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What's the main difference from a state university and a UC?

Does my major matter if I want to decide to go to a UC or a state school?

Thank you comment icon Hi, Mingkang! Could you be more specific in your question about what you mean by "UC"? Are you referring to the University of California system? (If so, UC is included among CA's state schools, so maybe that answers your question!) Alexandra Carpenter, Admin

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Brian’s Answer

Hi Minkang,

Great to hear you're thinking about pursuing higher education in the UC or CSU system. Both are high quality systems and as a UC alumnus, I can say you can't go wrong with any school in the system. That said:

1). The biggest difference between UC and CSU is "mission." The UCs were originally designed as research institutions, so the education paradigm is more theoretical and research based. While that doesn't mean UC's have a monopoly on research, it does mean that UC's are, with very few exceptions, the only public schools in California that can offer PhD programs.
2). CSU's on the other hand, were originally designed to train "practical" knowledge and "non research oriented careers" (think K-12 teachers - which is why a lot of CSU schools have strong teacher credential programs while UC's don't). Some CSU's now offer limited PhD programs, but it is not as common.

That really is the only difference between the two systems. (see master plan for CA higher education https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Master_Plan_for_Higher_Education)

Today, both school systems offer a mix of theory and practice and almost the same variety of degree majors and programs and many CSU institutions (Cal Poly SLO, Cal Poly Pomona, San Jose State, Chico State, Sacramento State, Sonoma State) are highly regarded by employers (on par with many of the best UCs like Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Davis).
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Doctorate Student’s Answer

Greetings Mingkang, The main difference between University of California Colleges and Cal State Universities is cost. Here's a website with a more in-depth comparison between UC vs. CSU:
Source: https://askanydifference.com/difference-between-uc-and-csu/#:~:text=UC%20stands%20for%20the%20University,more%20practical%20in%20its%20approach.

Also to answer your question about your major being a deciding factor regarding UC vs. CSU, I would say yes. For example, if your major was Animal Science, UC Davis would be one of the UCs to consider.
Source: https://www.ucdavis.edu/majors/animal-science

Hope this helps. Have a wonderful day, London
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