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Medical Education
Medical Student Education


Programs for Entering Students

Programs for Enrolled MD Students

MD Program

For entering class of 2016: The MD program consists of three integrated phases: Foundations 1, Foundations 2, and Career Launch.

For entering classes of 2015 and prior: The MD program consists of two integrated phases: the pre-clerkship years during which students complete Essential Core curriculum work, followed by Clinical Studies, which offers significant inpatient and ambulatory clinical experiences at a variety of different sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. In addition to the clerkships, students gain clinical experience through volunteer work with any number of UCSF-affiliated projects.

Medical Scientist Training Program

A combined MD-PhD program, the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) prepares a small group of gifted students for careers as physician/scientists. With funding from the US National Institutes of Health, our trainees receive full tuition support and a stipend while pursuing the superb training opportunities offered by both the School of Medicine and one of our renowned graduate programs. We admit 12 new students each year, drawing from a highly competitive, nationwide pool of applicants. Our students, working with world-class faculty mentors, have been extremely successful in competing for top-ranked residencies, fellowships, and careers in academic medicine and biomedical research.

MD-MS Joint Medical Program

The UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco Joint Medical Program (JMP) is a unique five-year medical education program dedicated to training physician-leaders in the human, sociocultural, and bioethical contexts of health and disease. The first three years of study take place on the UC Berkeley campus, a short distance away across the San Francisco Bay, blending an innovative preclinical medical curriculum with rigorous research training. Students may take their graduate work in a wide array of subject areas well represented on the UC Berkeley campus – selecting thesis topics in the historical, social, ethical, epidemiological, or policy aspects of human health and disease. JMP students then transfer to UCSF for their last two years of study in the clinical curriculum, joining the traditional track UCSF medical students. The JMP combines graduate and medical curricula leading to both MD and MS degrees.

Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved

PRIME-US is a special five-year track for medical students interested in working with urban underserved populations. The program accepts 15 new students annually: 11 new students from the entering class at UCSF and 4 new students from the entering class at the Joint Medical Program (JMP) at UC Berkeley. The goals of the PRIME-US program are to:

  • Attract medical students from diverse backgrounds who have a strong interest in caring for the urban underserved in the United States.
  • Provide a medical education experience for these students to equip and support them to become leaders in the care of urban underserved communities.
  • Enable these students to serve as a catalyst for others at UCSF and the JMP to appreciate the rewards and challenges of caring for the urban underserved.
  • Increase the number of UCSF medical school graduates who choose to pursue careers devoted to improving the health care and health of the urban underserved through leadership roles as community-engaged clinicians, educators, researchers, and social policy advocates.

PRIME-US offers interested medical students the unique opportunity to work directly with urban underserved populations at the individual as well as community level. The PRIME-US curriculum builds on the unique expertise of UCSF, UC Berkeley, and UCSF-Fresno faculty as researchers, educators, and policy leaders in the field of health care for urban underserved populations.

MD-PhD in History of Health Sciences

The graduate program in the History of Health Sciences offers medical students the opportunity to earn a PhD in History of Health Sciences in addition to the MD degree. If accepted by both the School of Medicine and the History Program, students will receive full payment of all tuition and fees plus an annual stipend for living expenses for the four years of graduate study. This program does not cover the costs of medical school, but students are encouraged to apply for financial aid and other grants and scholarships.

MD/PhD students will complete the first two or three years of the medical school curriculum, then they will join the PhD program in History of Health Sciences. The PhD program begins with two years of coursework in preparation for the qualifying exams. After the qualifying exams, students work independently on researching and writing their dissertations. When the dissertation is completed, students return to the medical school to complete the MD curriculum.

Students should apply separately to the two programs, alerting each to their interest in the combined MD/PhD. Students need not submit GRE scores; MCAT scores are sufficient for both programs. The application committees of both the MD and PhD programs will work together to process these applications.

MD-MPH Program

The UCSF/UC Berkeley MD-MPH Program allows UCSF medical students to earn a master's degree in public health (MPH) at UC Berkeley during an additional year between the third and fourth medical school years or after completing the MD degree. There is no admissions process for this program at the time of initial application to medical school.

Students may apply 12 units of their work in the UCSF/UC Berkeley MD-MPH Program to their fourth-year discretionary requirements.

Pathways to Discovery

The Pathways to Discovery program fosters the pursuit of discovery, inquiry, and innovation as part of the career of every health professional trained at UCSF. The program is open to learners at every level of training and from all UCSF schools.  Learners are provided with opportunities for in-depth study and hands-on experience in one of several areas of inquiry: Clinical and Translational Research, Global Health, Health and Society, Health Professions Education, and Molecular Medicine. Each Pathway hosts:

  • Curricula designed to prepare learners to innovate
  • A mentored project
  • The creation of a legacy of lasting value to UCSF and broader communities

The five Pathways are individualized to develop the specialization, mentoring, and contacts necessary to lead in bioscience and social science research, the development of health professions curricula and education theory, advocacy, and policy. 

Students exploring Pathways can visit the website for contact information, degree opportunities, requirements, project samples, and curricula. While it is possible to enter individual Pathways at various points during training, applicants considering the Molecular Medicine Pathway are encouraged to contact its directors before their arrival at UCSF.

MD with Distinction in a Pathway

The MD with Distinction is awarded at graduation to those students who, in addition to fulfilling all of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Medicine, have completed a research project and have written a thesis approved by the governing committee of the MD with Distinction in the Pathways to Discovery program. Students do not need to decide whether you wish to pursue a thesis project until you are enrolled at UCSF.

Core Clerkship Structured Programs 

Launched in 2007, PISCES is a one-year integrated clerkship that provides third-year medical students with clinical training in medicine, surgery, family and community medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, neurology, surgical subspecialties (orthopedics, ophthalmology, OHNS, neurosurgery) and anesthesiology.