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How to Apply

All applications to the PSTP are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). The PSTP at UC San Diego is listed through ERAS as a separate program from that of the Categorical track of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. Because the PTSP is highly competitive, applicants may wish to consider an application to the categorical residency in addition to the PSTP.

Application Requirements

All applicants must meet the same requirements as those of the Categorical Track of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. You may review those requirements on the Internal Medicine Residency Program website.

Applicants must have an MD or equivalent degree at the time of enrollment in the program, and they must have had substantial prior research training. Examples of such substantial training are an MD/PhD, or at least two years of intensive and productive research experience during or prior to medical school.

High-quality publications, based on the applicant's prior research, are interpreted by the program as a predictor of success, as are strong letters of reference from former research mentors.

Exceptional candidates with less research training who plan on an independent academic career are also encouraged to apply. UC San Diego is an equal-opportunity employer. We welcome applications from members of underrepresented in medicine and science groups.

Additional Requirements*

  • Letters of Recommendation Focused on Research: We require two letters from prior research mentors and senior colleagues that speak to the candidate’s research accomplishments and aptitude. If these are not already part of the ERAS application, please provide them as supplementary material. A letter of reference from the thesis advisor of MD/PhD candidates is required but exceptions in extenuating circumstances can be made. 
  • Candidate Research Background Statement: Applicants are required to submit a supplemental letter, ideally around one page in length, to provide a concise overview of their research accomplishments and professional aspirations. This letter should articulate their career goals, summarize their research experience with emphasis on specific accomplishments, publications, or accolades, and delineate their reasons for pursuing a particular fellowship program and investigative path. Within the letter, applicants should craft a compelling vision of their career trajectory and illustrate how the UCSD PSTP will help the applicant realize it. Additionally, within the letter, applicants are asked to identify any research scientists or potential mentors with whom they would like to engage during the interview process.
  • Fellowship Interest Statement: We ask applicants to submit a <150-word statement on their preferred fellowship. Given that PSTP trainees can conduct their research across any division, department, or institute in the La Jolla Mesa area, we advise choosing fellowships based on clinical interests. While interviewing for multiple fellowships is allowed, candidates must declare their fellowship of choice before the ranking process. 

The supplementary material is due within 1 week after the ERAS Application deadline. Please submit this information via email to: Colleen Reich,

*International medical graduates applying to our program have additional requirements.

Special Requirements for International Medical Graduates

  1. Possess a current ECFMG certificate.
  2. Pass USMLE Step I on the first attempt.
  3. Visa Status: Secure J-1 Visa through ECFMG with the issuance of IAP-66. The University no longer sponsors H-1 Visas for residency training.
  4. Apply through ERAS . The ECFMG office will serve as the designated Dean's office and can provide detailed information to international medical graduates.

All qualified applications received through the ERAS system applying to the PSTP track will be reviewed by a faculty selection committee. Applicants invited to interview will be notified via email.


All applicants must be interviewed by the Categorical Internal Medicine Residency Program leadership in addition to the faculty leadership for the PSTP. We strongly recommend that you plan to attend a PSTP-specific two-day interview. The first day is devoted to the categorical program interview. The second day consists of a PSTP orientation by the pathway's leadership followed by interviews with research and subspecialty faculty.

We have special PSTP events on these two days. If applicants are not able to attend the PSTP-specific date, we will interview them on other days.

Upon completion of the interview season, applicant files are reviewed by the PSTP Selection Committee, which consists of the program director, the associate director, and a representative panel of affiliated scientists from participating fellowship programs, for ranking consideration. UCSD adheres to ABIM guidelines on post-interview communication with applicants. We are happy to answer any questions applicants may have to help them make their ranking decisions, but we try to restrict any post-interview communications out of respect for the applicant’s decision-making process. Please do not interpret a lack of communication as a lack of interest.