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Medical Education
Bridges Curriculum

Inquiry Curriculum

The Inquiry element of the Bridges Curriculum is designed to help students recognize the limits of current knowledge and develop an appreciation for the methods of discovery in a diverse set of scientific disciplines termed the UCSF Domains of Science.

Inquiry studies are a required and core component of the Bridges Curriculum (comprises almost 25% of the curriculum) which introduces and supports students through structured discovery, culminating in an extended period of mentored project time during the Career Launch phase. 

The Six Domains of Science Defined

The Inquiry element is composed of three main components:

  1. Core Inquiry: Weekly, faculty-facilitated small student groups will explore current, complex, and cutting-edge scientific or health care problems through the lens of two or more scientific disciplines (e.g., the appropriate response to electronic cigarettes, or new approaches to antimicrobial resistance). Through this component, students will build competency in using inquiry tools from each of the six domains of science.
  2. Inquiry Immersion Blocks:  Aligned two-week blocks of selective didactics, cohort meetings, and scholarship skill-building experiences to allow students from years 1, 2 and 4 to work together joined by students from the other professional schools and the graduate division.  Students will choose from a menu of courses that focus on methods relevant to the areas of inquiry, (e.g., data generation, analysis, problem-solving) and particular topics of interest to students (e.g., long term health consequences of childhood exposure to violence). Through this component, students will continue to build skills in inquiry and scientific teamwork and will identify the scientific domain in which they intend to develop more advanced skills.
  3. Deep Explore: 30 weeks of dedicated project time during the Career Launch phase of the curriculum where students will pair with a UCSF faculty mentor, to conduct scholarship relevant to the topic of their choice.  While some students will choose basic or clinical science research, scholarly projects can also range from a community health initiative, health systems improvement project, or population health work in an under-resources country.  Through this component, students will independently engage in the discovery process to develop and disseminate their project results.

Inquiry Activities