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What is UCLA Known For Academically?

UCLA was founded in 1882 and is one of the most renowned universities in the USA. Students of the school learn under the best possible infrastructures in the world. It’s also popular for its sporting prowess and has numerous NCAA titles.

Academically, the school is one of the best around, explaining why many students try to enter the school annually. Its numerous academic achievements (both past and present) helped maintain its status.

This article will educate you on what UCLA is known for academically. You’ll learn about some of the school’s best graduate and undergraduate programs and its academic achievements.

What are the Most Popular Programs at UCLA?

UCLA offers undergraduate and graduate programs that cut across 130 majors, 90 minors, and over 1,300 courses.

You’ll learn under some of the best instructors and facilities globally, irrespective of which program you choose to study. However, some programs are more popular at the schools than others.

Graduates of these programs have made a significant impact on global development. If you want to enter UCLA but are unsure which program to go for, here are some of its best.

What Are Some Popular UCLA Majors?

University of California los Angeles

1. Biology

Biology is the scientific study of living organisms. It’s perfect for students who want to pursue a career in the biological or medicinal discipline. UCLA will expose you to all the tenets of the major, setting you up for your postgraduate studies.

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Not many general universities teach Biology, as well as UCLA. This claim is evident in the number of esteemed Biologists the school has bred, some of which include Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Flossie Wong Staal (who cloned HIV and determined the function of its genes), and David Eisenberg.

2. Sociology

Sociology is all about the study of human behaviors in relation to society. You can study Sociology at UCLA at the College of Letters and Social Science. At UCLA, the major entails mathematics, history, politics, race relations, demography, psychology, and other aspects.

You’ll learn with some of the best students and share your knowledge with them. Additionally, the school has bred many esteemed Sociologists who’ve contributed immensely to social development. Some famous sociologists who graduated from UCLA include Ralph Larkin, Claude S. Fisher, John Keith Irwin, and Carol Aneshensel.

3. Business Economics

Business Economics is another prominent major at UCLA. You can study it in the College of Letters and Science Division of Economics. Business Economics isn’t the regular Business or Economics course. It combines both to give you a focused curriculum guided by rigorous logic and an integrative economics perspective.

You’ll have to study some specific courses when studying business economics. UCLA boasts two Nobel Laureates in the field. One of them is Elinor Ostrom, who won it in 2009, and William F. Sharpe, winning the accolade in 1990.

4. Engineering

engineering word illustrated

You can bet Engineering will be on the list at some point. It’s one of the most important fields of human endeavor and synonymous with the best schools. The Samueli School of Engineering is one of the best places to study engineering in the US.

It has consistently made it into the top ten of most top-ranking engineering schools for years. You can study all the different engineering disciplines divided into seven departments. You can either take immediate employment after graduation or pursue postgraduate studies.

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5. Political Science

Political Science is simply the scientific study of how politics and government work. Students will study the relationship between people and governments and the interaction between nations and states.

The program’s curriculum is designed to help students prepare for work in public administration, law, political science, or other related disciplines. Students can study American Politics, International Relations, Public, Comparative, and Political Theory.

UCLA has many political scientists who’ve significantly impacted local and global politics. These notable scientists include Lara Brown, Karen Orren, and Eugene Victor Wolfenstein.

6. Computer Science

confident male data scientist

Computer Science is another of the many available programs at the Samueli School of Engineering. UCLA optimized the program for students who want to study computer engineering but don’t fancy computer systems hardware. Expect to read the tenets of software engineering, data structures, programming languages’ principles, computer architecture, and theory of computation, among many others.

As you might expect, UCLA has produced many esteemed computer scientists since its inception, some of which include Thelma Estrin, Sheila Greibach, and Judea Pearl.

These are some of UCLA’s most popular majors. Many other programs have students who’ve performed excellently in various fields. One of the main advantages of attending UCLA is that you’re poised to find a course that’ll interest you because there are many options.

Does UCLA Have Nobel Laureates?

UCLA has students who’ve won many academic awards and accolades, including the prestigious Nobel Prize winners. Here are some UCLA Nobel Laureates.

1. Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche was the first person from UCLA to get a Nobel Prize. He won the award in 1950 after he helped arrange a ceasefire during the Arab-Israeli conflict. Bunche set the pace for the success of other Bruins, and UCLA still celebrates him to this day.

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2. Glenn T. Seaborg

Glenn T. Seaborg

Glenn T. Seaborg won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry one year after Ralph Bunche. He won the award for his revolutionary discovery of Plutonium with an atomic number of 94.

This discovery was a significant step up from existing natural elements like Uranium, which had an existing Atomic number of 92. His discovery of Plutonium allows us to explore the possibilities of space travel, nuclear weapons, and nuclear energy.

3. Willian Sharpe

William Sharpe

William Sharpe is another of the school’s Nobel Laureates. He initially attended UCLA to study Accounting but soon majored in Economics. Ralph Graduated from the institution and went into the professional world.

He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1990 after formulating a theory for pricing financial assets. His innovation was valuable to the business world, and many business institutions still use it.

4. Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom ucla

UCLA has seen many outstanding students, but only a few at the levels of Elinor Ostrom. She’s another Economist who received the Nobel Prize for her revolutionary discovery of managing local properties. She proves that communities can handle their properties without government or external interference.

5. Randy W. Sheckman

Randy W. Schekman

Randy W. Sheckman received the Nobel Prize for Psychology or Medicine in 2013. He received the award for his revolutionary work on cell membrane Vesicle Trafficking. His discovery influenced the medical world in many positive ways. Randy graduated from UCLA with a degree in molecular sciences in 1971.

These are some of the Nobel Laureates that UCLA has in its history. Note that all these individuals have also won other prestigious awards in their respective fields. However, this section only focuses on the Nobel prizes each of them won.

What other Academic Achievements Does UCLA Have?

Aside from Nobel Laureates, UCLA also has many winners in other prestigious academic awards. The school has almost 20 Students among the MacArthur Association Fellows. UCLA has two recipients of the National Medal of Science and four winners of the Pulitzer Prize.

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Victor Seff was a 2007 Turin Award winner, an award recognizing computer science distinction. The school has two Poet Laureates and 12 Rhode Scholars as of 2021, and these are a few of the numerous accolades students of the school have brought upon it since its inception.

UCLA Faculty members have also brought success to the school over the years. It has a ton of awards won by its faculty members as well, eight of them being Nobel Prizes. Terence Tao also won the Field Medal in Mathematics in 2006, bringing immense prestige to the school.

Many of the school’s faculty members have been part of the MacArthur Association Fellows, and 12 have received the National Medal of Science. UCLA faculty members have been one-time recipients of the Pritzker Prize (Thom Mayne), three times winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and one-time winners of the Turin Award (Judea Pearl).

Is UCLA a Generally Good School

UCLA is a good school academically, and the sheer number of academic achievements that the school has proves this fact. The school also dominates all rankings, and the US News and World Report consistently ranked it as one of the best public universities in the United States.

However, the US News and World Report don’t base their rankings on academic qualities alone. Nonetheless, the school ranks high in other academic-based rankings. So, that UCLA is an academically profound school isn’t a fallacy.

How to Succeed Academically at UCLA

UCLA has high standards, but succeeding at the school isn’t impossible. It’ll all be about working hard to ensure you graduate with flying colors. UCLA fancies students who can work effectively with their colleagues to produce outstanding results.

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Before the school grants you admission, it would’ve screened you to ensure you have what it takes to become a student. It’s up to you to maintain the quality and hopefully make yourself and the school proud.


UCLA is renowned for breeding students that have contributed positively to global development in recent years. It achieved this status by ensuring that it admits the best students and employs the best instructors to tutor them.

The school has one of the strictest admission requirements among all universities in the US, and therefore, only highly intellectual students study there.

If you’re wondering whether the school is right for you, examining your personal qualities can help. The school loves students ready to work with their colleagues for the betterment to enhance success, and it’s an essential part of what makes the school what it is currently.


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