There are four Nobel laureates in chemistry and physics at UC Santa Barbara. Numerous other faculty honors include National Medals of Science, a National Medal of Technology,  a Millennium Technology Prize, and the Humboldt Research Award. Thirty-three professors are elected members of the National Academy of Sciences; 29 are members of the National Academy of Engineering; and more than 80 current or former UCSB faculty are members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The campus ranks 3rd in the country—behind Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology—in the percentage of its assistant professors who receive prestigious research awards from the NSF and three private foundations. These organizations—the Arnold and Mabel Beckman, David and Lucile Packard, and Alfred P. Sloan foundations—award fellowships in science and engineering to researchers early in their faculty careers. 

In its 2013 ranking of the world’s top 500 universities, Leiden University ranked UC Santa Barbara number 2 for research impact in the sciences.