College of Health Sciences

Science, research, and hands-on clinical training are at the core of our educational experience. Asking questions about community input, social determinants of health, and healthcare inequities are central to our values as well as the compassionate care our graduates strive to provide.

We Believe That Caring for Humankind Isn’t Just a Career, it’s a Calling

At Samuel Merritt University, we’re committed to training a new generation of highly skilled and deeply compassionate health sciences students. Our mission is to improve access to healthcare for everyone by providing a rigorous education, hands-on learning experiences, and a values-based credo of care that prepares our graduates to partner with underserved communities and address health disparities.

By joining the College of Health Sciences, you’ll be part of a long history of innovation and success.  From Samuel Merritt’s founding more than 100 years ago to becoming the first nursing certificate program to offer nursing degrees in 1984, the University has grown into one of Northern California’s preeminent providers of health sciences professionals. 

The College of Health Sciences includes the Master Physician AssistantDoctor and Master of Occupational Therapy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. It also includes the Basic Sciences Department.

Why choose SMU?

  • Small size classes taught by highly trained and qualified clinicians and researchers
  • High employment rate after graduation
  • Diverse faculty who are committed to healthcare training and student success

Degree Programs & Certificates

Explore and compare our health sciences programs to determine the best path for your career goals.

Campus Locations

SMU Success

We have a rich tradition of educating skilled and compassionate health professionals.


Licensure Pass Rate

First-time pass rate

We Embrace Diversity

73% of SMU students come from diverse backgrounds.


Graduation Rate

Average for the past four years


Beth Ching

Elizabeth Ching

OTD, OTR/L Associate Professor
Dr. Heidi Garske

Heidi M. Garske

PT, PhD, DPT, MPT Assistant Professor Director of Clinical Education

Benjamin Boyd

PT, DPTSc Adjunct Associate Professor

Tana Summers

MS, PA-C Department Chair Assistant Professor Program Director
Students in Basic Science anatomy lab

Basic Sciences Department

Basic Sciences works collaboratively across programs and departments to educate students in gross anatomy, physiology, and functional neurosciences. It also offers undergraduate pre-requisite courses.

Learn More

SMU Perspectives

College of Health Sciences News