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Medical Student Career Development

Career Development

The UC College of Medicine (UCCOM) offers a four-year comprehensive Career Development curriculum to guide and support our students through the process of finding a medical specialty and residency program that is right for them.The Office of Student Affairs leads this curriculum with collaboration from faculty and staff across the college.

At UCCOM, we follow the model established by the American Association of Medical College (AAMC) "Careers in Medicine (CiM)" program.This program reflects a 4-phase career planning process: (1) Understand Yourself, (2) Explore Your Options, (3) Choose Your Specialty and (4) Prepare for Residency.The Director of Career Development in the UCCOM Office of Student Affairs serves as the school's liaison to the CiM program.

CiM Pyramid for Career Development Website

Our UCCOM Career Development curriculum begins early - in fact, during Orientation Week!The types of activities offered at UCCOM range from formal career talks that have been integrated into the curriculum to optional extra-curricular activities.We provide both sessions for the entire class and individual one-on-one meetings to ensure that students receive the key information they need, as well as personalized support.

Below are just some examples of how we guide our students through the four phases of the career planning process from their first year (M1) through fourth year (M4).

1. Understand Yourself

  • M1 Orientation Week: An important step in the process is thoughtful self-assessment and self-awareness. We begin this process during M1 Orientation Week with a session on personality types and an overview of the UCCOM Career Development curriculum.
  • Careers in Medicine (CiM) website: Online self-assessment tools are available to help students assess their interests, skills, and values in relation to a career in medicine. All M1 students are asked to complete the Medical Specialty Preference Inventory (MSPI) to give them an initial idea of some specialties to begin exploring.
  • Additional Assessments: The Assistant Dean for Academic Support is qualified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Research on the MBTI shows relationships between personality types and specialty areas, as well as personality types and learning styles.
  • Summer Opportunities Week: In the Fall, a week is dedicated to educating M1 students on potential summer opportunities for the summer between M1 and M2 years, including research, service, clinical and global health opportunities. Activities during that week include a Class Meeting, student panels during lunchtime and structured small group discussions in the formal Learning Communities.

2. Explore Your Options

  • M1 & M2 Physician and Society Career Series: As part of our Physician and Society course for M1 and M2 students, we have integrated a series of career development sessions, including panels of physicians from different specialties. In addition, we discuss the steps and timeline for applying to residency programs so our students understand the process very early.
  • Monthly Career Trivia Questions: As a fun way to familiarize our M1 and M2 students with valuable career resources, including our internal UCCOM site and the CiM website, we send out a monthly career trivia question. Students who correctly answer the career trivia question are entered into a monthly raffle for a small prize.
  • Department Specialty Meetings: Each Spring, the UCCOM departments hold their own specialty information meetings that allow students to hear about their particular specialty and ask questions in a smaller group setting. These specialty meetings are led by faculty physicians in that specialty, typically the clerkship director and/or residency program director.
  • Student-led Specialty Interest Groups: Our student-led specialty interest groups meet throughout the year and coordinate lunch talks, workshops, shadowing and service opportunities for students.

3. Choose Your Specialty

  • M3 & M4 Clinical Clerkships: Through required and elective clinical clerkships during M3 and M4 years, students have the opportunity to explore different specialties hands-on. They also develop relationships with faculty and residents in those specialties who can provide mentorship and advice on choosing a specialty.
  • M3 Individual Advising Appointment: Each UCCOM student is assigned an M3 advisor in the Office of Student Affairs or Office of Diversity and Inclusion and has an individual meeting with that advisor. Topics covered during that individual meeting include the student’s background, transition to clinical clerkships and specialty interests.
  • Meetings with Specialty Advisors: The Office of Student Affairs compiles a list of faculty advisors in different specialties. Students can contact these advisors to discuss their specialty decision-making process.
  • Careers in Medicine (CiM) Resources: To help with the process of choosing a specialty, students are directed to helpful CiM resources, such as the CiM Clinical Rotation Evaluation form and online Specialty Indecision Scale. Students are also encouraged to repeat the Medical Specialty Preference Inventory (MSPI) as they gain more clinical experience.

4. Prepare for Residency

  • M3 & M4 Class Meetings: To guide our students through landing a residency, the Office of Student Affairs holds a series of class meetings. Topics discussed include planning your M4 schedule, the different components of a residency application, interviewing and much more!
  • M4 Individual Advising Appointment: Each M4 student has an individual advising appointment with an advisor in the Office of Student Affairs or Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Topics discussed at this meeting include M4 schedule, specialty applying to, letters of recommendation and personal statement.
  • Meetings with Specialty Advisors: Students work with faculty advisors in their respective specialty to prepare their residency applications and receive guidance on which programs to apply to.
  • Residency Mock interviews: The Office of Student Affairs coordinates mock interviews to give M4 students a chance to practice and receive feedback before their real residency interviews. Some individual departments also sponsor mock interviews for students applying to their specialty.

UCCOM Resources

The College of Medicine has an internal site for UCCOM students that houses resources dedicated to overall career development and the Match. The career section includes documents such as: UCCOM specialty information sheets, listing of research opportunities for UCCOM students and a curriculum vitae workshop. Match resources include documents such as: personal statement guidelines, interviewing handouts and contact lists.

Additional Resources

Excellence in Mentoring Award

The UCCOM Office of Student Affairs created the "Excellence in Mentoring Award" in recognition of the value of quality mentoring on the career development of our medical students, including their transition to residency.UCCOM faculty and students submit nominations and a committee from the Office of Student Affairs and Office of Diversity and Inclusion selects the final winner(s).

This award is presented to a faculty member who exemplifies the following:

  • Shows an interest in understanding students' backgrounds, skills and interests;
  • Is knowledgable about their specialty and residency applications;
  • Provides guidance about residency programs, applications and careers;
  • Supports students in finding new opportunities and developing new skills (e.g. research, teaching, service, leadership);
  • Acts as a role model for medical students;
  • Spearheads efforts to inform medical students about their specialty.

  • 2017

    Robbie Paulsen, MD (Emergency Medicine)

    Jeffrey Schlaudecker, MD, MEd, (Family & Community Medicine)


    Andrew Beck, MD, MPH (Pediatrics)

    Alberto Espay, MD, MSc (Neurology & Rehabilitation Medicine)



    AAMC Careers in Medicine Excellence in Medical Student Career Advising Program Award

Students with professor.

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