Founded in 1873, the mission of UCSF is to serve as a "public university dedicated to saving lives and improving health." Though one of the ten campuses of the University of California, it is unique for being the only University of California campus dedicated solely to graduate education, and this in health and biomedical sciences. UCSF has developed a reputation for unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the health science disciplines which has led to some of the most important discoveries in the biosciences. The graduate-focused environment of UCSF, its relatively small size, and its culture of collaboration allows for a flexibility to translate new discoveries into new treatments hard to find even at many of the world's other top medical centers.
UCSF traces its history to Dr. 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, Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper, passed away. 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 deeded it to the Regents of the University of California, and it became "The Medical Department of the University of California." On September 15, 1874, the school opened its doors to female students.
UCSF operates four major campus sites within the city of San Francisco, as well as numerous other minor sites scattered through San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Parnassus serves as the main campus and includes the 600 bed UCSF Medical Center, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, the School of Dentistry, the Children's Hospital, and research labs. 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.
UCSF's Mission Bay Campus is the largest ongoing biomedical construction project in the world. The 43 acre 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 Biomedical Research (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. Finally, a housing complex for 750 students and postdoctoral fellows and an 800-space parking garage also opened in late 2005. A fourth research building, designed by Rafael Viñoly and named the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, is currently under construction and expected to open in fall 2008. Two additional research buildings designated for neuroscience and cardiovascular research are currently in the planning and design phase. UCSF is also in the early stages of planning for a new specialty hospital focused on women, children, and cancer to be built at the Mission Bay campus and scheduled to open by the end of 2014.
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. The headquarters of the new California Institute for Regenerative Medicine are also located nearby in the Mission Bay neighborhood.
University of California, San Francisco is unique 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 three 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.
Overall, the campus ranked third in the nation in annual NIH funding with $439 million in 2007.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities, published annually by Shanghai Jiaotong University, in 2008 ranks UCSF 3rd in the world for Life and Agricultural Sciences and 2nd in the world for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy . The professional schools of the University of California, San Francisco are among the top in the nation, according to current (2006) 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 2007 was ranked by US News and World Report the 7th-best hospital in the nation, making it the highest-ranked medical center in northern California.
In 2008, it ranked fifth overall among research-based medical schools by US News and World Report; the top in western United States. In rankings of medical schools for primary care, UCSF ranked 6th. It is one of only three medical schools that ranked top 10 in both research and primary care categories. In addition, the magazine ranked UCSF in the top 10 in seven of the eight medical school specialty programs assessed, including first in AIDS medical care, second in women's health, and second in internal medicine. The UCSF drug and alcohol abuse specialty ranks fifth nationally in the 2006 survey, while family medicine ranks 10th, pediatrics ninth, and geriatrics ninth.
In 2007, the School of Medicine was the third largest recipient of National Institutes of Health research funds among all US medical schools, receiving awards totaling $373.1 million.
US News and World Report in 2008 ranked UCSF seventh best overall. In that survey, UCSF ranked third in immunology, fourth in biochemistry/biophysics/structural biology, cell biology, and molecular biology, sixth in genetics/genomics/bioinformatics and neuroscience, and seventh in microbiology.
In 2008, US News and World Report ranked the UCSF graduate programs in nursing as second in the nation. UCSF ranked in the top 10 in all seven of the rated nursing specialties, including first for training adult/medical-surgical nurses and second for its adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health programs. The pediatric nurse practitioner specialty ranked fifth nationally, while the gerontology/geriatrics and nursing service administration programs ranked seventh.
The School of Nursing in 2007 ranked first nationally in total NIH research funds with $13.8 million.
The UCSF School of Pharmacy ranked as the top 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 2008, US News and World Report ranked the UCSF School of Pharmacy number one in its "America's Best Graduate Schools" edition.
In 2007, the School of Pharmacy ranked first in NIH research funding among all US pharmacy schools, receiving awards totaling $19.6 million.
In 2007, US News and World Report named the UCSF Medical Center the 7th-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.
In San Francisco Magazine's 2003 survey of the "Best Doctors" in the Bay Area, 55 percent of those honored were UCSF faculty.