Fall brings largest enrollment in Pacific history

students on the DUC lawn during Pacific Welcome

The new academic year at University of the Pacific is making history with a record-setting enrollment of 6,755 students across three campuses—the largest student population in the 172-year history of California’s first university.

The significant increase is fueled by strong demand for graduate programs and growing numbers of international students, who now make up nearly 13% of the student population.

The previous high for overall enrollment was 6,717 students set in 2010. Total enrollment is up 7.6 percent from last year and 11.4 percent over the past two years.

“Our fast-growing student population reflects the power, value and attraction of a Pacific education, which offers a wide array of majors and degree programs delivered by dedicated, caring faculty in small, personalized learning environments on three unique campuses across Northern California,” said Pacific President Christopher Callahan. “We are delighted to welcome all our new students to this vibrant community of scholars.”

Pacific’s record student population comes against a backdrop in which many U.S. colleges and universities nationwide have lost enrollment in recent years.

“Our success reflects a genuine team effort—from our outstanding faculty and staff who are committed to making Pacific a transformational experience for our students, to our donors whose scholarships help make a Pacific education possible, to the Enrollment Strategy team who work tirelessly to recruit smart, passionate students who want to make their communities better places to live, work and thrive,” the president said.

Vice President for Enrollment Strategy Chris Ferguson, who works closely with faculty, deans and other university leaders, pointed to the collaborative effort among faculty and new and re-envisioned market-driven degree programs.

Ferguson noted that all three campuses—Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco—experienced substantial enrollment increases. Adding to the enrollment growth are the university’s first all-online degree programs, led by the Master of Business Administration at the Eberhardt School of Business.

Some of the fastest-growing programs were nursing at the School of Health Sciences, computer science and data science at the School of Engineering and Computer Science and business analytics at the Eberhardt School of Business, Ferguson said.

The Eberhardt School has 657 students this fall, the highest enrollment in its history.

“An Eberhardt School education is a great example of what makes a Pacific education life-changing for our students and alumni,” said interim Dean Lewis Gale. “Our business students learn from inspiring faculty in small classrooms and apply their knowledge in real-life settings,” which includes the Eberhardt Student Investment Fund, where students invest a nearly $4 million stock portfolio, the Dreyfuss Family Fixed Income Fund, where students manage bond investments and a wide array of internships.

The School of Engineering and Computer Science also has its highest enrollment at 891 students.

“Our growth is reflective of the rising interest in data science and computer science, combined with our wide range of engineering offerings,” said Dean Elizabeth Orwin. “We are proud of our faculty who continue to provide cutting-edge knowledge and skills in these critically important fields—all while laser focused on the success of our students.”

Pacific also saw a dramatic increase in international students. There are 872 international students enrolled at Pacific, a 30% increase from last year. They now represent 12.9 percent of the overall student population.

This fall Pacific has students from 67 countries across six continents and from 46 states.

“Our geographic diversity is an enormous strength,” Callahan said. “International students help bring different cultures and traditions to our American students, and our domestic diversity creates an environment for all students to learn about different parts of our nation.”

Founded in 1851, Pacific is California’s first and oldest university. There are more than 80 undergraduate programs in the university’s nine schools and colleges and more than 40 graduate programs, with eight available in convenient online formats to provide flexibility to working professionals.

Pacific ranked highly for student success, social mobility, educational value and the overall college experience in a new series of college rankings.

The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse rankings put Pacific in the Top 100 nationally for student experience and first among schools in the West Coast Conference. Money magazine ranked Pacific as one of the nation’s best universities, with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Only Stanford University and Cal Tech ranked higher among California’s private universities.

Learn more about the Pacific experience and how to apply