History of the School of Nursing

It was over a century ago – 1907 – that the University of California first established a diploma program at the hospital training school for nurses in San Francisco. Ever since, this School of Nursing has been an exemplar of excellence and innovation.

The School of Nursing offered the first baccalaureate program on the Berkeley campus in 1917 and the first graduate program for public health nursing in 1918. In 1939, the Regents established the first autonomous School of Nursing in any state university. Learn more about the history of the School of Nursing between 1907 and the 1950s.

By mid-century, the School of Nursing established a number of master’s programs and, in 1965, its first doctoral programs.

In 2018, the school launched the Doctor of Nursing Practice program for post-master's students. In 2023, the school opened the first application cycle for the new BSN Entry to Doctor of Nursing Practice — Advanced Nursing Focus pathway. The pathway will enroll its first cohort in summer 2024.

The graduates of these programs – and the faculty who have trained them – have consistently been among the nation’s leaders in clinical care, policy development, nursing research and academia. Through a century in which nursing and health care always seemed to be in the midst of dramatic change – with a vision firmly fixed on the patients and families nurses serve – what became the UCSF School of Nursing in 1959 has remained, proudly, at the forefront of the nursing profession.

Collage of photos that includes an image of the School of Nursing building when it was constructed in 1972; Professor Matt Tierney; Nine DNP graduates at the 2023 Commencement Ceremony; Matt Tierney; Students sit in class; Students leave the nursing dorm in the 1950s; Student writes on whiteboard; Student administers vaccine to young patient