, Medical Engineering, Neurobiology, Biology, Geobiology, Computation & Neural Systems, Social & Decision Neuroscience, and Bioengineering.

Bioengineering is the only undergraduate program offered in the BBE division.

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4. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA is a world-renowned institution of higher learning located in Los Angeles, California established in 1919. The institution has a current enrollment of 31,500 undergraduates and 12,800 graduates enrolled in over 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. These programs are offered via the schools six undergraduate colleges, seven professional schools, and four professional health science schools.

UCLA offers 48 biology programs through its College of Life Sciences which lead to undergraduate majors and minors and graduate degrees. The College is consistently ranked among the best biology schools in California due to its many achievements in the field.

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5. Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College is one of the best biology schools in California, it was established in 1946 as a private liberal arts college located in Claremont, California. The Keck Science Department offers a wide range of undergraduate science courses including biology. There aren’t any graduate biology programs at this college but the undergraduate program is one of the best in the country.

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6. The University of California, Irvine

This is one of the best biology schools in California established in1965 as a public land-grant research university in Irvine, California. UCI offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduates degree programs through its 16 academic units including the School of Biological Sciences that offer biology and other biology-related programs.

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The School is a center for quality education that fosters the passionate and ongoing expansion of knowledge in the biological sciences and facilitates research not just for graduate students only but also for undergraduate students. The School further houses four departments where students are equipped with knowledge and skills to find answers to complex biological issues.

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7. The University of California, Santa Barbara

UCSB or UC Santa Barbara as it is commonly referred to has a wide range of biology programs available to students in the undergraduate and graduate levels of study and due to the quality of the program and the achievement it continuously brings to the school, this allows it to be consistently ranked among the best biology schools in California.

The biology programs are offered through the School of Biological Sciences and as of 2015, 1,119 students graduated from programs in the study area of biology earning bachelor, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The biology program at UC Santa Barbara is the fastest-growing program at the campus.

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8. The University of California, San Diego

UC San Diego has a Division of Biological Sciences consistently ranked as one of the best biology schools in California. The Division offers a wide range of biology-related programs leading to bachelor, master’s, and graduate degrees. The mission here is to advance knowledge of basic biological sciences and apply research discoveries in ways that improve human health, protect the environment and enrich the economy.

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9. The University of Southern California

Established in 1880 as a private research university in Los Angeles, California, USC is the oldest private research university in the states and its Department of Biological Sciences is one of the best biology schools in California. The Department has research faculty with specialties in four disciplines: human and evolutionary biology, marine and environmental biology, molecular and computational biology, and neurobiology.

Through these four disciplines, the department offers a range of undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral training programs.

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10. The University of California, Davis

UC Davis College of Biological Sciences is one of the best biology schools in California offering a wide range of top-notch biology programs leading to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The college explores life to advance knowledge and meet the scientific challenges of the modern world.

The college houses five departments through which these academic degrees are produced, the Departments of Evolution and Ecology, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behaviour, and Plant Biology. There are also facilities with cutting-edge equipment for students to engage in practical and research purposes.

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11. Harvey Mudd College

This is a private not-for-profit college in Claremont, California established in1955. Harvey Mudd College is known for its strength in science and engineering, the biology program is equally recognized and makes the college one of the best biology schools in California. The college offers only four-year degree programs, so, if you want to pursue an undergraduate degree program in one of the best biology schools in California, you may want to consider Harvey Mudd College.

Harvey Mudd College has a Department of Biology, the biology program here is hands-on and interdisciplinary. In lab and field courses, students do open-ended, cross-disciplinary research and learn by doing.

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12. Pomona College

Pomona College has a biology department that offers both a major and minor, educates students in a range of biological principles, practices, and subject areas. The department has facilities that allow students to join professors in hands-on practical research even as undergraduates. They get to apply scientific inquiry and critical analysis to study organisms in the classroom, lab, and field.

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These are the 12 best biology schools in California that you may want to apply to, whether for undergraduate or graduate programs you will be trained and equipped with skills and a quality degree that is recognized anywhere in the world.

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FAQ on the Best Biology Schools in California

What is the difference between a biology school and a marine biology school?

A marine biology school prepares students for a career specifically in marine biology but a biology school prepares students for a wide range of careers in the field of biology which include biochemistry, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, medicine, environmental science, marine biology, etc.


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Which University of California has the best biology program? ›

Stanford University

#1 Best Colleges for Biology in California.

What Cal States have good biology programs? ›

Best Schools for General Biology in California
  • #1. Stanford University. ...
  • #2. University of California - Berkeley. ...
  • #3. University of California - Los Angeles. ...
  • #4. University of Southern California. ...
  • University of California - San Diego. La Jolla, CA. ...
  • #6. University of California - Santa Barbara. ...
  • #7. ...
  • San Diego State University.

Which country is best for molecular biology? ›

Best countries to study molecular biology
  • Molecular Biology in USA.
  • Molecular Biology in Belgium.
  • Molecular Biology in Canada.
  • Molecular Biology in Turkey.
  • Molecular Biology in Lebanon.
  • Molecular Biology in UK.
  • Molecular Biology in Finland.

Which Ivy League school has the best biology program? ›

Harvard University – Cambridge, MA

Harvard – as you might have guessed – is easily one of the best schools for biology.

What is the #1 medical college to go to in California? ›

Part 2: List of medical schools in California: 2023 rankings & admissions statistics
California Medical SchoolsU.S. News RankingDegree
UCSF School of Medicine*1 (3)MD
Stanford University School of Medicine2 (8)MD
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine*3 (19)MD
UC San Diego School of Medicine*4 (20)MD
12 more rows
26 Apr 2022

Where is the best place to study biology? ›

Here are the best global universities for biology and biochemistry
  • Harvard University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University.
  • University of California Berkeley.
  • University of California San Francisco.
  • University of Cambridge.
  • University of California San Diego.
  • University of Washington Seattle.

What is the number 1 Cal State? ›

Ranking of Cal State Schools
SchoolUS News Ranking
1. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo2 (Regional Universities West)
2. San Diego State151 (National Universities)
3. Cal Poly Pomona14 (Regional Universities West)
4. Cal State Long Beach137 (National Universities)
19 more rows
26 Sept 2022

Which Cal State is best for pre med? ›

The best premed colleges in California
  • University of California–Berkeley*
  • University of California–Los Angeles*
  • Pepperdine University.
  • University of Southern California.
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Pomona College.
  • University of California–Santa Barbara*
  • University of California–San Diego*
28 Oct 2022

Which biology degree is best? ›

The 10 Best Biology Bachelor's Degree Programs
  • Molecular Biology of the Bacterial Cell.
  • Organic Chemistry.
  • Genetics in Medicine: From Bench to Bedside.
  • The Cell Biology of Human Life in the World.
  • Cellular Biology and Molecular Medicine.

What are the top 3 biotech countries? ›

Number of Patents in the Biotechnology Sector
#44 CountriesUnits
1#1 United States5,941
2#2 Japan1,608
3#3 China1,552
4#4 South Korea984
40 more rows

Which country is best for Cell biology? ›

Best countries to study cellular biology
  • Cellular Biology in USA.
  • Cellular Biology in UK.
  • Cellular Biology in Canada.
  • Cellular Biology in Australia.

Which Ivy League is best for pre med? ›

The Best Ivy League Schools for Pre-Med
  • Harvard University.
  • University of Pennsylvania.
  • Columbia University.
  • Dartmouth College.
  • Yale University.
  • Cornell University.
  • Brown University.
  • Princeton University.

Which of the Ivy League is easiest to get into? ›

What's the easiest Ivy League school to get into? While all Ivy League schools are incredibly difficult to get into, Cornell University would likely be considered the easiest since it has the highest acceptance rate of all Ivies. As of fall 2021, Cornell's acceptance rate for first-year applicants was 9%.

What university has the best science program? ›

Top 10 universities for physics, chemistry and maths degrees
Physical sciences rank 2023Physical sciences rank 2022University
1=2Princeton University
=21University of California, Berkeley
=2=4Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4=2California Institute of Technology
6 more rows
25 Oct 2022

What is the toughest medical school to get into? ›

Top 10 Hardest Medical Schools To Get Into
  • Harvard Medical School. ...
  • Wake Forest School Of Medicine. ...
  • George Washington School Of Medicine And Health Sciences. ...
  • Warren Alpert Medical School Of Brown University. ...
  • Howard University College Of Medicine. ...
  • New York University (NYU) Grossman School Of Medicine.

What is the hardest medical school to get into in the United States? ›

What are the hardest medical schools to get into?
School NameAcceptance rate
New York University (Grossman) New York, NY2.1%
University of California--Riverside Riverside, CA2.1%
University of California--Davis Sacramento, CA2.2%
University of California--Los Angeles (Geffen) Los Angeles, CA2.2%
8 more rows

What school sends the most students to medical school? ›

University of California–Berkeley. Yale University. Duke University. University of California–Los Angeles.
According to the AAMC, these schools produced the largest number of medical school applicants during the 2022 application cycle:
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: 541.
  • The Ohio State University: 522.
3 Nov 2022

Can I study biology abroad? ›

Can Biology students study abroad? Yes, a variety of study abroad programs can fit in with the Biology major without delaying graduation. In fact, the Biology major consistently ranks in the top ten majors sending students abroad!

What is the most important branch of biology? ›

Taxonomy. It is one of the most important branches of Biology that deals with categorising and naming different organisms based on their characteristics.

What is the most popular branch of biology? ›

Here are eight of the most popular fields of biology:
  1. Microbiology. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms. ...
  2. Genetics. Genetics is the study of DNA and how it appears in the genes of plants, animals and humans. ...
  3. Zoology. ...
  4. Ecology. ...
  5. Botany. ...
  6. Neuroscience. ...
  7. Biochemistry. ...
  8. Marine biology.

What is the hardest Cal State? ›

With a record low acceptance rate of 25% in 2019, Cal Poly SLO is by far the most competitive and most exclusive Cal State University. As a polytechnic institute, SLO specializes in science and engineering fields.

Which Cal State is easiest to get into? ›

The easiest Cal State to get into is the California State University, Los Angeles. Founded in 1947, it enrolls about 27,672 students and has an acceptance rate of 70%. Its high acceptance rate and the quantum of students admitted yearly make it the easiest CSU to get into.

Which Cal State is the safest? ›

California State University San Marcos is the safest college campus in California and the 13th safest in the U.S. according to a recent study, the university announced Thursday.

What are the top 5 Cal States? ›

Ranked List of the Best Cal State Schools
  • 1. California Polytechnic State University | Cal Poly. Location: San Luis Obispo, CA. ...
  • San Diego State University | SDSU. Location: San Diego, CA. ...
  • Long Beach State. Location: Long Beach, CA. ...
  • San Jose State. ...
  • CSU Fullerton. ...
  • CSU Northridge | CSUN. ...
  • CSU Chico. ...
  • CSU San Bernardino.
14 Feb 2022

Which pre-med major has the highest chance of acceptance? ›

According to this data, there are three major groups—humanities, math and statistics, and physical sciences—that enjoy higher admissions rates than others. In fact, these are the only three groups that get into medical school at a rate greater than 40 percent.

What is the easiest pre-med school to get into? ›

Easiest Medical Schools to Get Into
  • University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. ...
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School. ...
  • University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine. ...
  • University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine. ...
  • LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport.

Which field has highest salary in biology? ›

Forensic Scientist

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for most entry-level jobs, but you'll need to complete additional training before you can work in this field, such as a forensic science certificate program or on-the-job training.

What is the hardest class for a biology major? ›

Molecular Cell Biology is one of the hardest Biology degrees to study, and Biology in itself is a very challenging discipline. Studying Molecular Cell Biology is like learning a new language, as there is an incredibly complex vocabulary to describe the structure and function of life at the molecular level.

Which biology course has highest salary? ›

What Jobs and Salaries Can I Get with a Biology Degree in 2023?
  • Agricultural Technician – 44,000 USD/year. ...
  • Marine Biologist – 63,500 USD/year. ...
  • Pharmacologist – 127,000 USD/year. ...
  • Senior Research Scientist – 103,500 USD/year. ...
  • Senior Microbiologist – 57,000 USD/year. ...
  • Biotechnologist – 51,500 USD/year.
17 Nov 2022

What country is number 1 in medical research? ›

In 2021, Japan ranked first with a health index score of 86.6, followed by Singapore and South Korea.

Which country pays highest salary for biotechnology? ›

The countries with the highest salaries for pharma and biotech...
  • Denmark is the top paying country for professionals in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D):
  • Switzerland pays the highest salary to professionals in pharmaceutical manufacturing:
23 Sept 2022

Is biotech a good career abroad? ›

Now, let's talk about Job Opportunities for Biotech Students in Abroad. In a foreign land, you will be paid more than India, and with time as your experience and knowledge grow in this field, you will end up with increased pay-cheques. Germany and the USA are known to be the best counties for careers in Biotechnology.

Who is the top biologist in the world? ›

John Tyler Bonner is one of the world's leading biologists, primarily known for his work in the use of cellular slime molds to understand evolution. He has led the way in making Dictyostelium discoideum a model organism central to examining some of the major questions in experimental biology. He is the George M.

Which country has the best science in the world? ›

Scientists from the United States dominate the list with 490 scholars included in 2022 which represents 49% of the whole ranking. However, only 3 out of 10 scientists in the top 1% are from the United States.

What state has the most biology jobs? ›

1. Alaska
Total Biologist Jobs:20
Average Annual Salary:$76,565
Lowest 10 Percent Earn:$57,000
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$101,000
Location Quotient:5.13 You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
6 Apr 2021

Which country has the least genetic diversity? ›

The world's most genetically diverse countries (using their measure of what counts as genetically diverse) are in sub-Saharan Africa, which is the world's poorest region. The least genetically diverse countries are in places like Bolivia, which have low incomes but not as low as in that region of Africa.

Which country leads in genetic research? ›

Data from Thomson Scientific's Essential Science Indicators, 1 January 1997-31 October 2007
16 more rows
8 May 2008

Are all Europeans genetically similar? ›

A genetic survey concludes that all Europeans living today are related to the same set of ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago. And you wouldn't have to go back much further to find that everyone in the world is related to each other.

Which undergrad is best for med school? ›

10 undergraduate majors that help you prepare for medical school
  • Biology.
  • Biochemistry.
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.
  • Psychology.
  • Sociology.
  • Genetics.
  • Statistics.

What do most pre-med students major in? ›

The top five popular science majors for pre-med are:
  • Biology ( general and other)
  • Biochemistry.
  • Neurobiology.
  • Physical sciences.
  • Molecular biology.
13 Aug 2021

What is the average pre-med GPA? ›

GPAs can vary significantly across different medical schools, so it pays to do your research before applying. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported an average GPA for medical school of 3.60 across all applicants for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

What is a hidden Ivy League school? ›

The Hidden Ivies include many small colleges, such as Davidson College, Pomona College, Carleton College, and Oberlin College, as well as some large research universities, like Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Southern California.

What is the least competitive Ivy? ›

3 Easiest Ivy League Schools to Get Into
  • Cornell University. Location: Ithaca, New York. Acceptance rate: 8.7% Undergraduate enrollment: 15,503. ...
  • Dartmouth College. Location: Hanover, New Hampshire. Acceptance rate: 6.2% ...
  • University of Pennsylvania. Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Acceptance rate: 5.9%
12 Jun 2022

Which science is most in demand? ›

Top science fields in demand
  • Biomedical engineer and technology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Computer and software engineering.
  • Geology and petroleum technology.
  • Medical sciences.
  • Nuclear engineering and technology.
  • Psychology.
  • Research and development.

What college has the happiest student? ›

Top 25 Happiest Colleges
  • University of Iowa.
  • Fairfield University.
  • University of California, Berkeley.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
  • Clemson University.
  • Rice University.
  • Auburn University.
  • Florida State University.
28 Aug 2022

Is UCLA or UC Berkeley better for biology? ›

However, with regard to general biology/molecular biology, there are only slight academic differences between the schools. If you are interested in medicine, UCLA might be a better choice. But, regardless of whether you go to UCLA or UC Berkeley, you will undoubtedly be successful. Both are amazing options!

Which UC is best for pre med? ›

The best premed colleges in California
  • University of California–Berkeley*
  • University of California–Los Angeles*
  • Pepperdine University.
  • University of Southern California.
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Pomona College.
  • University of California–Santa Barbara*
  • University of California–San Diego*
28 Oct 2022

Does UCSF have a good biology program? ›

Popularity of Biology at UCSF

Due to this, the school was ranked #786 in popularity out of all colleges and universities that offer this degree. In 2021, 2 students received their master's degree in biology from UCSF. This makes it the #342 most popular school for biology master's degree candidates in the country.

What major is University of California known for? ›

The most popular majors at University of California, Los Angeles include: Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Psychology; Engineering; Mathematics and Statistics; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; Visual and Performing Arts; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; and English Language ...

What GPA is needed for UC Berkeley? ›

GPA Minimum

Although there is no minimum GPA requirement for applying to the major, the most successful applicants have a prerequisite GPA above 2.75. If you have further questions, contact our Berkeley Public Health undergraduate academic advisor.

What major is UC Berkeley best known for? ›

The most popular majors at University of California, Berkeley include: Social Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Engineering; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; Mathematics and Statistics; Natural Resources and Conservation; Business, Management, ...

What major is UCLA best known for? ›

At the University of California-Los Angeles, the most popular majors students study are Sociology, Political Science and Government, General, and Econometrics and Quantitative Economics. In fact, the University of California-Los Angeles grants 703 degrees annually to graduating Sociology students.

Which pre med major has the highest chance of acceptance? ›

According to this data, there are three major groups—humanities, math and statistics, and physical sciences—that enjoy higher admissions rates than others. In fact, these are the only three groups that get into medical school at a rate greater than 40 percent.

What is the easiest major to get into UC? ›

10 Easiest Majors to Transfer into UC Berkeley
1.Development Studies41%
2.Environmental Economics Policy49%
3.Society and Environment54%
4.Landscape Architecture39%
6 more rows
19 Jan 2017

Which UC is the best for science? ›

Best Mathematics and Science colleges in California
  • University of California-Los Angeles. ...
  • University of California-Berkeley. ...
  • University of California-San Diego. ...
  • University of California-Davis. ...
  • University of California-Santa Barbara. ...
  • University of California-Irvine. ...
  • University of Southern California.

Is UCSF or Stanford better? ›

For the specialty rankings, UCSF Medical Center was ranked in 15 of the 16 areas of care, while Stanford Hospital was ranked in 10. John Muir Health's Walnut Creek Medical Center ranked in three specialties and the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco ranked in one speciality.

What GPA is required for UCSF medical school? ›

be a resident of California (Link to UCSF Residency Information) have completed an undergraduate degree or higher from an accredited U.S. college or university. have a minimum overall GPA of 2.94 or higher; minimum 2.8 GPA in the sciences.

What GPA do you need to get into UCLA? ›

GPA and test scores of middle 25%-75% students
High School GPA4.18 - 4.32
ACT Composite Score29 - 32
ACT English Language Arts30 - 35
SAT Evidence Based Reading & Writing670 - 760
2 more rows

What is the most popular major in California? ›

Some of the most popular majors in California are business, management, and marketing. These majors allow graduates to pursue a wide variety of career paths after college, including in hospitality and human resources.


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