Elective Policy and Procedures

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IUSM-PO-EDU-CUR-0017

Full Policy Contents

Scope
Policy Statement
Reason for Policy
Procedures
Definitions
Sanctions

ADDITIONAL DETAILS
Additional Contacts
Forms
Related Information
History

Effective: 01/2010
Last Updated: 01/21/2020

Responsible University Office:
Medical Student Education

Responsible University Administrator
Senior associate dean for medical student education

Policy Contact:
askmse@iu.edu

RESPONSIBLE Senior associate dean for medical student education askmse@iu.edu
ACCOUNTABLE Assistant dean of records and promotion askmse@iu.edu
SUPPORT Assistant registrars askmse@iu.edu
CONSULT Curriculum Council Steering Committee
Elective Subcommittee
Clerkship Working Group
askmse@iu.edu
INFORM Elective Course Directors askmse@iu.edu

LCME Standards

6.5 Elective Opportunities


Scope

This policy affects students, course directors of IUSM electives and faculty members who offer special electives. The policy provides information on policies and procedures for elective courses, both established courses offered through IUSM and special electives.


Policy Statement

The IUSM Elective Program provides students with the opportunity to select courses that will enhance their medical education. The program makes available extensive resources that enable students to gain deeper insight into their field of choice as well as to delve deeper into areas that may enhance their overall medical experience. The Elective Program allows each student great flexibility in planning an individual program. Students select electives with the assistance of their Lead Advisors and Career Faculty mentors who encourage students to create a diverse MS4 year. The Mentoring and Advising program monitors student completion rates.

Elective courses are offered in the advanced sciences, clinical practice and professional development, and career exploration. They widen the student’s involvement in his/her medical education. Elective courses also provide each student with opportunities to strengthen areas of weakness and to pursue subjects of special interest. A wide diversity of faculty ranging from volunteer physicians in private practice to full-time academic clinicians and investigators offer electives. This large faculty, available at all nine campuses, provides a depth of background and represents a wide spectrum of medical interests.

The goals of the Elective Program are:

  • To facilitate the student’s increasing responsibility for self-determination in education and lifelong learning.
  • To provide an opportunity for the student to augment previous experience in clinical, foundational and health delivery areas.
  • To enable the student to experience the practice of medicine in its various forms in a university and/or community setting and to be exposed to opportunities for careers in medicine.
  • To allow the student to gain deeper knowledge and experience in the care and treatment of ambulatory and acute problems.
  • To provide the student with opportunities to acquire and use skills that will be helpful in his/her next phase of clinical training and beyond.
  • To provide the student with opportunities to enhance medical knowledge in areas that may complement his/her career aspirations.
  • To provide special experiences to meet the needs of students with specific goals, such as research experience, postgraduate or graduate education and/or special training outside the state or country.

Reason for Policy

The rationale for this policy is to communicate the requirements and procedures for elective courses and special electives.


Approval

Approved by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee 01/15/2019.


Procedures

Electives Definitions and Approval Process:

Elective courses: The Elective Program Catalog lists courses that are offered on a regular basis and provides the students with the information necessary to make choices that fit their schedule and educational needs. Each elective has been carefully reviewed and approved by the Elective Subcommittee (ESC), a subcommittee of the Curriculum Council Steering Committee (CCSC). The catalog is reviewed annually to make sure that information is up-to-date and accurate.

Categories of electives:

  • Advanced Science Research (AS): designed to give students the opportunity to pursue a personal scholarly experience in biomedical sciences and to develop fundamental understanding in new areas of biomedical science research relevant to clinical medicine.
  • Clinical Practice (CP): designed to help students become familiar with the principles of practicing in particular specialties.
  • Advanced Clinical (AC): designed to give students a robust patient care experience that builds on their junior clerkship rotations and complements our Sub-internship offerings.
  • Professional Development (PD): designed to expose students to knowledge and skills outside the traditional medical school curriculum that will advance their success in medical practice
  • Career Exploration (CE): designed to allow students to explore a career of interest to better understand its scope of practice and lifestyle. Because these brief 2-week experiences are intended to provide early career exposure, Phase 3 students must request a Special Elective in order to enroll in a Career Exploration (CE) elective.

Special electives: A special elective is defined as any elective not listed as an elective course in the IUSM Elective Program Catalog for which a student requests academic credit. Special electives may be academic programs offered in the state of Indiana or out of state. In general, no out-of-state special electives will be approved unless it is established that the program is available to and selected by students of the medical school(s) in that state/region. To carry IUSM academic credit, a special elective request requires review by IUSM faculty and staff to ensure academic integrity, compliance with IUSM standards and appropriateness for the student’s academic program. Special electives are divided into the same categories as described above.

Elective Subcommittee Makeup and Activities

The Elective Subcomittee is composed of IUSM faculty from a variety of disciplines as well as educational/administrative staff. The subcommittee reviews new elective course proposals and individual medical student’s proposals for special electives and guides these electives through the approval process. For proposal requirements for elective courses, see How to Create Electives; for proposal requirements for special electives, see the Special Electives Procedures below.

Elective Parameters and Duration

Electives are generally four weeks long, representing (4) academic credits. An elective of two weeks in duration earns two academic credits. Start and end dates for elective courses are determined by the phase 2/MS3 and phase 3/MS4 calendars, depending on the student’s academic level. 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. Duty hours for medical students while on clinical rotations will conform to the restrictions outlined in the Student Clinical Duty Hours Policy. Medical students cannot be assigned clinical duty of more than 80 hours a week. Retroactive elective credit for previous experience in research, clinical practice or professional development will not be granted.

Parameters and duration for special electives: Special electives must be a minimum of 24 calendar days (or 18 weekdays) in duration to earn four academic credits. Special electives of less than one month may be approved to meet special needs if they last two or three weeks or are undertaken in multiples of two or three weeks. A special elective of two weeks (two credits) must be a minimum of 11 calendar days (or 9 weekdays) in duration. Special electives of three weeks (three credits) must be a minimum of 18 calendar days (or 14 weekdays) in duration. Students will receive academic credit for no more than two special electives of less than four weeks duration. Shortened versions of established IUSM electives are classified as special electives and will require the same reviews and approvals as are required for special electives.

Time Off During Electives

During the fourth year, a brief time off from electives for residency interviewing or other purposes may be allowed at the discretion of the elective course director. Time off during an elective, whether regular or special, must conform with the IUSM Scheduling Conflicts, Absences and Vacations Policy, with submission and approval of a time away request form.

Students on electives are expected to have time off during recognized school holidays (see academic calendar).

Enrollment Eligibility

Elective courses: Students enrolling in an elective course must comply with its prerequisites, as listed in the Elective Program Catalog. Though most electives require fourth-year status, some electives are open to first-, second- and third-year students.

Special electives: Students developing and enrolling in a special elective (as defined above) must have third- or fourth-year status and must be in good academic standing and must follow all procedures for approval of the elective, as detailed in Procedures for New Elective Proposals.

Graduation and Enrollment Requirements

Generally, students must take at least three electives from the IUSM Elective Program Catalog. At least three months (12 academic credits) of electives must be categorized as clinical (Clinical Practice or Advanced Clinical – see below for specific requirements by graduation year.) These requirements are not mutually exclusive (i.e. 3 CP/AC electives from the IUSM catalog could meet both requirements)

Students may not enroll in more than 6 electives within a single department without approval from their Career Faculty mentor in writing. In addition, students must complete clinical electives from a minimum of two different departments.

A maximum of two career exploration electives (4 academic credits) may be used to fulfill graduation requirements.

Students will receive academic credit for no more than two special electives of less than four weeks duration.

  • Shortened versions of established IUSM electives are classified as special electives.
  • Career Exploration (CE) electives taken during the student’s fourth-year (Phase 3) are considered Special Electives.
  • These will require the same reviews and approvals as are required for special electives.

Reenrollment in Electives

Electives classified as Clinical Practice, Advanced Clinical, and Professional Development may not be taken more than one time. Electives classified as Advanced Science may be taken up to two times unless otherwise noted on the elective description. Exceptions can be made for purposes of remediation.

Each student must satisfactorily complete the minimum requirements for the academic year in which they graduate. Minimum graduation requirements for graduation change slightly from year to year due to gradual curricular reform:

  • Class of 2020: A minimum of 28 academic credits. A minimum of four elective months (16 academic credits) must be established courses (non-special electives) listed in the Elective Program Catalog. Electives must include four clinical electives, one of which must be an Advanced Clinical Elective.
  • Class of 2021: A Critical Care Selective or a one month (4 academic credit) Advanced Clinical Elective. An additional 24 academic credits (six months) of electives: of these, a minimum of three electives (12 academic credits) must be established (non-special) electives listed in the Elective Program Catalog. In all, students must complete three clinical practice electives as part of their six months of electives.
  • Class of 2022 and beyond: A one month (4 academic credit) Critical Care Selective. An additional 20 academic credits (five months) of electives; of these, a minimum of three electives (12 academic credits) must be established (non-special) electives listed in the Elective Program Catalog. In all, students must complete three clinical practice electives as part of their five months of electives.

Additional Electives

Students may take more than the minimum requirement for electives, but additional electives beyond the requirement must be completed prior to certification of their graduation. The deadline to drop any additional elective(s) corresponds with the final change dates identified in the Elective Schedule Changes section below.

Graduation Dates

After all graduation requirements are satisfactorily completed, students will graduate on the last day of the month in which the final elective or rotation is completed. Students who participate in an elective or rotation during or after the month of the commencement ceremony in a given academic year will not receive their diplomas until the completion of their last scheduled course and verification that all requirements are satisfactorily completed.

Assessment and Grading of Electives

Elective grading is addressed in the Phase 2/ Phase 3 grading policy.

Assessment guidelines for all current elective courses are in the Elective Program Catalog. Any proposal for a special elective must include the means by which the student will be assessed. The elective course director is responsible for assessment of the student and the assignment of a final grade within 30 days of the end of the elective. All failures or isolated deficiencies will be referred through the relevant grading policies.

Evaluation of Elective Courses

Students’ evaluations of electives are due upon completion of the elective. For IUSM elective courses, aggregate evaluation reports are made available to course directors in order to evaluate and improve the elective experience and to students who are considering taking the elective.

Scheduling of Elective Courses

IUSM students have priority scheduling for all electives in the Elective Program Catalog.

Guest students can apply for IUSM electives through the AAMC VSAS system following primary 3rd and 4th year scheduling.

Year 4 (Phase 3): Once the required fourth-year rotations (Emergency Medicine, Sub-Internship, Radiology (2019-2021), and Critical Care (2021 & beyond)) are scheduled, electives are scheduled in the software management platform (E*Value, MSAS). Student requests for electives are processed based on order requested and availability. Elective rosters and enrollment information are made available to elective course directors and administrators after elective and fourth-year clerkship schedules are completed.

Requests for Career Exploration electives during the student’s Phase 3 year, including those listed in the Elective Catalog., must be submitted according to the Special Elective Procedures for Fourth Year Students, outlined below. To propose electives not in the IUSM Elective Catalog follow the Special Elective Procedures outlined below. Fourth-year students may also be eligible for Special Elective (Away Rotations). See Special Elective (Away Rotations) procedure outlined below. Following the period of priority scheduling, all further schedule changes must be made in accordance with procedures listed under Elective Schedule Changes.

Year 3 (Phase 2): Instead of taking a vacation in the third year, students may take any IUSM elective that is approved for third-year students, including Career Exploration Electives. To be added to the elective, a student must get approval from the elective course director and forward that approval to the Registrar’s Office. Third-year students also may be eligible for special electives. See Special Electives Procedures outlined below.

Elective Schedule Changes
After initial electives schedules and rosters are released, schedule change requests may be submitted using the Manage Requests tool in the software management platform (E*Value, MSAS). Students should follow the steps outlined below to request elective schedule changes:

  1. Students must secure course director or administrator permission and must discuss with Lead Advisor approval to drop/add a course. Students must attach documentation of these permissions with the drop/add request; requests to add electives will not be processed without permission from the course director or administrator and Lead Advisor. Students are encouraged to discuss any schedule change with their Career Mentor, but documentation of that is not required.
  2. As a professional courtesy to elective course directors, staff, and colleagues, all requests to drop or add an elective must be made 30 days prior to the start of the elective. If the course director or administrator and Lead Advisor approve a change with less than 30 days’ notice, email approvals should be sent to one of the assistant registrars.
  3. Students request new electives using the Manage Requests tool in the software management platform.
  4. Students must put a drop request in using the Manage Requests tool in E*Value for any elective they wish to drop and are required to notify the course director or administrator along with their Lead Advisor that they wish to drop the elective.
  5. Students can view their elective schedule using the Roster Report tool in the software management platform.

Procedures for New Elective Proposals:

For proposal requirements for new elective courses, see How to Create Electives.

For proposal requirements for special electives, see the Special Electives Procedures below.

Special Elective Procedures for Phase3/MS4 Students

All completed forms and support materials must be submitted to the assistant registrar by the deadlines described below:

  1. Special electives at IUSM and other LCME-accredited institutions: This category includes special electives affiliated with the IUSM, career exploration electives not in the IUSM catalog, and all LCME- accredited institutions not using VSAS. All completed forms and supporting documentation must be submitted no later than one month prior to the first day of the month in which the elective is scheduled to take place. Example: for an elective that begins February 15, all materials should be submitted by January 1. An affiliation agreement with the host institution or clinical location may be required, so students should submit paperwork as early as possible for any away electives in this category.

    For an elective in this category to earn academic credit, the following items are required:
    • Special Elective Request Form or Career Exploration Special Elective Request Form which includes:
      • A course description from the instructor. The course description must include detail about the educational experience of the course and a statement noting the number of duty/work hours expected for the student to spend weekly on the elective. The course description also should include course goals and objectives appropriate for the level of training, plans for assessment, and rationale for the experience.
      • Approval from the appropriate Indiana University department chair. The chairperson of the Elective Subcommittee or his /her designee must approve interdisciplinary offerings or electives not classifiable under a clinical or basic science department.
      • Approval from the student’s lead advisor.
      • Approval from the proposed special elective course director.
      • Elective schedule change request (see above) if this elective is to replace one that was previously scheduled.

      Reminder: A maximum of two Career Exploration electives (4 academic credits) may count towards the graduation requirement.

  2. Special electives (away rotations, domestic location) offered through the AAMC VSAS/VSLO: All completed forms and supporting documentation must be submitted as soon as approval has been received for the rotation. Please note that an affiliation agreement with the host institution or clinical location may be required, so students should submit paperwork as early as possible for electives in this category.

    Students should review the VSAS host institution list for participating schools. For an elective in this category to earn academic credit, the following items are required:

    • Special Elective Request Form, which includes:
      • A course description from the host institution (via VSAS or the school website). The course description must include detail regarding the educational experience of the course and a statement noting the number of duty/work hours expected for the student to spend weekly on the elective. The course description also should include course goals, learning objectives, and plans for assessment.
      • Approval from the appropriate Indiana University department chair. The chairperson of the Elective Subcommittee or his/her designee must approve interdisciplinary offerings or electives not classifiable under a clinical or basic science department.
      • Approval from the student’s lead advisor.
      • Written approval for the rotation from VSAS (via letter or email).
      • Elective schedule change request (see above) if this elective is to replace one that was previously scheduled.
  3. Special electives at non-LCME-accredited U.S. and Canadian schools or sites: This category includes electives taken at non-LCME accredited institutions and with private practice physicians not directly affiliated with IUSM. All completed forms and supporting documentation must be submitted no later than one month prior to the first day of the month in which the elective is scheduled to take place. Example: for an elective that begins February 15, all materials should be submitted by January 1. An affiliation agreement with the host institution or clinical location may be required, so students should submit paperwork as early as possible for electives within this category.

    For an elective in this category to earn academic credit, the following items are required:

    • Special Elective Request Form, which includes:
      • A course description from the instructor. The course description must include detail about the educational experience of the course and a statement noting the number of duty/work hours expected for the student to spend weekly on the elective. The course description also should include course goals, objectives, and plans for assessment.
      • Approval from the appropriate Indiana University department chair. The chairperson of the Elective Subcommittee or his/her designee must approve interdisciplinary offerings or electives not classifiable under a clinical or basic science department.
      • Approval from the student’s lead advisor.
      • Approval from the proposed elective course director.
      • Non-LCME Special Elective: Course Addendum.
      • Non-LCME Special Elective: Instructor Addendum.
      • Elective schedule change request (see above) if this elective is to replace one that was previously scheduled.
  4. Special electives at international locations, including schools with IUSM affiliation: All completed forms and required supporting documentation must be submitted no later than two months prior to the first day of the month in which the elective is scheduled to take place. Example: for an elective that begins February 15, all materials should be submitted by December 1. It is strongly recommended that students begin the planning and application process 4-6 months in advance.

For an elective to earn academic credit, the International Travel Policy requires the following items:

  • Special Elective Request Form, which includes:
    • A course description from the instructor or from the host institution. The course description must include detail about the educational experience of the course and a statement noting the number of duty/work hours expected for the student to spend weekly on the elective. The course description should also include course goals and objectives, and plans for assessment.
    • Approval from the appropriate Indiana University department chair. Interdisciplinary offerings or electives not classifiable under a clinical or basic science department must be approved by the chairperson of the Elective Subcommittee or his/her designee.
    • Approval from the student’s lead advisor.
    • Approval from the proposed special elective course director or institution.
    • Approval from the Center for Global Health
    • Approval from the IUPUO Study Abroad Office.
    • Special Elective Request Form– International Elective Addendum.
    • Non-LCME Special Elective: Course Addendum.
    • Non-LCME Special Elective: Instructor Addendum.
    • International Travel Verification Form.
    • Elective schedule change request (see above) if this elective is to replace one that was previously scheduled
  • Additional documentation requested by Medical Student Education and the IUPUI Study Abroad Office may include but is not limited to:

    • IUPUI Student Information Form, including emergency contact information.
    • IUPUI Medical History Form.
    • IUPUI Waiver and Release Forms.

    Proof of orientation for foreign travel conducted by either the IUPUI Study Abroad office or appropriate IUSM faculty.


    Definitions

    LCME: Liaison Committee for Medical Education is the accrediting body medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree in the United States and Canada.

    VSAS/VSLO: The Visiting Student Application Service / Visiting Student Learning Opportunities is an AAMC application designed to streamline the application process for senior away electives. VSLO enables medical students to submit just one application for all institutions, reducing paperwork, miscommunication and time. Visit the VSLO site for more information.

    Critical Care Selective: a select set of high-quality elective experiences offering a clinical experience primarily in the care of critically ill patients, as designated by the CCC and CCSC and published annually in the Critical Care Selective program catalog.


    Sanctions

    Students’ failure to comply with this policy will affect enrollment in and completion of electives.


    Additional Contacts

    Subject Contact Phone Email
    Elective course proposals Clinical Sciences Curriculum Specialist Phase 3 iusmecat@iu.edu
    Elective Subcommittee Chair 317-274-1965 askmse@iu.edu
    Electives Enrollment Registrar 317-274-1965 askmse@iu.edu
    Special Elective Requests Assistant Registrar 317-274-1965 askmse@iu.edu

    Forms

    Year 4 (Phase 3) Elective Change Request Form

    Year 3 (Phase 2) Elective Change Request Form

    Career Exploration Special Elective Request Form

    Special Elective Request Form Sample Form

    Research Special Elective Addendum

    Special Elective Form Non-LCME Instructor Addendum

    Special Elective- Non-LCME Course Addendum

    International Elective Addendum


    Related Information

    Elective Program Catalog: Website
    Scheduling Conflicts Policy
    Grading Policy


    History

    Originated January 2010.
    Revised and approved by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee 06/12/2012.
    Revised and approved by the Elective Subcommittee 08/21/2015.
    Revised and approved by the Clinical Component Committee 10/06/2015.
    Revised and approved by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee 12/18/2016.
    Subcommittee Co-Chairs updated 04/04/2017.
    Revised and approved by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee 04/26/2017.
    Career Exploration Electives approved by Curriculum Council Steering Committee 04/11/2017.
    Procedures and Forms updated to reflect addition of Career Exploration Electives 07/24/2017.
    Minor change: Procedures section updated to include a corrected list of required fourth-year clerkships and the addition of the Lead Advisor in the Elective Scheduling Changes section on 10/18/2018.
    Procedures updated to reflect addition of Advanced Clinical Electives. Wording changed to reflect Year and Phase designations for students. Sections of electives combined with similar procedures between Phase 2 and Phase 3 students. Graduation requirements updated.
    Approved by Elective Subcommittee 12/11/2018.

    Approved by Curriculum Council Steering Committee 1/15/2019.
    Minor updates and clarifications. Graduation requirements updated to reflect Critical Care Selective. Pass/Fail grading for electives. Clarification that graduation requirements apply to student’s current academic year.
    Approved by the Elective Subcommittee 12/10/2019.
    Approved by CCSC 12/20/2019.
    Typo corrections 01/21/2020.