UC San Diego School of Medicine

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UC San Diego School of Medicine
Biomedical Sciences Building.jpg
Motto Fiat lux (Let There Be Light)
Type Public
Established 1968
Dean David A. Brenner
Academic staff
1,425 full- and part-time
Students 475 M.D. students
788 residents
299 graduate students
Location La Jolla, California, United States
32°52′34″N 117°14′13″W / 32.876°N 117.237°W / 32.876; -117.237Coordinates: 32°52′34″N 117°14′13″W / 32.876°N 117.237°W / 32.876; -117.237
Website som.ucsd.edu
UCSD School of Medicine logo.png

The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine is the graduate medical school of University of California, San Diego located in La Jolla, California, USA. It was the third medical school in the University of California system and is the only medical school in the San Diego metropolitan area. It is closely affiliated with the medical centers that are part of UC San Diego Health.


In 1962, the fledgling university began searching for a dean to head its planned medical school, which would be the first such institution in San Diego County.[1] The concept was based on the successful models of public medical education and practice in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The man eventually chosen was Dr. Joseph Stokes III, an expert in the fields of preventive medicine and cardiovascular epidemiology.[2] Stokes played a key role in aggressively recruiting leading physician scientists of its era and rapidly building the institute's reputation as an elite medical school. Faculty members recruited to the university by Stokes included Y.C. Fung, who would later be considered the father of bioengineering.[3] His efforts were aided by the campus's existing strengths in the biological sciences and close proximity to the famed Salk Institute.[1]

The basic science building was the first building constructed on the School of Medicine grounds, which were east of Revelle College and north of New Miramar Road (later renamed La Jolla Village Drive). The first cohort of 32 students enrolled in 1968, while construction on the clinical science building and adjacent 100-bed Veterans Administration Hospital were still ongoing. The inaugural class in 1971 achieved the highest score in the country on the National Board of Medical Examiners Step 1 Examination, propelling the young School into the national spotlight. The school's first degrees were conferred upon them in 1972.[4] Clinical rotations took place at the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, which had been constructed by the county in 1963 and leased to the university in 1966.[5]


The School of Medicine Academic Mall

The School of Medicine neighborhood occupies 54 acres on the southern portion of the main campus. It is bordered by Gilman Drive and Revelle College to the west, Gilman Drive and University Center to the north, Villa La Jolla Drive and the San Diego VA Medical Center to the east, and La Jolla Village Drive to the south. The main entrances to the campus are via Library Walk for pedestrians and Osler Lane for vehicles. The neighborhood's buildings are arranged around a series of three green spaces: the School of Medicine Quad, the Ceremonial Green, and the Academic Mall.[6] The School of Medicine quad is an informal, grassy area which channels pedestrians from Revelle College and Library Walk toward the Biomedical Library building and the adjacent academic and research facilities. The Ceremonial Green is a quadrantal lawn which is used for graduation ceremonies and other outdoor functions in front of the Medical Education and Telemedicine Building. The Academic Mall is a structured, flat quadrangle with gathering spaces and academic and research facilities along its east and west edges, and the Rita Atkinson Residences (medical student housing) at its southern terminus.

Most of the campus buildings serve an academic, research, or administrative purpose. Exceptions are the Rita Atkinson Residences, which houses 450 graduate students in a nine-story, two-tower structure,[7] and the Club Med dining facility at the base of the telemedicine building. The campus features two Stuart Collection works. Terrace, by Jackie Ferrara, consists of three tiled terraces which flow into one another to connect both wings of the Cellular and Molecular Medicine facility. It is the ninth work in the collection.[8] The fourteenth work, Standing by Kiki Smith, is a nude bronze woman raised on a concrete eucalyptus trunk trickling water from her hands to its roots. It was the artist's first permanent outdoor sculpture.[9]

Student life[edit]

The Rita Atkinson Residences house medical students and residents

The School of Medicine offers several programs and services for medical students, including the Healthy Student Program, the Office of Educational Support Services, the Careers in Medicine Program, Faculty Mentors, the Office of Student Affairs advisors, the Big Sib program, Senior Mentors, and Senior Faculty Advisors. In addition, medical students run nearly 40 active organizations.

Admissions and rankings[edit]

Admission to the UCSD School of Medicine M.D. program is among the most selective in the country. For the class entering Fall 2015, 253 of the 7,456 applicants were admitted. This 3.4% acceptance rate is the tenth-lowest of 170 schools surveyed by U.S. News & World Report nationally.[10] Of admits who choose to matriculate, the average undergraduate GPA is 3.73 and the average MCAT composite score is 34.2 out of 45.[11] The most popular residency and specialty programs as of 2006 are anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology, surgery.[citation needed]

The UCSD School of Medicine is ranked 18th in the 2017 edition of U.S. News and World Report for research and ranked 21st in primary care.[12] The "Drug and Alcohol Abuse" research program is ranked 10th overall. The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks UCSD 20th in the world for clinical medicine and pharmacy.[13]


The south expansion of the Biomedical Library

In addition to the M.D. program, the UCSD School of Medicine offers the following degrees:

  • Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D. Program)
  • Medical Scholars Program (8-year Baccalaureate/M.D. Program)
  • Masters in Bioengineering
  • Masters in Public Health
  • Masters in Leadership of Health Care Organizations
  • Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research
  • Ph.D. Program in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Independent Ph.D. programs

The M.D. curriculum was rewritten in 2010 to emphasize ambulatory experience and better prepare students for medical practice.[14] The curriculum resembles the following:[citation needed]

Year One

  • Year-Long: Practice of Medicine, Problem Based Learning, Ambulatory Care Apprenticeship
  • Fall Quarter: Foundations, Cardiovascular System, Pulmonary System, Gastrointestinal System
  • Winter Quarter: Renal System, Musculoskeletal System, Mind Brain and Behavior
  • Spring: Endocrinology Reproduction and Metabolism, Immunology, Hematology and Oncology, Microbiology

Year Two

  • Year-Long: Practice of Medicine, Problem Based Learning, Ambulatory Care Apprenticeship
  • Fall: Principles of Clinical Oncology; Epidemiology, Biostats, and Medical Informatics; Musculoskeletal System II; Gastrointestinal System II; Endocrinology, Reproduction and Metabolism II; Cardiovascular System II
  • Winter: Mind Brain Behavior II, Pulmonary System II, Renal System II
  • Spring: (begin clinical rotations)

The Independent Study Project (ISP) has long been a cornerstone of the elective curriculum at the UCSD School of Medicine. Students are required to complete a project under the direction of an ISP committee usually consisting of three or more School of Medicine faculty.


The Stein Clinical Research building houses the Stein Institute for Research on Aging

UCSD School of Medicine faculty rank #1 in the nation in federal research funding per faculty member (#1 in clinical research and #3 in basic research). Among ranked departments, UCSD is #1 in family medicine, neurosciences, surgery, and #2 in anesthesiology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pediatrics, pharmacology, and psychiatry. UCSD School of Medicine is 8th in the nation in total NIH funding with 8 individual departments in the top 10: #1 in family medicine and neurosciences, #2 in engineering-related and pharmacology funding, #3 in "other basic sciences" and psychiatry, #7 in internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology.[15] In 2013, Expertscape recognized it as having the world's highest level of expertise in glaucoma.[16]

The school operates several organized clinical research units, including Moores Cancer Center, the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, the Stein Institute for Research on Aging, the AntiViral Research Center, the Center of AIDS Research, the Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit, and the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Notable people[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

Eight Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine:[17]

  • Francis Crick (1962) – J.W. Kieckhefer Distinguished Research Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Robert W. Holley (1968) – Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • George Palade (1974) – Dean of the School of Medicine
  • Renato Dulbecco (1975) – Professor Emeritus, Department of Pathology
  • Roger Guillemin (1977) – Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Sydney Brenner (2002) – Adjunct Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Roger Tsien (2008) – Professor, Department of Pharmacology
  • Bruce Beutler (2011) – Professor, Scripps Research Institute

Other notable faculty include:

Community affiliations[edit]

Primary teaching hospitals affiliated with this medical school where clinical teaching or training is carried out: Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego Naval Regional Medical Center, San Diego VA Medical Center, Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Mercy Hospital, and the UC San Diego Health System.

Clinical teaching and training at the UCSD School of Medicine are carried out at seven primary teaching hospitals: Rady Children's Hospital, the San Diego Naval Regional Medical Center, the San Diego VA Medical Center, Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Mercy Hospital, and UC San Diego Health. The school's affiliation with UC San Diego Health includes all its entities: Hillcrest Medical Center, Thornton Hospital, Moores Cancer Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, Shiley Eye Institute, and various outpatient clinics.

School of Medicine researchers also work alongside scientists from several other medical research entities. These affiliations include the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine, Rady Children's Hospital, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego Supercomputer Center, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, The Scripps Research Institute, St. Vincent de Paul Village Family Health Center, UC San Diego Health, and the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Student-Run Free Clinic[edit]

The UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project, in partnership with the community, provides accessible, quality health care for the underserved in respectful environments in which students, health professionals, patients and community members learn from each other. It seeks to sustain health through free medical and preventive care, health education and access to social service. It has locations in Downtown San Diego, Pacific Beach, National City, and Lemon Grove.


  1. ^ a b A Dean of the Medical School of the San Diego campus is sought, October 31, 1962, University Communications & Public Relations Materials: News Releases. Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library
  2. ^ "Dr. Joseph Stokes III, 1st Dean of UCSD Medical School, Dies". Los Angeles Times. June 15, 1989. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ Fung, YC. "The Beginning and Early Years of Bioengineering at UCSD" (PDF). Department of Bioengineering 10th Anniversary Celebration. The Unique System of Early UCSD: University of California, San Diego. p. 8. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ Medical School, Triton Times, May 26, 1967, UCSD Guardian. Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library
  5. ^ "School of Medicine Neighborhood Planning Study". Physical and Community Planning. University of California, San Diego. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  6. ^ "New Graduate Student Residences Open at UCSD". ENR California. Engineering News-Record. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  7. ^ Ollman, Leah (December 11, 1991). "New Sculpture Blends Nicely With Campus : Art: Jackie Ferrara's 'Terrace' joins Stuart Collection at UC San Diego.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  8. ^ Ollman, Leah (November 1, 1998). "ART & ARCHITECTURE She Stands Expectation on Its Head : Kiki Smith aims for serenity rather than the tumult embodied by her past works with her outdoor sculpture at UCSD.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  9. ^ Smith-Barrow, Delece (March 17, 2016). "10 Most Competitive Medical Schools". US News & World Report. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Step by Step Through the Application Process". School of Medicine Admissions. University of California San Diego. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ US News UCSD School of Medicine Ranking
  12. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities in Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy - 2015". Academic Ranking of World Universities. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  13. ^ Cavanaugh, Maureen (September 30, 2010). "Local Med School Changes Curriculum For Next Generation Of Doctors". These Days. KPBS. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  14. ^ "NIH Awards by Location & Organization". 
  15. ^ "Expertscape: Leaders in Glaucoma, November 2013". expertscape.com. November 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/nobel/list.html
  17. ^ Robbins, Gary (August 24, 2015). "'Empire Builder' has UCSD Health on the rise". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Tribune Publishing. The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  18. ^ http://www.the-aps.org/fm/presidents/introjbw.html

External links[edit]