University of California-Santa Cruz Graduate Program Reviews

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of students recommend
(3.86 out of 5.0)
School rating based on 44 respondents

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School Ratings

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School Information

  • Website: Visit College Website
  • School Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • Campus Setting: City: Small
  • Student Population: 18,783 (16,962 undergrad)
  • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Graduate Attendance Status: 4% part-time, 96% full-time
  • Annual Tuition: $13,837 in-state; $28,939 out-of-state
Source: NCES

Student & Graduate Reviews

3.83 out of 5.0
Degree: Computer Science
Graduation Year: 2015

Located near silicon valley and Stanford, research opportunities are vast and numerous, which is a huge pro of a the graduate program at UCSC. The area is far more beautiful than silicon valley and there is a greater diversity of lifestyle in Santa Cruz. The classes are sometimes lacking in true direction or quality. Overall my experience has been very rewarding and enjoyable
3.5 out of 5.0
Degree: Elementary Education
Graduation Year: 2015

UCSC provides an ideal climate for me to develop as a culturally responsive teacher. It is this university’s focus on developing agents of change that distinguishes UCSC’s education program from that of other institutions. It’s program embraces sociocultural perspectives on schools, society, and research in order to emphasize the centrality of language, community, and social contexts of teaching and learning. In addition to it's academics, UCSC is a wonderful school due to its natural beauty. Located in the middle of a red wood forest, UCSC provides a unique learning environment that both fascinates and inspires it's students. The MA/credential program itself is fast-pace and competitive. It is a one year program that goes from July until July. 14 units are taken in the first summer, 16 hours of field work per week are to be completed during fall and winter quarter. By spring quarter, graduate students work full time at their placement schools (30 hours a week). The program concludes with 14 units during the final summer session. There are only 82 graduate students entered into the program each year, which makes for intimate cohorts. My experience at UCSC has been mostly positive, with the exception of how expensive it is. $25,000 for just the tuition.
4.33 out of 5.0
Degree: Social Sciences
Graduation Year: 2016

Quality education with numerous funding opportunities all located within minutes of the beach and redwoods. I could not have chosen a better graduate program for my needs.
4.25 out of 5.0
Degree: Environmental Science
Graduation Year: 2015

Santa Cruz is an expensive but great place to live. It can be hard to afford, but I think that's pretty normal for grad students. Our department is small so you get a lot of personal attention and we really are interdisciplinary, so if you just want to focus all your time on a narrow range of issues, it probably isn't for you. If you want to engage with all kinds of scholars asking a range of questions about a range of environmental problems using a variety of methods, this is a great place to be.
2.67 out of 5.0
Degree: Elementary Education
Graduation Year: 2014

This program is ideal for someone wanting to enter quickly into a career in education. It's focus on social justice fosters culturally sensitive educators. It is costly and finding a job after graduation can be difficult in the area where so many gradautes of the program choose to stay.
4.0 out of 5.0
Degree: Liberal Studies
Graduation Year: 2013

Pros: Good academic environment, great social setting for graduate students, close proximity to other institutions and resources in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cons: Expensive place to live, campus is spread out, research money is always a problem, most stipend funding is based on TA-ships and takes a lot of time out of research.
4.17 out of 5.0
Degree: Chemistry
Graduation Year: 2015

Overall organization of the TA duties is poor. The effort is there but not the spirit. Treating everyone like drones and giving lots of face time isn't help it is placating. Also for some courses luckily not mine there is no failing grade! Being required to pass students who didn't try with those that barely made it seems quite poor leadership on the part of faculty but it is ubiquitous here. Also the faculty advising is useless. Until you have an adviser you are on your own. You don't have a faculty advocate really at all. That being said the faculty have their own style and they are strong in their own area's. I love my boss no nonsense work work work kind of guy. But some are hands off and less guidance which can let others loose their way. The course work is good, the instruction is good. The programs very a lot though. Organic Chem has a much steeper hill to climb than PChem and BioChem. I don't know why that is. But they have extra tests and more classes to take. Which certainly was not made clear to me and luckily I am not in that part of the program. But it is something to keep in mind.
3.08 out of 5.0
Degree: Sociology
Graduation Year: 2015

I love my faculty -- I find them supportive and engaging and we have stimulating discussions. Funding has been a challenge, and at this point I'm discouraged about finding funding to support my research
3.5 out of 5.0
Degree: Biology
Graduation Year: 2014

Santa Cruz is an excellent location for grad school - enough entertainment, 1.5hrs from a major city, the ocean and beautiful surroundings. However, standard of living is pretty high, which makes it a bit difficult to fit a TA stipend. Faculty are for the most part excellent, with a few faculty that are not so good. It's a very supportive (advising) atmosphere, but there is limited funding available to students, so we have to TA. I am at my 5th year and have TA'd since year 1, with a fellowship for 1 quarter, where I was gone doing fieldwork and I got a GSR (Graduate Student Research grant) 1 quarter to do work for my advisor. There are not many fellowships from UC Santa Cruz that just pay your tuition and give you a stipend, freeing up your time to do your research. It is not so competitive here.
3.17 out of 5.0
Degree: Economics
Graduation Year: 2014

Pros: The campus and city is amazingly beautiful with ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, surfing and other outdoor activities. And SF is only about an hour away! Overall, the instruction has been very good (with the exception of a few duds). Cons: We've lost a lot of faculty members over the past few years which has significantly reduced the quantity and quality of faculty accessibility and support. And: funding (oh, funding!). The combination of budget cuts and an effort to expand the graduate program has meant less funding for the average student (and for some individuals, none at all). Funding is also awarded on a yearly basis, so just because you start with funding doesn't mean you'll keep it for your entire tenure. In fact, older cohorts have lower priority for funding. For instance, none of our 5th year students received funding this year (which, imo, is a pretty shady thing for the dept to do to students in their last year).
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