The University of the Philippines is the country’s national university. Established on June 18, 1908, as a campus in downtown Manila by the American colonial government to provide studies in medicine, law, and engineering, its first President, Murray Simon Bartlett, envisioned it as a University for Filipinos.
Over its 114-year history, UP has grown into a system composed of eight constituent universities and 17 campuses throughout the Philippines. It offers 563 undergraduate and graduate programs, of which 234 are in the Sciences and Engineering, 32 in Agriculture and Fisheries, and 96 in the Social Sciences. It also offers 91 programs in the Arts and Letters, 80 programs in Management, and 28 programs in Education.
In 2020, the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declared 41 academic units of the university as Centers of Excellence (COE), while five units were declared as Centers of Development (COD).
Mandated by Republic Act 8500 or the UP Charter to provide distinctive leadership in education, research, and public service, UP continues to pursue groundbreaking research in medicine, engineering, agriculture, fisheries, and disaster risk reduction and management. It also inspires its artists to pursue works that elevate human consciousness.
As the national university, UP commits to meeting standards of academic excellence as guided by the UP Charter and defined within the changing context of national, regional, and global developments that profoundly impact universities worldwide.
UP is committed to align its policies on research and innovation, activities in teaching and learning, and outreach engagements with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UP Diliman in Quezon City hosts most of the programs of the university. Its sprawling campus, which features a lagoon and an open field, has fueled the creativity of faculty and students in its creative programs. Its National Science Complex hosts several units and institutes that have produced unique and innovative research and studies that contribute to the advancement of several scientific and technological fields. Among these is the UP Philippine Genome Center (UP PGC). Instrumental in detecting COVID-19 in the Philippines, the UP PGC was also involved in developing a local COVID-19 testing kit.
Aside from the creative and scientific units of the university, UP Diliman also houses the university’s Resilience Institute (UPRI) and its disaster risk reduction and management program, UP NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards). Partnering with communities, UPRI has conducted training that prepares these areas for possible disasters.
Beyond the sciences and the arts, UP Diliman is also home to the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (UP CWGS), a pioneering research and advocacy institution in the country to advance women’s and LGBTQIA+ rights and empowerment.
UP Los Baños
Further south in the province of Laguna is UP Los Baños. A recognized leader in agriculture, forestry, and environmental management studies, UPLB is situated at the foot of Mt. Makiling. It hosts the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (UPLB-BIOTECH), which has continuously pursued agricultural, environmental and health biotechnology research, resulting in alternative technologies and products proven useful to farmers.
UPLB’s experts also actively pursue biodiversity studies, resulting in discoveries of then-unknown species, several specimens of which are housed in the UPLB Museum of Natural History (UPLB MNH).
Amid the country’s capital is the nation’s leader in health sciences studies, UP Manila. Home to the National Institutes of Health (UP NIH), its experts tirelessly conduct research that has resulted in innovations in public health, emergency response, and medicine.
Hosting the UP Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH), the Philippines’ largest tertiary government hospital, the campus provides medical care to Filipinos from all walks of life. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, UP PGH served as a COVID-19 referral center, exerting its utmost to save lives.
UP Manila is also home to the College of Nursing, the World Health Organization’s Regional Collaborating Center in Nursing Development. At the same time, its College of Public Health is the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Network in Tropical Medicine and Public Health Regional Center for Public Health.
Spread across three campuses in islands across central Philippines is UP Visayas. An acknowledged authority in fisheries, aquaculture, and marine science education and research, it is home to several units which conduct studies important to the archipelagic nature of the Philippines and its fisheries industry. These are the: Brackishwater Aquaculture Center, Freshwater Aquaculture Station, Batan Mariculture Station, and Marine Biological Station.
Aside from marine research, UPV is also active in efforts to preserve and enrich the Visayan cultural heritage. Recently, UPV inaugurated the UP Philippine Genome Center-Visayas, allowing for the training of locals in the collection of specimens of COVID-19, as well as the conduct of testing in the region.
UP Open University
Situated near UPLB in Los Baños, Laguna, is UP Open University, the country’s pioneering virtual university. UPOU provides quality distance education to students both in the Philippines and abroad who cannot attend the conventional in-person classroom setting due to personal and/or professional reasons. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, UPOU shared much of its experience in virtual classes with other UP units and educational institutions.
UPOU has ten learning centers nationwide, as well as a virtual learning center, to address the concerns of its students both in the Philippines and abroad.
Manifesting the university’s presence in the country’s second-largest island, UP Mindanao was established by law to provide equitable access to quality UP education. The campus offers programs in the humanities and sciences. It is also notable for its architecture, food science, the humanities and social, natural, and computing sciences programs. With new sports science, medicine, and engineering programs, it is envisioned to accommodate more locals who will become regional leaders.
Recently, it also has become the home of the UP Philippine Genome Center – Mindanao, contributing to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Southern Philippines.
Nestled in the Cordillera Region north of Manila, UP Baguio is a leading institution in science, mathematics, social sciences, and the humanities. Through its Cordillera Studies Center, the constituent unit pursues studies of the region’s indigenous communities and those in the farther north of Luzon and Cagayan Valley. These studies, hosted in the campus’ Museo Kordilyera, contribute to the preservation and appreciation of the cultural traditions and heritage of the indigenous peoples of the Northern Philippines.
Formerly one of the UP Visayas campuses, UP Cebu is the youngest constituent university of the UP System, having been elevated to that status in 2016. It was created on May 3, 1918, just ten years after the founding of UP in 1908. UP Cebu’s two campuses are located in progressively urban areas. UP Cebu’s academic programs are intended to prepare its students for the professions in the area. These include courses in communication and design, computer science, statistics, education, and management.
Many UP Cebu graduates become key figures in creative professions and industries in the region and across the nation.
More on UP and the SDGs
UP and the Sustainable Development Goals
Message from the President
Green UP: A UP System Action Plan for Environmental Sustainability
UP at a Glance
UP on Good Health and Well-Being
UP on Quality Education
UP on Gender Equality
UP on Sustainable Cities and Communities
UP on Climate Action
UP on Partnerships to Achieve the Goals