University of California San Diego Study Abroad

Information about the host university

University of California San Diego (UCSD) is located in the northern part of San Diego in La Jolla. The beach is only a few minutes’ walk away and shopping centers are also very close by.¬†According to, UCSD is the abbreviation of University of California San Diego.

Parking spaces at the university are very scarce and cost USD 60 per month. However, if you are a master’s student (or pretend to be one at the parking office;)), you get preferred parking spaces, of which there are enough, but pay USD 90 per month. Alternatively, there is a large free parking area northwest of the campus (you just park there on unpaved ground), which is about 5 minutes’ walk from the campus.

Applying to USCD through an agency is highly recommended. I used the free services of MicroEDU, as the application via College Cantact was fairly simple and clear, which had increased the chances of acceptance. MicroEDU offers a number of manuals on their homepage, which show in detail the application process for the UCSD and offer good tips for filling out the forms / letters of motivation.


I only spent the 2012 Winter Quarter in San Diego. Studying at UCSD, like at many other American universities with a good reputation, is not so strenuous for Swiss or German standards. There is enough time to have fun on the beach or to explore America on weekend trips. The midterm exams are what may seem strange to some extent. Practically all courses have at least a midterm and then a final exam at the end. It is positive that the final exams take place one week after the end of the lecture period. (Don’t worry: the exams are not that difficult, which is why you don’t have to learn too much).
At least when you study at the University of St. Gallen, you are very flexible when it comes to choosing a course. I sent a list of 22 courses to the accounting office, which would have counted 21 of them.
I have taken the following courses at UCSD:

  • Corporate Finance: Very interesting. Little effort if you know a little about math and bookkeeping.
  • Economic & Business Forecasting: Somewhat interesting. Also little effort if you have a basic understanding of math / econometrics. It’s about ARIMA processes, trend adjustments, smoothing, and of course forecasting.
  • Financial Markets: very interesting. Little effort if you are reasonably interested in financial markets. Is it about asset management, trading etc.

Course registration procedure

For business administration and economics courses, you can enroll in the waiting lists approx. 2 months before the start of the semester. If there are still places available after 2 weeks after the start of the semester, those who signed up first on the waiting list will be given the places.
Tip: Register early on the waiting lists. For economics students, however, it is not a big problem, as the really real economics courses are easy to get (game theory, financial markets, etc.). It gets more difficult with courses like micro / macro 2.


LOOK FOR ACCOMMODATION IN PACIFIC BEACH (PB) !!! This is the ideal region to study at UCSD. PB is right on the beach, between downtown and the campus, has many bars, clubs and restaurants.

Since I wanted to arrive in San Diego carefree, I have already reserved a room from Switzerland via KAMO HOUSING. There you can choose between single and double rooms. You are then brought into contact with other students who are studying at the same university but who do not speak the same mother tongue. One apartment contains two bedrooms (2 beds each), 2 bathrooms, 1 living room, 1 kitchen. The apartment complexes also offer barbecue stations, pools, tennis and basketball courts, fitness rooms, etc.

Don’t let the La Jolla region fool you. Although it is close to the university, nothing happens in the evening. Everyone I met and who lived there has not regretted looking for an apartment in PB.


It is advisable to rent a car (no matter where you live), as San Diego is quite long and you can go on simple weekend trips by car. I rented my car through Dirt Cheap Car Rental. They offer relatively good cars at very affordable prices: from USD 400 per month. The only disadvantage is that you are only allowed to drive with them in the San Diego / Los Angeles area. However, if you want to go further afield, you can easily buy additional insurance that is valid for a few days.


The exit is awesome. More surfer style in Pacific Beach. You can sometimes go to bars / clubs with flip flops and shorts without any problems. In downtown you will find more clubs like you can find in cities in Europe (just much better parties). In addition, Las Vegas is only a few hours drive away (worth more than a weekend to go).
For surfers (or those who want to learn there) the wave conditions are fantastic. I bought a board and a wetsuit for USD 300, which is more worthwhile than renting anything if you plan to enjoy the waves and the sun on the beach a few times a week.


  • College fees are approximately USD 7,000.
  • Housing costs: 600 – 1200, depending on whether you are looking for an apartment yourself with a few other exchange students and whether you want to share a room.
  • Outcome: Conditions are like in Germany (not as expensive as Switzerland)
  • Car: 400-600 per month
  • Surfing: Suit and board, each used, 300 (suit and board can easily be sold again at the end of your stay)
  • Travel: Flights within America are cheap. E.g. San Diego – New York – San Diego costs around 250


If you are over 21: OFF TO SAN DIEGO !!!

University of California San Diego Study Abroad