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The Elective Program provides each student with the opportunity to select elective courses in areas of their interest. The program makes available extensive resources, in addition to offering great flexibility for planning an individual program. The faculty, representing volunteer physicians in private practice as well as full-time clinicians and investigators, provide a depth of background and a wide spectrum of interest.

Elective courses offered in both the basic sciences and clinical sciences serve to widen the student’s experience in his/her medical education. The electives also provide the student with opportunities to strengthen areas of weakness and/or to pursue subjects of special interest.

Elective Forms


Academic Year 2023-2024

Electives Information & FAQs

What resources are available to help me select electives? (click here for more information)

The IUSM Mentoring and Advising Program provides an excellent guide for each specialty. This highly recommended guide includes recommendations for electives based on your specialty interest. For unique situations and other questions, please talk with your career faculty advisor and Lead Advisor.

What duration are electives required to be to receive academic credit? (click here for more information)

Electives are generally four weeks long, representing 4 academic credits. An elective of two weeks in duration earns 2 academic credits. A full-time elective entails a full academic day with at least five days per week averaged over the course of the elective and may include weekend duty, night call, and/or weekend call.

Four-week special electives must be a minimum of 24 calendar days (or 18 weekdays) in duration to earn four academic credits. Two-week special electives must be a minimum of 11 calendar days (or 9 weekdays) in duration to earn two academic credits.

What types of elective courses are available to choose from? (click here for more information)

Students select from five categories of electives:

  • Clinical Practice (CP) Electives
    Students develop patient care skills and familiarity with the fundamental principles of practicing in a particular specialty.
  • Advanced Clinical (AC) Electives
    Students actively participate in a robust clinical experience as an integrated member of a healthcare team. These electives also allow for reflection on professional development and career pathways.
  • Advanced Science Research (AS) Electives
    Students pursue a review or scholarly research experience in the biomedical sciences and explore its relevance in clinical medicine.
  • Professional Development (PD) Electives
    Students develop knowledge and skills outside of the traditional medical school curriculum that advance their success in medical practice
  • Special Electives
    Students can pursue unique opportunities that are available outside of the IUSM electives catalog. These require advance discussion and planning with your advisors and the Medical Student Education office. A Special Elective Proposal Form must be completed to receive credit. Special electives can be any of the course types listed above.
How many career exploration electives may be used to fulfill graduation requirements? (click here for more information)

A maximum of two career exploration electives (4 academic credits) may be used to fulfill graduation requirements. Phase 3 students interested in taking a Career Exploration elective may only do so with special approval as a special elective. Since career exploration electives are primarily shadowing experiences, these courses do not count as “Clinical Practice” or “Advanced Clinical” electives. However, a maximum of 4 academic credits from these electives do count towards the total weeks of required electives.

I really loved the Clinical Practice elective that I took during Phase 2. Can I take it again? (click here for more information)

No. Electives classified as Clinical Practice, Advanced Clinical, and Professional Development may not be taken more than one time. Electives classified as Advanced Science Research may be taken up to two times (8 total weeks) unless otherwise noted on the elective description.

Can I take more than the minimum number of required electives? (click here for more information)

Yes! Students may take more than the minimum requirement for electives, but additional electives beyond the requirement must be completed prior to certification of your graduation.