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University of California, San Francisco

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is a research university located in San Francisco, California and part of the University of California system. The university is entirely dedicated to health sciences and is a major center of medical and biological research and teaching, and is ranked as one of the top universities in the biomedical field in the country and around the world.[7][8][9][10][11][12] It was founded as Toland Medical College in 1864, and in 1873 it became affiliated with the University of California.

University of California,
San Francisco
The Seal of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Former name
Toland Medical College (1864-1873)
The Medical Department of the University of California (1873-1964)
University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (1964-1970)
Motto Fiat lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Let there be light
Type Public
Established 1873
1864 as Toland Medical College
Founder Hugh Toland
Endowment $2.3 billion (2016)[1]
Budget $5.9 billion (2016)[2]
Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS [3]
Vice-Chancellor Daniel Lowenstein, MD
Academic staff
3,000 [4]
Postgraduates 4,904 (Fall 2014)[5]
Location San Francisco, California, United States
37°45′46″N 122°27′29″W / 37.7627°N 122.4581°W / 37.7627; -122.4581Coordinates: 37°45′46″N 122°27′29″W / 37.7627°N 122.4581°W / 37.7627; -122.4581


255 acres (103 ha)[5]
Colors UCSF Teal     [6]
Affiliations University of California
Mascot Bear[6]
UCSF Logo.svg

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.[13] 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.[14] UCSF is currently ranked 3rd among medical schools in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Clinical Medicine, 2016).[15]

The UCSF School of Medicine is affiliated with UCSF Medical Center, the nation's 8th-ranked hospital according to U.S. News & World Report.[16] 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.[17]



UCSF in 1908, with the streetcar that used to run on Parnassus Avenue

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.[18] 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.[19] 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.[19]

The University of California was founded in 1868, and by 1870 Toland Medical School began negotiating an affiliation with the new public university.[20] 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.[21] 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.[20] 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."[20]

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.[22][23]


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 BayEdit

Mission Bay, UCSF
Mission Bay Community Center

UCSF's Mission Bay Campus, also located in San Francisco, is the largest ongoing biomedical construction project in the world.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] A new specialty hospital focused on women, children, and cancer on the Mission Bay campus opened in February 2015.[30]

Other centers, institutes, and programsEdit

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.[31][32] 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.[33] To this day SF General Hospital has one of the world's leading HIV/AIDS treatment and research centers.[34][35]

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 policyEdit

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.[36][37]

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.[38] 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 UniversityEdit

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.[39]


USNWR graduate school rankings[40]

Medicine: Primary Care 3
Medicine: Research 4
Nursing 1
Internal Medicine 1
Pharmacy 1

USNWR departmental rankings[40]

Biological Sciences 7
Biochemistry / Biophysics / Structural Biology 7
Cell Biology 5
Immunology / Infectious Disease 2
Molecular Biology 7
Neuroscience / Neurobiology 5

In 2016, the Academic Ranking of World Universities, published annually by Shanghai Jiaotong University, ranked UCSF third in the world for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy and fifth in the world for Life and Agricultural Sciences. Previously, UCSF had been second in the world for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy from 2007-2015, ceding the #2 position to the University of Washington in 2016.[15] 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,[41] making it the highest-ranked medical center in northern California.

School of MedicineEdit

UCSF's bear mascot depicted by Benny Bufano's Bear and Cub sculpture outside Kalmanovitz Library

In 2015, the School of Medicine ranked third overall among research-based medical schools by U.S. News & World Report.[42] 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.[42] 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.[42]

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.[43] 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.[44] 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.[45]

Biological sciences, PhD programsEdit

U.S. News & World Report in 2012 ranked UCSF seventh best overall.[42] 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.[42]

School of NursingEdit

In the U.S. News & World Report for 2016, the UCSF School of Nursing tied for 2nd overall in the nation.[42] 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.[42] 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.[42]

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." [46]

School of PharmacyEdit

In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked the UCSF School of Pharmacy number one in its "America's Best Graduate Schools" edition.[42] In 2014, the School of Pharmacy also ranked first in NIH research funding among all US pharmacy schools, receiving awards totaling $31.8 million.[46]

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 DentistryEdit

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.[46]

In Quacquarelli Symonds's first ever Dentistry Subject Ranking in 2015, UCSF was ranked 24th in the world.[47]

In 2011, the School of Dentistry ranked first in NIH research funding, receiving $19.5 million.[48][49]

UCSF Medical CenterEdit

UCSF Medical Center and Sutro Tower

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.[50]

UCSF Radiology and BioMedical Imaging CenterEdit

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).


UCSF Fresno
  • 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,[51] 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:

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.[56]

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.”[57]

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." [58]

Student LifeEdit

There are more than 180 registered campus organizations at UCSF. These groups and clubs cover a broad range of interests, including educational, social, cultural, artistic, recreational, political and spiritual.Every year, these organizations sponsor mote than 1,200 activities and events.[59]

The student government at UCSF consists of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), which serves the collective interests of graduate and professional students. It aims at improving student life on a university and system-wide level with dialogue, action, and activities between students, faculty, and staff. It focuses on disucssinf University policy, informing constituents, advocating student interests, fostering relationships between academic programs, stranghtening connections to better support students, and initiating actions and proposals, [60]

Synapse is the student newspaper at UCSF. It was founded in 1957, and since 1997 the newspaper has been both in print and online. In the fall 2015 the newspaper rebranded from Synapse: The UCSF Newspaper to Synapse: UCSF Student Voices.[61] The mission of Synapse is to serve as the forum of the campus community, and it covers campus news and events, entertainment, and restaurant reviews, and a wide-range of feature stories, editorials and weekly columns, to the entire UCSF community. The newspaper focuses heavily on science and health, but it also covers arts, national news, and opinion articles. [62] . [63]

UCSF students are eligible to become University of California student regent, a position on the University of California Board of Regents created by a 1974 California ballot proposition to represent University of California students on the university system's governing board. Student regents serve an approximately one-year term as 'student regent-designate', followed by a one-year term as a full voting member of the Regents. Virtually any UC student in good academic standing may apply to be student regent. Traditionally, the position alternates between undergraduate and graduate students as well as between the various UC campuses.

Notable peopleEdit


Notable alumni and facultyEdit


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External linksEdit