Here Are the 10 Best Medical Schools in California

6. UC Davis School of Medicine (Davis, CA)

UC Davis Medical School
Coolcaesar, UC Davis Medical Center, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2011, UC Davis School of Medicine reported an acceptance rate under 2%, making this a competitive place to earn an MD.

Like Touro, Davis emphasizes healthcare in underserved communities. Therefore, applicants with strong ties to the area may have an upper hand, though the same is true if you demonstrate involvement in any other underserved population.

The school gives students plenty of practical experience well before they begin clerkship. Over 80% of students gain experience in one of seven student-run clinics in inner-city communities.

In addition to MD, MD/PhD, and MD/MPH degrees, Davis is also home to the innovative Rural-PRIME program, which prepares physicians to work in the state’s rural neighborhoods.

The school has produced leaders in medicine like Jon Andrus, former deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization, and Suzanne Kilmer, leading laser surgeon and dermatologist at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Northern California.


5. University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine (Los Angeles, CA)

University of Southern California
Padsquad19, Doheny, CC BY-SA 3.0

Founded in 1885, Keck is the oldest medical school in Southern California.

Time has transformed the school into one of the nation’s healthcare leaders. It has three affiliated teaching hospitals: Level I trauma center LAC+USC Medical Center, Keck Hospital of USC, and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

USC offers a variety of med school tracks: MD, MD/MPH, MD/PhD, and MD/MBA. The MD/PhD program is provided in part by nearby California Institute of Technology, designed to train those interested in academic medicine and the biomedical industry.

Keck is on the cusp of today’s most pressing medical conundrums. The Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute focuses on developing early detection methods and treatments for the disease.

Keck’s most famous alum is TV personality Dr. Drew Pinsky. Also well-known is Margaret Jessie Chung, the first known Chinese-American physician. In the 1920s, she was a pioneer for western medicine in San Francisco’s Chinatown, opening one of its first clinics.


4. UCSD School of Medicine (San Diego, CA)

UCSD Medical School
TritonsRising, UCSD Biomedical Library, CC BY-SA 4.0

UCSD School of Medicine’s current prestige is thanks in part to recruitment of exceptional medical professionals in its early days, including Yuan-Cheng “Bert” Fung, a pioneer of bioengineering and the “father of biomechanics.”

The school’s partnership with the nearby Salk Institute, a leading STEM research center, also adds to the quality and appeal of an MD education at UCSD.

Over the years, the school has been responsible for a number of medical breakthroughs, developing the life-saving pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) technique and experimenting with one of the nation’s first echocardiograms.

Important faculty include Doug Richman, an early HIV/AIDs researcher. Eventually, UCSD’s Owens Clinic became a globally acclaimed model for treating the disease.

Notable alumni include Margaret Allen, the first woman to perform a heart transplant.

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