Samuel Merritt University

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Coordinates: 37°49′15.53″N 122°15′49.56″W / 37.8209806°N 122.2637667°W / 37.8209806; -122.2637667

Samuel Merritt University
Smu logo 2020.png
Established1909; 112 years ago (1909)
Endowment$49.1 million (2020)[1]
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is a private university focused on health sciences and located on the Summit campus of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California. It is an affiliate of the Sutter Health Network and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. It is the only provider of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physician assistants and is the largest source of nurses in the greater East Bay.[2][3] Formerly known as Samuel Merritt College, it was founded in 1909 as a hospital school of nursing.


Samuel Merritt University was founded in 1909 through the legacy of Dr. Samuel Merritt. Drawn by the excitement of California in the 1850s, Merritt left his Maine home to seek his fortune in the west. He settled in Oakland, and as a dedicated physician, architect, ship builder, and civic planner his influence was etched on the history of the city. Merritt left plans for a hospital to be built in his name after his death. His dream was realized in 1909 when Samuel Merritt College and Samuel Merritt Hospital opened their doors.

In recent years, Samuel Merritt has increased its enrollment from 146 to over 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students and added new programs in the health sciences. Samuel Merritt's students represent all ages, ethnicities, and geographical locations.

The Intercollegiate Nursing Program with Saint Mary's was established in 1981.[4] Samuel Merritt College established the entry-level Master of Physical Therapy in 1990, the Master of Occupational Therapy in 1992. The College also offers a Master of Science in Nursing three advanced nursing specialties: Case Management, Family nurse practitioner (FNP), and Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA). In 2005, the department of Physical Therapy graduated its first Doctor of Physical Therapy class.

With initiation of the Master Physician Assistant program in 1999, the first entry-level graduate program for physician assistants in California, and the establishment of the California School of Podiatric Medicine in 2002, Samuel Merritt University has fostered a growing reputation for undergraduate and graduate education in the health sciences.[citation needed] Samuel Merritt University is listed as "unranked" by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Ranking.[5]



SMU is a university dedicated to health sciences. Most of the university's programs are at the graduate level; however, the School of Nursing offers two bachelor's degree programs. Podiatric medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing practice are all offered at the doctoral level while the physician assistant program is offered at the master's level.[6] The university's average graduation rate is 95 percent and student scores on licensure pass rates are 90 percent or above for first-time test takers in six programs.[7]


The university is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)[8] and its programs are accredited by their corresponding accreditation bodies.

School/Department Program(s) Accreditation
School of Nursing Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)


Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN)

  • Case Management
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Master of Science in Nursing (Post Professional)

  • Case Management
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA)

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education[9]
Department of Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).[10][11]
Department of Occupational Therapy Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)[12]
California School of Podiatric Medicine Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) Council on Podiatric Medical Education[13]
Department of Physician Assistant Masters of Physician Assistant Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant[6]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ For the 2007/2008 academic year, 355 Samuel Merritt nursing graduates took the NCLEX exam compared with CSU East Bay - 83, Merritt College - 43, Chabot College - 34, Ohlone College - 50, Contra Costa College - 81, Los Medanos College - 46, and Unitek College - 36
  3. ^ "About Samuel Merritt University". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  4. ^ "History of Samuel Merritt University". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  5. ^ Samuel Merritt University Rankings
  6. ^ a b "Physician Assistant Program". Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  7. ^ "About Samuel Merritt University". Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  8. ^ "Samuel Merritt University | WASC Senior College and University Commission". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  9. ^ "CCNE-Accredited Nursing Degree Programs: California". American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Retrieved 28 February 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Accredited Schools Directory". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  11. ^ "Program Accreditation". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  12. ^ "Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Program". Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  13. ^ "California School of Podiatric Medicine Accreditation". Retrieved 2018-02-16.

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