Future Physicians


3.0 units of USC credit


  • Age 17 or older by 2nd day of class, June 18, 2019. No exceptions
  • Proof of vaccination & TB Results (see below)
  • Read and believe the dress code for all visits to hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices


2 years of high school science with grades of B or better


Monday through Friday, 9:00am – 4:30pm

Special Dress Code

Professional attire for hospital visits (see note below)


This course is for anybody considering being a physician. The focus will be on giving you a real feel for what it is like to be a working doctor: its fulfillments and its challenges. Immerse yourself in what it is like to live, think, feel, see, behave and be treated as a doctor every day. This is an introduction. Is being a doctor a fit for you? This is meant to give you a sense of the real-life factors and current issues to consider as you mull this option over.


  • You will get to ‘shadow’ physicians at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles (CHLA).
  • Each summer we look to bring in doctors as guest speakers.  Topics covered in the past include admissions to med school, each doctor’s own life as a doctor, their choice of specialty and more.  One of the most informative outcomes of this part of the course is the variety of pathways and the various time gaps between university and entering med school.
  • For the past several years we have had a hand surgeon and her physician assistant, who works exclusively in the OR, spend a morning with students teaching some basics of suturing.
  • Each summer USC med students and USC undergrad pre-med students have meet to talk with students.  These discussions are popular and informative and give insight and advice on getting into university and med school, and how to thrive while in university and med school.

Topic of Study

We have restructured the course around the 3 Ss’ of medicine: the Soul and the Science of medicine, and the System in which medicine is practiced. The soul is the reason most of us went into medicine—the caring for others in a very rewarding way. This is not a science course, but science is the factual backbone of medical knowledge; we will cover what will be needed as we move through the course. The system is usually of the least interest to most doctors (me, when I was working, included); but I would feel remiss if I didn’t introduce you to this; it has a significant impact on being a doctor. The more informed you are, I think the better choices you will make.

Note: The schedule for this course varies on the day students visit the hospital. Commuter students must depart from and return to campus with the class on all field trip days.

Special Dress Code

On campus and during class, comfortable and casual is perfect. It can be hot, so shorts, sandals are fine. The dress code that is important is for our trips to hospitals and clinics, which happens often (4 mornings last year; number of shadowing experiences TBD this summer).  Male: slacks, button-down shirts, close-toed shoes. Female: dress pants or long dress/skirt and blouse that covers all of back, shoulders and midriff, close-toed shoes.

The following are not permitted: jeans, tight pants, extreme low-rise pants, low cut shirts, tank tops, bare back or bare midriff, flip-flops or sandals. All top wear must fully cover the shoulders and upper arms.

Please remember, you are being invited into the private and privileged space of other people’s very personal problems. Looking professional is required of you. It is understood to be a sign of respect.

Students will NOT be permitted to attend field trips, including a hospital visit, if they do not follow the dress code. This is required by the places that we go to.

Required Proof of Vaccination & TB Results

Admitted students must submit the Vaccination Records form and medical records showing the following:

  • Provide a copy of vaccination records: Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations (usually given in infancy)
  • Documentation of a negative TB test dated after July 31, 2018 (Students will need to be re-tested if their last TB test was before August 1, 2018)

Future Physicians Photo Album