The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.
Health Sciences University
UCSF is the only campus in the 10-campus University of California system devoted exclusively to the health sciences.
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, is UCSF chancellor. The ninth chancellor and first woman to lead UCSF, she assumed the top post on Aug. 3, 2009. Desmond-Hellmann is also the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor.
UCSF’s Parnassus campus is located in a neighborhood above Golden Gate Park known as Parnassus Heights.
UCSF is committed to a mission that is active and ongoing: advancing health worldwide™, adopted in 2007 as part of the UCSF Strategic Plan.
Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann announced a vision for UCSF during her State of the University Address on Oct. 4, 2011. UCSF's vision is to be the world's preeminent health sciences innovator, which is part of an updated, three-year strategic plan that builds off the 2007 plan. Read more about UCSF's strategic plan.
UCSF dates its founding to 1864, when Toland Medical College was established in San Francisco. Toland Medical College became affiliated in 1873 with the University of California, which at the time consisted of a single campus in Berkeley. Toland and the California College of Pharmacy were affiliated colleges that provided a health sciences base in San Francisco. This base continued to expand with the addition of dentistry and nursing colleges and a hospital. In 1949, the institution was renamed UC Medical Center in San Francisco, and in 1964, it gained administrative autonomy, becoming the ninth campus in the UC system. In 1970, the UC Board of Regents renamed the campus the University of California, San Francisco in recognition of its diversity of disciplines.
UCSF is the second-largest employer in San Francisco, after the city and county of San Francisco, and the fifth-largest employer in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. UCSF’s paid workforce numbers about 22,500, which includes both University and UCSF Medical Center employees. The paid workforce comprises about 2,400 faculty and 20,100 staff.
Students, Residents and Postdoctoral scholars
UCSF has approximately:
- 2,940 students enrolled in degree programs
- 1,620 residents (physicians, dentists and pharmacists in training)
- 1,030 postdoctoral scholars
- Students, residents and postdoctoral scholars at UCSF represent 94 countries.
Trio of Top Awards
In 2009-2010, UCSF became the only institution to claim faculty who earned the Nobel Prize, Albert Lasker Award and Shaw Prize within a single academic year. The recipients are Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award; and David Julius, PhD, Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.
Five UCSF faculty are recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
- J. Michael Bishop, MD, and Harold Varmus, MD, for discovery of proto-oncogenes, showing that normal cellular genes can be converted to cancer genes (1989).
- Stanley Prusiner, MD, for discovery of prions, an entirely new biological principle of infection and disease. Prions cause degenerative brain disorders, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in people and mad cow disease (1997).
- Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, for discovery of an enzyme that plays a key role in normal cell function as well as in cell aging and most cancers. The enzyme, called telomerase, produces tiny units of DNA that seal off the ends of chromosomes, which contain the body’s genes. She shared the award with Carol W. Greider of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Jack W. Szostak of Harvard Medical School (2009).
- Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, for discovery of how to transform ordinary adult skin cells into cells that, like embryonic stem cells, are capable of developing into any cell in the human body. Yamanaka shares the prize with John B. Gurdon of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, England. (2012)