One of the top research universities in the world, the University of California, San Diego is renowned for its science programs and stellar faculty. Hundreds of students flock to the university's gospel choir classes each year, thanks to the popularity of music professor Kenneth Anderson. Lin Chao, who teaches ecology, behavior and evolution, gets top student marks (and teaching awards) for describing complex science concepts through stories. Notable alumni include Mike Judge, creator of TV shows like King of the Hill, and Billy Beane, who put his UCSD economics coursework and statistical analysis training to use for the Oakland Athletics team — a feat immortalized in the book and movie Moneyball.

Money found that 88% of students graduate within six years, and go on to make early career earnings of about $82,000. UCSD's student body is diverse in some respects: Some 34% of undergraduates are Asian and 22% are Hispanic, though only 2% of students are Black.

In 2020, Triton fans rejoiced when UCSD joined the Big West Conference as a Division I school. (It's technically in a reclassification period that goes through summer 2024.) Outside of sports, the college's annual Sun God Festival is one of the most popular events of the year, attracting performers like Vince Staples, Snoop Dogg and Hayley Kiyoko.