University of California Irvine School of Medicine (UCI) – School Profile and Medical Student Interviews

Medical Student Interviews:

Arnie Shah, MS1
Alexa Lucas, MS1
Steven Tohmasi, MS2


UC Irvine School of Medicine is located in sunny Southern California and is one of the regions top medical programs, recently ranking in the top 50 medical schools for research by the U.S. World News and World Report. The medical school supports roughly 400 medical students and over 700 residents and fellows. Affiliated hospitals include the UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, CA, the VA Long Beach Healthcare System and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The school offers MD/PhD, MD/MBA, and MD/MPH. Of note, UC Irvine also supports three mission-based programs: Program in Medical Education for The Latino Community (PRIME-LC) that offers students a combined MD and Masters, Leadership Education to Advance Diversity- African,Black, and Caribbean program (LEAD-ABC), and Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine program (HEAL-IM).


The UC Irvine first year curriculum consists of three blocks — Normal Human Structure and Function, Mind and Brain, and finally the Molecular Basis of Medicine. Clinical foundational skills are taught in concert with these blocks throughout the entire year. The second year curriculum consists of three blocks — Infection and Host Response, Blood and Inflammation, Disease and Therapeutics. Clinical skills are integrated throughout the year. Students receive 8 dedicated weeks to prepare for the USMLE Licensing Examination Step 1.

Curriculum Highlights:

—Simulation: Students are given the opportunity to work with simulation models capable of recreating common clinical presentations they may face in the hospital setting. Working in teams along side an attending physician, they learn to collect histories, practice forming a differential, and administer appropriate testing and treatment.

—Ultrasound: UC Irvine heavily integrates Ultrasound skills into their system-based curriculum. Students learn the basic ultrasound exams pertaining to each system as they progress through first and second year so that they are prepared to use the bed-side tool come third and fourth year rotations.

—PACE: PACE is a longitudinal clinical experience that gives first and second year students the opportunity to work one-on-one with physicians in the community and their patients. The majority of students are paired with family practice physicians and receive invaluable practice collecting histories and performing physical exams or minor bedside procedures under the careful guidance of a preceptor. The focus of this experience is to integrate classroom clinical science content into patient care.

—PRIME-LC: The PRIME-LC program is a five year MD/Masters program offering students dedicated to serving the latino community the opportunity to take coursework from the School of Social Sciences, participate in leadership and advocacy opportunities, and pursue a Masters in a field of their choosing.


Irvine, CA. Located just next to the UC Irvine Undergraduate campus, UC Irvine is 15 minutes from Newport Beach and Coronal del Mar, making for easy coastal access. The surrounding area is relatively suburban. Larger cities like LA and SD are within driving distance, as are major attractions like Disneyland and Anaheim Angels Stadium. The area offers plenty of hiking and outdoor options as well several concert and live entertainment venues.

Grading Scheme:

1st-4th year – Honors/Pass/Fail, total basic science courses percentages are worth 30% toward their overall ranking and Clinical Clerkships are given worth 70% toward their overall ranking. The overall student ranking is based on the sum of the basic science percentage and clerkship percentage. 

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