May 20, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2015-2016 
USC Catalogue 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Keck School of Medicine of USC

Keck School of Medicine of USC


The Keck School of Medicine of USC is adjacent to the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center — one of the largest teaching hospitals in the United States. Keck’s faculty, students and residents serve more than one million patients each year through the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, the USC Norris Cancer Hospital, the Keck Hospital of USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and a network of USC-affiliated hospitals throughout Southern California. Photo by Chris Shinn Photography.




Founded in 1885, the Keck School of Medicine of USC is part of Keck Medicine of USC, a major center of medical research, education and patient care with more than 1,500 full-time faculty members and a voluntary faculty of more than 4,000 physicians. Faculty includes national leaders in each of its 25 clinical and basic science departments. Located on the university’s 30.8-acre Health Sciences Campus three miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, the Keck School is adjacent to the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the United States.

The Keck School’s faculty, students and residents serve more than one million patients each year through the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, the USC Norris Cancer Hospital, the Keck Hospital of USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC Verdugo Hills and a network of USC-affiliated hospitals throughout Southern California. More than 500 faculty physicians care for patients with complex medical needs as well as provide primary care.

The Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research of USC, which opened in the fall of 2010, joins the Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower and USC Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute in providing state-of-the-art facilities for important scientific discovery. With more than $248 million in total federal research support, the Keck School ranks among the top U.S. medical schools in federal funding.

The Keck School of Medicine of USC is at the forefront of medical education and was among the first medical schools to adopt Introduction to Clinical Medicine courses for first-year students, providing direct experience in patient care from the start.


Carmen A. Puliafito, MD, MBA, Dean, May S. and John Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine

Ted J. Budge, MS, Senior Associate Dean, Chief Operating Officer

Thomas A. Buchanan, MD, Vice Dean, Research

Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA, Vice Dean, Medical Education

Judy Garner, PhD, Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs

D. Brent Polk, MD, Vice Dean, Clinical Affairs (CHLA)

Melany Duval, BA, Senior Associate Dean and Associate Vice President for Health Sciences Development

Donna D. Elliott, MD, EdD, Senior Associate Dean, Student and Educational Affairs

Lili Delcampo, JD, Associate General Counsel for Health Sciences

Raquel D. Arias, MD, Associate Dean, Admissions

Glenn Ault, MD, Associate Dean for Clinical Administration (LAC+USC Medical Center)

Ronald Ben-Ari, MD, Associate Dean, Continuing Medical Education, and Assistant Dean, Curriculum

Peggy Farnham, PhD, Associate Dean, Graduate Affairs (PhD Programs)

Inderbir Gill, MD, Associate Dean, Clinical Innovation

Stephanie Hall, MD, Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs (Keck Medical Center)

Laura Mosqueda, Associate Dean, Primary Care

Elahe Nezami, PhD, Associate Dean, Graduate Affairs (Undergraduate, Master’s and Professional Degree Programs)

Lawrence M. Opas, MD, Associate Dean, Graduate Medical Education

Michele T. Pato, MD, Associate Dean, Academic Scholarship

Pamela Schaff, MD, Associate Dean, Curriculum

Uttam Sinha, MD, Associate Dean, Surgical Simulation

Maura Sullivan, EdD, Associate Dean, Stimulation Education for Health Sciences

Stuart P. Swadron, MD, Assistant Dean, Pre-health Undergraduate Studies

Paul M. Thompson, PhD, Associate Dean, Bioinformatics Research

Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, Associate Dean, Strategic Planning and Community Network Development

Althea M. Alexander, Assistant Dean, Student Diversity

David Baron, DO, MS, Ed, Assistant Dean, Global Relations

Gerhard Coetzee, PhD, Assistant Dean, Research Integrity

Cha-Chi Fung, PhD, Assistant Dean of Educational Affairs

Tatum Korin, EdD, Assistant Dean of Graduate Medical Education

Joyce Richey, PhD, Assistant Dean, Educational Affairs

Frank R. Sinatra, MD, Assistant Dean, Faculty Development

Darcy Spicer, MD, Assistant Dean, Clinical Research Studies

Sajjad Yacoob, MD, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs

Ruth Wood, PhD, Associate Dean, Appointments and Promotions


Doctor of Medicine

Keith Administration Building 100B
1975 Zonal Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9021
(323) 442-2552
FAX: (323) 442-2433

Associate Dean, Admissions: Raquel D. Arias, MD

The Keck School of Medicine of USC Committee on Admissions is responsible for selecting members of the entering class. The committee comprises both faculty and students. The committee reviews candidates whose academic achievement, commitment to service and personal qualities distinguish them from the many thousands of applicants who apply.

The applicant’s undergraduate major may be in any subject area from an accredited college or university. Although sound preparation in the basic sciences is essential, a background in the humanities, and depth and breadth of personal experience are also important.

General Admissions Information

The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the centralized American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and also requires the submission of the Keck School of Medicine supplemental application. Approximately 7,500 applications are received per year and 750 applicants receive interview invitations. Interviews begin in mid-September and end in early March. Students receive acceptance letters beginning in October.


All applicants to the Keck School of Medicine of USC MD degree program must have completed a baccalaureate degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation. The school has no specific course requirements. Strong applicants will have distinguished themselves in their chosen field of study and have demonstrated competency in the sciences at the time of their application. The Medical School Admission Requirement (MSAR) guide may be referenced for recommended course work. The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is required, and scores must be from within the previous three years of the date of matriculation.

International applicants must hold a degree considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree as evaluated by the USC Office of Graduate and International Admissions.

Individuals who have discontinued studies in medical school for academic reasons are not eligible to apply to the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is required of all applicants. Applicants to the entering class are required to take the MCAT within the previous three years of the date of matriculation and no later than August in the year that the application becomes available. Scores from administrations of the examination taken outside of this time period will not be accepted.


The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). AMCAS reproduces and distributes an application and standardized academic record to participating medical schools designated by the student. Applications are submitted electronically at www.students/applying/amcas.

Applications are available after June 1 for the class entering in August of the following year. Applications to USC must be returned to AMCAS before November 2, but earlier application is encouraged.

The Committee on Admissions reviews all information submitted on the AMCAS application as well as the school’s supplemental application. The nonrefundable supplemental application fee is $100.

Personal Interviews

Personal interviews are a required aspect of the application process. Interviews are conducted at the Keck School of Medicine on the Health Sciences Campus of the University of Southern California.

Notice of Acceptance

Notices of acceptance will be sent to successful candidates beginning in October until the class is filled. Since Keck uses a rolling admissions process, it is highly recommended to submit a completed application early in the cycle. If not chosen for an interview, candidates are usually notified by March of the application year.

Candidates must reply to an offer of admission and agree to the Essential Characteristics and Abilities Required for the Completion of the MD Degree within 10 business days of receiving the offer of admission. A letter of withdrawal, via email or post mail, is required if students wish to relinquish their place in the class; release is granted automatically when the letter is received.

MD/PhD Program

The Keck School of Medicine has developed an MD/PhD program designed for individuals who aspire to a career in academic medicine or a leadership role within the biomedical industry. Students are expected to acquire the modern skills that are required for physician competence. Additionally, the MD/PhD program provides an opportunity for the development of research expertise and academic excellence while fulfilling the requirements for a PhD degree.

A joint program between the Keck School of Medicine and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was established in fall 1997 for the granting of the MD/PhD degree. PhD studies may be carried out at Caltech or through collaboration between two laboratories at both institutions. The MD will be awarded from the Keck School of Medicine and the PhD will be awarded from Caltech.

The MD/PhD executive committee is responsible for selecting students for the MD/PhD program. Members of the committee review the qualifications of each applicant, including MCAT scores, academic performance, letters of recommendation and research experience. The committee interviews candidates and then selects students for admission to the program. All applicants to the joint program interview at Keck School of Medicine and the California Institute of Technology.

General Information

The MD/PhD program enrolls three to six students annually. Students have the option of doing the PhD at USC or Caltech. Each student accepted to the program must also be accepted to the Keck School of Medicine. All positions are fully funded.


Admission requirements for the MD/PhD program are those of one of the graduate programs at Caltech, the Keck School of Medicine and USC. Students select the program of their choice during the first two years of the medical curriculum; descriptions of these programs are available from each department or program and Caltech.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

To assist the MD/PhD Committee in its evaluation of candidates, applicants to the MD/PhD program are encouraged to provide recent GRE scores. The committee does not, however, require GRE scores in order to consider an application.


Applicants to the Keck School of Medicine are advised to request information about the MD/PhD program at the time of application. In addition to completing the medical school application, applicants should indicate their interest in the MD/PhD program.

Students who are currently pursuing the medical curriculum at the Keck School of Medicine may apply to the MD/PhD program by contacting: MD/PhD Program, Keck School of Medicine, 1975 Zonal Avenue (KAM 200), Los Angeles, CA 90089-9023; (323) 442-2965, FAX: (323) 442-2318.

Personal Interviews

All applicants are screened by members of the MD/PhD Executive Committee; candidates who meet the basic criteria of the program are then invited to be interviewed by members of the committee and faculty at USC and Caltech.

Notice of Acceptance

Students selected for acceptance to the MD/PhD program are notified between November and May of each year. Students begin their program in the fall semester and register for courses in the medical curriculum at that time.

Further information about the MD/PhD program at the Keck School of Medicine may be obtained by contacting: MD/PhD Program, Keck School of Medicine, 1975 Zonal Avenue (KAM 200), Los Angeles, CA 90089-9023; (323) 442-2965, FAX: (323) 442-2318; email:

Graduate Degree Programs

Admission standards for these curricula are established jointly by the Keck School of Medicine, its participating programs and the Graduate School.

Applicants to graduate degree programs offered at the Keck School of Medicine must meet the general criteria for acceptance to the Graduate School. Each participating program may have additional requirements for application. The programmatic requirements for the Keck School of Medicine’s graduate programs are detailed in the Graduate Degree Programs  section.

Further information about graduate degree programs at the Keck School of Medicine may be obtained by contacting: Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Keck School of Medicine, 1975 Zonal Avenue (KAM 409), Los Angeles, CA 90089-9023; (323) 442-1607, FAX: (323) 442-1199.

Tuition and Fees

The tuition and fees listed below are estimated for fall semester, 2013. All fees are subject to change without notice by action of the University of Southern California Board of Trustees. The university reserves the right to assess new fees or charges. Tuition is not refundable; late registration fees are mandatory and cannot be waived.

Tuition for each semester of the medical school curriculum is due and payable at the beginning of the semester. Registration is not permitted after the third week of instruction. Late payment of tuition is subject to a mandatory late fee. Average budgets for medical students will vary according to their year in the curriculum. Sample budgets for Year I, Year II, and the Junior/Senior Continuum may be requested from the Office of Financial Aid. Tuition, mandatory fees and parking are the same for all years.

Tuition for courses of the graduate curriculum is based upon the number of units assigned to each course. The Graduate Degree Programs section provides a department-by-department list of graduate course titles; the number following each title indicates the number of units for which tuition is charged. Late payment of tuition is subject to a mandatory late fee.

Required Fees (Estimated)

Academic Year Tuition (two semesters) $54,662
Graduate Tuition (per unit) 1,602
Student Health Service Fee (annual) 545
Student Programming Fee (graduate) 80
Student Services Fee 20
Norman Topping Scholarship Fee 16
Health Insurance 1,712
Annual Dental Rate 136
Malpractice Insurance 25 (per academic year)
Disability Insurance 51 (per academic year)

Optional Fees

Parking fee, per semester (see Tuition and Fees ).

Grading and Evaluation

The Keck School of Medicine employs a system of evaluation and grading designed to encourage student self-reliance, to stimulate the student’s independent quest for knowledge and to promote excellence in academic achievement.

For courses of the medical curriculum, the Keck School of Medicine does not award numerical or letter grades. The evaluation process leading to a pass or fail grade is based on performance of the student in relation to announced course criteria. Throughout medical school, students will be evaluated on their fund of knowledge, problem-solving ability, professional behavior, relevant personality traits and clinical and interpersonal skills. Additional information on grading and evaluation is contained in the handbook provided to every enrolled medical student.

Faculty instructors are responsible for establishing evaluation criteria appropriate to the objectives of each course, discipline and clerkship, and for specifying the manner in which evaluative information is to be gathered. Instructor comments on student performance form an integral part of a student’s total evaluation. For each evaluation, descriptive comments based on the student’s overall performance in relation to course criteria are submitted for permanent file to the office of the senior associate dean for student affairs, and educational affairs, together with performance reports.

The student’s permanent file is used to prepare a letter from the senior associate dean of Student Affairs and Educational Affairs of the Keck School of Medicine, which accompanies student applications for internships and residencies. These records are maintained by the Office of Student Affairs; students may review their records during regular office hours by scheduling an appointment. During the lifetime of the physician, the permanent student record may be consulted as evidence of completion of the required curriculum and as certification for licensure.

Grading and evaluation policies for graduate degree programs and for joint MD/PhD degrees are established in conjunction with the Graduate School. In general, courses taken in partial fulfillment of graduate degree requirements receive letter grades that are recorded by the university.

Degrees and Requirements

The Keck School of Medicine and its departments offer types of curricula leading to award of: the Doctor of Medicine; joint MD/PhD; joint MD/MBA; joint MD/MPH; MD/MS, Global Medicine; a Master of Academic Medicine, MAM; Global Medicine, MS; PharmD/MS, Global Medicine; Global Health, BS; Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies, BS; graduate degrees in conjunction with the Graduate School in Applied Biostatistics/Epidemiology, MS; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, MS; Biostatistics, MS, PhD; Cancer Biology and Genomics, PhD; Cell and Neurobiology, MS; Clinical, Biomedical and Translational Investigations, MS; Development, Stem Cells, and Regenerative Medicine, PhD; Epidemiology, PhD; Experimental and Molecular Pathology, MS; Medical Biology, PhD; Molecular Epidemiology, MS, PhD; Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, MS; Molecular Structure and Signaling, PhD; Nurse Anesthesia, MS; Physiology and Biophysics, MS; Psychology and Public Health, PhD/MPH; Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, MS; Integrative Biology of Disease, PhD.

The Department of Family Medicine has one academic division: the Division of Physician Assistant Studies, which offers the Master of Physician Assistant Practice.

The Department of Preventive Medicine has two academic divisions: the Health Behavior Research Division, which offers a BS, Global Health; BS, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies; BS, Global Health/Master of Public Health; BS, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies/Master of Public Health; Master of Public Health; PharmD/Master of Public Health; PhD, Physical Therapy/Master of Public Health; PhD, Preventive Medicine (Health Behavior Research); and the Biostatistics Division, which offers MS programs in Biostatistics, Molecular Epidemiology, and Applied and Biostatistics/Epidemiology. The division also offers PhD programs in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Molecular Epidemiology.

In addition, departments of the school have certificate programs in certain medical specialties.

The Medical Education Committee (MEC) is responsible for overall planning of the medical school curriculum. Separate curriculum committees plan and supervise the instructional programs for each year of medical school. Each of the committees includes student representatives and faculty members from the departments involved in each year’s teaching program.

The curriculum of medical education at USC continues to emphasize preparation of the student to give optimal patient care. Students are progressively involved in patient care beginning with their first semester. The curriculum is patient-oriented, and students are expected to assume increasing responsibility for patient care as they acquire sufficient knowledge and skills. During the clinical experiences of the Junior/Senior Continuum students eventually attain a level equivalent to that of an intern.

At the same time, the school recognizes that the explosion of knowledge and techniques brought about by the current “biotechnology revolution” is rapidly altering the practice of medicine. During the four years of medical school, students cannot be taught all that will be needed for the practice of medicine — either now or in the years ahead. To a far greater degree than in the past, the present curriculum encourages students to acquire skills and habits of self-education and self-instruction that will prepare them for lifelong learning.

The faculty of the school recognize that while most students will eventually practice medicine, some will choose an academic research career. The plan of medical education fosters the development of individuals whose careers may be directed along this path. Faculty are available to counsel and encourage research participation by students during their medical school training.

The curricula of the Keck School of Medicine and its departments acknowledge the crucial place of basic medical science in the advance of modern clinical practice. Both basic and clinical science are taught throughout the four years of the undergraduate medical curriculum. Basic science is taught both as pure basic science and in correlation with clinical science. In addition, a number of the school’s departments cooperate with the USC Graduate School to offer degree courses leading to the award of the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. Most of these graduate courses may also be taken as part of the school’s joint MD/PhD program.



Master’s Degree

University Certificate

Dual Degree

Doctoral Degree