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Elective Curriculum

Pre-Clerkship Electives

Years 1 & 2: Embark on a Personalized Journey

Our Elective Concentration program opens doors to a tailored exploration of diverse medical fields and career pathways. Through an immersive blend of coursework, hands-on experiences, and research, you'll carve a unique path that will shine on your Medical Student Performance Evaluation Letter (MSPE) when applying for residency.

Select from 5 specialized concentration areas:

  1. Building Systems
    • Prepare to lead effectively in modern healthcare. Learn teamwork, data interpretation, communication, and advocacy. Ideal for those passionate about data science, executive leadership, philanthropy, and advocacy.
  2. Compassion in Care
    • Focus on understanding vulnerable populations, their challenges in accessing care, and unique considerations within the healthcare system. Develop the empathy and skills needed for comprehensive patient-centered care.
  3. Equity and Advocacy
    • Take a stand against health disparities. Gain experiences and explore fundamental principles of health equity across diverse settings and populations. Learn strategies to advocate for vulnerable communities.
  4. Exploration and Innovation
    • Start on a journey into clinical research and entrepreneurship. Gain insights into career options in research and industry. Practical experiences provide hands-on understanding of these dynamic fields.
  5. Teaching and Learning
    • Shape the future of medical education. Acquire essential skills in instruction, curriculum development, assessment, and medical education scholarship. Showcase your work at conferences and even publish in reputable journals.

List of Pre-Clerkship Electives

Download a List of Pre-Clerkship Electives (PDF)

Pre-Clinical Electives are assigned units of 1-2


*Independent studies and UCSD courses taken outside of the School of Medicine can be applied to this requirement with pre-approval from your Concentration Director

Clinical Electives

Year 3: Expanding Clinical Horizons

In your third year, you'll venture into a range of clinical electives, extending your clinical exposure and refining your skills beyond the core clerkships.

Year 4: Tailoring Your Path

As you step into your fourth year, you'll have the autonomy to shape your schedule, while upholding the following requirements alongside 2 mandatory courses — Principles to Practice (Winter Quarter) and the Residency Transition Course (Spring Quarter):

  • Direct Patient Care (DPC) Clerkships: Dedicate a minimum of 3 months to DPC Clerkships, either at UC San Diego or an affiliated hospital. Within this period, you'll engage in:
    • Ambulatory Care Clerkship: Immerse yourself in at least 1 month of ambulatory care.
    • Inpatient Care Clerkship: Gain valuable experience in at least 1 month of inpatient care, including intensive care units.
    • Primary Care Clerkship: Connect with patients in at least 1 month of primary care.
  • Other Elective Clerkships: Allocate a minimum of 3 months to elective clerkships. If you haven't completed the 2-week clinical electives in your third year, incorporate a minimum of 4 months of elective clerkships in your fourth year, with at least one in surgery or a related field.

This structured yet adaptable approach ensures you receive a comprehensive clinical education, forming the bedrock for your future medical practice.

New Elective Courses

School of Medicine faculty may propose new pre-clinical and clinical electives for review by the Electives Committee.

Process to Propose a New Elective