Taking a Closer Look at Keck School of Medicine

by Alison Yu


Established in 1885, Keck School of Medicine is a highly-ranked medical school and the oldest in Southern California. It is home to more than 1,500 full-time faculty, 27 research-oriented academic programs and 1,200 students. Located east of downtown Los Angeles on USC’s Health Sciences Campus, Keck is dedicated to serving the people of Southern California.

The curriculum at Keck emphasizes optimal patient care. During the Year I-II Continuum (the first two years of medical school), students take courses in subjects that include the Foundations of Medical Science, Hematology, Cardio, Renal, Respiratory, Reproductive and GI/Liver.

Keck is among the first medical schools to adopt the Introduction to Clinical Medicine courses for the first-year students, immersing them in patient care activities from the start of medical school. Electives in the first two years include Medical Spanish and Professionalism and the Practice of Medicine (PPM). Keck follows a pass/fail system for these courses and does not award letter grades.

During the clinical experiences of the Year III-IV Continuum (the last two years), students can choose to complete their clerkships at various sites, such as LAC+USC, Keck Hospital, Norris Cancer Center and CHLA.

At these sites, students rotate through the specialties of Family Medicine, Surgery, Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Neurology and more. Keck also requires every student to complete an independent research project.

All degree candidates are required to take Step I of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) prior to entering the junior/senior continuum. Students must then pass Step II of the USMLE by the December of their senior year.

Students can also pursue a fifth year research option to engage in research of their interests with a faculty mentor.

Dual Degree Programs

Additionally, Keck offers a variety of joint-degree programs including. MD/MS Physician-Scientist, MD/MBA, MD/MPH, MD/MS in Clinical and Biomedical Investigation, MD/MS in Global Medicine, MD/Masters of Health Care Administration and MD/PhD. The MD/PhD program is a joint program between USC and CalTech, geared towards students interested in medicine as well as biomedical research.

Residency Matches

In 2013, 157 students of the graduating class that participated in the National Resident Matching Program. Emergency medicine and internal medicine had the highest number of matches, with 28 in each. Radiology, obstetrics/gynecology, and orthopaedic surgery had 11 matches each. 103 students were matched in residency programs in California, 46 of which were at LAC+USC Medical Center. All other students matched in programs in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Of these students, the highest number matched in programs in New York.

Application Process

Keck invites all applicants to complete its secondary application once they have submitted the primary application through the AMCAS. The secondary application and its application fee of $90 are due by November 1. For the entering class of 2013, Keck received a total of 7,335 completed applications for a class of 184 students. The average GPA of the incoming class was 3.64 with an average MCAT score of 34.1.

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