Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Visit program website.

Apply now

Degree Offered: MD
Program Leadership:
Karen Hauer MD, PhD, Vice Dean for Education
Admissions Inquiries:
Matt Trojnar, Director of Admissions

Program Description

At UCSF, the purpose of medical education is to educate learners who will improve the health of our communities and alleviate suffering due to illness and disease in our patients. The UCSF School of Medicine Bridges Curriculum educates MD graduates to excel in the competencies needed by 21st-century physicians. Our students work collaboratively with interprofessional teams to provide compassionate patient care while broadening their knowledge, advancing science, and seeking new ways to improve health care delivery in their communities and nationwide.

The MD program objectives are defined by seven core MD competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, and interprofessional collaboration.

The Bridges Curriculum is a three-phase, fully integrated curriculum delivered over four years:

  • Foundations 1: Students gain foundational 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 health care.
  • Foundations 2: During their immersion in team-based clinical settings, students advance their patient care and systems improvement skills, while revisiting core concepts in foundational science as they relate to patient care decisions.
  • Career Launch: During this individualized phase of the curriculum, students choose clinical experiences and a scholarly project aligned with their career goals.

Learn more about the Bridges Curriculum

Admission Requirements

Premedical students should pursue a four-year undergraduate curriculum and obtain a baccalaureate degree before entering medical school. Prerequisite courses include: a year of biology with laboratory, a year of chemistry including at least one semester of organic chemistry, at least semester of physics, and one course in biochemistry. While these courses constitute the basic foundation for all applicants, most successful applicants will have gone beyond these prerequisites and will have demonstrated the ability to perform at a high level academically. Applicants should take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) prior to entry at the medical school. UCSF considers the unique qualifications of each individual applicant. Consistent with this philosophy, UCSF accepts students with a wide range of undergraduate pursuits and accomplishments. Student selection is based on an appraisal of those intellectual and personal characteristics that the admissions committee regards as desirable for prospective medical students and physicians. Both cognitive and non-cognitive factors play an important part in the selection process. For more information, please visit

Learning Outcomes

The MD program objectives are the graduation milestones for the UCSF School of Medicine. Upon graduation from the UCSF MD Program, students are required to have demonstrated competence in the competencies listed below. For each competency, a set of milestones defines the expected progress throughout medical school toward achieving competence.

Patient Care

Graduates will be able to:

  • Gather complete and focused histories from patients, families, and electronic health records in an organized manner, appropriate to the clinical situation and the individual, interpersonal, and structural factors that impact health
  • Conduct complete and focused physical exams, using technology-enhanced physical diagnosis tools where appropriate, interpreting abnormalities and maintaining patient comfort
  • Present encounters efficiently, including relevant gathered information, assessment, and plan
  • Document patient encounters accurately, efficiently, and promptly including independent authorship for reporting of information, assessment, and plan
  • Perform common procedures safely and correctly, including participating in obtaining informed consent, following universal precautions and sterile technique, and attending to patient comfort
  • Manage patients as part of a team, including prioritizing patient care tasks efficiently to provide high-quality care that addresses their medical and social needs

Medical Knowledge

Graduates will be able to:

  • For the UCSF 49, establish and maintain knowledge necessary for the preventive care, diagnosis, treatment, and management of medical problems
  • Through an inquiry-oriented and analytic approach to learning and patient care, develop and implement approaches for generating and applying new knowledge, including an individual course of study that emphasizes inquiry, discovery, and dissemination
  • For the UCSF 49, select, justify, and interpret diagnostic tests and imaging
  • For the UCSF 49, diagnose and explain clinical problems
  • Use electronic decision support tools to inform clinical reasoning and decision making
  • For the UCSF 49, select and apply basic preventive, curative, and/or palliative therapeutic strategies

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Graduates will be able to:

  • Locate, appraise, and apply evidence from scientific studies related to patients’ health needs
  • Critically reflect on one's own performance to identify strengths and challenges; reflect on and address the impact that personal biases, identity, and privilege have on interactions and decision-making; set learning and improvement goals; and engage in learning activities that address one’s gaps in knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes
  • Employ strategies for seeking, receiving, acting upon, and delivering feedback, and contribute to a culture of openness to and appreciation of feedback

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Graduates will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively in interpersonal and electronic communications with patients, families, peers, and other team members of diverse backgrounds, languages, cultures, and communities using strategies to build alliances, promote inclusion and equity, and ensure patient, peer, or other team members’ understanding
  • Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in difficult conversations with patients and families
  • Share and elicit information and negotiate management plans using shared decision making with patients and their families
  • Anticipate, interpret, and respond to one’s own and others’ emotions to manage interpersonal interactions effectively


Graduates will be able to:

  • Form relationships with patients, families, and colleagues that demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to how others define their culture, race/ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, spirituality, disabilities, and other aspects of diversity and identity
  • Demonstrate respect, compassion, honesty, and integrity when interacting with patients, families, colleagues, and teams
  • Balance the needs of patients and health care team with one's own needs
  • Recognize the need for additional help or supervision and seek it accordingly
  • Demonstrate accountability and reliability, including initiative, responsiveness, and follow-through, in interactions with patients, families, and colleagues in interpersonal and electronic communications, including electronic health records
  • Practice with a commitment to ethical principles, social justice, and societal needs, including maintaining patient confidentiality, responding to medical errors and healthcare disparities, respecting patient autonomy, maintaining appropriate boundaries, and using electronic communications, including social media, appropriately
  • Adhere to institutional, regulatory, and professional standards and administrative expectations; personal, patient, and public safety; adhere to principles of ethical research; and manage conflicts of interest
  • Demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms to respond to stress, including using resources to promote wellness and maintain professional behavior
  • Demonstrate ongoing commitment to one's own professional identity formation as a physician accountable to patients, society, and the profession

Systems-Based Practice

Graduates will be able to:

  • Collaborate to coordinate patient care within and across health care systems, including patient hand-offs
  • Participate in a systematic approach to promote patient safety
  • Participate in continuous improvement in a clinical setting, utilizing a systematic and team-oriented approach to improve the quality and value of care for patients and populations
  • Apply understanding of current and historical factors affecting health equity, including structural inequalities in access to and quality of health care, to improve the health of patients and communities

Interprofessional Collaboration

Graduates will be able to:

  • Use the knowledge of one’s own role in different teams and settings and the roles of other health professionals to assess and address the health care needs of patients and populations
  • Communicate with other health professionals in a responsive and responsible manner that supports a collaborative approach to the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease in patients and populations
  • Work with other health professionals to establish and maintain a climate of mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity, and trust

Dual Degree/Special Programs

Students in special programs may have additional requirements. Learn more.

Additional Information

Foundations 1 Leadership

Foundations 2/Career Launch Leadership

Career Outcomes