Pre-Health Undergraduate Program (PUP)

About the Program

What: The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Training Program offers a summer clinical research training program for up to 15-20 undergraduate students, who are planning to attend dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy or physical therapy professional schools after graduation, and who have an interest in a career in clinical research. Students will be paired with a UCSF professional student who is enrolled in the Designing Clinical Research (DCR) course. The purpose of the course is to train students to evaluate the medical literature, to design clinical and translational research studies, and to encourage long-term collaborations between UCSF and undergraduate students.

In addition to the DCR course, PUP consists of a 1-week pre-course program, that includes didactics, approaches to reviewing the literature, and sessions to allow the student to know themselves and their UCSF partners better.

During the 4 weeks of the course, students will also have special lunchtime sessions with information focused on careers in clinical research and presenting their research findings.

  • Students will meet with faculty mid-course and at the end of the course to discuss the course experience and provide feedback and suggestions.
  • Students will be asked to complete evaluation forms during and after the course in order to measure the impact of the program.

Who should consider applying: The academic careers of dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy and rehabilitation school faculty include either a research or a clinical instruction focus. In addition, all health professionals need to be able to read and interpret research articles and apply the findings to their clinical practice. By taking this course, undergraduate students will be able to read and critically evaluate research studies, and may discover a career path in clinical research.

Eligibility: Currently enrolled third and fourth year (first and second year may apply) pre-dental, medical, nursing, physical therapy or pharmacy students and students from other disciplines at accredited four-year universities. Students should be juniors or seniors in the Fall Quarter/Semester immediately preceding application period. First and second year students may apply but upperclassmen will be given priority. GPA of 3.0 and higher with strong writing and quantitative (math) skills. Students may apply if GPA is less than 3.50 but a description about the applicant's strengths must be included in the Candidate Essay. Commitment to attend all classes at UCSF in July and August 2014 and complete all reading and written assignments, and participate in small groups. Vacation time or time off may not be taken during orientation or throughout the DCR course. Students from all diverse backgrounds including underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply.

Cost: Costs of tuition and textbook will be provided.

Stipend: We offer a $1500 stipend for each student.

How to Apply: If you are interested in applying complete the application by February 23, 2014.

Documents Required to Apply: Please collect before completing the online application. Only PDF versions of the following documents will be accepted:

  • Transcript: Unofficial copies accepted.
  • Other Institution Transcripts: Unofficial copies accepted. You may load up to 2 additional transcripts.
  • Letter of Recommendation: Must be from a staff member of a learning institution (high school counselor, college counselor or instructor, graduate student) familiar with your educational experience and potential. Please have them write it on institution letterhead and include name, title, school, and department. Letter writer should provide applicant with a copy to upload. This is the most preferred method. If the person recommending you cannot provide you with a copy to upload due to policy, a hard copy may be sent to Christian Leiva, Pre-Health Undergraduate Program Coordinator, UCSF Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, 185 Berry Street, Lobby 5, Suite 5700, Box 0560, San Francisco, CA 94107-0560 AND a placeholder PDF must be included with the name from whom (and the institution) the recommendation will be coming. Mailed-in recommendations must be received by Monday, February 24, 2014 so please make sure they are sent at least 5-7 working days in advance. IT IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE APPLICANT TO ENSURE THAT MAILED-IN RECOMMENDATIONS ARE SENT IN WITH ENOUGH LEAD TIME.
  • Resume: Most current resume.
  • Applicant Essay: DO NOT EXCEED 2 pages or 600 words. Please describe:
  1. Your motivation to pursue a career in health and any obstacle that you have surmounted along the way.
  2. Your interest in learning about a career in research.
  3. Any academic counseling you have received that has encouraged you in your pursuit of a career in dentistry, medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and pharmacology.
  4. Goals you would set for yourself if selected to be a UCSF CTSI undergraduate student in the Designing Clinical Research course.
  5. If your GPA is less than 3.50 yet you believe that you would be a strong candidate, include a description of obstacles or barriers you have encountered that should be taken into consideration.

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About the Course

Designing Clinical Research (Epidemiology 150.03) is focused on teaching students to understand how to design a feasible, high-quality clinical research study. The course takes place in August and includes 8 lectures (75 minutes) and 8 small group sessions (90 minutes).

  • Critical appraisal of the medical literature. The DCR course, while focused on training students to design high-quality research studies, also provides an in-depth understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of published clinical research studies.
  • Experiential training in research design. Each student will be paired with a UCSF professional student in the DCR course. UCSF students are required to come to the course with one or more research questions, formatted as "Does a characteristic, exposure or risk factor increase risk for or cause a disease or health condition in a certain group of people?" UCSF students are required to complete a protocol for a research study as the product of the course. During the course, undergraduate students will be expected to:
    • Complete all course assignments, which include attendance at lectures, participation in small group sessions, course reading and homework.
    • Complete a review of the medical literature related to the UCSF student's research question and write a 3-page critical summary of this literature that will be incorporated into the Background section of the protocol.
    • Collaborate with the UCSF student to search the medical literature and contact faculty and other experts to obtain information needed to complete the protocol. Such information might include standardized questionnaires, measurement techniques, estimates of the incidence of disease, event rates, etc.
    • Collaborate with the UCSF student to write and revise the research protocol.
    • At the end of the course, write a 3-page critique of the planned research design.
  • Mid-course and end of course meetings. Students will meet with faculty mid course and at the end of the course to discuss the course experience and provide feedback and suggestions.
  • Program evaluation: Undergraduate students will be asked to complete evaluation forms during and after the course in order to measure the impact of the program.

Course Website

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Timeline

Online Application Form and All Required Documents as Attachments uploaded by 11:59 PM February 23, 2014
Applicant Interviews (selected candidates only) March 2014
Final Candidates Only:
Application for Epidemiology 150.03 (final day TBA) June-July 2014
Pre-course meetings and lectures
  • Orientation (3-5 hours)
  • Literature Search Course (1.5 hours)
  • Meet and Greet (1 hour)
  • Clinical and Translational Research Fellows Works-In-Progress (2 hours)
July 28 and 30, 2014
Designing Clinical Research Course for Residents and Students (Epidemiology 150.03)
  • Includes 8 lectures and 8 small group sections
  • Time commitment: 25-35 hours per week
  • Most Wednesdays: Clinical and Translational Research Fellows Works-In-Progress
August 4-27, 2014
Mondays and Wednesdays
9:00 AM - 12 PM
12 - 2:00 PM

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many students will be selected?

    15-20 undergraduate students will be selected for this summer program. These students will take part in a course offered to UCSF health professional students and residents. Students will also participate separately in two meetings with UCSF faculty to help you process the experience, monitor your progress, and problem-solve issues or challenges that may arise.

  2. My current Grade Point Average (GPA) is less than 3.50. Am I ineligible to apply?

    If your GPA is less than 3.50 and you feel you would be a strong candidate for this program, we encourage you to apply. In your Candidate Essay be sure to describe any obstacles or barriers you have encountered that should be taken into consideration.

  3. Will there be any stipend paid?

    We offer a $1500 stipend for each student. Course tuition and the textbook will also be paid for.

  4. Can I take vacation or time off during the program?

    No, students are expected to attend ALL lectures and small group sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays from August 4–27, from 9:00 AM–Noon. In addition to the course, all students are required to attend the Orientation Meeting and the Medical Literature Search Course on July 28 and July 30, as well as two group meetings led by UCSF faculty in August.

  5. When will I know if I have been selected for the program?

    Candidates will be notified around April 21 if they have been accepted into the program.

  6. Will course credit be offered?

    No course credit is offered.

  7. How will I meet the UCSF student that I will be working with?

    You will be assigned to a UCSF health professional student (dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy or physical therapy) and will meet them during the pre-course sessions on July 28 or July 30.

  8. Where is the class held?

    The lectures and small group sessions for the course will be held at UCSF at the Parnassus or Mission Bay campuses in San Francisco. All other meetings will also be at either of these campuses.

  9. Where can I find out more about the content of the Designing Clinical Research course?

    You can view the 2013 Course Website.

    Please note that undergraduate students must complete all reading assignments. Written assignments will differ from the ones assigned to UCSF residents and students.

  10. What are the course requirements for undergraduate students?

    The requirements for undergraduate students are listed above; see About the Course.

  11. If I have further questions, whom should I contact?

    If you have questions about the application process or the program, please email Christian Leiva at cleiva@psg.ucsf.edu.

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