Dartmouth (Geisel) vs. UC Riverside

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


New Member
Jul 10, 2019
Reaction score

Members don't see this ad.
Hi everyone. I'm having a hard time deciding between these two schools. Any advice would be appreciated.

Overall, I'm looking for a school that will provide me the most opportunities for my career. While I am interested in primary care fields, I'd like the opportunity to pursue specialties before I make any decision.

Dartmouth Geisel
  • Older, established school (1797) benefits with STEP1 P/F
  • Established resources for students who want to specialize
  • Options to do rotations outside of Dartmouth
  • Higher rank and layman prestige

  • Higher COA 65k/year
  • The cold
  • Far from home

UC Riverside
  • Cheaper COA 50k/year, although the difference is not huge between the two
  • Many matches into primary care and into California residencies
  • Within UC system and nearby medical institutions for additional opportunities (Loma Linda, UC Irvine, etc.)
  • Minimal required movement during rotations
  • Weather
  • Closer to family

  • Limited resources for those who want to specialize
  • Fairly newer school (2013)


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 10, 2019
Reaction score
So like many of the applicants doing a X vs UCR post, I will say it all depends on what you want. UCR is VERY specific with their mission and while you’re under no legal obligation to match into a California residency, practice Primary Care, or practice in the IE, the system in place favors those who do. I have done research at one of these “nearby medical institutions” and will say that I have personally heard from faculty/students/staff there that nearby medical students can find research and mentorship opportunities there. You just have to go above and beyond as it’s not “in-house” like it would be if the school has its own medical center with a multitude of specialties. Also, I will say that it may depend on your specialty of choice. If you say want to go into an IM subspecialty, you can match at one of the SoCal IM programs (which UCR grads have per recent match lists) and take off from there as many of these do well sending their residency graduates to good fellowships. But say you want to match derm or ortho, it could be harder as it’s a matter of “can you even match into a (insert competitive specialty here) program”. And then it will come down to how you sell yourself, the opportunities you take advantage of, connections you make, etc. From people who attend UCR that I talk to, it’s harder for some specialties than it is for others, but if you do a lot of work then faculty are willing to facilitate your interests as much as they can and help you out. Meeting you halfway so to speak. Nonetheless, congratulations on your two schools and best of luck in whichever one you choose!
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user


Full Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2015
Reaction score
Dartmouth for more career opportunities. UCR is by no means a bad medical school, it just won’t give you the same options that Dartmouth would. 60k is nothing if it means the difference between matching your preferred program vs. settling for something else. I say this as someone from SoCal who would love to stay in the area.