Prospective Students


UC Santa Barbara has been featured by U.S. News & World Report in its annual listing of the Best National Universities, in which it is ranked number 11 among the Top 30 Public National Universities in the country. One of only 62 institutions elected to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, UCSB is ranked number 33 on a list of the world's top 200 universities and number 23 among U.S. universities by the British Times Higher Education survey. UCSB has been named one of the country's “hottest colleges” twice in the past decade by Newsweek’s guide to America's best colleges. In a 2010 survey of UC seniors, 89 percent of UCSB students stated that they were satisfied with their overall academic experience and described the campus as having a strong commitment to undergraduate education.


The College of Letters and Science offers 80 majors and 38 minors, giving undergraduates remarkable opportunities, whether they want to study the cultural, artistic, literary, and intellectual traditions that have shaped our world; learn about the remarkable ethnic diversity in our multicultural state and our global society: explore theoretical physics, nanotechnology, and economics; or master skills in new media, and learn about the complexities of information technology and society. Internationally-recognized scholars and artists teach undergraduate and graduate students and advance their fields with innovative research, publications, and creative activity that both preserve our traditions and map new fields of study. Our campus is known for its interdisciplinary environment. Many students have minors and double majors.

Over 50 percent of UC Santa Barbara seniors have reported that they participated in faculty research or creative projects. Many students study through the Education Abroad Program, which has over 250 programs in 36 countries, or at the University of California centers in Washington, D.C., or Sacramento. Students benefit from lectures, performances, and special events that focus on important issues of the day and from UCSB’s Arts & Lectures Program, which brings world-renowned authors, public figures, and artists to campus for lectures, performances, and master classes.


We have especially strong programs in the arts and humanities. They include areas that have been at the heart of a liberal arts education for centuries (history, literature, languages, philosophy, religion, culture, and the visual and performing arts) and innovative, interdisciplinary approaches that are remapping the university in the twenty-first century. Students can focus on such areas as Language, Culture, and Society; Literature and the Environment; Architecture and Environment; Film and Media Studies; Ethics and Public Policy; and the History of Public Policy.

The Writing Program offers an innovative curriculum that provides students with the opportunity to learn about and practice writing in academic, professional, and civic contexts. A minor in Professional Writing offers tracks in Professional Editing, Multimedia Communication, Business Communication, and Writing and Civic Engagement. 

Among the hundreds of exciting courses offered are Human Rights and Literature; Literature of Technology; History of Film and Electronic Media; Ethics in Leadership and Enterprise; Origins: A Dialogue Between Scientists and Humanists; Philosophy of Mind, Freedom and Determinism; Memory: Bridging the Humanities and Neurosciences; Greek Mythology; Women and Politics in Modern France; History of the Present; and Wildlife in America.

Students at every level are taught by nationally- and internationally-renowned faculty, recognized for their outstanding scholarship and dedicated teaching. Our faculty have won major fellowships, prizes, and honors for their innovative and influential academic research.


Students who major in the arts and humanities at UCSB are prepared for a wide variety of careers. In a recent survey, 93 percent of business executives agreed that a job candidate's demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than his or her undergraduate major. Law schools, medical schools, and other professional schools, as well as employers in businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, want college graduates with creative college graduates who can collaborate and innovate, and who can understand the histories, cultures, and languages of our diverse global society. Ten years after graduation, median salaries for students with B.A.s in majors such as Philosophy, English, Linguistics, and History are as high as or better than median salaries for students with B.A.s in majors such as Marketing and Communication, Molecular Biology, Accounting, Business Administration, Health Sciences, and Public Relations.

Our arts and humanities graduates have successful and rewarding careers in law, medicine, education, finance, business, entrepreneurship, journalism, media, government, diplomatic service, architecture, museums and cultural institutions, and the film and television industry. Others have become well-known actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, musicians, artists, and authors. Some have pursued graduate study and become distinguished scholars and university professors.

Our arts and humanities programs inspire, instill creativity, and foster critical thinking and communication skills.  Our arts programs offer conservatory-level training and fine arts degrees. Twenty-two departments and interdisciplinary programs (offering 29 undergraduate degrees and 28 graduate degrees) focus on the intellectual, historical, and artistic traditions of cultures throughout the world and the modes of expressions that have given them voice and form. These majors and courses help us to understand our society and culture: what we believe and value, how we speak and communicate, how we view the world. Understanding the past helps us to make sense of the present, and to shape the future.

Visit for links to our programs in the arts and humanities and the College of Letters and Science. And follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@hfaucsb) for regular posts.

Links to recent articles on the arts and humanities:

Counting (on) Success, Huffington Post