List of California Medical Schools

Medical school students in classroom.
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California has several world-class medical schools. Talented undergraduates on the verge of completing their undergraduate requirements can aspire to attend one of five medical schools that consistently appear among the top 50 in ranking publications. Those publications considered the schools’ level of research funding, their innovations, their volume of research, their facilities and their reputations in the medical community.

1 University of California, San Francisco

Ranked the best American medical school for primary care and the second best for research by U.S. News & World Report in 2015, the University of California in San Francisco is ranked among the top 10 medical schools in the world. The school had four Nobel laureate on its faculty in 2014 and 75 Institute of Medicine members. UCSF opened a new Global Health & Clinical Sciences Building in 2014 and the UCSF Anatomy Learning Center in 2012. The school received $500 million in National Institutes of Health research grants in 2013, more than any other American school.

2 Stanford University

The Stanford University School of Medicine trailed only Harvard in research, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 list, and ranked fourth on the QS Top Universities world rankings in 2014. Stanford’s $315 million in National Institutes of Health funding gives it the highest funding-per-researcher ratio in the United States. The faculty has seven Nobel Prize winners and 44 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Stanford doctors performed the first successful adult heart transplant in 1968 and the first successful heart-lung transplant in 1981.

3 David Geffen School of Medicine

The David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, is ranked in the top 10 in the world, according to QS World Universities and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The school was named for film producer David Geffen after he gave it a $200 million unrestricted endowment in 2002. The school’s Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, designed by architect I.M. Pei, and the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center both opened in 2008. UCLA receives the third-highest amount of research money in the United States, if you factor in funding from all available sources.

4 University of California, San Diego

The medical school at the University of California, San Diego, was ranked 14th best in the nation for research in 2015 by U.S. News and among the top 30 in the world. A $75 million grant allowed the school to break ground on the Jacobs Medical Center in 2012. The facility is designed to house the Hospital for Advanced Surgery, the Hospital for Cancer Care and the Hospital for Women and Infants. That same year, the school opened its Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine, which unified the clinical laboratories and diagnostic services of the university health network pathology department.

5 Keck School of Medicine

Founded in 1885, the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California is the oldest med school in the state. The school received $235 million in research funds for the 2013-14 school year. U.S. News ranked it the 31st best research medical school in the nation in 2015 and the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities had it among the best 50 medical schools in the world. Keck has 10 research institutes, including the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, and the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute. More than 500 doctors are on the school faculty.

Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.