Undergraduate Medical Education

​Department of Pathology faculty are fully integrated into all aspects of undergraduate medical education.

Core Curriculum

Pathology faculty direct the histology (Nigel Calcutt), pathology (Ann Tipps), and immunology (Jack Bui) components of the School of Medicine core curriculum.  In addition, pathology faculty lecture in the preclinical core courses, participate in the histology and pathology teaching laboratories, and lead discussion sessions and problem-based learning groups.

Elective Curriculum

The Department of Pathology offers an array of elective courses throughout the four years of medical school.

Preclinical Elective(s)

PATH 216 (Preclinical Experience in Laboratory Medicine) is a four-credit, 35 contact hour elective for second-year medical students (chair, David N. Bailey).  Material covered in the course includes statistics, reference intervals, cardiac disease, renal disease, gastrointestinal disease (liver, pancreas, malabsorption), reproductive disorders, endocrine (diabetes, thyroid, adrenocortical) disorders, toxicology, therapeutic drug monitoring, lipid disorders, electrolyte/acid-base disorders, and calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium disorders. These topics tend to parallel the core curriculum block material in the order of their presentation.

A hard-copy and electronic copy of a 400-page course manual (including an appendix on differential diagnosis of selected abnormal laboratory findings arranged alphabetically by finding) is provided along with a set of more than 20 PowerPoint presentations that outline the most important points for each topic.  There are also two laboratory sessions (blood-drawing lab with an opportunity to have students’ blood samples tested for a number of analytes and a urinalysis lab with opportunity for students to perform their own urinalyses). Students comment that this course prepares them well for the USMLE I examination as well as for their clinical clerkships, given its placement in second year of the curriculum. In the most recent course review, the UC San Diego School of Medicine Electives Committee designated this course as an "exemplary course."

Clinical Electives

a) Third-Year Clinical Electives

There are three two-week clinical electives offered for third-year medical students in conjunction with their core surgery clerkship: PATH 410, Surgical Pathology, chair (Vera Vavinskaya); PATH 411, Anatomic Pathology (chair, Jessica Wang-Rodriguez); and PATH 412, Ophthalmic Pathology (chair Cole Ferguson). 

b) Fourth-Year Clinical Clerkships

There are four-week clerkships for fourth-year medical students in all subspecialty areas of pathology: PATH 401A, Autopsy Pathology (chair Ann Tipps); PATH 401B, Cytopathology (chair Farnaz Hasteh); PATH 401C, Laboratory Medicine (chair Elizabeth Allen); PATH 401S, Surgical Pathology (chair Vera Vavinskaya); PATH 426, Pediatric Pathology (chair Denise Malicki); PATH 427, Ophthalmic Pathology (chair Cole Ferguson); and PATH 428, Forensic Pathology (chair Steven Campman).

c) Observerships

In addition to the above formal elective courses, the Department of Pathology is pleased to offer informal (not-for-credit) observerships in all areas of pathology tailored to the interests and time availability of  individual medical students.  Interested students should contact David N. Bailey, Department of Pathologyo Vice Chair for Education and Academic Affairs.

Pathology Student Interest Group

For individuals interested in Pathology, whether or not they plan to pursue this discipline as a career, the Department sponsors a Pathology Student Interest Group coordinated by David N. Bailey, Department of Pathology Vice Chair for Education and Academic Affairs.  This group provides four to five presentations per year on topics specifically selected by the student Interest Group leadership.  Topics have ranged from discussions of specific pathology subspecialties as career options to future trends in diagnostic pathology to artificial intelligence in pathology. These presentations are usually held live at noon with lunch provided. 

Pathology Awards for Medical Students

Medical Student Travel Award

The Department of Pathology offers up to four medical student travel awards per year.  Each award is up to $750 and must be applied toward travel, lodging, and/or registration for a meeting at which the student will present his/her work.  Students in good-standing who have performed a project with a Department of Pathology faculty member are eligible to apply.  The application consists of a copy of the abstract (with student as first or corresponding author), a copy of the acceptance letter from the organization sponsoring the meeting, a statement by the student (250 words or less) indicating how the project and attendance at the meeting will enhance his/her career, and a short letter of support by the Pathology faculty member project advisor describing the role of the student in the project and including a statement about the need for funding. These materials should be submitted as one PDF file to David N. Bailey, Department of Pathology Vice Chair for Education and Academic Affairs at least 60 days prior to the proposed travel. Reimbursement will require presentation of original receipts and a one-page summary of the student’s experience at the meeting after returning.

Fourth-Year Medical Student Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pathology

This award recognizes a graduating medical student who has demonstrated outstanding performance in Pathology-related core courses, elective courses, clerkships, selectives, and/or research projects during medical school, as evidenced by evaluations, grades, test scores, and publications and who also has demonstrated interest in Pathology.  The award includes $1,000  and inscription of the awardee’s name on a perpetual plaque in the Pathology Conference Room.  Nominations for this award are made by Department of Pathology faculty.

George G. Glenner Memorial Award

The Department of Pathology sponsors the George G. Glenner Memorial Award, honoring the memory of George G. Glenner, a former Pathology faculty member who was internationally renowned for his pioneering work in Alzheimer’s disease as well as his work in launching the first-in-the-nation adult day care centers for individuals with this disease.  Nominations for this award are made by the School of Medicine Office of Medical Education with criteria being demonstration of superior clinical skills, dedication to compassionate medical care, and a commitment to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge – in short, the attributes of Dr. Glenner himself. The award consists of $1,000 and inscription of the awardees’s name on a perpetual plaque in the Pathology Conference Room. 

Medical Student Performance on USMLE I in Pathology-Related Disciplines

The Department of Pathology is pleased to note that for more than ten consecutive years students have consistently performed well above the national mean in Pathology-Related Disciplines on the United States Medical Licensing Examination Part I (pathology, histology and cell biology, blood and lymphoreticular systems, microbiology and immunology).

Pathology Undergraduate Pharmacy Education

Department of Pathology faculty also teach in the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences core curriculum as follows: SPPS 216, Laboratory Medicine, a required course for second-year pharmacy students (chair Robert Fitzgerald) and SPPS 215, Human Diseases, a required course for third-year pharmacy students, (chair Lawrence Hansen). ​