The UCSD School of Medicine prefers applicants with extensive research experience. If you have not described your research experience in your personal statement, include a description in the secondary application’s autobiographical essay. They offer a PRIME-HEq Program with training in treating medically underserved communities. For students interested in global health, five students from each class can apply to participate in the Global Health Academic Concentration. They also have a dual degree program that allows medical students to earn a Master’s Degree in Clinical Research. You will have the opportunity to explain your interest in these programs on the secondary application.
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine 2022-23 secondary application essay questions
UCSD Medical School essay #1: Autobiographical sketch
This should be a true autobiographical statement. Topics to be included are family, childhood, primary and secondary school years, undergraduate years, and, if applicable, what you’ve done since completing your bachelor’s degree. You should also discuss the motivational factors which led you to a career in medicine, including any disadvantages or obstacles which might put your accomplishments into context. A repeat of your AMCAS statement will not be acceptable. (6000 char)
Please note: if you are applying to the MD/PhD program, please include why you are specifically interested in seeking MD/PhD training at UCSD.
Before starting your outline for this response, read and review your AMCAS application essays.
If you have not already made a timeline of important events in your life, create one now. Include when your interest in science first developed, your first exposure to medicine, research experience, and any other events that provide an explanation for how your interest in medicine developed. Mark off the events from your timeline that you have already covered in your personal statement.
Create an outline based on the events you haven’t yet discussed. Is there a common theme among the events or experiences? How did you become interested in a career in medicine? Why is medicine the ideal career field for you personally? If you are applying to the MD/PhD program, discuss how this program will allow you to achieve your career goals.
UCSD Medical School essay #2
Some medical school applicants are already focused on pursuing a particular career pathway in medicine. While many students will change from this pathway during medical school, knowing of your potential interests does help us to assign interviewers. Your choice below does not influence how the Admissions Committee selects students to interview.
Please select from one of the career pathways listed below. In addition to this selection, please provide a brief description of your future career goals: (400 char)
|Academic Medicine (Working as a faculty member at a School of Medicine either as a clinician, a clinician-educator, or a clinician investigator. This could be in any field of medicine)|
|Primary Care and/or work in underserved communities (Working as a general internist, a pediatrician, or a family medicine physician and/or spending the majority of your time working in a community currently underserved by the medical profession)|
|Public Health, administrative leadership in medicine (Pursuing an MPH and/or working for a public health department or organization; working in health care policy; working as a hospital administrator)|
|Specialist in private practice (Working in a private practice or managed care setting as a subspecialist. Examples include cardiologist, infectious disease specialist, obstetrician, orthopedic surgeon, general surgeon, anaesthesiologist, radiologist)|
The career pathway you choose should also be reflected as a path you’ve already committed to explore that is already represented on your application. Whether research opportunities, volunteer work, paid employment or independent activities indicate what has been of interest to you elsewhere in your application, the story about or intrigue with which pathway is inherently interesting to you should stay consistent with the pathway already referenced or inferred by your application. You should provide specific explanations of what you have grown to know and find further value in related to this pathway in medicine.
UCSD Medical School essay #3
If you are an out-of-state applicant, please let us know if there are specific reasons for your interest in the UCSD School of Medicine (1000 characters)
UCSD interviews approximately 5% of their out of state applicants. So out of state applicants need to be compelling in academic performance, MCAT scores and community service. Additionally, you should be able to explain why UCSD is a priority school for you, based on who they are, not who you are. They define themselves as focused on exceptional biomedical, behavioral and health services research.
UCSD Medical School essay #4
Do you consider yourself to be a member of a group that is marginalized in a way that systemically affects access to quality education or healthcare? (Y/N)
If Yes, Please describe how educational disparity, health disparity and/or marginalization has impacted you and your community? (4800 characters)
If no, stop. Do not elaborate.
If yes, tell the story that reveals a population bias, a discriminatory moment or repetitive encounter you had as a minority, as a member of any less represented identity group, that resulted in individual or community-based exclusion, marginalization or discrimination. Your answer could be a personal story or it could be one witnessed, how you observed someone else receive less than fair acknowledgement, favor or regard due to bias, whether related to school or healthcare. Marginalization is discrimination, and it facilitates inequity.
A) For PRIME-HEq:
Please describe your interest in the PRIME-HEq program. Topics to include are longitudinal experiences that you’ve had with underserved communities, including the type of community that you’ve worked with and your level of involvement. Additionally, you should discuss the length of time that you’ve spent working in these communities. (4800 char)
PRIME-HEq is a specialty program committed to serving underserved communities. If you have not committed significant time to community work for the underserved, this is likely not the program for you. The PRIME_HEq program focuses on local interventions, though these efforts are relevant nationally and globally. In effect, the idea of the program could be understood by the maxim “act locally, think globally” which is a slogan from the early 20th century that still applies to public health policy and initiatives.
B) For GHAC:
Please describe your interest in Global Health. The term Global Health can have many meanings; for our purposes, we find the definition provided by Koplan et. al. in their 2009 Lancet publication useful: “the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide”. In your essay, be sure to describe any personal or professional experiences that have shaped your interests, and how Global Health issues have influenced your decision to pursue a career in medicine. (4800 char)
A strong applicant for a Global Health track should demonstrate expansive volunteer and outreach work, perhaps mission work in a third world country, or work with asylees and refugees. Perhaps you were in the Peace Corp, worked with a college chapter of Doctors Without Borders, a relief organization or refugee advocacy group. If so, write about it. What is a compelling story from a global experience or your work advocating for rights and care for global citizens? The story should shed light on what you came to understand that you did not previously understand about global health or non-first-world perspectives on life and health.
Perhaps you did a deep dive into global pandemic research? This did not necessarily lead you to travel far, but did COVID-19 bring you into a research agenda that embraced global health related to pandemics? If so, write about this.
C) For PRIME-TIDE:
Please describe your experiences with American Indian and Alaskan Native communities, including the type of community and your level of involvement. Please provide the length of time you spent working in or exposed to these communities. Be sure to detail any personal or professional experiences that have shaped your interests, and how American Indian and Alaskan Native issues have influenced your decision to pursue a career in medicine. Finally, please delineate how completion of the PRIME-TIDE program will help you obtain your medical education goals. (4800 char)
San Diego county has a high Native American indigenous population and the school is committed to serving this population, including four tribal nations and eighteen reservations. If you have any affiliation with indigenous populations, write about that. If you have community work with indigenous populations, write about that. If you are not a member of an indigenous group, it is wise to demonstrate your ability to understand and empathize. It may be better to narrate an experience in which you participated in public health measures or grassroots interventions to serve the underserved, and in this case, serving a population disenfranchised by colonization.
Applying to UCSD SOM? Here are some stats:
UCSD School of Medicine average MCAT score: 516
UCSD School of Medicine average GPA: 3.78
UCSD School of Medicine acceptance rate: 3%
U.S. News ranks UCSD #20 for research and #32 for primary care.
If you would like professional guidance with your University of California, School of Medicine application materials, check out Accepted’s Medical School Admissions Consulting and Editing Services, which include advising, editing, and interview coaching for UCSD Medical School’s application materials.
UCSD Medical School 2022-23 application timeline
|First day to submit AMCAS application||May 31, 2022|
|Final day to submit AMCAS application||October 15, 2022|
Source: UCSD Medical School website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
Dr. Mary Mahoney, Ph.D. is the Medical Humanities Director at Elmira College and has over 20 years of experience as an advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. She is a tenured English Professor with an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in Literature and Writing from the University of Houston. For the last twenty years, Mary has served as a grad school advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. Want Mary to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!