When researching options for higher education in the United States, NYU vs UCLA could be something to consider. Two popular top-notch institutions located on either coast of the country, New York University and the University of California Los Angeles, offer immense opportunities to their students and are known for different things. This article provides an in-depth comparison of these prestigious institutions, covering academics, campus life, financial aspects, and career opportunities to help you make the best choice for 2024.

New York University (NYU, nicknamed the Violets) is a private research university located in NYC. Founded in 1832, NYU ranks 35th in the country and 43rd in the world for the year 2024-25. With an open campus that is woven into the streets of urban New York, NYU is a premier research institution known for its programs in law, business, and performing arts, among other disciplines. The university is also renowned for its pioneering faculty, diverse student community, and immense alumni network, which are spread all over the globe.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, colloquially referred to as the Bruins), located in Westwood, Los Angeles, is a member of the University of California system funded by the state. The most prestigious public college in California after UC Berkeley, it is known for its strong programs in psychology, film and media studies, medicine, and a broad range of engineering disciplines. It boasts a diverse and dynamic student body and its campus life is vibrant with numerous extracurricular opportunities.

NYU vs UCLA: A Quick Glance

Here is a quick look at some factors that can help you decide when it comes to UCLA vs New York University. The finer aspects of these differences are explored in detail in the following sections.

1. Ranking and Prestige: While UCLA ranks higher than NYU, some of NYU’s departments/ schools are comparable to those of the Ivy League universities. The reputation of both universities varies with the field of study.

2. Ownership and Location: NYU is located in Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs of NYC, while UCLA is located in downtown Los Angeles, California. The former is a privately owned, not-for-profit institution, while UCLA is a state-funded school under the University of California University system. For students who are residents of California, this is beneficial as the university provides tuition at subsidised rates

3. Campus Size and Vibe: NYU campus is open, part of the city, without an enclosed designated area. It is spread over a few blocks around Washington Square Park with the diversity and  bustle of the city reflected in the campus vibe. UCLA spans over 400 acres and is known for its lush campus. In addition to the academic rigour, the campus is said to have a laid-back vibe.

4. Acceptance Rate and Student Population: While the acceptance rates of the two universities are almost equal, NYU has the larger grad student population, while UCLA has more undergraduates. The following table gives you a clear look at the numbers to compare both universities.

5. Academics: Both universities are renowned for their academic excellence and research opportunities. NYU is more sought after for social sciences, business, performing arts, and law, while UCLA has a reputation for medicine, engineering, and other science and tech-related fields. NYU follows a semester system while UCLA divides its academic years into quarters.

BU vs NYU at a Glance

Established in 1831 1919
Ownership Private Research University Public land-grant research university
Mascot Bobcat Joe and Josephine Bruin, Brown Bear
School Colours Purple and white Blue and Gold
Nicknames Violets Bruins
US News National Rank 35 15
Bachelor’s Degree Majors 270+ 125+ majors
Number of Master’s Degrees Offered 100+ 130+
Popular Areas of Study
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Social Sciences
  • Business and Management
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Nursing
  • Economics
  • Information Science
  • English Language and Literature
  • Anthropology
  • Modern Languages
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Geography
  • History
Fees and Scholarships
Average Tuition Fee for BA/ BSc per year $62,796 $15,154 (for CA residents)
$49,354 (for non-residents
Average Tuition Fee for MA/ MS per year $40,000 – $114,000 $16,847 (for CA residents)
$31,949 (for non-residents)
Average Financial Aid $53,790 Around $22,000
Eligibility Criteria
Average High School GPA 3.7 3.93
Median SAT/ ACT Test Scores for admission SAT: 1470 – 1570
ACT: 33 – 35
(Test Optional)
English Language Requirements TOEFL iBT: – 100
IELTS: 6.5 – 7.0
TOEFL iBT: 100
IELTS: 7.0
Acceptance Rate 8 – 10% ~ 9%
Student Population
No. of undergraduate students in 2023 29,760 32,423
No. of graduate students in 2023 27,575 14,007
Average Early Career Salary of Graduates MBA – $170,000
Undergraduates – $71,128
Student Faculty Ratio 8:1 19:1
Average Class Size 58.4% of classes with fewer than 20 students 47.8% of classes have fewer than 20 students
Campus Location Manhattan, Brooklyn Los Angeles
Campus Type Urban, Open campus, part of NYC Urban

NYU vs UCLA: Academics

One of the key factors that can make students prefer NYU to University of California LA is academics. The undergraduate or graduate courses that they offer, their choices and flexibility, ranking, degrees and class sizes, academic calendars, research facilities and budgets can become important factors in deciding which college is best suited for you.

Overall and Subject Ranking

If university ranks and metrics play an important role in your decision making process, then it is clear that UCLA clearly surpassed NYU. The Bruins stand 15th in the country while the Violets are in the 35th place according to the list published by the U.S. News and World Report. However, if you are looking at the QS World University rankings for the year 2024-25, UCLA is ranked 42nd globally while NYU is right behind it at the 43rd place.

So, as a prospective student of either UCLA or NYU, your focus ought to be on where the universities stand when it comes to individual subjects rather than the overall rank. For instance, even though UCLA has an overall higher rank, NYU is ranked higher in law, performing arts, or even social sciences and management. They are ranked fairly evenly when it comes to psychology. Still, UCLA is one of the top colleges if you want to pursue a degree in medicine or engineering, especially compared to NYU.

Ultimately, both New York University and the University of California Los Angeles enable a competitive yet collaborative environment designed to push students towards excellence. Here is a quick comparison of the university ranks for 2024

New York University UC Los Angeles
Overall National Rank US News: 35 Overall National Rank US News: 15
Times Higher Education WUR: 27 Times Higher Education WUR: 18
QS WUR 2025: 43 QS WUR 2025: 42
Subjects and Other Ranking (Source: QS and US News)
  • #1 in Philosophy
  • #6 in Law and Legal Studies
  • #5 in Business Programs
  • #6 in Analytics
  • #8 in Arts and Humanities
  • #9 in Accounting
  • #9 in Communication and Media Studies
  • #9 in Performing Arts
  • #12 in Economics and Econometrics
  • #14 in Psychology
  • #17 in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
  • #22 in Nursing
  • #23 in Computer Science and Information Systems
  • #46 in Life Sciences and Medicine
  • #100 in Engineering and Technology
  • #3 in Psychology
  • #5 in Film and Theatre
  • #7 in English Language and Literature
  • #7 in Anthropology
  • #7 in Bioinformatics
  • #8 in Modern Languages
  • #12 in Communications
  • #12 in Medicine
  • #13 in Biological Sciences
  • #14 in Economics
  • #17 in Undergraduate Engineering
  • #21 in Engineering and Technology
  • #25 in Most Innovative Schools
  • #35 in Top Performers on Social Mobility
  • #37 in Business and Management Studies
  • #45 in Performing Arts

To summarise, both universities, despite their overall ranking, have specialised areas wherein they excel and are world leaders when it comes to academics and research. Keeping in mind that it is a generalisation, one can say that among the two universities, NYU is more world-renowned for its business, management, social sciences, and performing arts-related programs, while UCLA is more known for engineering, medicine and other STEM-related programs. But, as mentioned earlier, this is only a generalisation. UCLA is one of the best universities to also study English Language and Literature, Anthropology, Modern Languages, Arts and Humanities, Education, Psychology, Geography, and History.

Constituent Schools

The different courses at UCLA are offered by

  • School of Arts and Architecture
  • The College
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Education and Information Studies
  • Samueli School of Engineering
  • School of Law
  • Anderson School of Management
  • David Geffen School of Medicine
  • Herb Albert School of Music
  • School of Nursing
  • Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Fielding School of Public Health
  • School of Theatre, Film and Television

The different courses at NYU are offered by the following schools and colleges.

  • College of Arts & Science
  • Graduate School of Arts & Science
  • Liberal Studies
  • College of Dentistry
  • Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
  • Gallatin School of Individualised Study
  • Grossman School of Medicine
  • Institute of Fine Arts
  • Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
  • Leonard N Stern School of Business
  • Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • Rory Meyers College of Nursing
  • School of Global Public Health
  • School of Professional Studies
  • School of Law
  • Silver School of Social Work
  • Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
  • Tandon School of Engineering
  • Tisch School of the Arts

Degrees and Class Sizes

Another important factor in choosing NYU or UCLA is the difference in size – be it in terms of student population, number of programs or class sizes.

Undergraduate Population 29,760 32,423
Graduate Population 27,575 14,007
Number of Undergraduate Options 270+ 125+
Number of Graduate Options 100+ 130+
Student – Teacher Ratio 8:1 19:1
Classes with fewer than 20 students 58.4% 47.8%

Here is what we can glean from the table.

  • UCLA has a much larger undergraduate population while NYU has significantly more students pursuing a graduate degree.
  • NYU offers more options to choose from when it comes to bachelor’s degree programs.
  • This can be a pro or a con depending on your personal preference. UCLA typically has larger class sizes and a higher student to faculty to ratio. If you are the kind of student who thrives in large classrooms and more competition, then UCLA is the better fit. If you learn better in smaller classrooms with more scope for individualised attention, NYU’s student to faculty ratio is less than half of UCLA’s.

In addition to these numbers, here are some key differences when looking at academics of UCLA vs NYU.
1. As mentioned earlier, NYU is more renowned for its social sciences, humanities, business, and arts related programs while UCLA has a greater reputation for medicine, engineering and other STEM related courses. This is a generalisation since UCLA also has some of the top ranked programs in English Literature, languages, anthropology and other non-STEM disciplines. Similarly, New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering has one of the finest programs on the east coast.

2. Both universities have a core curriculum that all bachelor’s students are required to take. At UCLA, it is called General Education General and is grouped into three foundational areas: Arts and Humanities, Society and Culture, and Scientific Inquiry. In contrast, NYU’s core curriculum is far more flexible and has fewer mandatory requirements.

3. While this is also a generalisation that can vary with every course and professor, the general teaching style at NYU is focussed more on practical applications that include real world experiences and case studies. UCLA tends to take on a slightly more theoretical approach that emphasises critical thinking and enables students to approach the subject matter creatively and push the boundaries of the discipline.

Key Dates for Application

In this section, we’ll explore the key dates for application and admission into undergraduate programs to understand the timeline. It is also recommended that you verify with the specific department/school that you are applying to just to ensure they do not follow a different cycle.

Important Dates NYU UCLA
Early Decision (ED) Deadline ED I – November 1
ED II – January 1
Regular Application Deadline January 5 November 30
ED admission decisions Posted in ED I – December 15
ED II –  February 15
Regular Decision Posted in April 1 End of March
Deadline to accept offer of Regular admission 4 weeks from the date of offer May 15
Average Acceptance Rate 8% ~ 9%

Admission Options to be considered in the UCLA NYU debate

1. NYU does not have an Early Action pathway but has two cycles of Early Decision admission pathways before the regular admission stream.

2. Early Decision is binding, and students applying through this channel are contractually bound to enrol in the university and withdraw any other application.

3. UCLA and all the other University of California campuses do not give the option of EA or ED. All applicants apply through a common regular admission channel.

4. NYU accepts the Common Application along with the supplemental essay. None of the UC schools accept the Common App. UC applications are completed through UC Apply.

5. One advantage is that you can apply to as many UC campuses as you like with only one application form. Each of the campuses will receive your application and evaluate them separately and simultaneously.

For example, you can apply to UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara, all in one application. However, an offer letter from one campus does not imply or guarantee an admission into another UC campus.

Semester vs Quarter

NYU follows a semester system while UCLA follows a quarter system. The academic year at UCLA is divided into three quarters (Fall, Winter and Spring), each lasting about 10 weeks. If students want to work through summer to graduate early or take up extra courses, there is also a summer term.

NYU follows an academic calendar divided by semesters spreading through Fall (August/ September – December) and Spring (January – April/ May). NYU also has a shorter summer term during which some academic activities take place.

Pros of a Quarter System:

  • One of the biggest benefits a student has in a quarter system is that it gives you the flexibility to choose more courses and interact with more faculty members. On average, a student studying in this model ends up graduating with 18 more credits (6 more courses) than a student in a semester cycle.
  • The course load is smaller, allowing students to better focus.
  • Switching majors or raising GPA is comparatively easier than in a semester since course weight is more distributed in quarter terms.

Cons of a Quarter System:

  • The main disadvantage is that quarters do not give a student enough time to settle into a course of study. While a course may be short, the level of the coursework might be intense to cover the required material in 10 weeks. Essentially, it gives you less time to study.
  • It can be harder to schedule internships, co-ops, or study abroad programs since most of them are scheduled around the semester timeline.

What are the top three courses to study at NYU?

1. Business

Ranked 11th in the country by QS Rankings, NYU Stern offers some of the most competitive business programs on the eastern coast of the United States at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. It is one of the few top-rated business schools in the US that offer numerous STEM-certified undergraduate degrees in business, including a BS in Business, BS in Business and Political Economy, BS in Business, Technology and Entrepreneurship, and concurrent degrees in Business, Film and Television.

At the graduate level, besides the MBA programs and its specializations, Stern offers degrees in Accounting, Data Analytics and Business Computing, Marketing and retail science, Organization Management and Strategy, Quantitative Economics, and Quantitative Finance. With stalwart faculty at the top of their fields and emphasis on social impact, NYU has some of the best business programs in the country.

2. Law

Ranked 6th in the world, having overtaken most of the Ivies, including Columbia, the London School of Economics, Cornell, and UCL, the NYU School of Law offers top-notch legal programs in the country. At the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research and teaching, NYU’s strengths lie in strengths in law and philosophy, economics, politics, history, and social theory.

Their courses on international, comparative, and foreign law are renowned the world over. NYU Law School also offers a number of dual degree programs, as well as other grad schools at the university. This unique opportunity enables students to complete a Juris Doctor degree and earn a Master’s degree in four years.

3. Visual and Performing Arts

Besides being located in the middle of New York’s vibrant arts scene, the Tisch School of Arts is one of the preeminent centres for the study of the performing, cinematic and emerging media arts. This school is the alma mater of some notable artists, including Lady Gaga, Martin Scorcese, Chris Columbus, Adam Sandler, Alec Baldwin, Rainn Wilson, Alexis Bledel, Andy Samberg and M Night Shyamalan.

Tisch brings together artists and scholars from around the world to study acting, dance, cinema studies, collaborative arts, design for stage and film, dramatic writing, film and television, game design, interactive media arts, interactive telecommunications, moving image archiving and preservation, musical theatre writing, performance studies, photography, public policy, and recorded music.

What are the Top Three Courses to Study at UCLA?

1. Psychology

UCLA’s psychology program is one of the best in the nation and is known for its groundbreaking research in human behaviour and cognitive processes. The department’s faculty includes leaders in various subfields of psychology, providing students with comprehensive learning and research opportunities. QS ranks its psychology department in the 9th spot in the world for its programs.

2. Film, Television, and Digital Media

Situated in the global film and media hub of Los Angeles, UCLA offers unparalleled resources and industry connections. The program emphasises creative expression and critical analysis, preparing students for successful careers in the entertainment industry. If you look at the larger domain of media and communications, the university ranks 21st in the world, according to QS Subject rankings.

3. Engineering

Ranked 21st globally, UCLA’s engineering school is recognized for its innovation in areas like robotics, computer science, and bioengineering. The program encourages practical experience through internships and collaborative projects, often partnering with tech giants in nearby Silicon Valley. The Samueli School of Engineering offers numerous research opportunities, right from the undergraduate level, and also enables a thriving group of engineering student organizations that foster collaborations and friendships.

Notable Faculty, Alumni and Research Facilities

Both NYU and UCLA are home to Nobel laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and numerous other distinguished scholars. While the LA campus has 16 Nobel laureates associated with them, NYU has 6. In addition, some of the biggest names in Hollywood have graduated from the Tisch School of Arts of NYU.

Both are cutting edge R1 research universities that encourage every student’s desire to push the boundaries of their discipline. They both raise over $1 billion when it comes to research funding. Each campus hosts state-of-the-art research facilities including the UCLA Broad Stem Cell and the Urban Democracy Lab or the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at NYU.

7. When comparing b-schools, NYU Stern requires most of its applicants to submit a GMAT/ GRE score while it is test optional at UCLA Anderson School of Business.

Academics –  Key Similarities and Differences
1. Both are distinguished universities with a global presence. UCLA is ranked higher, but NYU is more renowned for its business, performing arts, law, and social sciences.

2. UCLA is a state funded school and part of the University of California system while NYU is a private not-for-profit university.

3. UCLA has a much higher undergraduate student body while NYU has the higher graduate student population. NYU has a much lower student to faculty ratio when compared to UCLA.

4. NYU’s academic year is divided into semesters, while UCLA’s is divided into quarters.

5. Both schools offer numerous study abroad options that allow students to attend a semester or a year abroad. While UCLA typically ties up with partner universities and organisations, NYU has global academic centres located in 12 cities around the world, in addition to partner institutions.

6. UCLA has a fairly standard core curriculum while NYU’s is more flexible with fewer mandatory programs.

NYU vs UCLA: Fees and Scholarship Opportunities

After academics, the next important distinction that will help you decide when it comes to New York University vs University of California Los Angeles is the cost involved. The cost of attendance (tuition), additional expenses such as books, student fees, insurance and housing must be taken into account before making a choice.

At the outset, there is one key difference that has to be kept in mind. NYU is a private university and therefore does not have any subsidised or higher rates for any of its students. Since UCLA is funded by the state of California, in-state students have highly subsidised rates while students from out of state or country must pay the full fee for tuition.

Annual Rates NYU UCLA
Tuition (Bachelor’s) $62,796 $15,154 (for CA residents)
$49,354 (for non-residents)
Average Tuition (Master’s) $40,860 – $96,705 $16,847 (for CA residents)
$31,949 (for non-residents)
MBA Tuition $86,092 – $113,365 $85,000 – $92,000
Housing $10,240 – $26,720 $18,369
Types of Financial Aid 1. Scholarships and Grants
2. Federal Loans
3. Work Study Grants
4. External Scholarships
1. Scholarships
2. Grants
3. Loans
4. Part-time student jobs
International student scholarships
  • Not eligible for federal aid but can apply for NYU’s need-based scholarships through CSS
  • Can also apply for merit scholarships and other departmental awards
  • Can apply for any of the external scholarships
  • UCLA does not award scholarships or financial aid to undergraduate students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Average financial aid for first year students $59,000+ $24,920
Admission Decisions Need aware for international students Need blind
Demonstrated Need Cover 100% (Families with income less than $100,000 will not have to pay tuition) 100% (About 45% of undergrads pay no tuition at all)

1. The tuition fees are average figures, calculated for a typical academic year of 9 months. The fee will be higher should you choose to take extra courses in the summer months.

2. The tuition fee amounts in the table are indicative of only the cost of attendance. It does not include books, student health insurance and other expenses. Student insurance alone can cost between $3,000 – $7,000 a year.

3. NYU has a few merit based scholarships for its students, while focussing predominantly on providing need-based aid to its students.

4. While most of UCLA’s aid is based on financial need, the UCLA Regents Scholarships and the UCLA Alumni Scholarships are two of the most popular merit-based scholarships in the university.

5. If you are an international student, it is important to note that UCLA does not provide any kind of aid to those who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

NYU vs UCLA: Student Life and Post-Graduation Opportunities

Here are a few other factors that can make you prefer UC Los Angeles to NYU, or the other way around. The university’s location, campus life, and the extracurricular activities available can also become important points of consideration, especially if the universities are otherwise well-matched. So, here are a few other factors that will help you decide when looking at UCLA vs New York University.

1. Location


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Located amid New York City, in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, NYU is located on the eastern coast of the United States when compared to UCLA. The main buildings of NYU are located in Manhattan, and the Tandon School of Engineering is in Brooklyn. As an NYU student, you will have easy access to some of the world’s best cultural and social attractions.

Often referred to as one of the greatest cities in the world, NYC is a hub for commerce, finance, art, culture, and entertainment. Being a student of NYC gives you access to one of the most cosmopolitan cultures in the world.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

As the name suggests, UCLA is situated in Los Angeles, a sprawling city in Southern California, renowned for its beaches and Hollywood. With a population of around 3.8 million, the city is known for its vibrant and diverse culture, attracting people from all over the world. The entertainment capital of the world, the city has also hosted the Summer Olympics for two years, and is slated to host again in 2028.

Besides its culture, the city is also rapidly growing as a tech capital, keeping up with its northern neighbours. It also has a Mediterranean climate with mostly pleasant days throughout the year that draws a lot of students to UCLA.

2. Campus


Source: NYU

NYU is the largest private university in the USA and houses 11 schools and colleges that offer hundreds of bachelor’s and graduate degree options to its students. Almost all of its constituent schools are located in the main campus located in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Only the Tandon School of Engineering is located in downtown Brooklyn.

NYU’s campuses are spread across several blocks in the city, concentrated mainly around Washington Square Park. The university does not have a separate enclosed campus but rather is part of the city skyline. The 170+ buildings of the university spread between Manhattan and Brooklyn also includes, in addition to the academic, research, and residential premises, the Centre for Student Life, Office of Global Services, NYU Box Office, and the Wasserman Centre for Career Development.

Besides New York, the university also has degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.


Source: UCLA

The university’s 419 acre campus is located at the base of Santa Monica Mountains, a mere 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. With over 170 buildings, the campus has a vibrant atmosphere, a fitting microcosm of LA’s spirit. The neighbouring Westwood Village is where UCLA students often go to shop, dine out, or explore a social life off campus.

Considering its location, the breath-taking scenery of UCLA, both within and outside the campus is a given. It is also known for convenient housing facilities, renowned dining options (including 3 all-you-can-eat residential dining halls), academic and research resources that are state-of the-art, and numerous extracurricular and recreation centres for its students.

The campus builds a strong sense of community among its students as they often come together for sports and other events. Along with the mascots, Joe and Josephine Bruin (male and female brown bears), the campus instils a fierce sense of pride while creating a fairly relaxed atmosphere.

3. Student Population

NYU: In Fall 2023, the student body at NYU was around 61,950, of which 29,760 were admitted in bachelor degree programs, 27,575 in graduate and professional degree courses and around 4,615 in noncredit programs. Like the city, the student population is also highly diverse, with a majority of international students, creating a multicultural learning atmosphere. Here is a breakdown of the student population based on 2023 enrollment.

  • International: 24%
  • White: 22%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 19%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 17%
  • African American: 8%
  • Other: 10%

UCLA: The university has an undergraduate population of 32,423 and a graduate student body of 14,007, out of which 77% are from the state of California. Of the 46,430 students, over 5,200 are international students from over 106 countries. If you are looking at student diversity by gender, about 60% is female, 39% male and 1% non-binary. With a diverse student body, the university creates a multicultural learning environment.

4. Housing

NYU: Living on campus is not mandatory for NYU-NYC students, due to the sheer number of students enrolled in the university. The university has 20 residence halls located in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn. Over 97% of the rooms available in NYC dorms are shared spaces. The chances of getting private accommodation are very low.

Around 11,500 (around 20%) undergraduate and graduate students live on campus. First year students at the Tandon School of Engineering are assigned residence halls in Brooklyn only. On-campus housing costs anywhere between $11,000 and $27,000, depending on the nature of the room. The university also hosts an off-campus housing website for students researching options outside of the university.

UCLA: Unlike many other schools in the US, UCLA also does not require freshmen to stay on campus even for the first year of study. However, they do offer many housing options for the students who choose to live on campus. Typically, around 43% of UCLA students choose to live on campus.

At the undergraduate level, you have four types of accommodations – classic, plaza, deluxe and suite. They are essentially shared rooms with amenities provided either communally or individually. They all include communal study spaces and lounging areas to build a sense of community. The annual cost of housing can range between $17,500 and $22,000, depending on the style and the number of occupants. Meal plans are included in on-campus residences.

Graduate housing is typically located in Westwood or in the Palms area. Students staying out of campus can make use of the dining halls at an extra cost.

5. Sports and Extracurricular activities

NYU: Every year, around 450 NYU student-athletes compete on 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports teams. In addition, around 850 Violets face rival schools, as members of the 24 intercollegiate club teams. Intramural athletics range from soccer, basketball, and badminton to e-gaming, box cricket, and bowling. In addition, NYU also houses the Palladium Athletic Facility, 404 Fitness, and the Brooklyn Athletic Facility that offer classes for both recreation and fitness.

In addition to athletics, the university houses over 300 active student clubs and organizations that cater to a wide range of interests, from cheese to superheroes. These clubs function in addition to the school-based clubs that are specific to NYU schools or academic programs. All NYU students can access the entire list of clubs and organizations through NYU Engage. The university also has a vibrant culture of Greek life (fraternities and sororities) that encourages leadership and cultivates friendships.

The university also hosts a number of student-led media, ranging from traditional magazines, a radio streaming and broadcast called the WNYU and an independent student newspaper called the Washington Square News. Furthermore, NYU Steinhardt sponsors orchestras, choirs, and music ensembles, some of which are open to all students of NYU.

UCLA: The university continues to live up to its name of being a national leader in intercollegiate sports. It is the first school to win over 100 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Championships. The university has produced 410 Olympic Athletes (270 medals) and a record number of professional athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Troy Aikman, Arthur Ashe, Eric Karros, Reggie Miller, Corey Pavin, Jackie Robinson, and Natalie Williams. UCLA competes as ‘the Bruins’ proudly wearing the colours of blue and gold. The school also has 15 multipurpose workout facilities and six pools spread throughout campus.

Besides the athletic spirit that binds the students together, the school is also home to over 1,200 clubs and student organisations that enable the Bruins to pursue varied interests. The UCLA Marina Aquatic Center, located in Marina Del Rey, even offers instruction and equipment for rowing, kayaking, sailing, surfing, windsurfing and paddle boarding. Student government, Arts and Culture, Greek life, Entrepreneurship, or Volunteering in the community are also chapters of campus life that bring students together.

6. Internships

In both schools, the career cell is the ideal place to begin your research for internships in any location. With internships, you can gain more credits, boost your resume and experience the real-world demands of your profession. While listings are available throughout the year, it is expected that you plan your internships around your coursework. NYU allows students to gain credit for select internships that are actively monitored.

In UCLA, About 73% of undergraduate students complete at least one internship during the course of their study. Be it the entertainment industry, aerospace, biosciences, IT, or finance, numerous internship opportunities are made available for students. The university also offers ‘Professional Minors’ that include internships as part of the curriculum. UCLA’s career centre also runs a global internship program, giving students opportunities worldwide.

7. Employability

NYU: One of the top 10 universities for graduate employability, 95% of NYU graduates are either employed or are pursuing higher education within 6 months of graduation. About 51% receive two or more job offers. The average starting salary for NYU graduates is $75,336.

UCLA: The university has a 93% six-year graduation rate for freshmen and transfers at the undergraduate level and was ranked 20th for employability in the US by Times Higher Education in 2023. The top recruiters at UCLA include Accenture, Amazon, Apple, Bloomberg, Cisco Systems, County of Los Angeles, Deloitte, Getty, Google, Kaiser Permanente, KPMG, Mattel, Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Oracle, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SpaceX, Target Corporation, Teach for America and Walt Disney Company. The starting salaries of UCLA graduates vary widely depending on the domain, previous experience and scope of work.


Choosing between NYU and UCLA involves considering various factors such as academic strengths, campus life, financial implications, and career prospects. Both universities offer unparalleled opportunities, but your decision should align with your personal and professional goals. Here is a summary of what these two universities have to offer.

NYU is better suited if

  • You want to live in and explore all the opportunities that the city of New York can offer.
  • You want to apply to their top-notch schools, such as Stern, Tisch, Steinhardt, or Tandon and join their illustrious alums.
  • You want to follow an academic timeline of semesters rather than quarters.
  • You want to live in a campus that weaves through the architecture of the city rather than being separated from it.
  • You prefer staying off-campus since housing on campus at NYU can be competitive.
  • You want to avail the merit and need-based scholarships that NYU has to offer.
  • You want to explore the immense study abroad options that NYU has to offer.

UCLA is the better choice if

  • You are looking for the higher ranked of the two universities.
  • You want to pursue a career in the field of medicine, engineering, or any of the STEM related subjects.
  • You function better in a quarter system than a semester system.
  • You thrive on a campus where there are more undergraduates than grad students.
  • You prefer having an exclusive campus space
  • You are a resident of California and therefore gain the financial advantage of its subsidised tuition.
  • Even as an international student, UCLA is relatively more affordable than NYU since it is a public university.
  • You are keen on participating in Division I athletics.
  • You have always dreamed of living in LA and its sunny weather.

While these can be factored into your decision, the ultimate call rests on whether the course curriculum and the learning outcomes meet your career plans. The most significant part of your research is to compare courses, syllabi, electives, faculty and research facilities of your preferred degree program, speak to current students, and then decide depending on which school better suits your needs.

We understand that becoming an international student can be very exciting, but the prep and paperwork of it all can get overwhelming. The easiest way to reduce your stress is to sign up with TC Global.

We simplify international education, learning, and mobility through connecting students, universities, and a global community on a single platform where there are over 1000+ education providers and over 80,000+ courses.

Our platform enables students to study anywhere in the world in just a few steps. From search and discovery and finding the right course fit for you, to applications, visas and departure – we see you through it all.

To move forward with us, download our app or visit tcglobal.com and sign in to create an account on our student platform and onboard with us in quick, easy steps.! 🚀

Then simply set up a visit Calendly.com/tcglobal to pick a Relationships Team closest to you and choose a slot to meet with a Relationship Member. Be it NYU vs UCLA or any such debates, our experts will be with you every step of the way to help you decide.

Let’s shape your future together.