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Higher Education

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8 campuses within a 1-hour drive. UC Merced has been a game-changer for the city since it opened in 2005, but it’s not the only option. Students can progress from AA to PhD through the 3 colleges and universities right here in Merced.  

aerial image UC Merced campus

University of California, Merced

University of California, Merced is the nation's first academic research institution of the 21st Century. The LEED Certified campus attracts talent, diversity and business to the community. Research conducted at UC Merced includes bacterial diseases, diabetes, cancer, solar energy, water quality, computer science and engineering. Businesses looking for partnerships will be interested in the the UC Merced Venture Lab and the Downtown Campus Center.

More about UC Merced programs & business opportunities...


2 new schools planned:

  • School of Management 

  • School of Medicine 

UC Merced
Science Grant will Incubate 30 Projects

The National Science Foundation awarded UC Merced a $400,000 grant to incubate a total of 30 team projects over 5 years, beginning in late 2017. Projects focused on science, technology, engineering, or mathematics are eligible, and participants can be students at any level, alumni, faculty and mentors. Industrial projects, as well as academic research qualify. Contact the UC Merced Office of Business Development for details. 

students and professor in lab

Merced College

Merced College, part of the California Community College system, serves dual roles, preparing students to transfer to a four-year institution and training Merced County's workforce through associate degree and certificate programs. The college’s Business Resource Center (BRC) has become the focal point for area businesses and employers who are looking for low-cost, customized job training opportunities (read more under Hiring & Training).

  • 82 associate degree programs

  • 50 certificate programs

  • 2500+ online courses



Total Degrees: 1,667

Total Certificates: n/a

  • CSU General Educ. Breadth: 746

  • Social & Behavioral Sciences: 240

  • Psychology for Transfer: 220

  • Psychology: 157

  • Business Administration: 107

  • Sociology for Transfer: 107

  • General Educ. Transfer: 99

  • Administration of Justice: 75

  • Health Sciences: 67

  • Elementary Teacher Education: 67

Merced College
Career Preparation

In addition to a successful college transfer program sending four-year students to CSU Fresno, CSU Sacramento, UC Merced, and other schools, Merced College meets the practical demands of local industry. The Hospitality Career Academy, launched in 2021 in partnership with downtown Merced's El Capitan hotel and Mainzer restaurant/theater, provides training and career opportunities in hospitality and customer service. The Truck Driving program, launched in 2022, delivers the training necessary to obtain a Class A Commercial Truck Driving License.

building on merced college campus

Fresno Pacific University (Merced Campus)

This private university based in Fresno (60 miles south) maintains a Merced Center geared toward working adults, with evening courses and options for accelerated bachelor’s degrees and graduate programs. Programs at the Merced Campus:

  • Early Childhood Development

  • Business Administration: Organizational Leadership Emphasis

  • Liberal Arts

Fresno Pacific
List of Colleges

Colleges & Universities within 1 Hour of Merced

Source:  National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator (March 2022).

NOTE: Out-of-city distances are measured from City Hall (678 W 18th St).

illustration - magnifying glass
  1. UC Merced Science Grant: UC Merced Office of Business Development ( (Aug 2017).

  2. Number of programs: Merced College Profile, ( (March 2022).

  3. Top degrees; technical education: Merced College Annual Report, 2021 (March 2022).

  4. Respective institutions' websites (March 2022).

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