UCSC Colleges: Merrill College


In 1968, Merrill College became UCSC’s fourth college. The name “Merrill” comes from Charles Merrill Jr, an educator and philanthropist, who donated much of the money to make Merrill a reality.


Merrill’s theme is “Cultural Identities and Global Consciousness”. The core course involves readings detailing how people fight to preserve their culture as other powers spread through the world.


Merrill is located just next to Crown and above Stevenson. As such, Merrill is even more remote than either of these colleges. Merrill is surrounded by large redwoods, and it’s very peaceful up there.


Merrill is still a short walk to Humanities and the bookstore area (as close to a central area as UCSC has), but reaching other important places such as Science Hill and the Media Center can be a bit difficult.

The nearest bus stop is for Crown/Merrill, but only buses going counter-clockwise around campus stop here. If you’re coming back to Merrill, you’re going to have to stop at a different bus stop and walk a good way, and then up the steep hill known as “Cardiac Hill” — be ready for a 5-10 minute walk when you return home.

Merrill has several different buildings, though the largest and most dominant one is five stories tall. Students are housed in singles, doubles, and triples, with doubles being most common.

However, recently I’ve heard that more doubles are being turned into small triples in order to house more students — apparently, things can be a bit cramped. The floor also shares a common coed bathroom.

You can choose floors based on preferences, if you’d like — female-only, GLBT floor, music floor, and a few others. This can help you match up in a way that you feel safer and/or be around more people like you.

Merrill shares its apartments with Crown College. Apartments can be coed, though rooms will be single-sex. You can have one of three types of rooms — four singles, a double and a triple, or two singles and a triple. The apartments are set farther back from Merrill, though they are located more of behind Crown than behind Merrill. It’s a bit of a walk getting to and from these apartments.


The nearest dining hall is at Crown College, which is right next to Merrill and only a short walk away. Crown’s dining hall has very flexible hours –  it is open until midnight all nights of the week except Monday.

Since many other dining halls close early on the weekends, having a nearby dining hall open is very handy. The food is pretty typical of dining hall food — sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. There’s a decent amount of variety.

Also in Merrill is the Merrill Cultural Center. Here, organic and cultural foods are served. I’ve heard very mixed opinions about its food — how good it is will depend on what your tastes are.

Things to Remember

  • Merrill has a reputation for being very quiet — its nickname, in fact, is “Sterile Merrill”. The stereotype about Merrill is that its residents are studious. Combined with Merrill being very remote and high up, this one seems to be pretty true — Merrill even enforces 24-hour “quiet hours” to help students study. If you like peace, this can work out for you, but if you want to be loud and rambunctious, you should look elsewhere.
  • Be ready to walk uphill a lot.
  • Merrill is very pretty — the trees look beautiful during all seasons of the year.