Health Professional Students


Learners explore their interests in health professions education as they themselves experience the curriculum.  Focused exploration is available during the first two years of training through:

  • the Curriculum Ambassador Program
  • the Medical Scholars Program (open only to medical students)
  • leadership in student-run electives
  • service on curriculum-related committees in their school

All opportunities are open to professional health students in all UCSF schools, unless otherwise noted.

Learners can also use the Pathways Explore Directory of Courses and Activities. A list of electives and other activities in each UCSF school coded by relevant Pathway, the directory signals opportunities to consider how learners are prepared to contribute to improved health sciences and healthcare.


The Health Professions Education (HPE) Pathway is a two-tiered program (Core and Advanced) allowing maximum flexibility in depth and time commitment. The table below offers an overview of requirements and provides information about a Master's degree opportunity through UC Berkeley for those who wish to further pursue their interests in education. Items are linked to more detailed descriptions below.

Program Prerequisites Requirements


(MD with Distinction)
Master's Degree
  • Core or Advanced Program
  • Application to UC Berkeley
  • All requirements of the Advanced Program
  • All requirements of UC Berkeley Master's Degree


Advanced Program/MDwD

  • The project of an Advanced Program/MDwD student is expected to be more robust in scope, depth, and innovation (requiring up to two years to complete) than the typical project of a student in the Core Program. MDwD projects must be written up, submitted, and approved by the student’s thesis committee for successful completion of the program and awarding of the MD with Distinction. See additional information about MDwD Program here.

Works in Progress Sessions WIP's

  • Pathways Participants can share their project progress with the HPE colleagues and faculty at monthly LPD sessions
    • Requirements: Attend at least 3 sesions and present at 2 sessions/year

Teaching Practicum

  • All learners will participate in experiential activities that allow the practice of educational skills, such as direct teaching or mentoring
  • Teaching can be classroom, OSCE/CPX, noon conference, or ward rounds teaching, etc
  • Various opportunities will be offered throughout the course of the academic year
  • Required:
    • Participate in teaching/mentoring equivalent to approx 12 hrs of direct teaching

Seminars and Journal Clubs (Advanced Program only)

All Advanced/MDwD Program learners will attend medical education seminars and journal clubs

  • ESCape is held weekly on Tuesdays from noon to 1pm on the Parnassus campus (phone in capabilities available). These sessions are open to the campus-wide community for consultation on ideas, projects, abstracts, manuscripts, etc, and are excellent opportunities to practice abstract and manuscript review skills.
  • Medical Education Journal Club is held monthly on Thursdays from noon to 1pm at the Mission Center Building (on SFGH shuttle stop, phone in capabilities available). These sessions focus on reviews of the education literature with different themes each month.
  • Requirements
    • Attend 8 total sessions/yr with at least 2 sessions minimum of each (ESCape and Med Ed Journal Club)



2016 -  2017

Course Offered Requirements
Teaching Strategies
& Curriculum Development + Learning Theories

Track 1

9/26/16 – 10/21/16

Track 2

10/3/16 - 10/28/16


Teaching Strategies and Curriculum Development:

  • Full-time attendance for duration of course
  • Weekly question assignments
  • Final course quiz
  • Complete evaluations (weekly and end of course)
  • Other assignments at discretion of instructor(s)

Learning Theories

  • Required attendance at 3 of 4 sessions
  • 4 written assignments
  • Submit course evaluations

(Advanced Program only)

Workshop A: Designing an Assessment Instrument
TBD 2016/17
Workshop B: SP-Format Exams
TBD 2016/17

  • Required attendance at 2 workshops:
    • Workshop A: Designing an Assessment Instrument
    • Workshop B: SP-Format Exams
  • Three written assignment modules
  • Final written summary assignment
  • Submit course evaluations

Educational Leadership
(Advanced Program only)

Session 1: TBD 16-17
Session 2: TBD 16-17
  • Required attendance at 2 sessions
  • 5 written assignments
  • Peer-review of assignments
  • Submit course evaluation

Applying for Credit

To recieve credit on your transcripts for the HPE Pathway, please sign up for the following course numbers with the UCSF Registrar's Office:

IDS 140.05 - Teaching Strategies & Curriculum Development (September Course, all Core and Advanced learners)

IDS 140.10 - Assessment, Educational Leadership, Learning Theories (Advanced learners only)

IDS 140.20 - Credit for Independent Project Work (3 units per 2 weeks of requested time, 14 weeks maximum)

Mentored Project

  • All learners will work with an HPE approved mentor on a project
  • Project plans will be submitted via the online Project Proposal/Pathways Enrollment form and be approved by the HPE Pathway
  • Projects must be completed by April of Pathway completion year

Learners can visit the Impacts tab above for examples of recent HPE projects.


"Legacy" refers to the impact of your work. All Pathways to Discovery projects result in a research or scholarship-informed product with an immediate and potentially long-term or broader impact on health sciences, healthcare quality, healthcare delivery, or health professions education.


All learners present their work in at least one venue appropriate to their project and career plans.

  • All students will present their projects at the Pathways Symposium in May of Pathway completion year


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I do once I am in the Health Professions Education Pathway?
A: To help prepare you for careers of innovation, leadership, and scholarship in health professions education, you will participate in formal courses, guided experiential learning, and a mentored scholarly project. You have two options for participation, the Core Program or the Advanced Program.

Q: Who should take the Core Program?
A: Most learners will take the Core Program which may be completed in one year by medical students and one to two years for residents, fellows, and other health professional students. The curriculum of the Core Program includes:

  • Two courses which combine didactic and experiential learning
    • Teaching Strategies & Curriculum Development
    • Learning Theories
  • Teaching practicum
  • Legacy Product Development sessions
  • Legacy Project

Q: Who should take the Advanced Program?

A: A few learners may opt to take the Advanced Program which can be completed in either one or two years. Medical students who enroll in the Advanced Program will also be enrolled in the School of Medicine’s MD with Distinction Program, be assigned a “thesis” committee, and graduate with an MD with Distinction in the HPE Pathway. The curricular work completed in the Advanced Program may be transferred to UC Berkeley to count towards the Master’s Degree in Education. The curriculum of the Advanced Program includes:

  • All requirements of the Core Program listed above
  • Additional courses which combine didactic and experiential learning
    • Assessment (Requiring attendance to RaDME's "Designing an Assessment Instrument" and "Effective Use of Standard Patients in HPE" workshops)
    • Educational Leadership
  • Attendance of seminars and journal clubs
    • ESCape seminars
    • Medical Education Journal Club

Q: Can I receive course units for taking the Teaching Strategies & Curriculum Development course?

A: Students who wish to take this course for course units must also officially sign up using course number IDS 140.05 through their school or registrar’s office. Please note, course units are not available for Residents/Fellows.

Q: How do I enroll in the extended learning courses (Assessment, and Educational Leadership)?

A: To enroll in any one of the two extended learning courses, contact HPE leadership. If additional units are needed, students in the Advanced Program may sign up for IDS 140.10 through their school or registrar’s office. IDS 140.10 offers students 3 units for completion of both of the HPE extended learning courses (Assessment, and Educational Leadership) as well as the Learning Theories course.

Q: I have clinical duties as resident, fellow, dental or pharmacy student, and I am not able to defer all of them during the primary required course, Teaching Strategies & Curriculum Development. What should I do?

A: You are all health professionals first, so we understand this dilemma! Learners who have clinical continuity duties (e.g. intermittent outpatient clinics) will certainly be allowed to be absent from the conflicting scheduled Teaching Strategies & Curriculum Development sessions. However, session materials will be available online, and learners will be responsible for making up missed assignments during the month.

Q: What is a Legacy Project?

A: All learners must complete a Legacy Project with an HPE Pathway approved mentor. Because these projects are designed to allow you to develop additional skills, previously completed projects (such as Curriculum Ambassador projects) may not be used to meet the Legacy Project requirement. However, the Legacy Project may certainly be an extension or next phase of a previously completed project. It may also be completed to concurrently meet other project requirements if appropriate (e.g. required project in residency or pharmacy program). These projects must have a foundation drawn from the educational or health professions education literature. The scope of the project is variable depending upon your time availability (minimum 3 months), prior experience in the chosen domain, and whether you are in the Core or Advanced Program. Learners can visit the Impacts tab above for examples of recent HPE projects.

Q: What are the evening Works in Progress sessions? Do I have to attend them?

A: The Works in Progress sessions are designed to assist HPE learners advance their Legacy Projects. Additionally, sessions address specific, relevant topics (applying for funding, IRB approval, project dissemination, etc.). They allow group problem solving. Learners will be assigned to present their projects on specific dates to update the group on their progress. During away or busy clinical rotations, learners are expected to submit updates via email. All learners must attend 3 sessions per academic year and present at least 2 times per year (outside of those offered during the fall course). Finally, WIP's are also opportunities to build community by meeting with the HPE Faculty and other HPE learners face-to-face.

Q: When do I need to complete all the requirements for the Pathway?

A: Your Legacy Projects must be completed by early April. All other HPE pathway requirements (coursework, teaching practicum, LPD attendance) must be completed by late April of your completion year for medical students. Residents, fellows, and other Professional school learners have until late May. If you have concerns about not being able to complete the requirements, contact the HPE Pathway Director, Maria Wamsley, as early as possible to discuss your specific situation.

Q: I still have additional unanswered questions—what should I do now?

A: Students can contact the HPE Pathway Director or any of the HPE Pathway Co-Directors. See HPE Contacts.