ACE Program

The UC San Diego Health Sciences International Accelerated Clinical Experience (ACE) Program provides the opportunity to experience what one of the top-ranked Academic Medical Centers in the U.S.A. has to offer. Scholars have the opportunity to gain an overview of the U.S. medical system as well as learn about best practices in patient care. This program provides selected scholars the opportunity to participate in clinical care sessions, as well as educational activities like grand rounds, case conferences and journal clubs.  This program is especially relevant for international medical graduates preparing to enter the U.S. Residency Match (ERAS).  The program length is typically 2-4 months but can extend to 6 months maximum.
We offer placements in a variety of disciplines including:  Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Surgery, Neurology, Psychiatry, Pathology, Radiology, Emergency Medicine as well as some subspecialty areas.

We cannot guarantee placement in sub-specialty areas. Each scholar is informed of placement area upon acceptance to the program.


Download Flyer

Who Should Apply?

Graduating international medical students and recent international medical graduates interested in gaining an overview of the clinical setting in a major U.S. academic medical center.

How Do I Apply?

To apply for the ACE Program, please complete the following online application form (click here).

Please make sure all information is complete and correct before you submit your online application. We will not accept incomplete applications (including applications with limited or no written personal statement)


Program Description/Schedule

You will work in the clinical settings of the UC San Diego Healthcare System. The experience will vary from discipline to discipline but may include: inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as didactic lectures, journal clubs, and clinical teaching sessions. In accordance with the regulations of the California Medical Board, ACE scholars are not allowed to have any patient care responsibilities or engage in any "hands-on" experience with patients and their families. Scholars must always be accompanied by their sponsoring faculty mentor or a university/hospital employee while inpatient/clinical care areas. The length of the program varies from two to six months.

Program Benefits

As an ACE Program Scholar, you will:

  • Have access to clinical practice at one of the world's leading academic medical centers in a broad range of disciplines
  • Have a performance evaluation completed at the end of your rotation
  • Have access to a network of students, residents, and faculty at UC San Diego
  • Work towards enhancing your chances to successfully pursue graduate medical education in North America

Program Logistics

UC San Diego does not provide housing as part of the ACE Program. Participants are responsible for finding and paying for their own housing. It is suggested that you begin your housing search well in advance of your rotation. Individuals selected to participate in this program must make their own arrangements for travel, accommodations, and daily transportation. Suggestions for housing, travel, transport, and other online resources can be found by visiting the Living in San Diego link.

Program Fees

Given the customized schedule developed for each ACE scholar, please specify your planned rotation duration in your online application and our office will contact you in regards to fees for your indicated timeframe.

COVID-19 Updates:

HSI strongly encourages prospective scholars to obtain their COVID-19 vaccination(s) in their home country, where they are licensed physicians and can likely secure their vaccinations in a timelier manner. Obtaining the vaccination ahead of any international travel is ideal, to ensure health and safety before arriving in San Diego. Don't hesitate to reach out to our office via email with any questions/concerns.

All World Health Organization-approved vaccinations meet the UC vaccine mandate requirement. Please see the following World Health Organization (WHO) website for the list of approved COVID-19 vaccines: “Fully vaccinated” is defined as two-weeks after the completion of any series of WHO-approved vaccines.   

Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend applying at least four months prior to your requested start date. Applications are accepted as far as 12 months in advance.

Given the high volume of applicants throughout the year (with highest volume in Spring and Summer), we encourage applicants to apply on-line as soon as possible.

After you submit your ACE application online, eligible applicants should expect to receive an e-mail from UC San Diego Health Sciences International with fee information and an invitation to speak via Zoom/phone with UCSD HSI at a scheduled date/time.

Availability can vary by discipline and time of year. There is not a set total number of positions. We generally suggest that ACE applicants (who are seeking only 1-2 months of training) avoid looking for a rotation opportunity between the months of November - January, given the holiday closure period at the University and the more limited availability of our faculty due to holiday travel and vacation.

No; UCSD Health Sciences International does not offer elective credit for your ACE experience. If your home institution wants you to take an elective rotation for academic credit to be applied toward your graduation requirements or academic transcript, the ACE Program cannot be converted into credit.

Six months is the maximum. If you are interested in programming beyond 6 consecutive months, we encourage you to check out our Bridge to Residency Program.

Yes. We encourage scholars to engage in the same discipline for the entire duration of their rotation, whether that is 4-weeks, 8-weeks, 12-weeks, etc. While we do our best to accommodate requests, we cannot guarantee any specific discipline. We ask that scholars inform us of their requests in advance of arrival as switching once you arrive is generally not possible.

The type of visa required can vary based on length of participation. Scholars can enter the program under their own B-1 Visitor Visa. For other visa inquiries, please contact us at and/or state in your online application.

Each ACE scholar will receive a letter of completion/participation from UC San Diego Health Sciences International which will summarize your activities along with the goals and objectives of the program. ACE scholars will also receive a Certificate of Completion at the conclusion of their rotation. We do not guarantee a letter of recommendation from your faculty mentor – letters of recommendation must be earned.


  • Direct, Individualized Mentorship by UC San Diego faculty within your specialty area.
  • Clinical Skills Development.



  • A program Letter of Completion follows achievement of program milestones by conclusion of the program.
  • A Letter of Recommendation from the faculty mentor (at their discretion).
  • Optimized positioning for U.S./Canadian Match success.
  • Acquisition of skills crucial to success in graduate medical education.


Apply Now Click Here for Program Brochure