Electives Policy

Policy Statement

Students are required to take a four-week elective in any discipline during both the Medicine and Surgery clerkships.  These electives may be any third year elective available. The elective does not have to be in the same field as the clerkship in which the student is currently enrolled.  Students may also elect to take either or both Neurology and/or Surgical Subspecialties in their third year during these elective blocks as availability allows.

Fourth-year students are required to complete Advanced Medicine, Surgical Subspecialties, and Neurology and five electives, completing a minimum of eight 4-week courses.  Students who took either Neurology and/or Surgical Subspecialties during their third year elective periods will take Advanced Medicine and the appropriate number of electives to complete eight 4-week courses.

No course or elective may be taken twice, research and out of town electives are exceptions.  Up to two months of research may be taken in fourth year; this option is not available to MD/PhD students.  No more than four out-of-town electives may be taken and no more than two out-of-town electives may be taken at the same institution.  A maximum of one international elective is allowed with that elective counting toward the four out-of-town electives.  No more than three electives may be taken locally in any single departmental division. Any elective failure must be made up within 2 modules.

Modification to a student’s scheduled electives requires completion of the add/drop form and notification of the registrar or their designee.

Out of Town Electives

Only 4th year students in good standing are eligible to take an out of town elective.  A current affiliation agreement must be in place between UB and the training institution.

A student wishing to participate in an out-of-town elective must discuss with The Jacobs School appropriate department chairperson or course coordinator the possibility and advisability of taking an out of town rotation in a comparable department.  If there is agreement that such an elective is possible and advisable, then the student will communicate directly with the desired program.  If he or she is accepted into the elective, the department may request confirming letters and/or program descriptions.  The department then notes their approval on the Out of Town Elective Form and forwards it to the Office of Student and Academic Affairs for final approval/disapproval.  An add/drop form must also be completed for registration purposes.  Approval of out-of-town programs are made on an individual basis, considering the academic value of the elective and student’s academic status.

Reasons For Policy

LCME Standard 6.5 Elective Opportunities

The faculty of a medical school ensure that the medical curriculum includes elective opportunities that supplement required learning experiences and that permit medical students to gain exposure to and deepen their understanding of medical specialties reflecting their career interests and to pursue their individual academic interests.

LCME Standard 11.3 Oversight of Extramural Electives

If a medical student at a medical school is permitted to take an elective under the auspices of another medical school, institution, or organization, a centralized system exists in the dean’s office at the home school to review the proposed extramural elective prior to approval and to ensure the return of a performance assessment of the student and an evaluation of the elective by the student. Information about such issues as the following are available, as appropriate, to the student and the medical school in order to inform the student’s and the school’s review of the experience prior to its approval:

  • Potential risks to the health and safety of patients, students, and the community
  • The availability of emergency care
  • The possibility of natural disasters, political instability, and exposure to disease
  • The need for additional preparation prior to, support during, and follow-up after the elective
  • The level and quality of supervision
  • Any potential challenges to the code of medical ethics adopted by the home school

Reviewed by Curriculum Committee: 11/30/18
Passed by Curriculum Committee: 12/14/18
Policy Implementation: Clerkship Directors
Policy Contact: Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs