Phase 3 scheduling occurs in multiple phase to ensure students meet graduation requirements and are well-prepared for residency. Prioritization and scheduling are based on each student’s declared specialty interest to ensure all students receive clinical experiences and letters of recommendation that enhance residency applications.

Quick Resources

Scheduling Overview

  • Part 1: Prioritizes core required clinical rotations and occurs in late fall during Phase 2. These rotations are the highest priority and are most difficult to reschedule.
  • Part 2: allows students to select customized electives for residency preparation and graduation requirements. This phase occurs in early spring during Phase 2 and is broken into four stages.

Scheduling Timeline

Important note: Scheduling occurs during Phase Two (Year 2)

Part 1: Required RotationsPart 2: Electives
Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4
DecemberEarly-Mid JanuaryMid-JanuaryLate JanuaryFebruary-Ongoing Academic Year
Schedule required rotationsMeet with career mentor and lead advisor to discuss electivesBegin scheduling electivesContinue scheduling electivesEnsure graduation requirements are met

Note: Scheduling in April and May

All students are required to attend Transitions 3 in Indianapolis during April. This four-week course has been designed for general and specialty-specific residency preparation.

May features graduation activities, but is otherwise unscheduled time. This period may be used to complete graduation requirements in exceptional circumstances but is subject to approval by Medical Student Education.

Part 1: Required Rotations and Vacation Time Details

Required Rotations

Students must schedule all Required Rotations during this part of the scheduling process.

Vacation Time

While scheduling required rotations, students have the opportunity to designate priority periods to protect for vacation time. During elective scheduling, students can use any unscheduled time for vacation or flexible time for rescheduling rotations. There is no single optimal placement of vacation time; times should fit each student’s schedule as it develops. Protecting rotations for vacation time as a placeholder for possible “away” rotations or special electives that have not yet been approved or scheduled is not recommended.

Historically, students have used vacations for personal needs (as noted in the scheduling instructions, please give us this information in the comments section), wellness, preparation for Step 2 exams, or times when they expect to have many residency interviews.

As you plan your schedule with the help of your advisors, bear in mind that the required Phase 3 rotations are intensive experiences to prepare you for your first year of residency. Even though Medical Student Education has worked to create additional time-away flexibility, these rotations are important portions of your education that have limited capacity for absences. Following the selection and verification of your initial required rotations and vacation, the next phase of scheduling will open for the seven electives that complete your personalized senior schedule and meet all of your graduation requirements.

Part 2: Elective Scheduling Details

Stage 1

The first stage of elective requests occurs early-mid January and focuses on the first six rotations (April, May, June, July, August, September). These are the most crucial rotations for faculty letters of recommendation and preparing for residency applications. Once this request period closes, all requests are processed based on career specialty interest (including whether or not you received a Sub-I in your area of career interest), availability, and time of request (if needed).

Stage 2

The second stage of elective requests occurs mid-January and again focuses on the first six rotations so that students who were not able to get what they requested in the first phase can make different requests for those months. As in the first phase, all requests are processed based on career specialty interest (including whether or not you received a Sub-I in your area of career interest), availability, and time of request (if needed).

PLEASE NOTE: The registrar does everything they can to make sure students who did not get a Sub-I in their career interest area will get an early elective instead. This ensures that all students have the rotations that they need to get the opportunity for faculty letters of recommendation for their specialties.

Stage 3

The third stage is an open request period that occurs in late January and is for any elective month. The requests are processed based on availability, time of request (if necessary), and career specialty interest (if necessary).

Stage 4

The fourth stage of elective requests begins in February and is an open enrollment period that continues throughout the academic year. To request an elective at this point, you need course director or proxy (whoever is listed in the elective course catalog as the contact) permission and lead advisor permission to add any elective.  Permissions must be attached to all requests in E*Value and must be specific to the month you are requesting.  Please do not forward permission to the registrar via email.  Elective requests are processed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis throughout the remainder of the year.

Special Electives and Away Rotations Details

Away Rotations

Students may use up to three elective slots for away rotations. Coordination of away rotations is a complex process and will also involve completing host school/program application requirements. Many of these opportunities are accessed through the AAMC VSAS website. However, some institutions have their own application process. 

Away rotations are not mandatory and many IU School of Medicine students do not complete any. The importance of doing away rotations varies by discipline and should be discussed with a career mentor or with the Career Development team along with a lead advisor. The application timing for away rotations varies by discipline and location. It is important to remember that many students apply for these opportunities nationally. Therefore, rotation timing and acceptance is unpredictable. The Office of the Registrar will make every effort to work these opportunities into student schedules upon admittance to the away rotation opportunity.

For more information, check out the required documents and timeline listed under the Special Elective Procedures for Phase 3 Students on MedNet.

Special Electives

View the procedures and timelines for special electives that are outlined in the Electives Policies and Procedures. There is also a Special Elective Request Form.


General FAQs

During which clinical experiences should I focus on getting letters of recommendation?

Clinical experiences and opportunities for faculty reference letters may come from several sources, including sub-Internships, other Phase 3 core rotations, Advanced Clinical Electives (ACE), other Clinical Practice electives, or Special Electives. ACE rotations will allow students to actively participate in a robust clinical experience as an integrated member of a health care team, with a focus on progressive responsibilities, profession development and career readiness.

Do we rank the order we schedule each rotation?

The preferencing screen allows students to show which rotation they want, where they want to complete it, and when they want to complete it. If a center has a spot during the time they want the rotation, students can preference that center. The centers do not have spots for Indianapolis students in all clerkships for all rotations. Students enter their preferences in order from top to bottom with their highest choice at the top. The Registrar’s office works to accommodate as many student preferences as possible.

Do we get to rank which hospital we do each rotation?

Not through the Registrar’s office. Students will be asked by each clerkship to rank their preferences for site and sometimes service for that specific clerkship. The only exception to this is for Emergency Medicine in Phase 3. Students can preference Emergency Medicine by rotation and site during the initial preferencing process in December.

I don’t see my question in the FAQs. Who do I go to with additional questions?

If you have questions about requesting electives in E*Value, please contact Amanda Ybarra.

If you have questions about special and away (VSLO) electives scheduling, please contact Nancy Mitchell.

General Elective FAQs

If I decide to drop an elective, what is the deadline to drop it?

You cannot add or drop electives within 30 days of the start of an elective.

How do I sign up for “by permission only” electives?

You must attach permission to a request for any of the electives listed as “by permission only” in the electives catalog. You should secure permission as soon as elective requests open in January of your third year.

I would like to take an elective during April of Phase 3. Can I take Transitions 3 during a different month?

No. April should be reserved for Transitions 3. No other electives, vacations, or required rotations should be scheduled during this month.

I already know all of the electives I want to take for the entire academic year. Can I go ahead and just add all of my requests, regardless of the stage of elective scheduling?

No. Any elective requests entered prior to the start date for each stage phase will not be processed—please follow the instructions and timeline from the registrar. The purpose of this process is to ensure fair scheduling to meet the career and professional development needs of all students.

I really enjoyed the Clinical Practice elective I took during Phase 2. Can I take the same course during Phase 3?

You cannot take the same clinical elective for credit more than once, including one that you might have taken during Phase 2.

I would like to get ahead on my Phase 3 requirements by taking an elective during Phase 2. Are there any restrictions on taking electives during Phase 2?

Yes, there are certain restrictions for third-year electives. Some electives are only available to Phase 3 students. Advanced Clinical Electives, for example, can only be taken in Phase 3. The course listing in the elective catalog will specify if an elective is open to enrollment of Phase 2 students.

I see an elective I’m interested in taking in another elective academic year catalog. Is that course still offered and may I request it?

If an elective is not listed in the elective course catalog for the academic year you are requesting, then it is not being offered. While you may wish to plan ahead by looking at the current year catalog before the next academic year’s catalog is released, bear in mind that the elective catalog is updated annually. Please be sure to look at the elective catalog for the correct academic year when choosing the courses you want to take.

Special Elective FAQs

I had a really great experience working with a particular practice, but they don’t offer an official elective course. Is there a way for me to complete an elective rotation with them even though there isn’t a course to choose from in the electives catalog?

Yes. As long as you have permission from someone at the site, you can propose a special elective rotation for an opportunity that is not offered in the regular course catalog. Please see the procedures and timelines for special electives that are outlined in the Electives Policies and Procedures. There is also a Special Elective Request Form.

Do I need to have all of the details for a special elective rotation figured out before I start the elective scheduling process?

No. A special elective request does not need to be submitted until one month prior to the start of the rotation. For example, if you were to propose doing a special elective during February of your fourth year then the request form would be due by January 1 of your fourth year.

Advanced Clinical Elective (ACE) FAQs

What should I do if I don’t see an Advanced Clinical Elective (ACE) rotation in my discipline of interest at my home campus? Or, if I’m unable to schedule an ACE rotation early enough to help me prepare for residency interviews?

Although we are excited to be able to offer your class the experience of ACE rotations, the Clinical Practice (CP) electives in various disciplines continue to be excellent opportunities to build your clinical experiences and faculty exposure.  The Sub-I and Emergency Medicine rotations, along with the Clinical Practice electives have been the traditional source for senior experiences in the legacy curriculum and served our students well for many years.  It is not necessary to have an ACE in your identified discipline because of these other valuable options.  Working with your lead advisor and career mentor, there are many options for you to consider for experiences within your discipline or related/complimentary fields to meet your needs.

I am considering taking an Advanced Clinical Elective (ACE) or Clinical Practice elective at another campus. Is my travel/housing covered?

The school provides housing and travel for students assigned to required clerkships outside of their home campus, but not for electives rotations.  Therefore, travel and housing are not provided for elective rotations done outside your home campus, but the school will help direct students to options that may be helpful at the new campus.  We highly encourage students to consider rotations outside their own campus, as these rotations are highly regarded by students and provide rich experiences.

Do I need to complete my ACE elective early so I can get a letter of reference for residency applications?

No. Other non-ACE electives such as Clinical Practice and Sub-Is in your chosen specialty are excellent sources of letters. Many students may find the experience of an ACE later in the year to be more helpful in preparing for the start of their upcoming residency.