UC San Diego is branched in six undergraduate residential colleges, three graduate school, and two professional medical schools.
The main campus has 761 buildings that occupy 466 ha, with natural reserves covering about 360 ha and outlying facilities taking up the remaining area. The San Diego Freeway passes through the campus and separates Thornton Hospital and Mesa apartment housing from the greater part of the university. The Preuss School, a college-preparatory charter school established and administered by UC San Diego, also lies on the eastern portion of the campus.
UC San Diego has about 17,000 parking spaces and offers a number of alternative transportation options. The university runs a shuttle system, which is provided free for students, faculty, and staff, that services the main campus, UC San Diego Medical Center, university affiliated research centers, nearby apartment complexes and shopping centers, and the Sorrento Valley train station.
The school has hundreds of student organizations and the university hosts a thriving Greek community.
In 2010, The Daily Beast said UC San Diego was one of the happiest colleges in the United States based on nightlife, number of student organizations, retention rate, and sunny days. In all, the university offers classical orchestras, intramural sports, and has over 550 student organizations. 38 national and local Greek organizations are hosted on campus, with fraternity and sorority members representing 20% of the student population. The university operates on an academic quarter system with three primary quarters beginning in late September and ending in mid-June.
The six undergraduate residential colleges have separate unique housing facilities for their students. First-year students are usually housed in the residence halls while upperclassmen live in the college apartments. Transfer students are housed in separate facilities from the residential colleges. The housing facilities vary in design, though nearly all of them are of modern or brutalist style.
The vast majority of entering freshmen and about 40 percent of all undergraduates in Fall 2012 chose to live in campus residence halls or apartments, with roughly 70 percent of all incoming freshman living in triple occupancy rooms. Graduate students can choose to live in one of six apartment complexes apart from undergraduate housing. Three of these facilities are several minutes away from UC San Diego while the remaining are located on university grounds.
Accommodation is made for students with specific needs. Undergraduate couples and families have the option of living in housing facilities that are normally available only to graduate students.
Housing plans also offer students access to dining facilities, which were named by PETA as the most vegan-friendly in the United States. Each student is allotted a certain number of "Dining Dollars" to purchase meals at any dining hall and groceries at any on-campus market.
Six distinct dining halls are located at each of the six colleges, with markets located adjacent or near them, except at Eleanor Roosevelt College which shares a marketplace with The Village. In addition to the six dining halls, there are also four specialty dining facilities and two food trucks on campus that accept dining dollars.
The Career Services Center strives to help UC San Diego students determine and fulfill students’ career goals. Throughout the academic career, the center helps students learn about themselves, develop skills and identify resources to pursue their professional and academic objectives.
Students may get career advice and information on topics such as: choosing or changing their major, planning job search, finding a job or internship, interviewing & negotiation, self-assessment, deciding on a career, networking effectively, changing career direction, making the most of a job fair, applying to professional & graduate school.
81% of graduates are employed within 3 months after graduation, 9% start their own company.
32% of graduates, are employed in marketing/sales and 27% - in finance and accounting.