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University of California, San Francisco

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Motto  Fiat lux (Latin)
Type  Public
Endowment  $2.341 billion (2015)
Mascot  Bear
Total enrollment  2,940 (2014)
Motto in English  Let there be light
Established  1873
Chancellor  Sam Hawgood
Phone  +1 415-476-9000
Color  Bleu celeste
University of California, San Francisco

Address  505 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
Undergraduate tuition and fees  Local tuition: 11,220 USD (2016), Domestic tuition: 23,465 USD (2016)
Subsidiaries  UCSF Medical Center, UCSF School of Medicine
Notable alumni  Priscilla Chan, Andrew Baldwin, Michael V Drake, Richard Carmona, Dorothy M Horstmann
Similar  San Francisco State Uni, University of San Francisco, University of California, Stanford University, University of California

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is a center of health sciences research, patient care, and education devoted solely to graduate education and located in San Francisco, California. The UCSF School of Medicine is one of the most selective medical schools in the United States based on average MCAT score, GPA, and acceptance rate. In 2015, 7,393 people applied and 437 were interviewed for 149 positions in the entering class. UCSF is ranked 3rd among research-oriented medical schools in the United States and ranked 3rd for primary care by U.S. News and World Report, making it the only medical school to achieve a top-5 ranking in both categories. UCSF is currently ranked 2nd among medical schools in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Clinical Medicine, 2015).


The UCSF School of Medicine is affiliated with UCSF Medical Center, the nation's 8th-ranked hospital according to U.S. News & World Report. In 2014, a national evaluation of residency programs named UCSF and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine the top two physician training institutions in the United States.


UCSF traces its history to Hugh H. Toland, a South Carolina surgeon who found great success and wealth after moving to San Francisco in 1852. A previous school, the Cooper Medical College of the University of Pacific (founded 1858), entered a period of uncertainty in 1862 when its founder, Elias Samuel Cooper, died. In 1864, Toland founded a new medical school, Toland Medical College, and the faculty of Cooper Medical College chose to suspend operations and join the new school.

The University of California was founded in 1868, and by 1870 Toland Medical School began negotiating an affiliation with the new public university. Meanwhile, some faculty of Toland Medical School elected to reopen the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific, which would later become Stanford University School of Medicine. Negotiations between the Toland and the UC were complicated by Toland's demand that the medical school continue to bear his name, which he finally conceded. In March 1873, the trustees of Toland Medical College transferred it to the Regents of the University of California, and it became "The Medical Department of the University of California."

The school's first female student, Lucy Wanzer, graduated in 1876, after having to appeal to the UC Board of Regents to gain admission in 1873.


UCSF operates four major campus sites within the city of San Francisco and one in Fresno, California, as well as numerous other minor sites scattered through San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area.


Parnassus serves as the main campus and includes numerous research labs, the 600-bed UCSF Medical Center, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, the UCSF Library, University of California, San Francisco Archives and Special Collections, and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco. The Schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy, Medicine, Nursing, and the Biomedical Sciences graduate program are also located at Parnassus. It also houses the UCSF neurology outpatient practice that serves as a referral center of most of northern California and Reno, Nevada.

UCSF's Beckman Vision Center is also located at the Parnassus campus. It is a center for the diagnosis, treatment and research of all areas of eye care, including vision correction surgery.

Also located on the Parnassus campus is the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center, multidisciplinary care center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term follow-up of fetal birth defects.

Mission Bay

UCSF's Mission Bay Campus, also located in San Francisco, is the largest ongoing biomedical construction project in the world. The 43-acre (17 ha) Mission Bay campus, opened in 2003 with construction still ongoing, contains additional research space and facilities to foster biotechnology and life sciences companies. It will double the size of UCSF's research enterprise over the next 10 years. The biotechnology company Genentech contributed $50 million toward construction of a building as part of a settlement regarding alleged theft of UCSF technology several decades earlier. Also located on the Mission Bay campus, the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Hall was designed by César Pelli and opened in February 2004. The building is named in honor of Arthur Rock and his wife, who made a $25 million gift to the university. Byers Hall serves as the headquarters for the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), a cooperative effort between the UC campuses at San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz. The building is named after venture capitalist Brook Byers, co-chair of UCSF's capital campaign that concluded in 2005 and raised over $1.6 billion. Additionally, the William J. Rutter Center, designed along with the adjacent 600-space parking structure by Ricardo Legorreta, opened in October 2005 and contains a fitness and recreation center, swimming pools, student services, and conference facilities. The building is named in honor of William J. Rutter, former Chairman of the university's Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and co-founder of Chiron Corporation. A housing complex for 750 students and postdoctoral fellows and an 800-space parking garage also opened in late 2005. And a fourth research building, designed by Rafael Viñoly and named the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, opened in June 2009. Two additional research buildings designated for neuroscience and cardiovascular research are currently in the planning and design phase. A new specialty hospital focused on women, children, and cancer on the Mission Bay campus opened in February 2015.

Other centers, institutes, and programs

The Mount Zion campus contains UCSF's NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, its Women's Health Center, the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and outpatient resources. The San Francisco General Hospital campus cares for the indigent population of San Francisco and contains San Francisco's only Level I trauma center. The hospital itself is owned and operated by the city of San Francisco, but many of its doctors carry UCSF affiliation and maintain research laboratories at the hospital campus. The earliest cases of HIV/AIDS were discovered at SF General Hospital in the 1980s. To this day SF General Hospital has one of the world's leading HIV/AIDS treatment and research centers.

UCSF is also affiliated with the San Francisco VA Hospital and the J. David Gladstone Institutes, a private biomedical research entity that has recently moved to a new building adjacent to UCSF's Mission Bay campus. They are also affiliated with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland (formerly Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland). The headquarters of the new California Institute for Regenerative Medicine are also located nearby in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

UCSF has its own police department, which serves its two major campuses as well as all satellite sites within the city and South San Francisco.

Health policy

Among the related Institutes that are part of UCSF is the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, founded in 1972 by Philip Randolph Lee.

UCSF cooperates with the Hastings College of Law, a separate University of California institution located in San Francisco. This including the formation of the UCSF/Hastings Consortium on Law, Science, and Health Policy. The program offers an LLM and MSL Degree program for health and science professionals. The Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies is a partner in this consortium.

UCSF is home to the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (LTDL), a digital library of previously secret internal tobacco industry documents. The LTDL contains more than 11 million documents created by major tobacco companies related to their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and scientific research activities.


University of California, San Francisco is unique among University of California campuses in that it performs only biomedical and patient-centered research in its Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry, and the Graduate Division, and their hundreds of associated laboratories. The university is known for innovation in medical research, public service, and patient care. UCSF's faculty includes five Nobel Prize winners, 31 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 69 members of the Institute of Medicine, and 30 members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. UCSF confers a number of degrees, including Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Dental Surgery, and Doctor of Physical Therapy in a variety of fields.

Largest Single Donation to a Public University

In January 2017, UCSF announced a $500 million gift from the Helen Diller Foundation to increase financial aid for faculty and students, invest in cutting-edge research projects and expand scholarships for dental, medical, nursing and pharmacy students. This gift is tied with Nike Inc. co-founder Phil Knight for the largest single donation ever to a public university.


In 2012, the Academic Ranking of World Universities, published annually by Shanghai Jiaotong University, ranked UCSF 2nd in the world for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy and third in the world for Life and Agricultural Sciences. UCSF School of Medicine has continuously held the #2 global rank since 2007. The professional schools of the University of California, San Francisco are among the top in the nation, according to current (2013) US News and World Report graduate school and other rankings. The schools also rank at or near the top in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the UCSF Medical Center in 2013 was ranked by U.S. News & World Report the 7th-best hospital in the nation, making it the highest-ranked medical center in northern California.

School of Medicine

In 2015, the School of Medicine ranked third overall among research-based medical schools by U.S. News & World Report. In rankings of medical schools for primary care, UCSF also ranked 3rd, making it the only U.S. medical school to hold a top five rank in both research and primary care. In addition, UCSF is nationally ranked as #1 in AIDS, #2 in Internal Medicine, Women's Health, and Drug and Alcohol Abuse, #4 in Family Medicine, #6 in Geriatrics, and #7 in Pediatrics.

In 2011, the School of Medicine was the second-largest recipient of National Institutes of Health research funds among all US medical schools, and the first among all public medical schools, receiving awards totaling $532.8 million. This figure rose from 2010 when the School of Medicine received a total of $475.4 million in NIH funds, but was still the largest public medical school recipient. Also in 2012, the school of medicine received the most funding from NIH in medicine for the first time (receiving funds totaling $448.7 million), and maintains this distinction as of 2016.

Biological sciences, PhD programs

U.S. News & World Report in 2012 ranked UCSF seventh best overall. In that survey, UCSF ranked second in immunology, third in neuroscience, fourth in cell biology, and microbiology, fifth in biochemistry/biophysics/structural biology, sixth in molecular biology, and eighth in genetics/genomics/bioinformatics.

School of Nursing

In the U.S. News & World Report for 2016, the UCSF School of Nursing tied for 2nd overall in the nation. UCSF also ranked in the top 10 in all six of its rated nursing specialties, including ranking #1 for its psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner program, and ranking #2 for its family nurse practitioner program. Previously, in 2012, the nursing specialties were ranked as #1 for adult/medical-surgical nurse, family nurse practitioner and psychiatric/mental health nurse programs, and #2 for its adult nurse practitioner program.

The School of Nursing in 2014 ranked first nationally in total NIH research funds with $10.1 million. This was the second year in a row that all four of UCSF's professional schools (Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dentistry) ranked first for "federal biomedical research funding in their fields."

School of Pharmacy

In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked the UCSF School of Pharmacy number one in its "America's Best Graduate Schools" edition. In 2014, the School of Pharmacy also ranked first in NIH research funding among all US pharmacy schools, receiving awards totaling $31.8 million.

The UCSF School of Pharmacy was also ranked as the top program in the US, according to a 2002 survey published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, which weighed key criteria, including funding for research and the frequency of scientific publications by faculty, that are not considered in other rankings.

In 2013, the UCSF pharmacy program implemented the multiple mini interview, developed by McMaster University Medical School, as a replacement for the more traditional panel interview as the MMI had shown to be a better predictor of subsequent performance in school.

School of Dentistry

The School of Dentistry in 2014 ranked first among all dental schools in NIH research funding. It received awards totaling $15.5 million from the NIH.

In Quacquarelli Symonds's first ever Dentistry Subject Ranking in 2015, UCSF was ranked 24th in the world.

In 2011, the School of Dentistry ranked first in NIH research funding, receiving $19.5 million.

UCSF Medical Center

In 2011, U.S. News & World Report named the UCSF Medical Center the seventh-best hospital in the nation, making it the highest-ranked medical center in Northern California. Among pediatric care centers, UCSF Children's Hospital ranked no. 16 – among the highest-rated children's medical service in California.

In the magazine's "America's Best Hospitals" survey, the UCSF Medical Center ranked best in Northern California – as well as among the best in the nation – in the following specialties: endocrinology, neurology/neurosurgery; gynecology; cancer; kidney disease; ophthalmology; respiratory disorders; rheumatology; urology; digestive disorders; ear, nose, and throat; psychiatry; heart and heart surgery; and pediatrics.

UCSF Radiology and BioMedical Imaging Center

UCSF Radiology research programs were ranked second in 2009 in America. The Radiology department is spearheaded by Dr Ronald L. Arenson who is an Alexander R. Margulis Distinguished Professor and also a part of Board of directors of RSNA (Radiological Society of North America).

Animal Research

In 2005, UCSF agreed to pay $92,500 in fines in a settlement between the University and the USDA for Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations in campus laboratories. UCSF was cited for 59 AWA violations including for failure to treat a monkey who was visibly sick and for failing to provide painkillers to animals after invasive surgeries.

According to a 2012 investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle, in the years following the University’s settlement “incidents of animal neglect or mistreatment have persisted.” In their investigation, the Chronicle claims “Mice at UCSF had toes removed without anesthesia. Several animals, including birds and a squirrel monkey, received little or no pain medication after surgical procedures.” They also claim mice and primates went for long periods without food or water and that “a rhesus monkey remained in a brain study despite chronic and painful complications.”

In response to the investigation, the University said it “takes very seriously the care and use of the animals it studies” and that "every proposed study undergoes rigorous review."


  • The conversion of normal cellular genes can be converted to cancer genes (Nobel Prize in Medicine, J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus, 1989)
  • (together with Stanford) the techniques of recombinant DNA, the seminal step in the creation of the biotechnology industry
  • The precise recombinant DNA techniques that led to the creation of a hepatitis B vaccine
  • The first successful in-utero fetal surgery (Michael R. Harrison)
  • First to clone an insulin gene into bacteria, leading to the mass production of recombinant human insulin to treat diabetes
  • First to synthesize human growth hormone and clone into bacteria, setting the stage for genetically engineered human growth hormone
  • First to develop prenatal tests for sickle cell anemia and thalassemia
  • Discovery of prions, a unique type of infectious agent responsible for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases (Nobel Prize in Medicine, Stanley B. Prusiner, 1997)
  • Development of catheter ablation therapy for tachycardia,
  • Discovery that missing pulmonary surfactants are responsible for the death of newborns with respiratory distress syndrome; first to develop a synthetic substitute for it, reducing infant death rates significantly
  • The center itself has been the first in major institutional developments:

  • First to establish special care units for AIDS patients
  • First to train pharmacists as drug therapy specialists
  • First university west of the Mississippi to offer a doctoral degree in nursing
  • First to develop an academic hospitalist program (and coined the term "hospitalist") (Robert M. Wachter)
  • First high volume HIV counseling and testing program at the UCSF Alliance Health Project
  • First US medical school to offer an elective for medical students to get academic credit for editing health-related articles on Wikipedia.
  • On 5 June 2015, surgeons at UCSF and California Pacific Medical Center successfully completed 18 surgeries in the nation's first nine-way, two-day kidney transplant chain in a single city
  • Noted alumni/faculty

  • Andy Baldwin – bachelor for the tenth season of The Bachelor
  • J. Michael Bishop – former UCSF Chancellor. Nobel laureate in Medicine (1989), worked to discover the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes
  • Elizabeth Blackburn, professor of biology and physiology at UCSF, Nobel laureate in Medicine (2009), discoverer of the ribonucleoprotein enzyme, telomerase. Appointed a member of the President's Council on Bioethics in 2001 and fired in February 2004, reportedly for her public disagreements and political differences with Council chair Leon Kass and the Bush Administration, particularly on the issue of therapeutic cloning.
  • Richard Carmona – former Surgeon General of the United States
  • Priscilla Chan – pediatrician, spouse of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
  • John Clements, first to isolate surfactant and to develop it artificially
  • Haile T. Debas, former UCSF Chancellor; former Dean, School of Medicine; founding Executive Director, Department of Global Health Sciences
  • Michael V. Drake – former University of California, Irvine Chancellor; former University of California Vice President-Health Affairs; current president of The Ohio State University
  • Paul Ekman, who showed that human emotional expressions were universal and developed the Facial Action Coding System
  • Richard Feachem, founding Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2002–2007)
  • David E. Garfin, made significant contributions to electrophoresis in both the engineering and biology communities.
  • Julie Gerberding – Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Stanton Glantz, regarded as the Ralph Nader of the anti-big-tobacco movement
  • Jere E. Goyan, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Walter S. Graf, cardiologist, pioneer in creation of emergency paramedic care system
  • Michael R. Harrison – developed the initial techniques for fetal surgery and performed the first fetal surgery in 1981, and then went on to establish the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center, which was the first of its kind in the United States.
  • Griffith R. Harsh - Vice Chair of the Stanford Department of Neurosurgery and the Director of the Stanford Brain Tumor Center. He is also the spouse of Meg Whitman.
  • Julien Hoffman – professor emeritus of pediatrics; senior member of the Cardiovascular Research Institute
  • Dorothy M. Horstmann (1911–2001), virologist who made important discoveries about polio.
  • David Kessler – former dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and Yale University School of Medicine, and former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in the Clinton Administration
  • Peter Kollman – developer of the AMBER force field in molecular dynamics simulation and an internationally renowned computational chemist
  • Herbert Daniel Landahl, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biophysics and Mathematical Biology-Basic research in mathematical biophysics of the central nervous system, cell division dynamics, population interactions, and control of insulin bioynthesis.
  • Arthur Lander, M.D. PhD Developmental biologist at University of California, Irvine
  • Jay Levy, who, along with Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Institute and Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute, was among the first to identify and isolate HIV as the causative agent in AIDS
  • C. Cameron Macauley, photographer and film producer
  • Michael Merzenich, Professor emeritus neuroscientist – brain plasticity research, basic and clinical sciences of hearing pioneer – CEO Scientific Learning, Posit Science
  • Thomas Novotny, former Assistant Surgeon General
  • Dean Ornish, who first established that coronary artery disease could be reversed with lifestyle changes alone, author of the few bestseller books on the subject of healthy lifestyle choices
  • William W. Parmley – Former Editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Stanley Prusiner – Nobel laureate in Medicine (1997), discovered and described prions
  • Shuvo Roy, Inventor of artificial kidney
  • Steve Schroeder – Former CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Hiroko Minami – 25th President of International Council of Nurses (ICN)
  • John Severinghaus - anesthesiologist & pioneer of the carbon dioxide electrode used in the first arterial blood gas analyzer
  • Phillip Thygesson – ophthalmologist, trachoma researcher, Thygesson Disease.
  • Kay Tye – neuroscientist
  • Harold Varmus – Nobel laureate in Medicine (1989), worked with J. Michael Bishop to discover the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes. Also served as director of the National Institutes of Health during the Clinton Administration, as president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from 2000 to 2010, and currently as the director of the National Cancer Institute.
  • Paul Volberding, whose pioneering work in the early days of the AIDS pandemic was noted in Randy Shilts' book And the Band Played On
  • Robert M. Wachter, a prominent expert in patient safety, who coined the term hospitalist and is considered the academic leader of the field of hospital medicine. Wachter is now chair of UCSF's Department of Medicine.
  • Ted Wong - United States Army Major General, Chief of the U.S. Army Dental Corps (2011-2014)
  • David A. Wood former head of the Cancer Research Institute and former president of the American Cancer Society.
  • Pablo DT Valenzuela – co-founder of the American biotech company Chiron Corporation, the first Chilean biotech company Bios Chile, and of Fundacion Ciencia para la Vida in Santiago Chile.
  • Uzma Khanum, sister of Pakistani Politician Imran Khan.
  • V. Sasisekharan, proposed an alternate model for the Watson-Crick double helix
  • Eric M. Verdin, MD - fifth President and Chief Executive Officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging
  • Joseph Gilbert Hamilton, Hamilton studied the medical effects of exposure to radioactive isotopes, which included the use of unsuspecting human subjects.
  • References

    University of California, San Francisco Wikipedia