Undergraduate Medical Education

Educational Program Learning Objectives

The overall objective of the medical school curriculum at the University of California, San Diego is to instill graduates with the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that will lead to their becoming capable, compassionate physicians.

Specific objectives:

Knowledge domains

To provide an understanding of:

  • Normal anatomy, histology, physiology, development and aging as integrated disciplines that provide a basis for understanding disease.
  • The biologcial mechanisms governing homeostasis.
  • Mechanisms of drug action, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and therapeutics.
  • The genetic, biochemical, microbiologic, immunologic, physiologic, environmental and pathologic mechanisms underlying disease states and their treatment.
  • The clinical, laboratory, radiologic and pathologic manifestations of diseases.
  • The manifestations and consequences of illness at various stages of life.
  • Health maintenance, disease prevention, and the principles of public health as they relate to the practice of medicine.
  • The structure and function of the health care system and how it affects the delivery of care.
  • The basic epidemiologic methods and statistical principles that underlie evidence-based medicine.
  • The ethical principles of the medical profession.
  • The psychological aspects of illness.
  • The influence of culture, race and ethnicity on the perception of illness and its treatment.


To be able to:

  • Identify, access, interpret and apply scientific literature.
  • Obtain both a comprehensive and directed medical history and perform a careful, accurate, complete and directed physical examination.
  • Competently perform common technical procedures (see 3rd year competencies).
  • Reason deductively to solve clinical problems, including those in which information is incomplete or ambiguous.
  • Communicate effectively with patients, families, colleagues and other health care professionals.
  • Correctly diagnose common illnesses based upon historical, physical examination and laboratory data.
  • Recognize and incorporate into clinical decision making the important psychosocial determinants contributing to poor health.
  • Construct and execute a therapeutic plan.
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to medical situations that are immediately life threatening.
  • Work effectively with the other members of the health care team.
  • Relate in an effective manner to patients of different ages, gender and backgrounds.


To demonstrate:

  • Compassion and sensitivity in the care of patients and respect for their privacy and dignity.
  • Respect for patient autonomy.
  • The ability to build therapeutic relationships with patients.
  • Honesty and integrity in all interactions.
  • Responsibility and trustworthiness in the execution of all duties.
  • The ability to accept criticism and to understand the limitations of one's own knowledge and skills.
  • Adherence to all of the principles of UCSD's Professionalism Code.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence and ongoing professional development.

In addition, graduates of the UCSD School of Medicine should possess the following:

  • Dedication to the well-being and needs of patients.
  • Dedication to lifelong learning and an appreciation for the role of science in medical advances.
  • Dedication to continual enhancement of clinical skills.
  • An understanding of the threats posed by conflicts of interest in the practice of medicine and the performance of research.
  • A commitment to promote the health and well-being of the communities they serve.
  • The willingness to lead when leadership is required.

Section 'Sub' Navigation:

Page 'Breadcrumb' Navigation: