The University of California was founded in 1868 as a public, state-supported land-grant institution. It was written into the State Constitution of 1879 as a public trust to be administered by an independent governing board, the Regents of the University of California. The Board of Regents includes the following 28 members: seven ex officio members, 20 members appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Senate for staggered 12-year terms, and one student appointed by the Board. The Governor is President of the Regents.
The 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education designates the University of California as the primary state-supported academic agency for research. In addition, the University serves students at all levels of higher education in California and is the public segment primarily responsible for awarding the doctorate and several professional degrees, including in medicine and law.
The University is headed by a President who is responsible for overall policy development, planning, and resource allocation. Chancellors are responsible for the management of individual campuses. The Regents have delegated authority to the Academic Senate to determine conditions for admission, degree requirements, and approval of courses and curricula.
There are ten campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. Nine of these are general campuses and offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional education. The San Francisco campus is devoted exclusively to the health sciences. The University operates five teaching hospitals in the counties of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, and Orange. The University has more than 800 research centers, institutes, laboratories, and programs in all parts of the state. The University also provides oversight of one United States Department of Energy laboratory and is in partnerships with private industry to manage two other Department of Energy laboratories.
The University of California conducts higher education programs in four major areas: (1) instruction through undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs and postdoctoral programs; (2) research; (3) education for professional careers; and (4) public service.
Because department programs drive the need for infrastructure investment, each department assesses its need for new or renovated facilities and has significant input into capital planning and the capital outlay program to support this need. For specifics on the University of California's capital outlay program, see "Infrastructure Overview."