150 Years of University Education in California


How has the University of California contributed to the state's growth, health, economic mobility, and gender/ethnic equity over the past 150 years, and what is its role today?

2018 is the sesquicentennial of the University of California. To celebrate this milestone, UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education has partnered with the UC Office of the President to create the UC ClioMetric History Project, a massive data repository documenting the university system’s history. On this website, you’ll find interactive displays visualizing 150 years of UC’s students, faculty, courses, and budgets, along with comparative data for private California universities and both topic briefs and academic studies analyzing higher education in California.

For academics interested in pursuing similar research, you’ll also find extensive previously-unavailable databases describing university life, including more than 100 years of faculty directories, course descriptions, and budgetary records as well as decades of student registers. These records have been prepared for statistical analysis using fOCR, a new text-processing protocol described in our introductory paper.

Want to see California universities’ expansion of engineering in the 1950s and ’60s, or the similar rise of UC’s Ethnic Studies departments a decade later? Interested in the surprising number of female doctors being trained at UCSF in 1900, or the extraordinary geographic diversity of UC’s students in the first decades of the 20th century? Take a look at our newest interactive graphics below, or explore the site on your own!

Coming Soon:


• UC Berkeley and Santa Cruz Dashboards

• Link between Student data and 1940 US Census

• Student Ethnicity Data

• fOCR UC Departmental Allocations, 1911-2012

• UC Budget Futures Project Report

• Analysis of Universities’ Role in Socioeconomic Mobility


Featured Studies

If you want to read these or other UC-CHP studies, visit our Reports page!

Our Sponsors

Project Components

The UC ClioMetric History Project has three central components:


We are collecting a comprehensive database of students, professors, courses, and budgets from UC and other California universities by digitizing directories, course catalogs, student transcripts, and other administrative documents--and we're making as much as possible publicly-available.


Using interactive dashboards and static diagrams, we are visualizing more than 100 years of UC students: from their home towns and demographic characteristics to their socioeconomic background, schooling choices (like course and major selection), and alumni outcomes.


Wondering how the long-run decline in state appropriations has effected UC students? Interested in UC's contributions to education and healthcare over the past century? Our data-driven analysis is meant to provide an assortment of windows into the UC's role as California's--and the country's--premier public university system.


Studies of higher education in the United States have long been limited by historical data availability and minimal centralized data collection, and many historical records are deprecated and nearing disposal. The University of California ClioMetric History Project (UC-CHP) extends prior analysis in two ways: (1) by digitizing thousands of volumes of historical registers and catalogs and extracting millions of individual administrative records, and (2) by coordinating with university Registrars and other offices to digitize hundreds of thousands of historical student transcripts, constructing a database of restricted student records for academic and institutional research.

The University of California’s sesquicentennial, 150 years after its founding in 1868, provides an additional catalyst to preserve, analyze, and publicize California universities’ long-run contribution to the state’s growth, health, economic mobility, and gender/ethnic equity.

The UC-CHP database currently includes directory records for all UC, Stanford, CalTech, and Mills College students (1893-1946), UC and Stanford faculty and courses (1900-2011), detailed annual UC budgets (1911-2012), and digitized student transcripts for UC San Francisco (1947-2017). Student transcript records are currently being digitized for UC Santa Cruz (1965-2017) and Berkeley (1951-2017).

The UC-CHP project is directed by Zach Bleemer, an economist and CSHE Research Associate at UC Berkeley, and is currently housed at UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education (with principal investigator John Douglass) in partnership with the UC Office of the President.


Contact Info

University of California, Berkeley
771 Evans Hall #4650
Berkeley CA 94720-4650