The University of California (UC) is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University system and the California Community Colleges system.
As of 2011, the University of California has a combined student body of 234,464 students, 18,896 faculty, 189,116 staff members, and over 1,600,000 living alumni.
Its first campus, UC Berkeley, was founded in 1868, while its tenth and newest campus, UC Merced, opened for classes in fall 2005. Nine campuses enroll both undergraduate and graduate students; one campus, UCSF, enrolls only graduate and professional students in the medical and health sciences. In addition, the independently administered UC Hastings—located in San Francisco but not part of the UCSF campus—enrolls only graduate and professional students in legal studies.
The University of California's campuses boast large numbers of distinguished faculty in almost every field and it is widely regarded as one of the top public university systems in the world. Eight of its undergraduate campuses are ranked among the top 100, six among the top 50, and two among the top 25 U.S. universities by U.S. News and World Report. Among public schools, two of its undergraduate campuses are ranked in the top 5 (at spots 1 and 2), six in the top 10, and all in the top 40, with the exception of UC Merced. By the Academic Ranking of World Universities, one of its campuses, UC Berkeley, is ranked fourth worldwide among public and private universities, and three—Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego—are ranked among the top 15.
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—Charles, Jr. Feidelson, U.S. educator, critic. Symbolism and American Literature, ch. 1, University of Chicago Press (1953)
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