Medical Training

The UCSF School of Medicine provides exceptional medical training to its students. Its constantly evolving innovative curriculum includes case-based and integrated block courses in the first two years, third year Intersessions, fourth year Areas of Concentration, a digital curriculum called iROCKET, and the Academy of Medical Educators, which offers unique institutional support for teaching excellence.

In the latest ranking of the best schools for medicine by U.S. News & World Report, UCSF is the only medical school to rank in the top 5 for both research and primary care. The UCSF School of Medicine (SOM) encourages its students to incorporate inquiry, innovation and discovery throughout their careers, from the classroom to private practice, the government sector, academic medicine or other pursuits. UCSF's SOM also received the most NIH funding of any medical school in the country in 2017.

Returning to Medical School

We strictly enforce the rule that a trainee’s thesis must be approved and signed by their thesis committee before their return to medical school. With that in mind, students who are approaching completion of their PhD attend a mandatory meeting with the School of Medicine (SOM) Clerkship Coordinator in August prior to the year they plan on reentering medical school. In this meeting, students arrange a schedule for the final 18 - 24 months of clinical clerkships. The SOM is very supportive of our students’ requests and works diligently to accommodate them.

Students going back to Medical School in 2021 or later will have the option to return either in January or May.

Our trainees follow the same curriculum as regular medical students during their clinical years. The content and organization of these years has been evolving, but they generally comprise roughly 12 months of required clerkships and at least 6 months of advanced electives. Because we stop supporting our students from the NIH training grant after their fourth year, each student remains eligible for up to 24 months of further NIH support during the clinical years before exhausting his/her lifetime of eligibility. This allows some trainees to pursue additional electives, which is often helpful in choosing and competing for residencies. The medical school administration has always been very flexible and accommodating in allowing our trainees to tailor their clerkship schedules according to their career goals.

See the Program Timeline for information on how the medical training portion of the MSTP fits into the overall program timeline. More details about the MSTP medical school curriculum can be found on the Curriculum page.

More information on the UCSF School of Medicine: