SHS Orientation: Services & Activities

When is it a good idea to come to the health center? Watch the video to hear from real UCSC students. 


Section 2: When You Might Need the Student Health Center



UCSC is tucked away in the hills of Santa Cruz, but our medical care is just as comprehensive as a big city health care center. Most of our students can get their primary medical care on campus. That’s important—no one wants a long bus ride when they’re feeling sick. 

The Health Center is here for all your medical needs: doctor or nurse visits, prescriptions, lab tests, immunizations, x-rays, etc. From stitches to serious medical issues, we’ve got you covered! Our 70+ providers and staff are accomplished physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician’s assistants, radiologists, lab scientists, phlebotomists, dietitians, optometrists, and skilled support staff.  We offer comprehensive care from preventive visits like annual exams and immunizations to chronic illness care. 

Plus, we’re a certified patient-centered medical home. This national recognition means we met the highest standards of care. Our care is patient-centered, comprehensive, coordinated and accessible. Our staff and providers coordinate with one another so we can treat you as a whole person. We care about your unique needs!

Medical care is only one aspect of good health.  Here are the other programs within Student Health Services you should know about.


Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS offers services for any student with mental health concerns, such as:
  • individual short-term counseling
  • support groups
  • psychotherapy groups
  • psychoeducational groups (e.g. Anxiety Toolbox)
  • psychiatry consultations
  • case management services
  • off-campus referrals
  • same-day crisis assessments 
  • substance abuse help
  • LGBTQI-friendly counselors 
If you just want a quick consultation with a professional counselor, stop by for the CAPS Let's Talk hours. Let’s Talk is free, confidential, and anonymous, and no appointments are needed. 

Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP)

SHOP helps students learn to "party safe" and enjoy the college experience while taking care of health and wellness. SHOP is a safe, non-judgmental environment. Get information, education, resources and support about:
  • alcohol and other drug use
  • sexually transmitted infections, sexual health, and contraception
  • college life balance (healthy habits like good sleep and eating well)

All UCSC students are welcome. Drop in and speak with SHOP's trained staff and student volunteers. They’re happy to chat and answer your questions.

The Cove: Collegiate Recovery Community Space (a part of SHOP)

The Cove is a substance-free, safe space for UCSC students. The Cove welcomes:

  • students recovering from alcohol and/or drugs
  • loved ones of those with addictions
  • allies who support recovery
  • anyone who wants a healthy, substance-free, and safe environment

Find a like-minded community and get peer support at The Cove. There are several ongoing groups for students in recovery. Stop by for snacks, supportive conversation, and a quiet place to study. 

Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE)

CARE advocates provide non-judgmental support and resources for people who have been impacted by sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking. CARE offers:

  • confidential advocacy services
  • crisis intervention
  • academic support
  • safety planning and accommodations
  • case management
  • accompaniment to official appointments
  • assistance in reporting 

CARE also provides prevention education workshops on sexual violence, dating and domestic violence, supporting survivors, bystander intervention, healthy relationships, and consent.

CARE student volunteers at a booth. Smiling, happy.


Section 3: How to Get Care 

You can get healthcare in several ways at UCSC, whether it's same-day care, a routine appointment, or a flexible online appointment. Everything you need to know is on our Appointments page including how to communicate with us using Health e-Messenger. It’s secure and keeps your personal health information private. 

You'll get Health e-Messenger notifications in your UCSC email. The notifications look like this:

From: UCSC Student Health Center ( 
Subject: IMPORTANT - Student Health Center Message

The emails won’t contain your personal health information. Instead, they notify you to log into Health e-Messenger to read important health information, like test results. Please check your email often so you don’t miss them.

Section 4: Get Involved

When you live in a place as beautiful and vibrant as Santa Cruz, you want to stay as healthy as you can so you can enjoy it all! Many UCSC students value wellness. Meet some of them at our events and volunteer programs. Find all the ways to get involved (social media, events, etc) on our website.

CAPS volunteers holding emoji masks, fun, laughter, positive, healthy, diversity

Section 5: Wrap-Up

We are looking forward to meeting you when you arrive on campus! Once you get here, we encourage you to stop by and:



Remember, before you come to campus you must:

  • Submit proof of immunizations and complete the TB screening
  • Complete an online waiver if you aren’t going to use UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP)
  • Submit the “Online Consent for Care of Minor” form if you’ll be under 18 when you arrive on campus
  • And don’t forget to check your UCSC email often for Health e-Messenger notifications.


Get a closer look at an example of on-campus healthcare costs for a common problem: a sore throat. Enlarge this image/get in PDF

And don't forget to check your Financial Aid package for the UC Health Insurance Grant that pays for UC SHIP!

Ready for a final tip? When you arrive on campus for Fall Quarter, “cold and flu season” will be starting up. Don’t let illness drag you down in your very first quarter! Remember to wash your hands often, get your flu shot, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home when you're sick. 


Also in this series:

General Orientation to the Student Health Center

Immunizations and Screenings Orientation

Orientation to Health Insurance Requirements