Medical Schools in California with Degree Program Summaries

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Medical schools throughout California offer a variety of degree programs that lead to a career in medical research or clinical practice. The most common options are the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), which leads to a career as a medical doctor, and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) that can lead to a medical research career. Students can also find dual degree programs that lead to both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees, and there are other M.D. dual degree programs leading to master's degrees in fields such as public health and business administration. Those in M.D. programs participate in lab work, lectures and clinical rotations in several specialties, while those in medical scientist programs perform advanced lab research in their area of interest.

University of California - Los Angeles

The University of California - Los Angeles is home to the David Geffen School of Medicine, which has been named 'Best in the West' by U.S. News and World Report. In addition to the M.D. degree, dual degrees are available, including joint M.D./Ph.D., M.D./Master of Public Health (MPH) and M.D./Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees.

The first two years of the M.D. program include lectures, along with workshops, lab work and independent study focused on human biology and disease. Clinical rotations during the third year provide students with practical experience in surgery and anesthesiology, ambulatory medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and inpatient medicine. Students in their fourth year are divided into colleges based on their intended career focus.

Students in the M.D./Ph.D. program spend eight years divided up between medical school coursework, clinical rotations and research. Those in the 5-year M.D./MPH program spend the fourth year of their medical school studies learning about public health, while students pursuing the M.D./MBA combined degree spend their fourth year completing management courses and their fifth year completing clinical and management electives.

University of California - Davis

U.S. News and World Report has named the University of California - Davis School of Medicine as one of the 50 best research schools and the 30 best primary care schools in the country. In addition to its M.D. degree program, the school offers several master's and dual degree programs.

The 4-year M.D. program includes classroom and lab coursework, work experience at community clinics, clinical rotations and specialization studies. Students can also enroll in the Rural-PRIME program in which they spend five years completing a M.D. degree in combination with a master's degree of their choosing.

Students in the M.S. in Health Informatics program learn about the use and management of health data and information systems. They also do a thesis project on current issues, such as data privacy, telemedicine, electronic medical records and the Internet. The M.D./Ph.D. Physician Scientist Training Program provides students with opportunities to pursue advanced research at the school's cancer research center, genomics center and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School School Type & Setting Programs Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
University of California - Los Angeles 4-year, public; large city M.D.
M.D./ Ph.D. Medial Scientist Training Program
$12,946 (in-state), $28,048 (out-of-state)*
University of California - Davis 4-year, public; small suburb M.D.
Rural-PRIME Program
MS in Health Informatics
M.D./Ph.D. Physician Scientist Training Program
$13,570 (in-state), $28,672 (out-of-state)*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator.

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