Elective Clerkship Policies
It is the student's responsibility to develop his/her elective program. The curriculum of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School for Medicine requires satisfactory completion of a minimum of 26 weeks of approved elective clerkships to fulfill the requirement for the MD degree. Within the time allotted in the curriculum for elective study, a student is also responsible for fulfilling the graduation requirement for the Bioethics & Professionalism program (see Section F.)
It is the responsibility of each student to keep track of their individual schedule as it relates to the fulfillment of elective requirements. Students may view their schedule online through the myLUMEN website. Students should check their schedule periodically to verify that applications for elective clerkships have been properly processed and as a reference for additional schedule planning.
Refer to the specific regulations, policies, and procedures sections which follow for complete information on elective clerkships. Students are responsible for adhering to the strictly enforced regulations which are set forth in this catalog.
Intramural clinical and/or research oriented electives are offered by all teaching departments of the Stritch School of Medicine. In addition, a limited number of weeks of extramural electives (up to 12) can be incorporated into a student's fourth year clinical elective program.
For the fourth year, you should do your elective program planning in consultation with a faculty advisor and/or a Student Affairs dean.
Also available to assist you in planning elective course options is the SPECIALTY ELECTIVE GUIDE, which provides lists of elective courses recommended for medical students with a career interest in a particular specialty.
Students should plan their elective program in accordance with the following guidelines:
- Electives must be taken during a time period designated for an elective in the student's clerkship track. Electives may not be taken concurrently with core required clerkships during the third and fourth years.
- 26 calendar weeks of electives is the minimum requirement.
- A maximum of three weeks of cumulative elective credit from first and second year can be counted toward overall elective credit requirements.
- In your fourth year, the majority of your electives, 16 weeks of the 26 week minimum, must consist of electives that are at least four weeks in length and full-time rotations (e.g., four full-time 4-week rotations).
- Optimally, four to eight weeks of credit can be earned in any one specialty area, but in no case will more than 12 weeks in any one specialty be applied towards the 26 week minimum.
- Your fourth year core clerkships (Emergency Medicine, Sub-I Wards, and Sub-I ICU) do not count in any way towards your elective requirements or your cap of credit in a particular specialty area.
- You must complete at least 12 weeks of coursework (elective and/or required) in the second semester of your fourth year.
- Up to 12 total weeks of coursework may be completed extramurally during the fourth year.
- Clinical specialty areas include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
Allergy and Immunology
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Pathology-Anatomic and Clinical
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
It is expected that clinical students will be in compliance with the above policies. Students wishing permission to deviate from the above policies must petition in advance to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and/or her designate.
A medical student must have fulfilled the prerequisite course work specified in an elective description to be considered for the elective. A student must have a grade of Pass or better for each required or elective course attempted prior to the start of any extramural elective.
Failure to make satisfactory progress toward the M.D. degree according to the student's track schedule may result in administrative modification of the student's course schedule. This modification may include, but is not limited to, a change in the content, timing or location of the student's elective program.
1. Elective credit: One week = 35 clock hours = one week of elective credit
Full-time electives: One calendar week of elective taken = one week of credit
Unless otherwise noted, electives expect the full-time (i.e. full day) involvement of the student and therefore earn full-time elective credit. When the student is not occupied in activities requiring attendance or participation in the hospital, he/she is expected to do appropriate library work or reading to complement the practical experience.
Part-time electives: Part-time elective credit is determined by the Office of Registration and Records based on the portion of time per week spent in the part-time elective. Examples of part-time electives include electives such as Healer's Art or Medical Teaching. The part-time elective, as designated in this catalog, requires a limited number of hours per week and earns only part of the credit allowed full-time electives. It may be possible to take certain of the part-time electives concurrently with a full-time elective (see Section I).
Length of electives: Each elective should be four or more weeks in length. Due to special scheduling needs, students may, judiciously, register for a two-week elective.
2. Intramural / Extramural
An intramural elective is an approved elective listed in this catalog.
Students should register for intramural electives by using the Elective Registration page on myLUMEN.
To register for an intramural elective:
- Log onto myLUMEN and select Elective Registration from the left hand menu.
- Select Register for Elective Courses. Available elective courses for registration will be presented. You may view the description for details. When you make your selection, you will be provided with available rotation dates.
If your elective request is denied, you can submit a request for a different elective. Please note: You will not be able to submit a new request for another elective until a decision is made on your current elective request for that period.
- An extramural (away) elective is any elective that does not appear in this catalog. A maximum of 12 weeks (one quarter) of extramural elective time is allowed.
Students must register for extramural electives either through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) or by using the Non-VSAS Away Application (if the extramural school is not part of the VSAS system). Extramural electives require the approval of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs as well as the approval of the extramural institution at which you will be rotating.
In the clinical years, students are required to complete an ethics case paper and attend two ethics grand rounds (total of four required; two should be completed in the second year and two should be completed in the third year).
The Bioethics & Professionalism website provides detailed information regarding the requirements and relevant dates.
Students should refer to the current TIMETABLE FOR ELECTIVE REGISTRATION for the earliest date that an elective may be registered in specific time periods. The timetable provides all students with an equal opportunity to secure intramural elective rotations. The timetable permits students to register for intramural electives about five months before the scheduled starting date. Students are not permitted to have a supervisor or coordinator to hold a spot for them in an elective prior to the opening registration date of the period.
Students who inappropriately request supervisors to hold a spot in an elective prior to the date and time specified in the timetable for registration of the period will forfeit the spot to any student(s) who requests the spot on or after the acceptable registration date and time.
Electives should be officially registered in the Office of Registration and Records at least four weeks in advance of the starting date. This allows departments and faculty to properly prepare and plan for student rotations, and also to determine if visiting medical students can be accommodated. Credit will not be awarded for any elective for which an application is submitted after its scheduled starting date.
Extramural elective registration is not governed by the timetable for elective registration. Since some programs have limited elective positions, it is suggested that students attempt extramural registration a minimum of three to six months ahead of the desired starting time.
The student should:
Discuss an overall elective program with a faculty advisor and/or a Student Affairs dean.
Consult the TIMETABLE FOR ELECTIVE REGISTRATION.
Submit his/her elective application on myLUMEN.
- Contact the elective/department coordinator with any questions regarding the application or the elective itself. The elective coordinator's contact information is listed in the course catalog with each elective description.
Only electives approved by the elective coordinator through our online registration system will be added to the student's schedule and the official department rosters by the Office of Registration and Records.
The student should:
- Discuss an elective plan with his/her advisor. Determine the time requirement of the specific part-time elective through discussion with the supervisor or coordinator before completing the elective application. Note the credit earned for the part-time elective.
- Inform, and seek the approval of, the supervisor of any planned concurrent full-time course for the desired registration period.
- No student may use a part-time elective course to leave from, or reduce, the required time of his/her concurrent full-time course.
Loyola students may enroll in elective clerkships and courses offered by other approved institutions during their fourth year. These extramural electives may be taken to strengthen one's medical education and to take advantage of opportunities for special training. Fourth year students are permitted to enroll in a maximum of one quarter (12 weeks) of extramural electives. A student must have a grade of Pass or better recorded for each required or elective course attempted prior to the start of any proposed extramural elective. Students should decide upon extramural elective experiences in consultation with their faculty advisor and other faculty at Loyola and a Student Affairs Dean.
Students are most frequently approved to take extramural electives listed in other accredited U.S. medical school catalogs. Students occasionally may be approved for educational activities offered outside of a medical school or the United States. Students should refer to Section P for details regarding the application process for any elective sought which is not listed in a U.S. medical school catalog.
Extramural elective registration is NOT governed by the Timetable for Registration published by the Office of Registration and Records and may be registered in accord with the timetable proposed by the other institution. However, electives will not be approved more than one year in advance of the starting date for the course.
The registration process requires completion either an online application through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) or, for institutions who do not use VSAS, completion of a paper application packet. Following the proper registration procedure for your extramural elective is very important since it confirms the following:
- a student's academic eligibility for the elective;
that their presence on another campus in patient care areas is legitimate;
that he/she is covered by Loyola for medical liability (malpractice) insurance;
that the student will earn academic credit from Loyola for this elective upon its satisfactory completion;
that the sponsoring physician agrees to submit a grade report at the conclusion of the elective.
It is anticipated that most extramural electives suitable for academic credit will be offered under the auspices of another U.S. medical school or its affiliates. With proper format and and supervision, community based electives may be approved. (See Section P.)
When To Apply: Applying in a timely fashion, far enough in advance to enhance your chances of securing the spot you desire, is essential. In general, this means about three months before the starting date desired. Be aware, however, that occasionally some institutions or departments within institutions may encourage submission of applications further in advance than that. Students would be wise to make inquiry as to the application time frame recommended by a specific institution and department. A good starting point for this information is the AAMC EXTRAMURAL ELECTIVE COMPENDIUM. This compendium of information about all U.S. medical schools that offer electives to visiting students lists the earliest date applications are accepted at each school, as well as when they will report a decision on applications. The name and address of the contact person is also shown along with any fees required. Extramural electives may not be registered at Loyola more than one year in advance of the start date.
How To Begin: A good elective program starts with an overall long range plan. Students are encouraged to consult their faculty advisor, career advisor(s) and deans for assistance in developing their program. Sources of information regarding extramural electives include:
The AAMC EXTRAMURAL ELECTIVES COMPENDIUM (described above).
- Medical School websites.
Steps In The Application Process:
- The student should determine if the school they wish to apply to accepts VSAS (electronic) applications or if it still uses paper applications. Students can find this information online on the extramural electives compendium or the individual school's website.
If the school uses VSAS, the student should follow the application steps outlined on the VSAS website.
If the school still uses a paper application process, the student should print out and complete the extramural institution's application for an elective and the Non-VSAS Away Application Packet.
The student should then bring all completed application materials to the Loyola Office of Registration & Records for review and approval, along with a copy of the instruction letter they received from the other institution. Each extramural application must be approved by a Student Affairs Dean before it is sent out.
NOTE: If the elective is not under the auspices of another U.S. medical school and listed in their catalog, or is located outside the U.S., a statement from the elective supervisor describing the nature of the elective experience, its format, the scope of the student's activities, and the basis for assigning a grade, should be attached (see Section P.).
Once approved, the Office of Registration & Records will mail the application, along with any supporting documents, to the extramural institution. It is strongly urged that all required supporting documents (as requested by the extramural institution) be mailed together with the application rather than under separate cover. Essential supporting documents may include one or more of the following:
- immunization records
- proof of health insurance coverage
- application or processing fee
- proof of completion of OSHA/Universal Precautions and HIPAA training
- a faculty letter of recommendation
- SSOM transcript
Students should allow time for ORR and other Loyola offices to process the required documents. At least ten working days should be allowed for preparation before transmittal. "Rush" handling of applications cannot be expected. Students should plan ahead to insure mailing to meet other's deadlines.
Elective registration is completed when the other institution returns the application to Loyola indicating they have accepted you. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Office of Registration and Records will post the elective on your schedule. A grade form will be sent automatically to the elective supervisor by the Loyola Registrar. Academic credit will be earned only for electives properly and completely registered prior to the start date and satisfactorily completed.
Unless otherwise noted in the elective description, electives will be graded according to the official grading system (Honors, High Pass, Pass and Fail). Note that occasionally extramural elective supervisors will use only their own institution's grading scale.
The Office of Registration and Records will provide an EVALUATION OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE ON AN ELECTIVE CLERKSHIP form directly to elective supervisors for all officially registered students. Only evaluations returned directly to the Office of Registration and Records by the faculty evaluator will be accepted. Elective grades should be reported within two weeks after the end of the elective. Upon receipt of an evaluation, the student's transcript will be updated to reflect the elective course grade and credit earned.
The evaluation form requires the elective supervisor to provide written comments related to the student's understanding, skill development, professional attitude, demonstrated competencies, and any other criteria which were specified to be met during the elective. Faculty and student are urged to discuss the evaluation prior to its submission to the Office of Registration and Records for the student's file.
Registration for any elective represents a commitment which the student is obliged to fulfill. If cancellation is unavoidable, it must occur a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the starting date of the elective. After this deadline, faculty are not required to release a student from an elective obligation. Petitions to cancel electives past the minimum requirement will be considered only if one of the following criteria is met:
The student finds a suitable replacement who will fill the vacancy.
The elective supervisor specifies that it is permissible to withdraw with less than four weeks notice by notifying Registration & Records of this in writing.
Extramural institutions that have accepted Loyola students for electives may apply their own cancellation policies and are not obligated to release Loyola students once registration in their system is finalized. This is especially likely if it is not possible for the institution to refill the vacancy left by the Loyola student's cancellation. Any request for cancellation of a scheduled or pending extramural elective must be made in writing (typically via email) to the extramural institution's contact person for that elective. Cancellation of an extramural elective should be made at the earliest possible date (to free up that elective spot for another student) and at the very minimum at least four to six weeks in advance of the start date.
Students who fail to secure proper cancellation approval from an extramural institution may be prohibited from registering for any further extramural electives.
Students may not hold a spot in more than one intramural or extramural elective for the same time period in order to reserve elective positions. Occasionally, a student decides it is necessary to submit a number of extramural elective applications to various institutions for the same time period, since it is not known where a slot for a visiting student is available. Students are honor bound, once they have been accepted as a visiting student at their desired program, to officially cancel in writing all other extramural elective applications pending for the same time period. However, students are strongly discouraged from canceling an elective spot which they have accepted and held for any protracted length of time. Such action is unacceptable inasmuch as the program may not be able to refill the vacancy left very close to the expected start of the course. Also, future Loyola applicants may be denied access to electives at that institution if it is perceived that Loyola students do not honor their commitments. A student who fails to properly cancel extramural elective applications may be prohibited from registering for any further extramural electives.
Students are not permitted to participate concurrently in two electives listed as earning full-time elective credit. There are electives designated as part-time in this catalog. These allow students to earn partial credit and may be registered concurrently with a full-time elective provided the time requirement specified for the part-time elective does not conflict with that required for the full-time one. Students must secure the written approval of both supervisors prior to the starting date of the electives. (See Section I.)
A student wishing to undertake an intramural elective experience unique from those listed in this catalog or any other U.S. medical school catalog must secure the approval of a qualified sponsoring physician. A written statement describing the:
nature of the elective
objectives of the experience
planned learning activities
method of final evaluation
must be signed by the elective supervisor and submitted together with a signed intramural or extramural elective application form to Registration and Records for approval. (NOTE: A special elective under the supervision of a Stritch faculty member is an intramural elective.) Proper approval must be obtained prior to beginning the elective; retroactive approval will not be granted. If approved, the elective will be posted on the student's schedule and earn academic credit.
Attendance at professional meetings, conferences, or extracurricular activities is not considered to be appropriate for elective credit. Unstructured community or international experiences are not eligible for elective credit. Unique one or two week rotations are not encouraged.
There are 34 weeks available in the curriculum for elective clerkships. A minimum of 26 weeks of electives must be successfully completed to meet the requirements for the MD degree. Students are encouraged to utilize the extra eight weeks for special interest electives, research, or other professionally enriching projects to complement those accomplished within the required time of electives. If desired, a portion of this time may be used as discretionary time.
Students who decide to take discretionary time must notify the Office of Registration and Records of this intent in advance. A Discretionary Time Form for this purpose is available online on the myLUMEN elective registration page. Students needing time for residency interviewing, travel to and from extramural electives, USMLE study time, clerkship remediation time, or time for personal or professional activities are expected to use their discretionary time or one of the regularly scheduled quarterly vacation breaks designated on the academic calendar for this purpose.
Students will not be permitted absences from required clerkships or electives except for medical or emergency reasons.
Students enrolled in other U.S. medical schools are welcome to apply for elective clerkships listed in this catalog. Loyola-Stritch students do have priority in registering for electives. (See Section S.) In order to be considered, a visiting student must meet the criteria outlined below.
Visiting Student Criteria:
The Dean (or other appropriate school official) must certify that:
The student is registered, paying tuition, and in good standing at his/her medical school in his/her final year of the MD program.
The student has successfully completed Universal Precautions (OSHA) and HIPAA Training.
The student has successfully completed the core clerkship, which includes a clinical practicum component, in the specialty area of the elective requested prior to the start of the elective, as well as any other prerequisite stated in the elective clerkship description.
The visiting student is covered by personal hospitalization insurance and professional liability coverage (at a minimum rate of $1 million per incident/ $3 million aggregate) by their own medical school while participating in the elective at Loyola-Stritch.
The student has approval and is recommended for participation in an elective at Loyola-Stritch.
- In compliance with Illinois State Health laws, the student must have completed the immunizations that are required for participation in clerkships at the Stritch School of Medicine and its affiliate hospitals PRIOR to the beginning date of the elective.
A visiting student may register for no more than 12 weeks of electives offered through Loyola-Stritch.
Once accepted for an elective, the visiting student is expected to honor that commitment. Notification of withdrawal must be made in writing to the Loyola Office of Registration and Records and the appropriate department at least four weeks in advance.
Housing is not available for visiting students; parking is available for a modest fee.
Students from all US medical schools (both MD and DO) should apply for an elective through the VSAS website. The Immunization Information Form can be uploaded directly onto VSAS to accompany your application.
Visiting students desiring to take an elective here will be accommodated only if they have been approved by our Student Health Office as having the required proof of immunizations and an elective application has been processed first through the Office of Registration and Records. Acceptance by a department or supervisor does not constitute approval for a visiting student elective.
If approved for the elective, the student will be notified through VSAS or by the Registration & Records visiting student coordinator.
Approximately one week prior to the start of the elective, Registration & Records will email the student instructions for the first day of the elective. The student will obtain a visiting student I.D. badge at the campus Parking Office (Mulcahy Building, East Entrance). This badge will permit entrance to the campus and patient care areas and use of the medical library. Only students properly registered according to the above procedure will be eligible for issuance of an I.D.
Visiting students should be aware that Loyola-Stritch students have priority in registering for electives. Visiting student registration will not be processed for a minimum of two weeks after the opening sign-up date for Loyola-Stritch students listed on the timetable (approximately 12-14 weeks in advance of the beginning date for the elective). Visiting students should determine appropriate registration times by referring to the dates on the Visiting Student Timetable provided on this website.
- Period start dates will be strictly enforced (i.e. all elective rotations must follow the Stritch elective month calendar and not deviate from those monthly start and end dates). It is not administratively feasible for us to accommodate students starting at different times, even if our calendar does not match up with your school's calendar.
Formal completion of a course in which a student has acquired clinical skill in history taking, physical examination and interviewing, is the minimal prerequisite for the majority of the electives listed in this catalog. Preclinical students who wish to register for a part-time intramural elective may do so if all of the following conditions can be met:
The student must be enrolled in at least the second semester of the curriculum, making satisfactory progress, and have successfully completed all course work attempted to date;
the prerequisite is not completion of clinical course work;
the part-time elective is offered at a time which does not conflict with the student's preclinical course schedule;
and the student has received the approval of the elective supervisor.
Preclinical students are not eligible to earn extramural elective credit.