UCSF Excels in U.S. News 2019 Best Graduate Schools Rankings

By Laura Kurtzman

UCSF medical students gathering for a photo
UCSF's medical and nursing schools, as well as PhD programs, ranked highly in this year's U.S. News Best Graduate Schools survey. Photo by Elisabeth Fall

UC San Francisco’s School of Medicine placed in the top five nationally in this year’s U.S. News & World Report survey of best graduate and professional schools. UCSF’s biomedical science PhD programs were among the top 10, and the School of Nursing was also highly ranked.

UCSF was the only medical school to be ranked in the top five in both of the broad categories – biomedical research and primary care – the magazine uses to assess medical education; the school was fifth in biomedical research and second in primary care education.

U.S. News Best Medical Schools 2019: For Research, 1) Harvard University, 2) Johns Hopkins University, 3) New York University, 3) Stanford University, 4) UC San Francisco. For Primary Care, 1) University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2) UC San Francisco, 3) University of Washington, 4) UCLA, 5) Baylor College of Medicine, 5) Oregon Health and Sciences UniversityThe School of Medicine was in the top five in all seven of the specialty areas covered by the survey this year: second in anesthesiology, obstetrics & gynecology, and radiology; third in internal medicine; fourth in surgery; and fifth in pediatrics and psychiatry.

“By excelling equally in research and primary care, we serve as a model for 21st Century medicine,” said Talmadge E. King Jr., MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “We attract some of the brightest, most dedicated students because our training is both rooted in science and committed to fulfill the promise of a better future for our patients, our communities, and the world.”

The UCSF Graduate Division’s doctoral training programs in biology placed sixth overall, with five specialty programs placing in the top five. UCSF was first in immunology/infectious disease and in molecular biology; third in neuroscience/neurobiology; fourth in cell biology; and fifth in biochemistry/biophysics/structural biology.

"As the Graduate Division dean, it's heartening for me to see this testimony to the high caliber of our PhD  programs, although these annual rankings can only tell part of the story,” said Elizabeth Watkins, PhD, dean of the Graduate Division and vice chancellor of Student Academic Affairs. “All of our graduate students, even those in the programs that are not ranked, benefit from the outstanding faculty – graduate and professional –  at UCSF, and from the collaborative nature of research on our campus.  Moreover, every student at UCSF has access to innovative career and professional development resources that will ensure they succeed in their eventual careers."

Lewis Lanier speaks with Viola Lam in a labratory
Lewis Lanier, PhD, chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, speaks with graduate student Viola Lam in his Parnassus Heights campus labratory. UCSF ranked No. 1 among immunology/infectious disease programs in the 2019 Best Graduate Schools survey. Photo by Noah Berger

The majority of researchers at the University’s four schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy are affiliated with the Graduate Division’s doctoral training programs. The schools are also part of an integrated hospital and biomedical research enterprise that includes a Top 5 hospital and world-class biomedical research laboratories.

The UCSF School of Nursing was 11th overall among nursing master’s degree programs, and its specialty programs were highly ranked. UCSF was in the top 10 in three of the five ranked nursing programs that it offers: family; pediatric primary care; and psychiatric/mental health across the lifespan. Adult gerontology primary care was ranked eleventh.

The survey did not rank nurse midwifery programs this year, but UCSF was first in the last ranking, which came in 2016.

“The School of Nursing has long been recognized for its excellence in the preparation of leaders in nursing and remains a top recipient of research dollars from the National Institutes of Health,” said Dean Catherine Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our masters curriculum is undergoing a revision that we believe will bring us even better results in the next survey.”

UCSF Biological Sciences Programs

#6 Overall

#1 Immunology / Infectious Disease

#1 Molecular Biology

#3 Neuroscience / Neurobiology

#4 Cell Biology

#5 Biochemistry / Biophysics / Structural Biology

UCSF Nursing Master's Program

#11 Overall

#6 Psychiatric / Mental Health, Across the Lifespan

#9 Pediatric, Primary Care

#10 Family

#11 Adult / Gerontology, Primary Care

Although UCSF also has top schools of Dentistry and Pharmacy, U.S. News does not rank dental schools, and the magazine did not rank pharmacy schools this year.

“Among the many things that UCSF does, education is at its core,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “California and the nation look to us to train the next generation of doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists, as well as the researchers who will advance each of these fields, and our faculty rise to the challenge every year.”

Results are published in the magazine’s 2019 issue of “Best Graduate Schools."

UC 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. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – and other partner and affiliated hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the Bay Area.