Education Overview

At UC San Francisco, we encourage our students to approach health care issues with critical thinking and a spirit of inquiry. As tomorrow’s health and science leaders in training, UCSF students embody our passion for improving the human condition and pushing health care forward.

UCSF’s four professional schools — Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy — and the Graduate Division consistently rank as top programs nationwide in their fields and attract the world’s most talented students. Our Global Health Sciences program involves more than 70 faculty from across each school, preparing students with hands-on training for global health expertise and leadership.

Training takes place in some of the finest “classrooms” in the nation, including UCSF Medical Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, the San Francisco VA Medical Center and numerous clinics throughout Northern California. In all of our schools, students become part of a highly collaborative, solutions-driven culture; each graduating class is expected to set a higher standard for the next when it comes to health leadership.

Here is a snapshot of each UCSF school:

2 dentistry students smiling in a clinic

UCSF School of Dentistry — The school is recognized nationally for its innovative approach to dental education, practicing a philosophy of minimally invasive dentistry that focuses on prevention before surgical intervention. Unique curriculum includes a combined DDS-PhD and DDS-MBA program and a one-year training course designed to help disadvantaged students gain admission to U.S. dental schools. Students gets hands-on clinical experience in the UCSF Dental Center, as well as 14 community-based externship sites.

two students work on clinical skills with professor

UCSF School of Medicine — In the latest ranking of the best medical schools by U.S. News & World Report, UCSF ranked second in primary care and sixth in research — the only school to rank on the Top 5 in both categories. The School of Medicine defines its program by seven core MD competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, and interprofessional collaboration. 

2 nursing students working on a dummy patient

UCSF School of Nursing — UCSF ranks #11 overall for its master's program and in the top 10 in five specialty areas, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school provides education and research training in the social, behavioral and biological sciences, with a focus on health care. The diversity and innovation found in UCSF nursing programs advance nursing knowledge, guides improvements in health services and patient care and contributes to the well-being of our community.

two students talking

UCSF School of Pharmacy — UCSF is No. 2 in the nation for its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program in the latest U.S. News & World Report survey. In addition to conducting groundbreaking pharmaceutical research, the school pioneered the role of clinical pharmacists, which positions pharmacists as a key part of a patient's care team. The school produces leaders and effective team members in health care and lifelong experts in the safe and effective use of medicines.

professor teaching 2 students at a white board

UCSF Graduate Division — The Graduate Division includes 19 PhD programs, 11 master’s programs, two certificate programs and one physical therapy program. Programs cover a broad range of areas including bioengineering, chemistry, epidemiology and the social sciences. The program fosters broad collaboration across all disciplines at UCSF to spur more focused and effective research throughout our top-ranked graduate programs.