Education Programs

The MD Curriculum

The Bridges Curriculum at UCSF was designed to prepare students for a changing healthcare environment of rapidly expanding knowledge, new science and innovative technologies. Instead of the traditional model of two years of basic science followed by two years of clinical application, Bridges sees students learn about foundational science concepts integrated with clinical skills throughout the four-year curriculum. With this strategy, the art and science of medicine continually reinforce each other.

The Bridges Curriculum is comprised of:

Foundations 1: Knowledge in basic and clinical sciences while building the habits of mind of an inquiring physician, contributing to the health of patients and improving the delivery of healthcare.

Foundations 2: Foundations 2 (F2) is the second phase of the Bridges Curriculum in which students will complete their core clinical clerkships and revisit foundational science concepts for improved patient care. In addition, students will have the opportunity to enroll in short clinical electives to explore a variety of clinical specialties beyond the core clerkships.

Career Launch: The individualized phase of the curriculum in which students choose clinical experiences and a scholarly project aligned with career goals.

UCSF School of Medicine
Medical Student Education
San Francisco, CA 94143-0410


MD/Masters in Advanced Studies (MD/MAS)

Obtaining an MD degree and Masters in Advanced Studies (MAS) degree in clinical research sequentially would require six years of training. To decrease overall time in training, the CTR Pathway offers a combined five-year MD/MAS degree for select students in the School of Medicine. The MAS is intended for students who wish to master clinical research methods and ultimately pursue independent research careers. Coursework includes instruction in advanced epidemiologic and biostatistical methods and specialized topics such as outcomes research, medical informatics, molecular methods in clinical research, clinical trials and decision and cost-effective analysis. In addition to 36 quarter-units, requirements include a comprehensive review of the literature, presentation of original work at a national scientific meeting and publication of a peer-reviewed manuscript.

Peter Chin-Hong, MD


MD with Distinction

Distinction in Yearlong Research is available to UCSF learners who pursue rigorous research or scholarship projects that span 12 contiguous months. Intramural and extramural grants are available to support living expenses and some include project, travel, education, and loan interest expenses. Completion requirements include: 

  • 12 months Leave of Absence (LoA) from any university enrollment 
  • UCSF faculty mentorship 
  • Abstract and poster presentations at the Inquiry Symposium and a professional conference 
  • Committee-approved legacy product (e.g., thesis, curriculum, published manuscript) 

Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

A combined MD/PhD program, the Medical Scientist Training Program prepares a small group of students for careers as physician/scientists. With funding from the U.S. 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. Please check the MSTP website for updates on deadlines for applications, etc.

Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
533 Parnassus Avenue, Room U-583
San Francisco, CA 94143-0662
Telephone: (415)-476-4423
Fax: (415) 476-9843


UC Berkeley - UCSF Joint Medical Program (MD, MS)

The UC Berkeley - UCSF Joint Medical Program (JMP) is a five-year graduate program. Students spend the pre-clerkship years at UC Berkeley, engaging in a leading-edge integrated Problem Based Learning medical curriculum, while simultaneously earning a Master's Degree in the Health and Medical Sciences at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. After two and a half years, JMP students move across the bay to UCSF to finish their medical education and receive their MD.

Applicants to the Joint Medical Program must meet all of the requirements of the UCSF School of Medicine and should apply through the regular admissions process. Applicants who pass a preliminary review will be approved for a secondary application from UCSF that will provide information on application to the Joint Medical Program. Each year 16 students are accepted on the basis of motivation, background, and aptitude for an in-depth research experience and suitability for case-based, problem-oriented small group learning.

JMP Admissions
University of California
570 University Hall #1190
Berkeley, CA 94720-1190
(510) 642-5482


MD/Masters of Public Health (MPH) Program

The joint 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 who pursue both an MD and an MPH are typically interested in caring not only for individual patients but also in making a significant impact on public health. The program is designed for medical students who will go on to a clinical residency and clinical practice. Many graduates will have careers as full-time clinicians, while others will combine clinical work with research or involvement in designing or directing programs or policies at the community, state, national, or international levels. Many medical students pursue an MPH in epidemiology to prepare them for academic careers in which the tools of epidemiology give them a solid basis for conducting research in a range of clinical or public policy areas.

All MD/MPH students take introductory coursework in public health overall, in epidemiology, in health policy and management, and in social and behavioral sciences. MD/MPH students can select one of three concentration areas: (1) epidemiology; (2) health policy and management; or (3) the interdisciplinary program. The interdisciplinary program gives students a solid grounding in epidemiology and biostatistics, while providing flexibility to pursue electives in areas such as international health, maternal and child health, health economics, or health policy and management.

The program requires two semesters at UC Berkeley (equivalent to three quarters at UCSF); students are simultaneously enrolled on both campuses (but only pay registration and education fees to Berkeley). MD/MPH students qualify for financial aid (generally, loans) from UC Berkeley typically at the same levels as received at UCSF. MD/MPH students are strongly encouraged to maintain some ongoing clinical exposure (e.g., their longitudinal clinic, or as volunteers in the homeless clinic) while at Berkeley.

Margo Vener, MD, MPH


Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US)

UCSF's 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. PRIME-US will accept 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. Targeted activities include:

  • Core Seminar Series - regularly scheduled afternoon seminars that include community-based experiences as well as interactive teaching sessions that explore the health and health care of urban underserved populations. Experts on homelessness, immigrant health, the prison system, health care disparities and more speak and share their work with PRIME-US students.
  • Community Engagement Program - formal community-oriented curriculum (as part of the core seminar series), longitudinal clinical experiences at community-based clinics, and community-based service learning opportunities and project activities.
  • Clinical clerkships in underserved communities including San Francisco General Hospital and the Fresno campus of UCSF.
  • A fifth year of study to pursue a master's degree.
  • A formal mentorship program and academic guidance provided by dedicated staff, faculty, and community members to ensure personal, professional, and academic success.

Students interested in gaining knowledge and expertise in caring for the urban underserved are encouraged to apply for PRIME-US regardless of their eventual specialty choice. Applicants to the PRIME-US program must meet all of the requirements of the UCSF School of Medicine and should apply through the regular UCSF admissions process. If you are invited to complete the UCSF Secondary Application and would like to apply for PRIME-US, select MD/PRIME on the application--doing so, will allow both MD and PRIME admissions to consider your application. To gain admission to PRIME-US, students must also be accepted to the MD program. Students who are not accepted to PRIME-US will still maintain acceptance in the MD program.


PRIME Website 


UCSF San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME)

San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME) is a tailored track at UCSF School of Medicine for medical students who are committed to ensuring high quality, diverse and well distributed medical care to improve health for populations, communities and individuals in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

SJV PRIME offers interested medical students the unique opportunity to work in the San Joaquin Valley with highly underserved populations at the individual and community levels. It incorporates the unique expertise of UCSF, UC Merced, and UCSF faculty at UCSF Fresno, as researchers, educators and leaders in the field of health care in the Valley.

Students accepted into SJV PRIME will spend their first 18 months at the main campus in San Francisco. They will then spend the next two and a half years at the UCSF Fresno campus.

Students interested in gaining knowledge and expertise in caring for populations in the San Joaquin Valley are encouraged to apply for SJV PRIME regardless of their eventual specialty choice. Applicants to SJV PRIME must meet all of the requirements of the UCSF School of Medicine and should apply through the regular UCSF admissions process. If you are invited to complete the UCSF Secondary Application and would like to apply for SJV PRIME, select MD/SJV PRIME on the application—doing so will allow both MD and SJV PRIME admissions to consider your application. 


Loren I. Alving, MD
SJV PRIME Director

Grace Carlson, BA

Linda Alvarez
UCSF Fresno Coordinator

Learn more about SJV PRIME

MD-PhD in History of Health Sciences

The Program in History of Health Sciences (located in the Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine) 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, and will then 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.

Kathy Jackson
Graduate Program Coordinator
(415) 476-7223
History of Health Sciences Website