UCLA College of Letters and Science

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UCLA College of Letters and Science
MottoFiat lux
Let there be light
Parent institution
University of California, Los Angeles
DeanHumanities: David Schaberg
Life Sciences: Victoria Sork
Physical Sciences: Miguel Garcia-Garibay
Social Sciences: Darnell Hunt
Undergraduate Education: Patricia A. Turner
WebsiteCollege website

The UCLA College of Letters and Science (or simply UCLA College) is the arts and sciences college of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). It encompasses the Life and Physical Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Honors Program and other programs for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Mathematical Sciences Bldg.

The bulk of UCLA's student body belongs to the College, which includes 34 academic departments, 21,000 undergraduate students, 2,700 graduate students and 900 faculty members. Virtually all of the academic programs in the College are ranked very highly and 11 were ranked in the top ten nationally by the National Research Council.

The College originated on May 23, 1919, the day when the Governor of California (William D. Stephens) signed a bill into law which officially established the Southern Branch of the University of California. At that time, a College of Letters and Science (named after its northern counterpart at Berkeley) was established as the university's general undergraduate program and it began to hold classes the following September with only 250 students in the college.

At its inception, the College originally offered only a two-year lower-division program, making it a glorified junior college. Young people interested in four years of college were required to proceed to the Berkeley campus or other universities to attend upper-division courses. The inferior two-year program was intolerable to the many Southern Californians who had fought to establish the southern branch. They vigorously lobbied the Regents of the University of California for a third year of courses at the southern branch, which was then followed by demands for a fourth year. The Southern Californians ultimately prevailed, and in 1925, the College awarded its first bachelor's degrees. A milestone occurred in 1927 when the southern branch was officially renamed the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), although UCLA would have to wait until 1951 to achieve de jure coequal status with UC Berkeley and 1957 to achieve true de facto equality.


The College encompasses five divisions — Humanities, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences, as well as the Division of Undergraduate Education, which includes 83% of UCLA's undergraduate students.

Division of Humanities[edit]

Applied Linguistics, Art History, Asian Languages & Cultures, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, French & Francophone Studies, Germanic Languages, Italian, Indo-European Studies, Law and Philosophy Program, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies, Linguistics, Musicology, Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, Philosophy, Study of Religion Major, Scandinavian Section, Slavic Languages & Literatures, Spanish & Portuguese, Writing Center and Writing Programs,

Division of Life Sciences[edit]

Psychobiology, Computational and Systems Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Physiological Science.

Division of Physical Sciences[edit]

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and Statistics

Division of Social Sciences[edit]

Afro-American Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Asian American Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Communication, Economics, Geography, History, Human Complex Systems, Political Science, Sociology, Gender Studies

UCLA's Math-Sciences Bldg.


Notable faculty[edit]

  • Utpal Banerjee, Department chair and professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology; professor of biological chemistry, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Jared Diamond, professor of geography, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Medal of Science recipient and MacArthur Fellowship (1985)
  • Alessandro Duranti, professor of anthropology, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Andrea Ghez, MacArthur Fellowship[2] (Genius Grant winner, 2008), professor of physics and astronomy
  • Thomas M. Liggett, professor of mathematics, National Academy of Sciences
  • Thom Mayne, Professor of architecture, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Calvin Normore, Professor of philosophy, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Theodore Porter, Professor of history and department vice chair for undergraduate affairs, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Charles Ray, Professor of sculpture, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Saul Friedländer, MacArthur Fellowship (1999)
  • Debora Silverman, Professor of history and art history, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Terence Tao, Fields Medal–winning mathematician, National Academy of Sciences,[3] MacArthur Fellowship[2](2006)
  • Paul Terasaki, organ transplant medicine and tissue typing

Commencement ceremonies[edit]

The main graduation commencement ceremony for the College of Letters and Science is held annually on a Friday night in June in Pauley Pavilion. For two years in a row, the scheduled commencement keynote speaker had canceled the engagement. Bill Clinton canceled in 2008 for not wanting to cross a picket line. Actor and alumnus James Franco canceled in 2009 because of his filming scheduling conflicts. Rock band Linkin Park's Brad Delson accepted the last minute invitation to speak at the 2009 commencement ceremony.[4][5]


  1. ^ College of Letters and Science
  2. ^ a b "UCLA astronomer Andrea Ghez named a 2008 MacArthur Fellow". UCLA. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  3. ^ Professors named to National Academy of Sciences
  4. ^ Linkin Park's Brad Delson to keynote UCLA commencement, June 5, 2009
  5. ^ Larry Gordon, "Rock star to replace actor for UCLA commencement speech", Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2009

External links[edit]