The University of the Philippines, without a doubt, is one of the most popular universities in the country. And it probably is the best.
As a general comprehensive university, UP offers a manifold of degree programs. In total, the University boasts of 246 undergraduate degree programs and 362 graduate degree programs distributed among its constituent universities—the most offered by any institution of higher learning in the Philippines.
These programs are distributed across UP’s constituent, autonomous universities. And the more popular of these constituent units are UP Diliman and UP Los Baños.
If you going to college soon and wondering what the difference between UP Los Baños and UP Diliman, we got your back.
A Brief History and Introduction
UP first opened its doors at Calle Isaac Peral (now United Nations Avenue) and Padre Faura in downtown Manila in 1909.
Three colleges initially comprised UP: the College of Fine Arts, College of Liberal Arts and the College of Medicine and Surgery, all located along Padre Faura and R. Hidalgo streets in the City of Manila.
Another academic unit, the School of Agriculture, was established in Los Baños, Laguna. The succeeding years saw the creation of additional academic units in both Manila and Los Baños.
The Second World War saw the destruction of several buildings of the UP in Manila and Los Baños, Cebu and Iloilo.
In 1948, under the stewardship of UP President Bienvenido Gonzales, much of the UP was transferred from its campus in Manila to bigger campus in Diliman, Quezon City.
The Diliman campus became an autonomous unit only in 1985. To date, it is the largest constituent university (CU) in terms of the number of degree-granting academic units, student population, faculty and library resources.
The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), on the other hand, started out as a College of Agriculture in 1909, became a full-fledged university in 1972. It was one of the first colleges which comprised the UP during its formative years. UP Los Baños has emerged as a leading academic institution in Southeast Asia and is now recognized as the agriculture center of Asia.
One can surmise that UP Diliman started in 1949 as a generalist university offering various degree programs; UP Los Baños, on the other hand, has been committed to the field of agriculture since its formative years in 1909 – a fundamental difference between the two UP units.
UP Diliman has a strong commitment to the arts. Through such units as the UP Vargas Museum, the UP Film Institute, and the Likhaan: UP Institute of Creative Writing, the arts have been provided the space and encouragement they have needed to flourish.
UP Diliman houses the primary school UP Integrated School under UP College of Education. It also have two extension programs–one in Olongapo City, Zambales and the other one is at Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga.
UP Los Baños, on the other hand, is committed to and is recognized as a leader in agriculture, forestry, and other related fields. Its research activities work towards sustainable productivity and the efficient utilization of natural resources.
Special focus is on rice agriculture, spearheaded by the International Rice Research Institute. UPLB maintains stewardship of the 4,000 hectare Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve, which is a venue for instruction, research, and extension in the fields of forestry, environment, and natural resource management. UPLB also focuses on the safeguarding of biodiversity in the vicinity as well as preservation of watershed areas for hydro or geothermal development and downstream water consumption.
UP Rural High School is the laboratory school under the Department of Agricultural Education and Rural Studies of UP College of Agriculture in Los Baños.
Degree Program Offerings
UP Diliman offers 120 undergraduate courses, 152 masters, and 71 doctoral degree programs. It also runs several centers of research, many of which have been declared by the Commission on Higher Education as National Centers of Excellence.
UP Los Baños, on the other hand, considered the agriculture center of Asia, offers 29 undergraduate, 70 master’s, and 30 doctoral degree programs in its traditional fields of expertise as well as in allied and important emerging fields through its nine colleges and two schools.
Both UP units offer its students residence halls. UPD has 13, while UPLB has 11. Both university can be considered “green” as well. While the Diliman campus is situated at the heart of an urban center, the lush vegetation engulfing the campus provides the university an excellent environment conducive to learning. The Los Banos campus on the other hand, is arguably much greener than that of the Diliman campus – a feature students love about the Los Banos unit.
The cost of living varies as well. Food, housing, and transportation expenses in Manila is much more expensive than living costs in Laguna.
Academic Reputation (Centers of Excellence and Development)
CHED identified 137 COEs in both public and private institutions in 2015. And twenty-three Centers of Excellence (COEs) declared by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) are at UP Diliman. This recognition if valid for three years (2018).
UP Diliman’s College of Science has eight COEs, namely Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, Marine Science, Mathematics and Physics. The College of Social Sciences and Philosophy has five COEs, namely Anthropology, Foreign Language, History, Political Science and Psychology. The College of Mass Communication has three COEs in three of its four departments, namely Broadcasting, Communication and Journalism. The Colleges of Engineering (Chemical Engineering and Geodetic Engineering) and Arts and Letters (English and Literature) each has two COEs. The School of Library and Information Studies (Library and Information Science), College of Social Work and Community Development (Social Work) and the School of Statistics (Statistics) are each home to one COE. And recently, UP Diliman got new COEs in the fields of Teacher Education, and in Electrical and Metallurgical Engineering.
UP Los Banos, on the other hand, has nine COEs in Agriculture, Biology, Forestry, Veterinary Medicine, Information Technology, Development Communication, Environmental Sciences, Statistics, and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.
CHED defines a COE as “a department within a higher education institution (HEI), which continuously demonstrates excellent performance in the areas of instruction, research and publication, extension and linkages and institutional qualifications.” The COE program is provided for by the Higher Education Act of 1994 and aims to “sustain/develop excellence of higher education institutions (HEIs) by enhancing their teaching, research and service programs to further nation building and national development.”
One can surmise that both universities have their own specialties. Note that this is not a comparison on which university is better, this is a comparison aiming to introduce you to the basic differences of the two UP units.
Both UP units are research universities. All UP units are. Research is a major thrust in UP. It is one of the three main functions of UP as the only national university in the country.
UPD has 104 research, creative work and extension units and centers in UP Diliman which conducts over 1,000 research projects every year. UPLB, on the other hand, has put up 18 inter disciplinary studies centers to make its research, development and extension programs.
Bringing It All Together
One can surmise that both universities have their own specialties, their own strengths, and their own unique academic mandates. In the article, you can surmise that UP Diliman is strong on arts, humanities, and the social sciences, while UP Los Banos is known for its excellence in agricultural sciences.
Note that we wrote this article to give everyone an overview on the key differences between the two leading units of the University of the Philippines, and not to declare which unit is better.
Araguas, K. (2017). University of the Philippines Los Baños – UPLB Centers of Excellence for 2016-2018. [online] Uplb.edu.ph. Available at: http://www.uplb.edu.ph/10-start/banner/307-uplb-centers-of-excellence-for-2016-2018 [Accessed 13 Mar. 2017].\
Uplb.edu.ph. (2017). University of the Philippines Los Baños – CHED names UPLB Centers of Excellence for 2016-2018. [online] Available at: http://uplb.edu.ph/component/k2/item/420-ched-names-uplb-centers-of-excellence-for-2016-2018 [Accessed 13 Mar. 2017].
UP Diliman Website. (2017) University of the Philippines Diliman [Accessed http://upd.edu.ph/ 13 Mar. 2017].\
UP Los Banos Website (2017) University of the Philippines Los Banos [Accessed http://uplb.edu.ph/ 13 Mar. 2017].\