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UC Merced is a public university that is part of the University of California System. Located in the state's agrarian Central Valley, UC Merced is home to over 8,000 undergraduates and less than 1,000 graduate students. Undergraduate students enjoy plenty of opportunities to follow their dreams in the school's 27 majors, 25 minors, and 18 graduate degree programs. Overall, UCM's offerings tend to emphasize humanities and sciences, though they do also offer degrees in management and business economics.

Overview of University of California-Merced (UC Merced)

When students aren't buried in their books, UC Merced has much to offer that will create well-rounded graduates and citizens. On campus, students love to hang out in the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center. There, students can get a workout on the cardio or weight-training machines, play basketball or volleyball in the gym, or discover competitive badminton. There's also an aquatic center which is home to the school's club-level water polo team.

UC Merced students are also privy to some of the most stunning natural vistas in the nation. Not only is Merced close to Yosemite, but students can also enjoy exploring the area’s ghost towns, ancient volcanoes, and the Merced National Wildlife Refuge that offers over 10,000 acres for students to explore.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Rural: Fringe
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 19:1
Graduation Rate 72%
Year Founded 2005

Student Enrollment

Total Students9,093


Undergraduate Student

Male 3,994
Female 4,327

Graduate Student

Male 334
Female 362

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Top Rankings For University of California – Merced

University of California-Merced Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 13,085
Female 14,708


Male 11,122
Female 12,943

Acceptance Rate87%

Male 85%
Female 88%

Enrollment 2,418

Male 1,223
Female 1,165
Application Fee $70
High School GPA Required
High School Rank N/A
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline November 30
Common Application Accepted N/A

UC Merced Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

California has historically had very affordable public colleges and universities. Though things have certainly changed in college costs over the last few decades, a degree from UC-Merced is still a huge value in higher education for California residents. In fact, for a year of tuition, books, and supplies, the gross cost at UC Merced is under $15,000 for Californians. Meanwhile, out-of-state students pay just under $45,000 for the same education.

On top of this, students need to pay for room and board, as well as other expenses. Once those expenses are tallied, Merced estimates that Californians pay around $29,000 for off-campus living and $38,000 for life on campus. Non-residents see gross expenses for on-campus living rise to $68,000, while off-campus living costs sit around $58,000. However, the financial aid office can help mitigate these expenses.

UC-Merced's financial aid office applies grants and scholarships in an effort to reduce the financial impact of an education. They do such a good job that the average net price for a year at Merced, including living costs, doesn't even breach the $12,000 mark. The lowest income bracket thus sees an average net price tag of only $8,000 and households that earn $110,000 or more pay around $26,000, on average.

Average net price 2020-2021
Net Price $11,586
Average Total Aid $21,623
Students Receiving Financial Aid 93%
Room & Board $18,901

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $13,657
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $43,411
  • Books and Supplies - $1,073
  • Room & Board - $18,901
  • Other - $4,603

UC Merced Academics

The UC system in California is well-known for top academics. After all, schools such as UCLA and UC Berkeley are among their ranks. Meanwhile, the central valley's UC Merced likewise enjoys a strong academic reputation. Nevertheless, researchers were interested to get to the bottom of that reputation and sort fact from hype. They dug up statistics on Merced's retention rate, graduation rate, and more to see where they stood.

The retention rate is a metric that reflects how many of a school's first-time, full-time students return to campus for a second year. This number is often softer at public schools, but Merced reports a very strong 79% retention, higher than the national average. Even more pleasing is their graduation rate. Merced sees an astounding 72% of students cross the graduation stage, while another 23% transfer to other schools, presumably to earn specific degrees that are not available at this institution. Transfer students are often highly motivated individuals who transfer to find greater challenges or degree programs not yet available in Merced, and so they may graduate from their transfer institution and that would not be tracked in these statistics. If they graduate from their transfer institution, then Merced prepares up to 95% of their students to earn a diploma, whether on their campus or elsewhere.

Student Population Total

Student Population 9,093

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Engineering Majors 428 Total Graduates / 23%
Computer Engineering, General 197 Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 155 Graduates
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 35 Graduates
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering 29 Graduates
Materials Engineering 12 Graduates
All Biological and Biomedical Majors 358 Total Graduates / 19%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 358 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 296 Total Graduates / 16%
Psychology, General 296 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 213 Total Graduates / 11%
Political Science and Government, General 89 Graduates
Sociology, General 80 Graduates
Economics, General 30 Graduates
Anthropology, General 14 Graduates
All Business Majors 207 Total Graduates / 11%
Business Administration and Management, General 207 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 20%

Outcome & Salary

Merced's top academics and stellar students make for a potent potion. Students are often considering their chances of making a return on their educational investment these days, which is a good thing to consider before you pay for a school degree. Researchers are happy to answer these questions, in this case by surveying alumni to get a sense of how well certain degrees fare in the job market. Though there is no guaranteed salary or job offer, computer engineering students lead the pack of graduates with a median salary of $68,000. Meanwhile, the fifth-highest earning alumni are from business administration, who post a pre-bonus median salary of $50,000. In the middle of the pack, Merced's economics students post a median starting wage of $57,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary NA
College Grads Average Salary $69,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary NA
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $690,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential NA
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $46,344
10 Year Projected ROI $643,656
20 Year Projected ROI NA
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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