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
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
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
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
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
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].\