Inquiry Curriculum: Deep Explore

Aims of Deep Explore:

Inquiry is the lifelong process of challenging current concepts and creating new knowledge, or comparable scholarship.  Each step of the UCSF inquiry curriculum advances the learner -- first to a sophisticated consumer of biomedical science and then, in Deep Explore, to a producer of new knowledge. Deep Explore has three aims:


  1. To support students in a project that speaks to their own passions and advances the frontiers of knowledge;
  2. To give students a mentored experience that offers them a bond with a faculty member;
  3. Through the experience, to help students attain competencies in proposal-writing, critical thinking, scholarship and communication.

The previous Pathways to Discovery Program set foundational curricular components in place to facilitate students' Inquiry knowledge. Refer to the Inquiry Curriculum component of the website for more information.

The Requirement:

An independent piece of scholarship during medical school is expected of all Bridges students in the Class of 2021.  Students may satisfy this requirement by:


  • Completion of another degree that includes a thesis (e.g. PhD, MPH, MAS) while a medical student at UCSF. 
  • Completion during Career Launch of an independent, mentored, project, ordinarily of at least 12 weeks’ duration.

The Project:


We anticipate that many students will carry out an individual, original, mentored research project or other scholarly pursuits. We encourage a mentored experience with a diversity of topic choices, as outlined here.


  • The mentor will generally be a faculty member at UCSF (if another institution, the student will also choose a co-mentor from the UCSF faculty). 
  • We seek to help students find and carry out novel original projects that speak to their individual interests and enthusiasms.  Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Basic, translational, clinical or population-based research
    • Quality improvement projects
    • Implementation science or health care delivery
    • Community-engaged projects
    • A publishable systematic review or meta-analysis of a clinical topic
    • A creative project that concerns the field of medicine, eg. Narrative medicine
    • Curriculum development
  • Recognizing the value of team science, we will gladly consider projects submitted by a small group of students (usually two or three), so long as a significant and verifiable creative role for each participant is clearly outlined in the proposal.  You should work with your Inquiry Advisor to craft such proposals.