Key to San Francisco’s continuing success as a center for the new talent-based, innovation economy is the outstanding level of educational attainment among its workforce. A full 19.9% of City residents hold graduate degrees, more than 50% of Bay Area residents have four-year degrees or higher, and around 85% of the population have training beyond high school. Its primary and secondary education system boasts an extensive network of public and private institutions-there are more than 100 private and parochial schools in the City alone-that prepare students for the international economic environment in a dynamic multicultural setting with class sizes well below the California average.
San Francisco State University, founded in 1899 continues to be at the forefront of academic excellence. With over 30,000 students at three campuses they were the first in the nation to establish an International Relations Department and an Ethnic Studies College. The University ranks number one among master level universities for total grants in biological and physical sciences. San Francisco’s community college, City College of San Francisco provides high quality education opportunities to all populations of the city from eleven campuses-preparing students for transfer to baccalaureate institutions, achievement of Associate Degrees of Art Science, and development of career skills closely linked to the business community needs. In addition, the Bay Area is home to more than 35 colleges and universities with some of the world’s best graduate institutions and research facilities. With numerous federal and private research centers, they form a cluster representing the cutting-edge of development in technology and the life sciences.
Primary & Secondary
San Francisco provides its residents a variety of options in primary and secondary education. In addition to the public school system, there are over 100 private or parochial schools in the City, with 30% of the total student population attending them. It has a broad array of academically competitive public, private and magnet schools. The City and its residents recognize the importance of maintaining and improving the competitiveness of their workforce and to that end make education broadly accessible.
The City’s cultural vibrancy extends to the atmosphere of its schools—with pupils in the system coming from all walks of life—and graduates are exposed to a dynamic cultural setting that prepares them for an international economic environment. San Francisco continues its efforts towards educational excellence by emphasizing the small class sizes which have continually proven to improve learning. In nearly all grade levels, it maintains class sizes lower than the California average.
Colleges & Universities
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to one of the best educated workforces in the world. More than two-thirds of Bay Area residents have training beyond high school and above 43% have attained a four-year college degree or higher. In addition, 17% of City residents hold graduate degrees, topping the rankings of major cities in the United States. More than 60 colleges and universities comprise the Bay Area’s world-class educational and research facilities.
The National Research Council (NRC) rates the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and Stanford University as two of the top-ranked graduate schools in the country. NRC also ranks programs in the biological and biomedical sciences at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) among the nation’s best. UC scientists have founded one in three biotechnology companies in California; with California serving as the home to two of the world’s three largest Biotech Corporations (Amgen and Gilead Sciences).
UCSF is one of the nation’s top health, science and educational institutions and a world leader in advancing new techniques to diagnose and treat disease. UCSF’s School of Medicine and School of Nursing maintain their high national rankings in the annual survey of the best graduate schools published by US News & World Report. The 2011 publication ranks UCSF’s School of Medicine #4 in research and #5 in patient care as well as placing in the top-10 for seven of eight specialty medical program rankings. The School of Nursing ranked #4 in the nation while placing in the top 10 for seven of the eight nursing school specialty programs. Additionally, the Biological Sciences graduate program at UCSF placed seventh nationally stabilizing that acceptance that the Bay Area as at innovative cusp of Biotechnology and other science related industries.
Other Notable Colleges & Universities in San Francisco:
UC Hastings College of Law, founded in 1878, was the first law department of the University of California; currently Hastings is one of the top-rated law school programs in the United States.
The top ranked U.S. executive-MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School now has an extension campus in San Francisco. The Wharton School-SF offers top-quality management education to West Coast executives and business leaders, as well as, access to our innovative programs, unrivaled thought leadership, and talented pool of students and alumni.
The Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA program brings together two extraordinary faculties in two of the world’s great business centers—New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area—to create a single unique program that can help you acquire the requisite skills and vision needed for the next stage of success. The BCEMBA represents the only partnership between two nationally ranked top 10 business schools.
The University of San Francisco, founded in 1855, continues its mission of training young people for positions of leadership in the community. USF was the first college in the nation to offer a Computer Sciences degree and is home to the prominent McLaren School of Business; additionally the USF School of Law has a top-tier J.D. program.
San Francisco State University, which celebrated its centennial in 1999, has built a national reputation for its commitment to social justice and for addressing real-world issues through practical, applied research and scholarly work. The SFSU College of Business offers an executive MBA program at their downtown campus in the heart of Union Square.
Golden Gate University, which traces its origins to the founding of the YMCA in 1853, is an independent, multi-campus university that offers certificate and degree programs throughout California, Nevada, Washington and abroad. GGU offers both an MBA and JD program as well as the fast-tracked JD/MBA. Alliant University continues to serve the area by providing educational programs in psychology. Four campuses throughout California have offered highly regarded programs for more than 25 years.
Alliant University has an affiliation with Presidio Graduate School which offers executive education, an MBA program, and an MPA program with a direct emphasis on sustainable management through an integrated approach resulting in knowledge, skills, and confident leadership.
City College of San Francisco, a public, two-year community college, offers credit and non-credit classes to 80,000 full and part-time students at eight campuses and additional outreach locations throughout the City.
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts is the largest regionally accredited, independent school of art and design in the Western United States.
Established in 1929, the Academy of Art College is now the largest fully accredited private school of art and design in the nation. Increasingly, academy students are winning national art competitions and are recruited by industry leaders nationwide.
Northern California houses a world-class cluster of science research centers and medical institutions, famous for their collaboration with private enterprise. Five major research universities-Stanford, University of California (UC) Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Francisco-and three medical schools-Stanford, UC Davis and UCSF-are located in Northern California.
In addition to university-based research, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to many well-funded and highly respected federal and private research institutions including The Western Genome Project, Lawrence Berkeley Livermore National Lab, NASA Ames, SRI International and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Some of the largest performers of biotech research-Abbott Laboratories, Chiron, Boston Scientific, Acuson Corp, Gilead Sciences, COR Therapeutics and Cell Genesys-also call the Bay Area home.
Research & Development Capacity:
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)-CIRM has a $3 billion funding initiative for stem cell research. Since the program’s inception in 2005, college institutions receiving this funding include:
Stanford University, with 82 grants totaling $266,751,450
UC San Francisco, with 53 grants totaling $143,649,677
UC Berkley, with 19 grants totaling $53,635,290
UC Santa Cruz, with 9 grants totaling $22,673,248
Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3)-A collaborative of UC San Francisco (UCSF), UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, the institute involves more than 140 scientists housed in a new 152,000 sq. foot building at Mission Bay in San Francisco. The institute is part of a public/private biomedical research park focusing on fundamental discoveries, new product development and biomedical training for the next generation of biotech workers.
Gladstone Institute-Adjacent to the UCSF Mission Bay Campus, Gladstone institute is a six-story, 180,000 sq. foot lab research facility developed by the J. David Gladstone Institutes, a non-profit bioresearch facility closely affiliated with UCSF. It carries out research in virology, immunology, neurological disease and cardiovascular disease. The building was occupied in late 2004 and includes research and administrative space.
UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center-Among the Center’s resources is an anonymous pledge of $150 million made in June, 2007, the largest known gift to a U.S. cancer center. The funds will be used to strengthen the Center’s research base in transforming fundamental discoveries to clinical results.
Energy Biosciences Institute-In February 2007 UC Berkeley won the international contest to house the Energy Biosciences Institute. The 10-year, $500 million initiative is funded by BP, and solidifies the Bay Area’s lead as the hot spot for clean tech companies.
Bay Area Research University Patents Issued and Research Funding:
University of California San Francisco; 1,757 Patents (year 1999-2009); $532.8 million Research Funding from NIH
University of California Berkeley; 569 active Patents; $649.46 million Research Funding (2009)
Stanford University; 450 Patents; $1.27 billion Research Funding (2012-2013)
University of California Davis; 394 active Patents; $678 million Research Funding (2009-2010)
University of California Santa Cruz; 44 Patents; $530.5 million Research Funding (2009)
Source: CIRM-Funded Institutions