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About the School of Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences building

The School of Natural Sciences is acutely aware of its privilege and obligation to educate and train the next generation of scientists and leaders. Located in the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley at the University of California's newest campus — UC Merced — our school exists to increase access to a world-class, research-based college education and to use science to find solutions to the problems society is currently facing.

Mission

The University of California has a mission of research, teaching and public service. Research excellence forms the foundation upon which academic programs flourish and translates to excellence in graduate education and undergraduate experiences. The School of Natural Sciences is developing stellar academic programs for discoveries and applications in science and technology, and for graduate and undergraduate education. Our research and teaching programs serve as an economic engine for the region and state. They also contribute to developing a college-going culture in the San Joaquin Valley.

Vision

The vision of the School of Natural Sciences is to:

  • develop multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research programs;
  • innovative undergraduate and graduate curricula;
  • provide the best possible preparation for its students as they address the many scientific challenges of the 21st century; and
  • address the needs of its stakeholders in the region and the state of California.
      

Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Research Programs

The School of Natural Sciences' programs are thematic:

The faculty and school administration are committed to research programs that encourage cooperation and collaboration across disciplines, which is why the thematic groupings were created. The groupings show that finding solutions to complex problems often requires multidisciplinary expertise and reflect that the growth of research programs should not be hampered by disciplinary boundaries.
  

Innovative Undergraduate and Graduate Curricula

The School of Natural Sciences highly values curricular innovations both in degree programs and in foundational courses. Our faculty and school administration are committed to innovative teaching concepts that increase the recruitment and retention of its students. Our faculty members have had the unique opportunity to create and shape curricular programs and offerings to provide both the scientific breadth and the depth required for graduates in the 21st century.
  

Provide the Best Possible Preparation for Students As They Address the 21st Century's Scientific Challenges

UC Merced has the most ethnically and culturally diverse student body of all the UC campuses. Since 2010, about a third of students on campus have declared majors in the School of Natural Sciences, providing enormous opportunities to develop a diverse workforce with a strong background in science and mathematics. An appreciation and commitment to diversity at all levels (students, staff and faculty) are essential for the success of our students, our school and our university.
  

Contribute to Addressing the Needs in the San Joaquin Valley and the State

state map with an outset of the San Joaquin Valley The School of Natural Sciences recognizes its responsibility and value to the public. It is committed to addressing the needs of its stakeholders in the state and in the San Joaquin Valley.

The San Joaquin Valley has been underserved in access to higher education and in reaping the economic and intellectual benefits of a research university. Graduates in mathematics and sciences will be well-prepared to contribute to solving complex problems that face our region, state, nation and world.

Access to higher education is the key to personal success in modern society and an important goal is opening the university's doors to groups that have not traditionally had opportunities in higher education. The research programs in the School of Natural Sciences have far-reaching implications to advance the health and well-being of humans and the environment, while making fundamental discoveries about the world in which we all live.
  

Values

Excellence in Scholarship

A top priority of the School of Natural Sciences is scientific excellence. Top-tier programs form the foundation for continued success in recruiting the best faculty, inspiring students and providing multiple pathways to improve higher education and economic opportunities. The school recognizes the value of disciplinary depth, as well as interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary academics and research.

Academic Excellence in Training Scientists and Leaders

The School of Natural Sciences places a high priority on increasing students' scientific literacy and increasing the number of students in UC Merced's math, science and engineering programs. There is an increasing need for well-trained scientists, for scientifically trained decision-makers and for a scientifically literate public to meet the global and technological challenges of the 21st century. A high priority is having academic programs that encourage student recruitment and retention, while also maintaining the highest academic standards. Innovative curricula and commitment to teaching excellence in the school's courses are essential for student success.

Recognition of the Special Responsibilities Incumbent on a New School of Sciences

As the first new American research university in the 21st century, the School of Natural Sciences recognizes it has a special responsibility to be innovative in its research, teaching and relationships with its partners and communities. The school is committed to developing distinctive multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research and academic programs. Partnerships with higher educational institutions and communities can offer new approaches to problems and promote progress, while also making sure resources are used wisely.