UC Berkeley Vs UCLA: Which Is Better

uc berkeley vs ucla

The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles are both top public research universities in the University of California system. UC Berkeley, started in 1868, is the first land-grant university in the state and the founding campus of the University of California system. It is a “R1: Doctoral Universities—Very high research activity” school with three national laboratories for the United States Department of Energy. The University of California, Los Angeles, established in 1919, is also a major research institution with many research programmes. Both schools offer undergraduate research programmes, summer research experiences, and other initiatives to involve students in cutting-edge research. Let’s have a look at UC Berkeley vs UCLA.

Key Takeaways On UC Berkeley Vs UCLA

  • UC Berkeley and UCLA are top public universities with strong academic reputations. Berkeley excels in computer science, business, and engineering, while UCLA shines in life sciences, arts, and humanities.
  • UCLA offers a vibrant campus life in the bustling city of Los Angeles, with more student groups and activities. UC Berkeley provides a politically active and engaged student body in a smaller, more walkable city near San Francisco.
  • Both universities are highly competitive, with UCLA having a slightly lower acceptance rate. Tuition and net costs are comparable, but UC Berkeley graduates tend to earn higher median salaries both early and mid-career.

Which Is Better In Academics – UCLA Or UC Berkeley? 

When discussing UC Berkeley vs UCLA, the choice depends on your preference and goals. UCLA and UC Berkeley are top public universities in the U.S., famous for their tough academics and strong reputations. Both are part of the University of California system and share many similarities. However, they differ in their academic programmes and rankings. Let’s have a detailed comparison.

Majors and Programmes Offered 

Academic Rankings 

MetricUCLAUC Berkeley
US News National Universities Ranking2022
US News Top Public Schools Ranking21
QS World University Rankings4427
Times Higher Education World University Rankings          189

Student-Faculty Ratio And Class Sizes 

MetricUCLAUC Berkeley
Student-Faculty Ratio 18:1  17.8:1
Undergraduate Class Size (under 20 students)    35%40%
Undergraduate Class Size (over 50 students)       16%13%

Campus Life Comparison 

Both UCLA and UC Berkeley have many student groups, activities, housing, dining options, and sports facilities. However, there are slight differences in the campus life of these colleges.

Student Organisations And Extracurricular Activities 

  • UCLA has more than 1,000 student groups, covering interests such as academics, culture, politics, and social activities.
  • UC Berkeley is home to more than 1,200 student groups. Many focus on political activism, social justice, and community service. The students are passionate about making a difference and creating positive change.

Housing And Dining Options 

  • UCLA provides housing on campus for more than 14,000 students. They offer different options like residence halls, suites, and apartments.
  • UC Berkeley offers on-campus housing for around 9,500 students. The options include residence halls, apartments, and co-ops.
  • Both campuses have many places to eat. You can find dining halls, cafes, and restaurants. They focus on healthy and sustainable food choices.

Sports And Recreation Facilities 

  • UCLA has top-notch sports facilities. These include the famous Pauley Pavilion, the Acosta Athletic Complex, and Drake Stadium.
  • UC Berkeley has great sports facilities. There’s Memorial Stadium and Haas Pavilion. The Recreational Sports Facility has a pool, climbing wall, and fitness centre.
  • Both UCLA and UC Berkeley have a rich history of athletic success. UCLA shines in basketball, volleyball, and softball. UC Berkeley stands out in rugby, crew, and swimming.

Location And Surroundings 

Image Source: UCLA Newsroom Website 

UCLA and UC Berkeley are both in cities, but their environments are different. UCLA is in Los Angeles, a big, diverse city. UC Berkeley is in the smaller city of Berkeley, near San Francisco. Living costs and housing prices vary a lot between the two. Los Angeles is usually more expensive. Transportation is different too. UCLA relies more on cars, while UC Berkeley is better for walking and biking. Students can also contact the dedicated team at UniAcco for on-campus or off-campus housing facilities.

FeatureUCLA (Los Angeles)UC Berkeley (Berkeley)
City Population 3.9 million (Los Angeles)121,643 (Berkeley)
Surrounding Area        Upscale neighbourhoods like Bel Air, Brentwood, and Beverly HillsA quirky college town with a lively atmosphere
ClimateConsistent sunshine and warm weatherCooler and more variable weather, with more fog and occasional rain
Cost of Living Very high cost of living, especially for housing High cost of living, but lower than Los Angeles
HousingOn-campus housing is available but limited. Many students live off-campus in surrounding neighbourhoods.          On-campus housing is available for a larger percentage of students. The surrounding area also has more affordable housing options.
Transportation Car-dependent, with heavy traffic. Public transportation options include buses and the Metro.  Walkable and bikeable campus. Public transportation includes buses and the BART system, providing easy access to San Francisco.

Admission And Cost Details 

UCLA and UC Berkeley are top public universities in the U.S. They are known for their great academics, research, and lively campus life. When deciding which is better, it is important to consider factors such as the comparison of admission and costs.

Acceptance Rates And Competitiveness 

Getting into UCLA is tougher than UC Berkeley. UCLA accepts only 14.33% of applicants, while UC Berkeley admits 17.48%.

MetricUCLAUC Berkeley
Acceptance Rate14.33%17.48%
CompetitivenessMore competitive        Less competitive

Tuition Fees And Financial Aid 

UC Berkeley’s in-state tuition is USD 13,431, which is a bit higher than UCLA’s USD 12,763. However, the net price is close for both: UCLA’s is USD 13,328, while UC Berkeley’s is USD 13,262. Both schools offer good financial aid. UCLA provides an average of USD 10,730, and UC Berkeley provides USD 10,677.

Scholarships And Grants Available 

UCLA and UC Berkeley provide many scholarships and grants to help students pay for their education. Key scholarships include the Regents Scholarship, Alumni Scholarships, and different departmental scholarships. Each university has its own rules and requirements for these scholarships.

Graduate Employment Rates 

UC Berkeley graduates usually earn higher median salaries than UCLA graduates. This is true both early in their careers and later on. One reason could be Berkeley’s stronger reputation in fields like engineering and computer science.

MetricUCLAUC Berkeley
Early Career Median SalaryUSD 66,500USD 77,400
Mid-Career Median SalaryUSD 129,300USD 147,300

Notable Alumni And Achievements 

UCLA and UC Berkeley have many successful graduates in different areas. They have made a positive impression in various fields. These alumni continue to excel and inspire others. Their achievements reflect the quality of education at these universities.

  • UCLA alumni include basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, actress Megan Fox, and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • UC Berkeley’s alumni have achieved great things. They include Nobel Prize winners, Turing Award winners, and MacArthur Fellows. Some have founded major tech companies like Intel and Apple.

Both schools have strong alumni networks. However, UC Berkeley has a slight advantage. Its graduates often achieve significant academic and entrepreneurial success.

UC Berkeley and UCLA are great universities with different strengths. UC Berkeley is famous for its tough academics, politically active student body, and strong graduate programmes, especially in philosophy. UCLA has a more relaxed campus vibe, excels in life sciences and humanities, and is a bit better in undergrad philosophy. Both schools have top-ranked undergraduate programmes and offer access to strong alumni networks and career opportunities. Choosing between them depends on personal preferences for location, campus culture, and academic interests.


What Are The Main Differences Between UC Berkeley And UCLA?

UC Berkeley excels in engineering, computer science, and natural sciences. UCLA shines in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Which University Has A Stronger Reputation?

Both UC Berkeley and UCLA are great schools. However, UC Berkeley often has a better global reputation. It ranks higher in many university rankings.

How Do Universities Compare In Terms Of Graduate Outcomes?

UC Berkeley and UCLA both have high graduate outcomes. UC Berkeley has a slightly higher percentage of graduates finding jobs within six months of graduation. On the other hand, more UCLA graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees.

Which University Has A Better Faculty-To-Student Ratio?

UC Berkeley has a better faculty-to-student ratio. They have about 12.5 students per faculty member. At UCLA, there are about 13.5 students per faculty member.

Which University Has A Better Location?

UC Berkeley is in Berkeley, California. It’s a relaxed and budget-friendly city. This is different from Los Angeles, where UCLA is. UCLA has more cultural and entertainment options.

We hope this article on the Choosing Between UC Berkeley And UCLA was helpful for your future endeavours. Read similar articles on 

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