Parent of a daughter who wants to attend UCLA Med. School

by Patty Reed
(North Hollywood CA)

Hello there, how are the budget cuts affecting UCLA Med. School? Are the classes too full? Are the students struggling to take classes they need in order to graduate?


Hi Miss Reed,

Good question. Fortunately the budget problems with California aren’t affecting the medical school much in terms of curriculum. The main issue has been an increase in tuition (about $10,000 from my first to fourth year).

In medical school, everyone is on the same curriculum, so there’s no problem with getting the classes you want. You don’t register for classes like in undergrad. Once you’re in, you’re in.

You have lectures every day and labs three days a week, plus PBL (problem based learning) two times a week. That’s where you discuss cases and then write a couple pages about certain aspects of the case each week. For example, if the case was about a heart attack you might research and write a page about the prevalence of heart attacks in women. That’s for the first two years.

During the third and fourth years, you’ll be doing clinical rotations. Everyone has a certain amount of required rotations and those are essentially arranged automatically. In other words, if you don’t schedule your rotations they will be scheduled for you. So, there’s really no chance of not meeting the requirements of graduation. In fact, UCLA medical school goes overboard to make sure you are on track to graduate with multiple graduations checks throughout medical school and particularly in your fourth year.

As far as class size goes, UCLA is right around 180 per class. That includes people from the David Geffen School of Medicine, people who do the first two years at Riverside and last two years at UCLA, UCLA/DREW (a program for those dedicated to serving underserved populations) and UCLA Prime (people who get a Master’s degree during medical school). People also join the class after taking years off to do PhD work. So, it’s a mix of people, but class size is never an impediment to learning. The lectures are to all of us, but everything else (PBL, anatomy lab, histology lab, afternoon workshops) are in small groups. So, there’s plenty of individual attention from instructors, plus tutoring available if you need it.

Fortunately the state puts a high value on medical education. It’s costing more with the budget issues, but the quality definitely hasn’t suffered.

Hope that answers your question! Let me know if you want to know more!