"The distinctive mission of the University is to serve society as a center of higher learning, providing long-term societal benefits through transmitting advanced knowledge, discovering new knowledge, and functioning as an active working repository of organized knowledge. That obligation, more specifically, includes undergraduate education, graduate and professional education, research, and other kinds of public service, which are shaped and bounded by the central pervasive mission of discovering and advancing knowledge."
— Mission statement from the University of California Academic Plan, 1974-1978
The University's fundamental missions are teaching, research and public service.
We teach — educating students at all levels, from undergraduate to the most advanced graduate level. Undergraduate programs are available to all eligible California high-school graduates and community college transfer students who wish to attend the University of California.
Instructional programs at the undergraduate level transmit knowledge and skills to students. At the graduate level, students experience with their instructors the processes of developing and testing new hypotheses and fresh interpretations of knowledge. Education for professional careers, grounded in understanding of relevant sciences, literature and research methods, provides individuals with the tools to continue intellectual development over a lifetime and to contribute to the needs of a changing society.
Through our academic programs, UC helps create an educated workforce that keeps the California economy competitive. And, through University Extension, with a half-million enrollments annually, UC provides continuing education for Californians to improve their job skills and enhance the quality of their lives.
We do research — by some of the world's best researchers and brightest students in hundreds of disciplines at its campuses, national laboratories, medical centers and other research facilities around the state. UC provides a unique environment in which leading scholars and promising students strive together to expand fundamental knowledge of human nature, society, and the natural world. Its basic research programs yield a multitude of benefits for California: billions of tax dollars, economic growth through the creation of new products, technologies, jobs, companies and even new industries, agricultural productivity, advances in health care, improvements in the quality of life. UC's research has been vital in the establishment of the Internet and the semiconductor, software and biotechnology industries in California, making substantial economic and social contributions.
We provide public service — which dates back to UC's origins as a land grant institution in the 1860s. Today, through its public service programs and industry partnerships, UC disseminates research results and translates scientific discoveries into practical knowledge and technological innovations that benefit California and the nation.
UC's agricultural extension programs serve hundreds of thousands of Californians in every county in the state.
Open to all Californians, UC's libraries, museums, performing arts spaces, gardens and science centers are valuable public resources and community gathering places.
The University's active involvement in public-school partnerships and professional development institutes help strengthen the expertise of teachers and the academic achievement of students in communities throughout California.