University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine – School Profile and Medical Student Interviews

Student Interviews:

Dominic Carusillo, MS1
Sam Teles, MS1


Keck School of Medicine is located in Los Angeles, California. Incoming classes are roughly 190 students and the medical school is comprised of 1,500 full-time faculty members alongside 2,400 volunteer faculty members. 76% of students in the most recent matriculant class were California residents, predominantly attending UCLA, USC, and UC Berkeley. Affiliated hospitals include the Keck Medical Center of USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. Keck offers students MD/PhD, MD/MPH, and MD/MBA degree options. Additionally, for qualified students Keck offers a program in Health, Technology and Engineering that promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between medical and engineering students to solve complex clinical problems facing healthcare systems today.

Curriculum: The first two years of the medical school curriculum are intended to introduce students to the basic sciences relevant to the practice of clinical medicine. Foundations of Medical Sciences is a 19 week-long course that provides a basics of normal cellular structure and process as well as normal human anatomy. This course provides a basis on which to build understanding of disease-specific content introduced system by system later in the curriculum. Biostatistics and Epidemiology are also integrated into the first year curriculum. All the while, students are participating in a longitudinal Introduction to Clinical Medicine course to develop history taking and patient presentation skills under the guidance of faculty preceptors.

Curriculum Highlights:

—Health, Technology, and Engineering Program at USC: HTE@USC is a certificate program that provides opportunities for medical and engineering students to leverage their field-specific skills while participating in project-focused collaborations. In doing so, students receive a certificate of recognition. The program reflects USC’s belief in the value of interdisciplinary approaches to the worlds most complex healthcare  challenges. Students are exposed to the full process of medical device and method development and receive guidance from experts int he field. Coursework for this highly unique program covers hands on workshops, prototype design and production, field research, product testing and proofing, as well as business development.

— HEAL program: The Keck School of Medicine’s HEAL program fosters student awareness of medical humanities, ethics, economics, art, and law. The goals of the program including 1) improving inter-student discourse, thereby facilitating for professional and personal development, 2) help students integrate principles of ethics, economics, and the arts into their clinical reasoning and decision-making, 3) foster empathetic attitudes towards colleagues and patients, 4) promote self-reflection on medical experiences, 4) develop all-rounded students capable of addressing systems-level issues affecting human health.

— Required Scholarly Project: The Required Scholarly project gives students the opportunity to engage in hypothesis-drive research under the guidance of physician leaders. Students must learn to formulate novel scientific inquiries, design well-controlled experiments, analyze data, and draw well-informed conclusions.

Grading Scheme:  1st and 2nd Year: Pass/Fail, 3rd and 4th Year: Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit when applicable. Per KSOM Handbook, the school does not maintain class ranking for medical students.

Match List: (2017)