University of California (Santa Barbara) Distance Learning

Originally conceived as a teacher’s college called the Anna Blake School, today’s University of California at Santa Barbara has grown tremendously since, becoming an all-inclusive research university in paradise. Absorbed into the University of California system in 1944, it was originally started in 1891 and stands as the third oldest general education university in the 10 school system (and one of the only universities in the country to have its own beach).

Moved in 1949 to the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean (the site of a former military base),UCSB soon grew beyond its modest roots to become more than its founders intended. No longer a little school, its 400 acre location now houses four campuses and around 22,000 undergrad and graduate students looking for degrees in one of 200+ (80 or so undergrad, 50+ graduate) different programs of study. Degrees run the gamut from Bachelor to PhD, offering courses of study across three colleges (Creative Studies, Engineering, and Letters & Space), as well as graduate and post-graduate degrees  from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and the Gervitz Graduate School of Education. Choices for majors are seemingly limitless here, welcoming the Music-Composition B.A. seeker at the same time as the Marine Science PhD candidate.

Though there are no online degrees offered, there are online classes offered as well as a host of online library and advisement/registration services, as well as campus sponsored email and tech help, but the real push of UCSB is on the campus Itself. Serving students by introducing them to “novel ways of thinking, learning, and conducting research…in the humanities and the arts, as well as in engineering and the sciences”, UCSB attracts many to its paradise of learning, resulting in “the most academically competitive and ethnically diverse campuses” in the country. Admissions are highly selective as a result and, combined with their numerous and recognized research programs and a faculty consisting of 1086 teachers (including Nobel Prize winners and Fullbright scholars), have created a school that defies description.

Programs are too numerous to mention here, even if you try simply to describe its academics alone. The 5th largest school in the UC system (by enrollment) grants around 5500 Bachelor degrees and another 1000 graduate degrees annually, as well as a host of certifications and open education classes. Accelerated summer sessions exist in most majors, including a Teacher Education Masters program that operates out of a summer cohort model start, keeping the same learners together throughout the year (student teaching during the day, classes at night and on weekends), then bookends it  the following summer. There are also pre-college classes for high schoolers over the summer sessions, as well as Freshman head starts for those who don’t want to wait a whole summer before starting college.

Research wise, UCSB has become a “magnet of innovation”, attracting bright young minds and experienced elders to a campus now home to 12 national centers for research, including eight National Science Foundation sponsorees. Partnerships with other UC schools are common (The California Nanosystems Institute is on both the UCSB and the UCLA campus), and many global partnerships exist (owing to UCSBs many international study programs and exchanges, bringing in and sending out students around the world).

A one stop education for most students, UCSB takes students through their whole education beside the gorgeous Pacific, providing undergrad, graduate, and research opportunities at a highly ranked and recognized California paradise.

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