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UC Merced Featured on The College Tour

Explore the UC Merced experience through The College Tour student segments.

Explore UC Merced

When you first arrive at UC Merced, you might wonder how you will meet people. You can start by leaving the comfort of your room, exploring campus and following your interests, whether in dance, gaming, photography, robotics or anything else. Once you find your niche, you’ll feel part of the close-knit UC Merced community and start making the friends with whom you will share your entire college experience.

A Place to Call Home

Image of dormsOn-Campus Housing

Residence halls offer computer labs with printers, study lounges, a laundry facility with an Internet notification system, a gaming center, a dance and music room, kitchens, outdoor barbecues and more.

On-campus housing is available for first-year students and transfer students.

Residency Guarantee For First Year and Transfer Students 

Housing is guaranteed for two years for first-year undergraduate students and one year for transfer students. Students must apply by the housing application deadline to secure their spot. Apply at

Off-Campus Housing

The university does not currently offer university-sponsored off-campus housing. Housing offers a resource for those students seeking to live in the community. Visit for more information.

Virtual Tour

Take a 360-degree tour of UC Merced. Scroll up, down and side-to-side to explore our campus including classroom buildings, housing, library, recreation areas, student services buildings, and vernal pools. You can even tour Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute Yosemite Field Station in Wawona. Enjoy the virtual tour but be sure to see our campus in person, too.

Virtual Tour

Dining Options

A meal plan is mandatory because residence halls do not have kitchen facilities that allow all students to cook meals on a regular basis.

What meal plans are provided?

Students can select an all-you-care-to-eat meal plan that meets their weekly dietary needs. To learn more about UC Merced dining plans and select the one that’s right for you, please read the residential meal plans guide on the dining website. UC Merced Dining Services provides several options for students who choose to eat a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-sensitive diet and strives to ensure that students with special dietary needs can safely dine in our facilities. If you have any challenges navigating our menu offerings or need additional support, please email executive chef Mitch Vanagten at to schedule a dining consultation.

CAT Dollars also allow a resident to purchase food and convenience items at other on-campus locations such as The Summits Marketplace, Campus Store, the Lantern Café and visiting food trucks on Scholar's Lane.

Find more information:

Campus Safety

Ensuring your safety and security and that of our community is the UC Merced Police Department’s top priority; that is why each officer, public safety dispatcher and Community Service Officer (CSO) is highly trained and focused on customer service to meet your needs. They also are some of the friendliest people you will meet on campus and are here to serve you 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  

Some ways we keep you safe:

  • Emergency Blue Lights are direct lines to dispatch located around campus. In an emergency, anyone can use the blue lights to talk directly to dispatch in order to get assistance quickly or request a safety escort.
  • Online bike and electronics registration increase the chance that they will be recovered if stolen.
  • Emergency messages are sent to your cell phone and/or email address using UCM Alert, UC Merced’s emergency notification system.

Life Outside the Classroom

Student LifeStudent life

Activities: There’s something for everyone, and something is always happening: Movie nights, beach parties, spirit days, cultural events, dance crew battles, guest speakers and more. You’ll see excited faces from all over campus at our most popular annual events – the harvest carnival and concert Treats ‘N Beats, CABsterical Comedy Jam, Winterball, Soul’d Out Poetry Jam, Bobcats Got Talent, and the biggest draw of the year, the Cowchella music festival.

Clubs and Organizations: The Anime Club, Black Student Union, Bobcat Theater, Pilipino American Alliance, Pre-Pharmacy Club and The Prodigy News are only a few of the more than 200 clubs and organizations UC Merced students have formed.

Greek Life: UC Merced’s fraternity and sorority community has many recognized chapters on campus. Collectively, Greek Life provides a wide range of academic, social and community service activities.



Whether you’re an athlete or fan of college athletics, you can get involved by showing up and teaming with Rufus to cheer on the blue and gold!

  • Mascot: Rufus
  • School colors: Blue and gold
  • Affiliation: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
  • Conference: California Pacific (CalPac)
  • Men’s and women’s varsity teams: Basketball, cross country, soccer, track, volleyball, water polo
  • Athletics facilities: Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center; Student Activities and Athletics Center; Bobcat Field, Outdoor Basketball Courts, Recreation Fields, Tennis Courts and Aquatics Center

More info at

Recreation and Wellness

Recreation & Wellness: If your idea of wellness is fresh air and fun outside, an energetic place to do lifts and reps, or a chance to push, pull, run and pedal in matchups with other students, you’re in luck!

Sports clubs: Archery, Bobcat Dance Team, Bobcats Martial Arts Team, Cheer, Softball, Tennis and Water Polo

Intramural sports teams: Basketball, tennis singles, flag football, futsal, indoor volleyball, e-sports

Student using recreation center

The OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE PROGRAM (OEP): The OEP is UC Merced’s hub of all things outdoors. There are activities like Week of Wilderness and you can even rent outdoor equipment and kayaks. Outdoor Adventure trips include skiing and snowboarding in the Sierra, rafting the American River, kayaking in the San Francisco Bay and surfing in Santa Cruz.

Fitness: You’ll find state-of-the-art cardio, fitness and group exercise equipment in our recreation center. Group fitness classes range from cycling to yoga, and personal trainers are always an option.

More info at

Where is UC Merced?

Be prepared: Your friends and family are going to ask where Merced is. Just tell them this: Merced is in the middle of everything.

Map of California showing city of Merced

University of California, Merced is located at
5200 North Lake Rd., Merced, CA 95343
37.3648º N, 120.4244º W, to be exact

In the Middle of Everything

UC Merced is located in the center of California’s northern Central Valley. Merced is your quintessential small town, with a tree-lined downtown filled with mom-and-pop shops, restaurants and a theater, but with amenities that a larger town might have, such as a mall and larger eateries.

Merced is also centrally located, which means that if you schedule a route north, south, east or west in your map app, you’ll run into a city or attraction that’s easy to get to.

Gather your roommate and some friends, check out marine life at Monterey Bay Aquarium, explore the diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco, go skiing at Dodge Ridge, or sit on the beach during the day and hit the boardwalk at night in Santa Cruz.

7 Destinations within 2 Hours of UC Merced

  • Yosemite National Park. There’s a reason why Yosemite is considered one of the wonders of the world. UC Merced students regularly take advantage of the fact that being one with nature is only a short drive away.

  • San Francisco. Golden Gate Bridge. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (but take a picture of it first). Diverse neighborhoods. Giants games. Alcatraz (spoiler alert: no actual inmates).

  • Santa Cruz. Dozens of beaches by day, boardwalk arcades and rides by night. A movie on the beach or monarch butterfly sightings if you time your trip right.

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. Stunning marine life up close, rocks on the shore to climb afterward, and a famous waterfront street to wander once your shoes and socks are soaked.

  • Dodge Ridge and China Peak. Skiing and snowboarding. (Hot cocoa in the lodge is okay, too.) Selfies in the snow!

  • Sacramento. State capitol tours. Gold Rush-era buildings, restaurants and museums in historic Old Sacramento. (The state fair takes place here, too. Ferris wheel selfies!)

  • Gold Country. Quaint and thriving downtowns in Columbia, Jamestown, Murphys, Sutter Creek and more. Gold panning and live re-enactments for your history fix.

UC Merced Students at Yosemite National Park

Yosemite: Our Majestic Neighbor

You know those photos on Instagram and Twitter of people hiking trails, climbing rocks and river rafting? There’s a good chance they’re snapping those selfies in Yosemite National Park, at Half Dome, El Capitan, or Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls.

Merced is called the Gateway to Yosemite for a reason. We’re only 2 hours from Yosemite Valley. You also can take advantage of the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS), buses that will pick you up on campus and take you to the park; no driving required.

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