Undergraduate Medical Education

Required Clinical Core Courses

Year 3

  • Medicine Core Clerkship

    Prerequisite: enrollment in the SOM, and completion of the preclinical curriculum.


    Medicine 401 is a clerkship designed to teach the student the basic skills of clinical medicine. During the 12-week course, the student will cycle through one outpatient ambulatory care rotation and two inpatient hospital-based rotations. Major emphasis is placed on acquiring an understanding of the pathophysiology of disease processes. On the ambulatory care rotation, the student will be assigned to various community-based, UCSD, VA, and Mercy Hospital outpatient clinics, as well as the private offices of practicing internists in the community. This portion of the clerkship is designed to provide the student with exposure to "real world" outpatient care. During the inpatient rotations, three to four patients a week are evaluated by each student and, with members of the ward staff, differential diagnoses are formulated and plans for diagnosis and therapy are organized. Attendings and preceptors meet regularly with the students to discuss patient management and to assess the student's progress. Attendance at Grand Rounds and other conferences offered by the Department of Medicine is expected. Constant effort is made to integrate the concepts of human biology, introduced during the first two years, into the clinical setting. A written examination is given at the end of the quarter. Satisfactory completion of this clerkship is required prior to taking clinical electives in medicine or in medical subspecialties. Clerkship time is divided between the UCSD Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.



    All quarters

  • Neurology Core Clerkship

    Prerequisite: enrollment in the SOM, and completion of the preclinical curriculum.


    This course involves training in inpatient and outpatient treatment of central nervous system disorders under supervision of the residents and staff in neuroscience and related faculties. The primary aim is to provide practical application of information acquired during the first two years of medical school to the understanding and treatment of clinical disorders of the nervous system. Each student contributes complete histories, performs physical examinations on assigned selected neurological patients, and observes and participates in any laboratory radiological, surgical, or pathological studies undertaken on his or her patients. Students participate in presentations and clinical discussions of patients who have exemplary developmental, infectious, neoplastic, deficiency, and degenerative disorders of the nervous system.


    Tutorial environments and department learning resource materials are available at UCSD Medical Center. Students attend neurology rounds and outpatient clinics to present cases and demonstrate key findings.



    All quarters

  • Pediatrics Core Clerkship

    Prerequisite: enrollment in the SOM, and completion of the preclinical curriculum.


    Pediatrics 401 is an eight-week clerkship that introduces the medical student to both ambulatory and inpatient pediatrics. During the outpatient rotation, the student learns about normal growth and development, child health maintenance, examination and care of the newborn, and evaluation of sick children in both the Specialty Clinics and the Primary Care Clinic. Students may rotate through UCSD Medical Center, El Camino Pediatrics, Mercy Clinic or the Naval Hospital Clinics. During the inpatient rotation, the student is exposed to the care of pediatric patients ranging from infancy through adolescence. The students work closely with the house staff. They are expected to do complete histories and physicals and to follow and document the progress of the patients throughout the hospital stay. They are given opportunities to present patients on attending rounds and preceptor rounds.


    Students are given an opportunity to request where they do the inpatient and outpatient rotations. A series of core lectures is given over the first day of the clerkship to orient the students to growth and development, the examination of the pediatric patient, and management of commonly encountered pediatric problems. Daily teaching conferences for medical students and house staff are scheduled at each affiliated pediatric teaching site.


    At the end of the rotation, the student should have acquired the skills necessary to examine patients of various ages and to assess development. They should be able to interpret clinical information to form an intelligent differential diagnosis and plan for patient management. In addition, the student should recognize common pediatric complaints and have an approach for treatment.



    All quarters

  • Primary Care Core Clerkship

    Prerequisite: enrollment in the SOM, and completion of the preclinical curriculum.


    The Primary Care Core Clerkship consists of a year-long preceptorship with a primary care physician and a series of interdisciplinary seminars. As a longitudinal clerkship, this course enables students to participate in the continuity of care of patients, establish a meaningful relationship with a practicing primary care clinician, and integrate all of the training from other core clerkships into an entire third-year experience.


    The main objectives of the clerkship are to teach students: 1) the basic knowledge, skill, and understanding of what it is to be a primary care practitioner; 2) the diagnosis and management of common medical problems; 3) the concepts of continuity, communication, and comprehensive care; 4) the importance of compassion and empowerment; 5) the role of primary care physicians in terms of the larger medical community; and 6) knowledge of their own skills and limits, and to know when to ask for help.


    Each student is assigned to a preceptor who will mentor the student for the year. Preceptors include family physicians, internists, pediatricians, and general obstetricians/ gynecologists who are either UCSD faculty or community physicians who are UCSD non-salaried volunteer faculty. Preceptor sites vary widely and include a broad range of primary care settings.


    Students spend one afternoon per week, three times each month, working in their preceptor's office. Ideally, students will follow a number of the same patients or families over the course of the year.  Students do not attend Primary Care 401 afternoon clinic during the eight-week Surgery 401 clerkship, but are required to attend Primary Care 401 seminars.


    One afternoon each month, groups of ten students meet for seminars led by one or two faculty members. Topics covered include: primary care throughout the life cycle, cross-cultural medicine and cultural competency, outpatient office procedures, patient counseling and education, and health care systems.


    Students are evaluated using a number of criteria, including preceptorship experience, seminar participation, performance on the final examination, case presentations, homework problem sets, and patient logs.


    Ruo, Bazzo

    All quarters

  • Psychiatry Core Clerkship

    Prerequisite: enrollment in the SOM, and completion of the preclinical curriculum.


    The Psychiatry Core Clerkship consists of six weeks of intensive inpatient psychiatry located at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, UCSD Medical Center, or San Diego Naval Hospital. Students will be exposed to patients with major psychiatric illnesses. Students will be instructed in diagnosis and management of major syndromes. Students will become part of an integrated treatment team. Students will have call three to four times where they will be exposed to outpatient diagnosis and management of acute psychiatric emergencies.


    Preliminary didactic instruction is provided in the assessment and treatment of these emergencies. Supervised instruction is also given in the outpatient assessment and treatment of less severe emotional disturbances through weekly interviewing seminars. Students are expected to work up two patients per week in detail and to present and discuss selected cases at departmental and medical student conferences. The department offers a six-week revolving lecture series exclusively for students in the following areas: schizophrenia, affective disorders, alcoholism and drug dependence, sleep disorders, psychosomatics, psychologic testing, emergency psychiatry, geriatrics, and the theory and treatment of neurotic disorders. In addition, each pair of students is assigned to a preceptor who oversees their clerkship experience and monitors the development of their educational and professional skills during the clerkship experience. The student evaluation is accomplished by the subjective observation of their supervisors, by a written paper, and by a final examination on the last day of the clerkship.



    All quarters

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Core Clerkship

    Prerequisite: enrollment in the SOM, and completion of the preclinical curriculum.


    This clerkship is designed to provide the student with the fundamentals required for treatment of female patients by all doctors whether they be internists, surgeons, pediatricians, or public health officials. The discipline of reproductive medicine and obstetrics and gynecology spans the entire age range of womanhood and is extensively health oriented. Surgical and obstetrical techniques comprise only part of its concerns. The overriding objectives of the field are the quality and quantity of human life from its development in utero through the birth process to the preventive health care thereafter.


    Student activities encompass: history taking and physical diagnosis, participation in prenatal care, delivery room activities, outpatient gynecologic practice and gynecologic surgery. The student is also exposed to the three areas of specialization in obstetrics and gynecology, i.e., reproductive endocrinology, oncology, and perinatology. For the students, the clinical activities will be centered on the Obstetrical and Gynecological Services at UCSD Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, or the Naval Hospital.


    Teaching seminars cover sexual and contraceptive counseling; physiological and endocrine basis of reproduction; the spectrum of diseases peculiar to women and pregnancy; influences of medical, surgical, and psychiatric disease on the reproductive process; and influences of female biology on health and disease processes outside the reproductive tract. Social problems of family planning, population, and abortion are also considered.



    All quarters

  • Surgery Core Clerkship

    Prerequisite: enrollment in the SOM, and completion of the preclinical curriculum.


    The core curriculum in surgery provides an eight-week clinical experience, consisting of four weeks in general surgery and four weeks on a rotation in a surgical specialty.  These rotations are at the UCSD Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Naval Hospital.


    This clerkship provides the student with intensive training in surgical diagnosis and treatment. The student functions as a responsible member of a busy surgical team. Throughout the course the students are supervised by members of the house staff, full-time faculty, and clinical faculty. Fundamental principles of surgical diagnosis, therapy, and application of basic scientific knowledge to clinical medicine are emphasized.


    The students work as part of the clinical team on each service. The student's responsibilities include: 1) completion of history and physical exam and writing progress notes on all their assigned patients; 2) working closely with the house staff and attending staff in making a diagnosis and treatment plan for their patients; 3) participation in daily rounds and as a member of the team in the operating room. The students should attend the conferences and rounds that are pertinent to the service. Students rotate on night and weekend call as part of the team.  In addition, the students participate in case conferences weekly where they present cases for in-depth discussion with their peers and the responsible faculty moderator.  Students also attend grand rounds offered by the Department of Surgery.



    All quarters

Year 4

  • School of Medicine 410

    Prerequisite: completion of the School of Medicine Core Clinical Curriculum 401 Series.


    This four-week course prepares students for the cognitive challenges of internship. Small groups work together to solve diagnostic and management dilemmas in multiple disciplines, and practice communication skills. Presentations and panels cover topics in clinical specialties, ethics, and malpractice.


    Jenkins, and faculty

    Winter quarter

  • School of Medicine 415

    Four-week course designed to prepare graduating medical students for intern year through simulated sessions, seminars, and hands-on skill sessions. Objectives include procedural competency, management of common clinical scenarios, and development of professional skills required to succeed as an intern.

    Wardi, and faculty

    Spring quarter

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