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International Programs
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Scholarship in Global Health
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SOM International Programs Grant Guidelines

Application Requirements & Priorities
Application Link
Award Notification
Pre-Departure Requirements
Upon Return: Reimbursement and Trip Report
Scholarly Work in Global Health


The School of Medicine offers a competitive travel grant program to facilitate UCSF medical students' travel abroad for work on health-related projects at least four weeks in length. To maximize participation since funds are limited, grants usually provide partial support for overall costs. Funding is by reimbursement only.

This grant program encourages projects that foster continued relationships and personal development in the students' global health education throughout medical school and during their careers. Therefore, an International Programs Grant in the summer of the first year does not disqualify a student from receiving a second grant later in medical school, especially when the new project builds upon relationships created during the earlier grant period. In-depth projects, such as a Pathways to Discovery project, that extend for longer than one quarter, may be eligible for more than one quarter's funding. Projects cannot be approved retroactively.

Applicants who are pursuing international research can also apply for the CTR or the Dean’s Research Fellowships. Please note that the International Programs Grants use the same on-line application form as these other UCSF funding programs, which can be found on the RAPtr website.

RAPtr Website

In addition, applicants are encouraged to look into other funding sources.

Global Health Project Funding

Application Requirements & Priorities

Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis, and reviewed by a committee. The best applicants will be selected, based on the criteria below. Awards generally range from $500 to $1800.

Note: Students must ensure that the dates of their international projects fall within the quarter for which they are requesting funding.

UCSF Academic Calendar

Application due dates for projects starting in:

Summer Quarter: April 4

Fall Quarter: July 15

Winter Quarter: October 15

Spring Quarter: January 15


1. All applicants must meet with one of the Global Health Pathways advisors at least 4 weeks prior to the application submission deadline. In fact, students are urged to schedule this meeting several months prior to the deadline, because of the complexity of the preparation for international health work.

Advisor Contact Information

2. The proposed international project must be of sufficient length. A minimum of FOUR weeks full-time work in ONE place is required to qualify for travel grants. For four-week trips, travel to more than one country or city is generally not acceptable. Longer trips are preferred.

3. All other sources of funding for the same quarter must be reported and all previous UCSF funding even in previous years must be reported on the RAPtr application.

4. All applicants for funding must have a UCSF mentor, who will be listed on the RAPtr application. Applicants doing research projects require more detailed mentor involvement. Research mentors must fill out the mentor endorsement form.

RAPtr Mentor Endorsement Form

5. Most research projects involving human subjects require accompanying IRB approval from a US-based academic institution, which is usually UCSF. Some host countries also require separate IRB approval. The final approval may take 2 - 6 months, and must be in place by the start date of the project otherwise funding is cancelled.

UCSF Committee on Human Subjects Research Website

6. If, due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, the destination or project details change after the application is submitted, the student must notify the RAPtr Coordinator by submitting a revised project description. If these details change after the grant notification letter is sent, the student must also notify the RAPtr Coordinator. Whether the revised project will still be funded is at the discretion of the Global Health Pathway faculty, and is not guaranteed, especially if changes to the original project are substantial.

Priority Criteria used by the Selection Committee:

• For all applicants, international work is prioritized by the potential for further commitment and professional development in advancing healthcare worldwide. For third and fourth year students, priority is given to international projects by students in any of the five Pathways to Discovery.

• Relevance of learning objectives to global health systems, diseases, and training that affect vulnerable populations worldwide. UCSF mentors should be able to assist in developing learning objectives and planning the project.

• Projects that demonstrate longitudinal involvement with a site/organization, particularly those involving previous or on-going UCSF-linked projects.

• Health-related projects that involve scholarly work or research, which could mean hypothesis testing, operational research, quality improvement, educational projects, or significant involvement on a site-directed investigation. Programs that focus solely on language study are not eligible for funding, but if language study is included, these hours do not count toward the 160 minimum number of experience hours.

• Quality of the written proposal in expressing project goals.

• Evidence of supervision and mentorship both at UCSF and at the proposed site. All mentors oversee academic, ethical, and safety issues. A UCSF mentor is someone who has a good sense of the trainee's interests and long terms goals; someone who will stay in contact with the trainee while abroad especially if issues arise; and finally someone who will help the student debrief when they return. Well in advance of the application deadline, UCSF mentors must meet with the student. On-site mentors will be in email contact until the student arrives on the site, and then are responsible for facilitating the scholarly experience and any day-to-day matters that arise.

• Location of the study site. Applications for travel to countries with a US State Department Travel Warning are not funded, with the possible exception of students who are participating in an active UCSF program where UCSF faculty and staff are located in that country.

• Appropriateness of the proposed budget.

• Appropriate use of funding resources. The School of Medicine’s policy for summer projects is to fund no more than $3400 per student from all sources. For example, International Programs Grants cannot be awarded if a student receives a full stipend from another source such as Dean’s Research Fellowship, but smaller grants from other sources will not cause International Programs Grant funding to be denied. Click this link to research other sources:

Global Health Project Funding

• Good academic standing with no make-up examinations or mastery exercises pending completion.

Application Link

Apply through the RAPtr online application

Award Notification

The announcement of awards is generally made about four to six weeks after the application deadline. Once a funding decision has been made, no further negotiation of terms can be expected.

Pre-Departure Requirements

If the student plans to accept the grant, signed originals of the statement at the bottom of the notification letter as well as the attached "Release and Hold Harmless Agreement" must be dropped off or mailed back to the address on the letter prior to departure.

Each student must:

1. Review and complete the Pre-Departure Checklist.

2. Register for free Travel Evacuation & Medical Insurance through ACE/iJet. This covers you during your academic experience abroad and for 7 additional days, and includes evacuation in the event of political instability or medical emergency. Please read the plan description regarding coverage.


3. Obtain the SOS Travel Medical Insurance card with international emergency phone numbers. This is part of your UCSF Health Insurance and covers you for many types of medical issues, including emergency medical evacuation. When you access this site, there is a quick link for the card. You will need to enter the UCSF number as your membership number: 11BSGM000060.


If you have waived UCSF Student Health Insurance, and wish to spend more than 7 days on leisure travel in addition to your academic time abroad, you need coverage in addition to that provided by ACE/iJet. Pease research your options and your own insurance plan. SOS has a discount for students needing to purchase International Travel Insurance. After you enter your personal information to "get a quote," you will be asked for a discount number (11BSGM000060 for UCSF medical students).


4. Complete the pre-trip elective on-line module, Concepts in Global Health (please check back for link).

5. Review the Trip Report Form to become familiar with the type of information required for reimbursement upon return.

Students who are financial aid recipients, and are enrolled at UCSF during their trip abroad, are required to notify Student Financial Services if they receive additional awards not included on the financial aid offer letter.

In cases where a student decides not to accept the grant, the RAPtr Coordinator, Undergraduate Medical Education Office must be notified as soon as possible so that it may be awarded to another student.

Upon Return: Reimbursement and Trip Report

Funding is by reimbursement only and is based on submission of complete travel documentation. Receipts submitted longer than three months after your return are unlikely to be reimbursed. Travel expense forms will be processed only after the following are submitted to the RAPtr Coordinator, Undergraduate Medical Education, Room S221, School of Medicine:

•          Original receipts for expenses related to your project, converted to $US, i.e., airline ticket, room and board, other modes of transportation, other costs.

•          A signed statement verifying that these expenses are related to the project.

•          Verification of acceptance or participation in the planned program or research project.

•          A completed trip report form, submitted online within thirty days of your return to UCSF.

Scholarly Work in Global Health

Students are encouraged to develop a presentation or poster based on their experience, for consideration at regional, national, or international scientific meetings. Students with an accepted paper, presentation or poster at a conference - such as the annual meeting of the Global Health Education Consortium GHEC - may apply in advance for financial assistance for conference funding from the Student Affairs office. $500 is usually awarded once during a student's tenure at UCSF.

The International Programs Grants are funded by the Dean's Office, School of Medicine, through the generosity of the School of Medicine Annual Fund, as well as alumni class gifts. Travel funding for UCSF students to present scholarly work at global health conferences is made available by the Onward Fund through the generosity of Dr. Tom Hall.

Updated: June 4, 2012
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