University of the Philippines

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The University of the Philippines (or Unibersidad ng Pilipinas), abbreviated as UP, is the national university of the Philippines. Founded in 1908 through an act made by the Philippine Legislature, the university provides a wide range of courses to choose from for tertiary level education in almost every field, from agriculture, medicine, and public health, law, natural and social science, engineering, creative writing, and fine arts. It consistently ranks number one among top universities in the country by academic publications.[1] Senate Resolution No. 276 of the Senate of the Philippines recognizes the institution as "the nation's premier university."[2]

It's college admission test (UP College Admission Test or "UPCAT") is considered to be one of the most difficult college entrance exams to pass. With the government subsidizing the cost of education, students and graduates are referred to as Iskolar ng Bayan (Scholars of the Nation).

The UP system has eight constituent universities (CUs). UP Diliman serves as the system's flagship university, and several others are scattered across the country: UP Baguio, UP Cebu, UP Los Baños, UP Manila, UP Mindanao, UP Open University, and UP Visayas.

Its alumni include seven Philippine presidents, 14 chief justices, 36 national scientists, and 40 national artists, the most by any university. It also has the most number of alumni in the Philippine Senate as well as Members of the Philippine House of Representatives among other universities in the country. It has produced more than 15,000 doctors, 15,000 engineers, 8,000 lawyers, 23,000 teachers, and thousands of graduates in other academic fields, which comprise some of its approximate 260,000 living alumni worldwide. UP has the most National Centers of Excellence and Development among higher education institutions in the country, and is one of the only three schools in Asia that have received institutional recognition in the Ramon Magsaysay Awards.


The University of the Philippines was established through an act of the First Philippine Legislature on 18 June 1908, known as the "University Act," which specified the function of the university to provide advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences and arts, and to administer professional and technical training. The act was the result of the recommendation of then-secretary of public instruction, William Morgan Shuster to the Philippine Commission, the upper house of the Philippine Assembly. It was meant to fill the need to meet the increasing demands for instruction in the higher levels of learning and to provide professional studies in medicine, law, engineering or applied sciences.

UP first opened on Calle Isaac Peral (now United Nations Avenue) and Padre Faura in downtown Manila in 1909. It began by incorporating the Philippine Medical School into the university as the College of Medicine and Surgery in 1905, which started operating in 1907, a year ahead of the rest of the UP System. It occupied buildings distributed along Padre Faura Street (Ermita district) and R. Hidalgo Street (Quiapo district) in Manila, together with the College of Fine Arts and the College of Liberal Arts. Meanwhile, the School of Agriculture was established in Los Baños, Laguna. They were followed by the establishment of the College of Law and the College of Engineering in Manila, as well as academic units under the College of Agriculture and Forestry in Los Baños, Laguna. As the university continued to expand, the board of regents decided to acquire the 493-hectare lot in Diliman, Quezon City. The site would later become the Diliman campus, the UP system's main campus.

During the World War II, the Japanese closed most of UP's colleges except the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, and Pharmacy. The Japanese Imperial Army camped at three Diliman campus buildings: the College of Liberal Arts Building (now Benitez Hall) and the Colleges of Law (now Malcolm Hall) and Business Administration Building. The Japanese also occupied the campus of the College of Agriculture in Los Baños. After the war, most buildings were damaged, forcing the administrators to seek for a grant to rehabilitate the campus. As part of the plan, more buildings were built across the Diliman campus landscape: the University Library (Gonzalez Hall), the College of Engineering (Melchor Hall), the Women's Residence Hall (now Kamia Residence Hall), the Conservatory of Music (Abelardo Hall and now the College of Music), the Administration Building (Quezon Hall), and the UP President's Residence. Most colleges and administration offices were temporarily housed in huts and shelters made of sawali and galvanized iron. The central administrative offices of UP were moved from Manila to Diliman together with the transfer of the UP Oblation. Administrative offices and its regional units in Manila, Los Baños, Baguio, and Cebu were all housed in the Diliman campus. General commencement exercises were also held in Diliman for the first time in 1949.

UP continued its expansion in the 1950s by adding new academic units and degree programs. The General Education (G.E.) Program was also introduced in 1959. Meanwhile, the College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, offered major courses in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. More institutes and colleges were established during the time of UP President Vicente Sinco, which included the Institute of Public Administration (1952), the Statistical Center (1953), the Labor Education Center (now the School of Labor and Industrial Relations, established in 1954), the Asian Studies Institute (now the Asian Center, established in 1955), the Institute of Library Science (now the School of Library and Information Studies, established in 1961), and the College of Home Economics (1961).

The administration of UP President Carlos P. Romulo was marked by the founding of the Population Institute, the Law Center and the Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry Training Center in 1964; the Institute of Mass Communication, the College of Business Administration, and the Institute of Planning in 1965; the Computer Center, the Institute for Small-Scale Industries in 1966, the Institute of Social Work and Community Development in 1967, and the Asian Center in 1968.

During the Martial Law period, U.P.'s administrators tried to sustain the university's educational priorities and institutional autonomy. At the height of activism in the university, UP President Salvador P. Lopez established a system of democratic consultation in which decisions such as promotions and appointments were made through greater participation by the faculty and administrative personnel. Lopez also reorganized U.P. into the UP System. During that period of activism, U.P. Diliman was called the Diliman Republic and elements of the police and the Metrocom stormed the campus during Martial Law. In November 1972, the Los Baños campus was the first to be declared an autonomous unit under a chancellor. A ₱ 150 million grant from the national budget boosted UP's Infrastructure Development Program. In Diliman, it funded the construction of buildings for the Colleges of Business Administration and Zoology, the Institute of Small-Scale Industries, the Transport Training Center, and the Coral Laboratory of the Marine Sciences Institute. Kalayaan Residence Hall and housing for low-income employees were also built around this time.

UP President Onofre D. Corpuz declared UP Manila, then known as the Health Sciences Center, and UP Visayas as autonomous units. At the same time, the Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT) was established in light of the prioritization of tourism as a national industry. New centers for research and degree-granting units such as the Third World Studies Center (1977), Creative Writing Center, National Engineering Center (1978), UP Extension Program in San Fernando, Pampanga (1979), which is now in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Institute of Islamic Studies (1973), UP Film Center, National Center for Transportation Studies (1976) were also established. UP celebrated its 75th year in 1983. In the same spirit, a UP Extension Program in Olongapo was also established in 1984.

Edgardo Angara's Diamond Jubilee project raised ₱ 80 million which was earmarked for the creation of new professorial chairs and faculty grants. Angara also organized the Management Review Committee (MRC) and the Committee to Review Academic Programs (CRAP) to evaluate and recommend measures for improving university operations. The MRC report led to a wide-ranging reorganization of the UP System, the further decentralization of UP administration, and the declaration of U.P. Diliman as an autonomous unit on March 23, 1983. UP Baguio was then placed under the supervision of UP Diliman. Meanwhile, the College of Arts and Sciences also underwent a reorganization to become three separate colleges: the College of Science (CS), the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP). There has been problems regarding this ever since the three colleges separated.

As the flagship campus, UP Diliman led the rest of the units. On April 26, 1982, it was formally designated as a constituent university, almost a decade after the reorganization. Although Diliman was the seat of the UP Administration, the campus was not immediately constituted after 1972. It was administered, along with the Manila unit, prior to the organization of the Health Sciences Center, as a de facto university.

UP President José Abueva introduced the Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program (STFAP) in 1987. Abueva also institutionalized a Filipino language policy within the university. UP President Emil Javier established the creation of UP Mindanao at Davao City, Southern Mindanao, and the UP Open University in 1995. UP President Francisco Nemenzo's legacy includes the Revitalized General Education Program (RGEP) and the institutionalization of more incentives for research and creative achievements by UP faculty members.

UP President Emerlinda Roman, from the College of Business Administration (CBA), has led a Centennial Campaign Fund to upgrade the university's services and facilities. Her term of office has been noted for the ascension of several key professors from the CBA to positions of power within the university. Notable among them is UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao, Assistant Vice President for Planning and Development, Prof. Arthur S. Cayanan, Director of the U.P. System Budget Office, Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, Dr. Lina J. Valcarcel Executive Director, UP Provident Fund, Inc. and UP Foundation, Inc. Executive Director Gerardo B. Agulto.

Programs and Services

National Centers of Excellence and Development

At present, UP is composed of eight Constituent Universities (Commonly abbreviated as C.U.) located in over 10 campuses around the country.

Listed below are the courses offered through the U.P. System of Education.

- Cordillera Studies, Ethnicity and Cultural studies, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Social and Development Studies, Management, Language and Literature, Communication Arts, Fine Arts, Biology, Physics

- Law, Engineering, Architecture, Education, Accountancy, Business, Management, Natural Sciences, Marine Science, Mathematics, Information Technology, Creative Writing, Theater, Language and Literature, Music and Performing Arts, Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Philosophy, Public Administration, Journalism, Film and Communication Arts, Sports Science, Tourism, Home Economics, Anthropology, Architecture, Biology, Business, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Communication Arts, Computer Engineering, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Communications Engineering, English, Filipino, Foreign Languages, Geology, History, Industrial Engineering, Geodetic Engineering, Information Technology, Journalism, Literature, Marine Science, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering, Mining Engineering, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Music, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics

- Agriculture and allied studies, Biology and allied studies, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Information Technology, Development Communication, Forestry, Veterinary Medicine, Education, Engineering, Management, Agricultural Engineering, Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Communication Arts, Forestry, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics, Veterinary Medicine

- Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Public Health, Allied Medical Professions, Biomedical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Applied Physics, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Biology, Medicine, Nursing, School of Health Sciences in Palo, Leyte and School of Health Sciences extension program in Baler, Quezon

- Aquaculture, Fisheries, Marine Science, Social Sciences, Language and Literature, Communication Arts, Natural Sciences, Information Technology, Management, Accountancy, Education, Biology, Fisheries, Marine Science, Information Technology

- Information Technology, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Management, Information Technology

- Distance learning, Distance Education

Basic education

General Education Program

The General Education Program, was first introduced in 1959 and formed core courses prescribed for all students at the undergraduate level. The current General Education Program is the Revitalized General Education Program (abbreviated as RGEP), which was approved by the Board of Regents in 2001. The RGEP offers courses in three domains (Arts and Humanities, Mathematics Science and Technology and Social Sciences and Philosophy) and gives students the freedom to choose the general education subjects in these domains that they would like to take.

Library System

The University library system has a comprehensive collection, containing the largest collections of agricultural, medical, veterinary and animal science materials in the Philippines. The library system, in general, has a large collection of Filipiniana material, serials and journals in both electronic and physical forms and UPIANA materials in its archives. It also has acquired a collection of documents of student, political, and religious organizations advocating political, economic, and social changes during the Marcos administration in the Diliman library.

Undergraduate Admissions

Being a state university, "selection is based on intellectual and personal preparedness of the applicant irrespective of sex, religious belief and political affiliation. Admission to a program is usually based on the result of the UPCAT, University Predicted Grade, which is an average of grades obtained during high school and, sometimes, a quota set by the unit offering the program. The University also maintains a Policy of Democratization which aims to "make the UP studentry more representative of the nation's population" with a quota for each province. The UPCAT also allows students to enter INTARMED, the University's accelerated medicine curriculum, one of the only two entry points into the program. Transferring to the University from other constituent units or schools outside the system are determined by the degree-granting unit that offers the program or the course, not by the university's Office of Admissions.

Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program

The Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (also referred to as the "Iskolar ng Bayan" Program, and more commonly abbreviated and referred to as STFAP) was implemented in response to the increase in tuition in 1989. The program, proposed in 1988 by U.P. President Jose Abueva and mandated by the President and Congress of the Philippines, called for a radical departure from the old fee and scholarship structure of UP, resulting in tremendous benefits for low-income and disadvantaged students. The STFAP is divided into four basic components: Subsidized Education, Socialized Tuition, Scholarships and Student Assistantships.

University Symbols

UP is known for the Oblation. It is a monument of a naked man, with arms outstretched and face pointed upwards. The Oblation is inspired by the second stanza of Jose Rizal’s Mi Ultimo Adios, which shows reference to selfless dedication and service to the nation.

The University's colors are maroon and green. Maroon was chosen to represent the fight for freedom, as Maroon is also a name of a Jamaican tribe who were successful in defending their freedom from slavery and their independence from English conquerors for more than 100 years.

Unlike other universities, the University of the Philippines has unique academic regalia. Graduates wear the Sablay which is a sash joined in front by an ornament and embroidered or printed with the University's initials in Alibata and running geometric motifs of indigenous Philippine tribes. It is traditionally worn over a white or ecru dress for females or an ecru Barong and black pants for males, although there has been instances wherein the sablay is worn over other indigenous clothing. Candidates for graduation wear the sablay at the right shoulder, and it is then moved to the left shoulder after the President of the University confers their degree, similar to the moving of the tassel of the academic cap. Not all units have adopted the Sablay; the Manila and Los Baños campuses still prescribe the usual cap and gown.


  • 30 out of the 50 National Artists and 28 out of the 29 National Scientists of the Philippines are affiliated with the University.
  • U.P. has the most number of National Centers of Excellence and Development among all higher education institutions in the country
  • U.P. is one of only three schools in Asia that has received institutional recognition in the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
  • In line with the celebration of the University's centenary, the year 2008 has been proclaimed as the "UP Centennial Year" and the years 1998-2008 as the "University of the Philippines Decade."
  • The University is one of the two Universities in the Philippines affiliated with the ASEAN University Network, and the only Philippine university to be affiliated with the ASEAN-European University Network and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities.
  • The University is ranked 299 on the Times Higher Education Supplement Rankings in 2006 and 48 in the Asiaweek's Best Universities in Asia last published in 2000,
  • In 2004, the University's seal and the Oblation were registered in the Philippine Intellectual Property Office to prevent unauthorized use and multiplication of the symbols for the centennial of the University in 2008.

The University has also released the centennial logo in 2006, which will be used in all visual materials and presentations of the various centennial activities and events of the University System.


External links



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