Oakes College

Oakes was founded in 1972 to provide high-quality education to students from diverse cultural and social backgrounds. Students, staff, and faculty associated with the college believe that learning takes place not only in the classroom, but also in residential settings. For that reason, they work hard to create a multicultural community whose members strive to achieve ambitious goals—including equal access to educational opportunity and freedom from oppression—while simultaneously affirming and celebrating their distinctive cultural backgrounds.

Academic Emphases

As a result of their experience at Oakes College, students will cultivate equity and justice. This is what drives Oakes College. The broad learning outcomes are for Oakes students to understand the self, community, systemic oppression, and action for change. 

The Oakes College faculty represents a wealth of expertise from the natural sciences to the humanities, and we are proud to have some of the top scholars in the world among our faculty fellows. Our students major in nearly every discipline at UCSC—from economics and computer science, to theater arts and Latin American and Latino studies—and they are well supported by the depth and breadth of the Oakes College faculty and the extensive knowledge of our advising team. Oakes graduates have gone on to successful careers in fields such as medicine, law, education, medical research, and community service.

Additional information about Oakes College academics, including Core Course requirements and other academic programs, is available here.

College Community and Facilities

Oakes College, located on the west side of the UCSC campus, commands a sweeping view of Monterey Bay. Students may choose between apartment and residence hall living. The residence halls have attractive courtyards, and views of the ocean and the city of Santa Cruz. Students can also share an apartment-style living space, which includes a common living area and small kitchen. Full-time coordinators for residential education and neighborhood assistants help residents develop cooperative ways of living together. As one student put it, “Oakes is a community where people of many different backgrounds, interests, and goals form a friendly neighborhood. We share our cultures and adapt to the different lifestyles of our neighbors.” The residential program is designed to assist all students in integrating their academic and social lives. The residential staff host activities sponsored through its wellness, academic success, leadership, and social justice and diversity committees.

The college staff seek to nurture and sustain a community in which mutual respect, understanding, and concern for others are the norm. Within that atmosphere of community expectations, students are also supported and encouraged to find room for their own creative personal expression.

The other facilities at Oakes further support the special programs of the college and provide recreational opportunities for the students. College facilities include the Learning Center, a multipurpose room for lectures, movies, and small theater productions; a college study center that is a quiet space for individual study, and a dining facility shared with Rachel Carson College. Adjacent to the Oakes Café is the Guzman Room, a social and group study space. Oakes is also home to the Underdome, a small outdoor basketball court great for friendly three-on-three competition. Additional recreational facilities located close to the college include tennis courts, a large recreational field, and an indoor basketball court.

Oakes is named after Roscoe and Margaret Oakes in recognition of their generous philanthropy through the San Francisco Foundation.

For further information, call (831) 459-2558 or visit the Oakes College website.

Oakes College Fellows and Staff

Oakes College faculty fellows are listed on the college's faculty directory.
Oakes College staff are listed on the college's staff page.