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The School of Medicine

The faculty of the School of Medicine is committed to nurturing and reinforcing the attributes that are important in the making of a doctor: dedication, compassion, and intellectual curiosity. The goal of the medical school curriculum, clinical experiences, and faculty-student interactions is to develop compassionate, scientifically informed, and conscientious physicians prepared for the changing conditions of medical practice and continuing self-education. Students acquire understanding of the basic medical sciences and clinical disciplines and are encouraged to choose their own areas of interest for eventual development into careers in the broadly diversified medical community. Required course offerings are designed to provide students with a strong foundation upon which any medical specialty can be built.

Both preclinical and clinical courses are taught by UC San Diego faculty physicians and scientists. Courses are evaluated on a regular basis and updated by interdisciplinary course committees. Students at the UC San Diego School of Medicine are encouraged to explore a variety of clinical, laboratory, and community-based experiences.

The core curriculum of the first two years is designed to provide each entering student with an essential understanding of the fundamental disciplines underlying modern medicine. The core curriculum of the last two years is composed of the major clinical specialties taught in hospital settings, outpatient situations, and relevant extended-care facilities. Elective opportunities abound throughout the curriculum. More information on the curriculum is available at

Clinical education takes place at a number of hospitals in the greater San Diego area, including the UC San Diego Medical Centers in Hillcrest and La Jolla, as well as Rady Children’s Hospital and the VA San Diego Medical Center. Outpatient experiences include private medical practice, community clinics, including UC San Diego’s Student-Run Free Clinic, and home visitation programs. Students see patients in many of San Diego’s hospitals and outpatient facilities, as well as in diverse neighborhoods of San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. In all their clinical experiences, UC San Diego medical students have an opportunity to participate in multidisciplinary teams with physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, laboratory technicians, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals to provide health care.

There are also many opportunities for students to participate in leading-edge research in the laboratories of UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers, as well as in the laboratories of scientists from the general UC San Diego campus, the VA San Diego Medical Center, the Salk Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, and some of the many private biomedical research companies in the region.

In addition, the school offers students multiple opportunities to acquire additional degrees:

  • The Medical Scientist Training Program provides the opportunity for a limited number of students to earn both the MD and PhD over an eight- to nine-year period of study.
  • The five-year Program in Medical Education—Health Equity (PRIME-HEq) and Program in Medical Education—Transforming Indigenous Doctor Education (PRIME-TIDE) are part of a system-wide effort at the University of California to train physicians to meet the needs of California’s diverse population. These programs are designed to build on students’ interests and backgrounds in community service and in supporting marginalized communities. The programs include an additional year of study in a master's degree program of choice, where students receive exposure, training, and the opportunity to work with populations or communities at risk for health disparities.

UC San Diego also offers a master of public health (MPH), and facilitates opportunities for interested students who wish to pursue a master’s degree in public health (MPH) while enrolled in medical school.

Selection Factors

Selection is based upon a holistic review of the nature and depth of scholarly and extracurricular activities undertaken, academic record, performance on the MCAT, letters of recommendation, and personal interviews, taking into account an applicant’s background and commitment to service in medicine. The School of Medicine is seeking a student body with a broad diversity of backgrounds and interests that reflect our diverse population.

For additional information about the UC San Diego School of Medicine and its programs, contact:

The Office of Admissions
School of Medicine
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. # 0606
La Jolla, California 92093-0606

Programs for Prospective Medical Students

An undergraduate student considering medicine as a career may choose any major or concentration area leading to the bachelor’s degree, provided that the student elects those additional courses which the medical school may require for admission. Admission requirements differ among medical schools, but most desire a solid foundation in the natural sciences—biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics—and a broad background in the humanities, social sciences, and communication skills. A premedical/dental advisory program is available through the campuswide Career Center. Special Studies courses (199) are also available through the Faculty Mentor Program, for a customized, premedical elective experience supported by various departments and by the School of Medicine faculty.