How to Get Into UCSF Medical School

Hey pre-meds!

This page serves as a high-yield resource for UCSF Medical School. The information from this page is a GOLDEN resource. We’ve compiled it from UCSF acceptance rate data, UCSF medical school admissions statistics, , the UCSF med school website, and most importantly, from UCSF med students themselves! You will have facts such as admissions statistics, and you’ll get an insider perspective about the curriculum and student life.

Whether you’re comparing medical schools that you have been accepted to, preparing for an interview, or wanting to learn more about UCSF med school, this keep reading!


Need help getting accepted to UCSF? Get the Cracking Med School Admissions team’s expertise. Several of our students get accepted into UCSF each year for the past 6 years. If you have questions, email us at info@crackingmedadmissions.com or contact us.

Get into UCSF Medical School
UCSF Secondary Application

UCSF Medical School Secondary essays are optional. However, we always recommend our students writing something for Essay #1. This is a good amount of space for you to write about one of your extra-curricular activities, extenuating circumstances, or highlight your strengths / leadership potential.

UCSF Secondary Application Essay Prompts:

Essay 1. If you wish to update or expand upon your activities, you may provide additional information below. (500 word limit)

Essay 2. Applicants are interviewed by invitation only. Please note that we do not conduct regional interviews. Interviews are scheduled from September to February (days vary). Please let us know if you will be out of the country during the interview season. (300 characters)


Need help with editing your UCSF secondary application essays? Get the Cracking Med School Admissions team’s expertise through our secondary essay edit package. If you have questions, email us at info@crackingmedadmissions.com or contact us.

Secondary Essay Editing
UCSF Medical School Interview Format

UCSF med school interviews are open file, one-on-one interviews. Usually there are two one-on-one interviews with faculty members and students (admissions committee members).

Want to learn more about how to prepare for your UCSF Med School Interview? Read our popular interview blogs and ask us questions.

Read our 2 popular traditional interview preparation blogs here:

  1. 3 Tips to Ace Medical School Interviews
  2. 4 Common Medical School Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
Mock Interivew
UCSF Medical School Admissions Statistics







Admit Rate


UCSF Medical School Admissions Statistics

UCSF Medical School Median GPA: 3.84

UCSF Medical School Median New MCAT: 514 (129 chemical & physical / 128 critical analysis / 130 biological & biochemical / 129 psychological, social)


Your UCSF Medical School Admissions Advisers
Rachel Rizal, MD

Rachel Rizal, M.D.

Changing the trajectory of people’s lives

Undergraduate: Princeton University
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Harvard, Emergency Medicine
What I did After College:
• Improved vaccine distribution in developing countries
• Worked with the World Health Organization in the Philippines
• Launched a national HIV Awareness Campaign in the Philippines
• Produced an HIV awareness commercial for MTV
• Worked full-time at a healthcare consulting firm, advising pharmaceutical companies
• Created a public health program in Stanford’s Emergency Department
Rishi Mediratta, MD, MSc, MA

Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M.P.H., M.A.

Advising students to attend their dream schools

Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University
Medical School: Stanford School of Medicine
Residency: Pediatrics, Stanford
Masters: Masters in Medical Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies; Masters of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
What I did after I graduated:
• Interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland
• Founded and launched an NGO to improve the health and education of Ethiopian
• World Bank consultant who helped implement Ethiopia’s national nutrition program
• Partnered with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to study child health practices in communities

The Insider’s View on How to Get Into UCSF Medical School

How to Get Into UCSF Medical School – Know the Curriculum:



As a UCSF medical school student, your first two years are spent as a pre-clinical student, mainly learning through lectures. Then, you take USMLE Step 1 and spend the next two years in clinical rotations.

Pre-Clinical Curriculum:

The pre-clinical curriculum is split through systems-based blocks. A lot of learning occurs through small group discussion sessions. There are several additional electives you can take during your first two years. UCSF has “Pathways” in the following topics: clinical and translational research; global health; health and society; health professions education; and molecular medicine.

Clinical Rotations:

At the end of your second year, you start your clinical rotations. UCSF has a longitudinal rotation where you spend one day every other week in a family medicine clinic. This way, you can understand what having a “panel of patients” feels like and you can follow-up on patients’ care. During your last year, there is a lot of flexibility to pursue your individual interests. You can use this time to pursue advanced clinical training or scholarly research. You can take courses such as “Designing & Conducting Research,” “Career Exploration,” and “Community Engagement.”

Core Rotations:

  • Internal Medicine (8 weeks)
  • Surgery (8 weeks)
  • OB/GYN (6 weeks)
  • Pediatrics (6 weeks)
  • Neurology (4 weeks)
  • Psychiatry (4 weeks)
  • Anesthesia
  • Family & Community Medicine (longitudinal)


During the first two pre-clinical years, grades are Pass/Fail.

For the most part, most core clerkships are graded: Honors; Pass; and Fail.

Taking Time Off:

Many students take time off between 3rd and 4th year. Many students pursue additional degrees, including a Master’s of Global Health and a Master’s of Public Health. For more information about UCSF Medical School’s official joint degree programs, read here: http://meded.ucsf.edu/mse/programs

Special Joint Programs at UCSF Medical School:

  • MD/MS with UC Berkeley: Students can enter a special 5-year program in which you can get a Master’s degree, selecting thesis topics on other aspects of health and human disease (including historical, social, ethical, epidemiological, or policy)
  • PRIME-US (Program in Medical Education – Underserved): Another 5-year program that accepts 15 students annually. Students work directly with urban underserved populations, including in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Fresno. For more information about UCSF’s PRIME-US program: http://www.medschool.ucsf.edu/prime/
  • MD/MPH: UCSF medical school students can take a year off between their 3rd and 4th years of medical school and get an MPH at UC Berkeley.

What students are saying about UCSF Medical School

Strong clinical training and many opportunities to work with the underserved.

Many of my classmates were working on public health and public policy. There are endless faculty members you can do research or policy work with. For example, some of my classmates did advocacy work with the California Medical Association.

Global health opportunities are plenty! Many faculty members work with the WHO and USAID. A large percentage of my classmates get funding to do projects or clinical rotations abroad.

Because we are in the heart of Silicon Valley, many students are working with start-ups or creating their own companies. UCSF has partnerships with healthcare innovation orgs.

Unique highlights about pre-clinical years:

  • Systems-based learning with small group discussions
  • Learn how to read and use science-based articles using evidenced-based medicine
  • Classes on teaching communication skills, including “How to deal with upset patients” and “How to communicate well with nurses.”
  • Several electives spanning all of healthcare, including global health and health policy

Unique highlights about clinical years:

  • Students can choose to do longitudinal clinical work at primarily one hospital their 3rd year or rotate through several clinical sites.
  • Many opportunities to work with the under-served.
  • Longitudinal clerkship
  • Ample time to explore electives and career development during your last year

Main Clinical Rotation Sites:

  • Parnassus
  • UCSF Fresno
  • San Francisco General Hospital
  • San Francisco VA Hospital
  • Kaiser Oakland

Students have a wide variety of clinical sites in locations around Northern/Central California where they can choose from for each rotation.

What students are saying about clinics at UCSF Medical School

I found it helpful to learn about various clinical practice settings by rotating through different hospitals, including a hospital in Fresno, Kaiser, and the VA.

The faculty were strong in their clinical training and skills. Oftentimes, I would be asked WHY I am ordering a specific lab test. Justifying my rationale made me a strong clinician.

I enjoyed UCSF's flexibility and options with where to do clinical rotations. Although I was not in the underserved track, I treated patients from various ethnic backgrounds, and I really got to understand the socio-economic effects on a person's health and care.


Where do students live?

There are no dorms or student housing. Students live around San Francisco. Most live in the Western part of San Francisco next to UCSF. However, a good portion of students move to the “Mission” neighborhood where it is still easy and feasible to commute.

You may need a car, especially if you do your rotations outside of San Francisco your 3rd and 4th years.


Financial Considerations:

  • You can apply for grants and financial aid with UCSF’s financial aid office. Most out-of-state students can become a California resident by their second year of medical school and can qualify for in-state tuition.
  • UCSF Medical School Tuition: ~$35,000 in-state and ~$47,000 out-of-state
  • Average indebtedness of graduates: ~$140,000

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