Finding housing in the San Francisco Bay Area can be challenging, but we are here to help you. To get started with your search, you may find the following resources useful.

We recommend looking at these tips on housing and commuting, provided by the UCSF Graduate Division.

If you know you want to live on campus, you can jump to this page on UCSF housing. These options are competitive, so be sure enter the lottery as early as possible. You should also know that there is a 2 year limit to your stay in on-campus housing. This keeps the turnover higher to make space for new students, but can be stressful if you don't plan your move far enough in advance. Overall, this can be a convenient and affordable option, and you can reach out to TAs or current students if you have specific questions.

Off-campus in SF
If you prefer to live off-campus, you'll want to consider both the place and the commute. Your commute during your first year will mostly be to the UCSF Mission Bay campus. While you may rotate in labs at the Parnassus campus, Mt. Zion, etc, the majority of your class time, and probably most of your rotations, will be at Mission Bay. If you join a lab on another campus, you can optimize your new commute during your second year. For transit between campuses, the UCSF Shuttle System is convenient and free. The most useful route is  probably the Grey, which runs directly between Parnassus and Mission Bay.

Here is a map to give you an idea about the locations of different neighborhoods and their respective cost-of-livings.

  • The Parnassus campus is located just south of the south-east corner of Golden Gate Park. Mission Bay is on the east side of the peninsula nestled between China Basin and the Dogpatch.
  • Also use this map to cross reference areas with high crime (generally I try stay out of the tenderloin, hunter's point, and some areas late at night that include parts of the Mission like 16th/Mission).
    • This being said, San Francisco is generally a very safe city and most crime is petty. 
  • The Inner/Outer Sunsets are generally good places to look, though the commute can be upwards of 1hr to Mission Bay during rush hour.
  • The Muni N line runs from the Sunset through Parnassus and within 2 blocks of Mission Bay. Monthly passes are ~$70. 
  • You will almost definitely need to rely on the economy-of-scale advantage of having a room mate (or two, or three, etc...).
If you get stuck, ask around! Students have found some very creative ways of finding a place to live. You may even be able to find somebody with a rent controlled room open up!