Frequently-Asked Questions

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Work Environment

Which hospitals do residents rotate through?

UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDS) in La Jolla, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, and Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla.

What outpatient experiences/locations do residents rotate through?

Residents have the opportunity to rotate through several different clinic sites including Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) sites, Kaiser Permanente (one of the largest HMO organizations) and refugee clinic sites.

Where do residents spend most of their time?

  • 40-50% at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest
  • 40-50% at VASDHS
  • 10-15% at Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla
  • 10-15% at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla

Do residents rotate through the newly opened Jacobs Medical Center? 

Residents currently rotate on many subspecialty rotations here including nephrology, infectious diseases, GI/hepatology and neurology critical care. Second and third year residents rotate on a hospitalist rotation where they have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the attending physician.

How much inpatient time is there?

In the intern year: 8-9 blocks; in the second year: 5-6 blocks and in the third year: 5-6 blocks.

What is the continuity clinic experience like?

All categorical residents will be assigned to a continuity clinic for their three years at UC San Diego. At the majority of the sites, you will have your own patient panel and be the primary doctor for these patients. On average, you will be in continuity clinic one afternoon per week with more clinics in the second and third years. We have approximately nine primary care sites for the continuity clinic rotation, including multiple UC San Diego Health and VASDHS locations. For those interested in clinics for Spanish-speaking or underserved patients, those options are available as well.

How is the preliminary year different from the categorical intern year?

The preliminary intern year is nearly identical to the categorical intern year. Preliminary interns may opt to participate in continuity clinic, but it is not required.

What is the patient population like?

Our patient population is very diverse. UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest is a safety net hospital that cares for the underserved community, including significant homeless, immigrant, and HIV/AIDS populations. Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center is a referral center for the greater San Diego area, including many desert communities east of San Diego, and it also includes a significant Latino population. This provides opportunities to speak Spanish on a regular basis, although translator services are always available. 

At UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, we also have a dedicated HIV outpatient clinic (Owen Clinic). Owen Clinic attendings also lend their expertise as consultants for patients with HIV who are admitted to the inpatient service, and these attendings work closely with the house staff. The VA provides exposure to bread-and-butter medical conditions (though you never know what might surprise you!). At Thornton Pavilion in La Jolla, the patient population tend to be more tertiary-level referrals including organ transplant and oncologic conditions.


What is the conference schedule like?

Morning conference is held at both UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and VASDHS four mornings per week. The exception is Wednesday morning, when we have Medicine Grand Rounds. At the VA, we also have radiology rounds on Friday mornings. Over the noon hour, we have a weekly morbidity and mortality conference, weekly intern report and weekly faculty lunch lecture. In addition, we have our Friday School curriculum on Friday afternoons and a primary care curriculum during the first 30 minutes of your continuity clinic day.

What is Friday School?

Friday School is a dedicated, protected time for focused sessions on specialties within internal medicine. We spend 8 weeks on each specialty, which allows us to cover important topics in more depth. The Friday School sessions are intended to be more interactive and often involve skills workshops (ultrasound or injections, for example) and evidence-based journal clubs.

Mentorship/Research/Global Medicine

How easy is it to find a mentor?

Mentorship is an important part of your training and there are many great mentors who are accessible at UC San Diego. As an intern, you will be assigned to a faculty member who is interested in mentorship. This will be your first mentor at UC San Diego, but you will be able to identify others as you establish your specialty and research interests.

How much research time do you get?

All categorical residents may do two months of research during their second or third year. These two months can be consecutive or separate. All residents who participate in a research block make presentations at an annual Resident Research Symposium held in May.

Does the program support presentations at national conferences?

Yes. All residents get three academic days for attending conferences. The residency program also provides reimbursement for costs associated with traveling to conferences. A vast majority of residents present at regional or national conferences.  Residents can be reimbursed up to $750 ($250 for preliminary interns) over the course of the program for conference travel. 

Who can go to Maputo, Mozambique?

We have a well-established relationship and bidirectional exchange program with Maputo Central Hospital in Mozambique. All categorical residents have the opportunity to go to Mozambique for 1-2 months; residents may choose to do their research block in Mozambique, but the total time in Mozambique and on a research rotation at UCSD cannot exceed three months. Lodging is provided.

Life in San Diego

Where do most residents live?

Residents live in many neighborhoods in San Diego. Most live in Hillcrest or La Jolla/University City. Other neighborhoods where residents live include North Park, the Gaslamp District (downtown), Little Italy, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Mission Valley.


What stipends are offered?

All residents receive an annual $5800 housing stipend. There is also an annual $500 educational stipend that you can use at your discretion for professional association memberships, abstract submissions, poster printing, etc.  Both of these stipends will appear on your late September/early October paycheck.

The program also offers $750 ($250 for preliminary interns) over the course of the program for conference travel, and up to $299 in reimbursement over the course of the program for MKSAP books.  Please contact the residency office for reimbursement details.

Medical license fees and USMLE Step 3 fees are reimbursed once your license is issued during PGY 2.  

How much vacation do residents get?

All interns and residents get four weeks of vacation each year, in the form of two 2-week blocks per year.

How is parking?

All interns/residents are able to purchase a UC San Diego "B" parking pass for $89/month or a  "A" parking pass for $98/month. This allows for easy parking at all three hospital sites.

Does the program provide food?

The program provides lunch at both UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and VASDHS during morbidity and mortality conferences and faculty lunch lectures. You also receive money for food for overnight on call shifts.

Future Career Paths

What do UC San Diego graduates do after graduation?

Graduates of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Training Program are highly trained internists who have successfully pursued a wide variety of career paths, ranging from fellowships to primary care medicine, hospital medicine or global health.

Approximately 65% of the graduating house staff seek subspecialty training. In the past three years, 54% of our graduates have pursued fellowship training immediately following completion of residency. The majority of our residents obtain their top choices for fellowship training at prestigious programs around the country, including many who choose to stay at UC San Diego.

Please see the Career Pathways page of this website for further details.