Mission

The UCSF Graduate Division strives to foster the highest quality of graduate education and postdoctoral training; to help graduate programs grow and evolve to meet the changing demands of science and needs of society; to nurture an inclusive and supportive learning environment; and to ensure that every graduate student and postdoc at UCSF can look forward to a meaningful and personally satisfying career.


What We Do

Coordinate and process graduate student applications:

  • Ensure adherence to University and Academic Senate policies
  • Provide information to prospective students regarding UCSF graduate programs and campus admission requirements.

Oversee and monitor student academic progression:

  • Review and approve student petitions, requests for leaves of absence, applications for admission to the qualifying examination, and advancement to candidacy
  • Review theses and dissertations and accept these documents for library archiving
  • Certifiy the completion of degree requirements

Allocate student financial support:

  • Award and administer several merit and diversity fellowships from a variety of funding sources
  • Manage and allocate return-to-aid funds
  • Award and administer research and travel awards for students and postdocs, and a childcare grant program for students with dependents
  • Administer the Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) program, which provides financial support, training and career development for a number of students in the basic science PhD programs

Institute and guide the development of new academic degree programs:

  • Work with faculty to craft proposals for new academic degree programs
  • Together with the Academic Senate, shepherd proposals through the campus and system-wide approval processes

Manage the review of existing programs:

  • Conduct a periodic program review process to maintain the high standards of UCSF graduate programs by identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses, enabling programs to improve continually

Facilitate outreach and recruitment to draw the best and brightest students and postdocs from diverse backgrounds:

  • Organize and manage the Summer Research Training Program (SRTP) and UC LEADS (Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees) program
  • Recruit students and postdocs at annual outreach conferences (e.g. SACNAS and ABRCMS), and support the graduate programs in their own outreach and recruitment efforts
  • Work with other UCSF departments to advocate for science education and science research at the community and national levels

Lead efforts that establish and promote an inclusive learning and training environment for historically underrepresented and marginalized undergraduates, master’s and PhD students, and postdoctoral scholars in science:

  • Direct programs dedicated to supporting underrepresented undergraduates and PhD students – including IMSD and SRTP
  • Spearhead efforts to understand and evaluate the needs of diverse students
  • Develop and implement diversity and inclusion initiatives across the graduate programs
  • Partner with other offices and groups dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion at UCSF, e.g. the Office of Diversity and Outreach, the Multicultural and LGBT Resource Centers, the International Students and Scholars Office, and student-led groups like the campus SACNAS chapter, S4D, and Women in Life Sciences

Provide a “postdoc hub”:

  • The UCSF Office for Postdoctoral Scholars, part of the Graduate Division, serves as a central resource and information conduit for all postdocs as well as faculty and staff who work with postdocs at UCSF.  Visit the Postdoc Office website for a more thorough look at services for postdocs.

Host and organize events including:

  • The Fall Celebration, welcoming new and returning graduate students and postdocs to campus
  • The Retreat in Building Community for first-year students
  • Third-Year Re-orientation, featuring an experienced student panel, who offer advice on common issues that come up during this transitional period
  • Annual commencement celebrations
  • Grad Slam and Postdoc Slam research communications competitions
  • Award ceremony for the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Mentoring for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars

Nurture cross-program collaboration and interdisciplinary learning:

  • The Graduate Division works closely with the graduate programs to create opportunities for students to connect and collaborate. It is easy for graduate students to get isolated in their own projects, but even hearing about others’ work, whether in a seminar or casual conversation, can provide context for a student’s individual research, help them to see it from new perspectives, and encourages teamwork.

Provide transparency:

  • In collaboration with the Office of Institutional Research, the Graduate Division continually collects, analyzes, and shares data in relation to graduate student and postdoc demographics, progression, and – importantly – career outcomes, in order to help our graduate programs to assess performance and progress, and to aid prospective students and postdocs in making decisions about pursuing graduate or postdoctoral training. As a founding member of the Coalition for Next Generation Life Science, UCSF is a model for institutions nationwide in providing these data. Take a look at what we’ve uncovered!

Ensure trainee success beyond graduation:

  • The Graduate Division recognizes the broad range — and rapidly changing nature — of career options for alumni of our PhD and master’s programs in both the public and private sectors. In an advisory role to the UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development, the Graduate Division works to shape programs that facilitate career exploration and career development and planning for graduate students and postdocs alike.

Encourage two-way communication:

  • The Graduate Division works with — and calls on — our collaborators and colleagues on and off campus to raise the profile of graduate education. We are always listening to the student and postdoc communities we serve in order to respond effectively to their changing needs.

Fund graduate education and engage alumni:

  • Together with the University Development and Alumni Relations Office, the Graduate Division works to increase philanthropic support for student fellowships, particularly through the Discovery Fellows Program
  • The Graduate Division has also independently written and obtained several grants to fund programs such as the Summer Research Training Program and the IMSD program
  • We partner with our alumni relations representatives and the Graduate Division Alumni Association to establish a lasting institutional relationship with our alumni that will enhance career and networking opportunities for current students and postdocs as well as other alumni