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School of Medicine

M4 Electives

Guidelines

OBJECTIVES

  1. To encourage further development of basic science interest.
  2. To provide an opportunity for intensive development in a specific area of clinical interest.
  3. To extend the understanding of medical practice by exposure to medical care programs both in the United States and abroad.
  4. To provide an opportunity to stimulate further in-depth study of elective programs already initiated by the student.

POLICIES

General

  1. All students are required to take the USMLE Step 2 CK and CS for the first time after completion of their core clerkships. Failure to do so may result in dismissal. Students are required to pass USMLE Step 2 CK and CS for GRADUATION. Please refer to the student handbook for more information on the USMLE policy.
  2. By January of the M3 year, each student must notify the Electives Office of their intended primary area of interest for residency training. Based upon this area of interest, the student will be assigned an M4 Advisor. It is expected that the student will meet with the M4 Advisor to select an elective schedule.
  3. Each student must complete two approved acting internship during the M4 year. A student may use an away elective to count for their second required AI if it has been approved by the away location (see Request to Approve a Domestic Elective as an Acting Internship Form - Request Form to approve a Domestic Elective for AI Requirement - [PDF]). The away AI must be approved by Dr. Michael Ryan or Dr. Alicia Freedy. 
  4. All INOVA Students enrolled in a VCU Health M4 elective will need to obtain a VCU Health Sciences ID and be scheduled for CIS Training. Please notify Mrs. Nancy Jackson approximately a month prior to the M4 elective in order to be enrolled in CIS Training. Report to the Curriculum Office on the first day of the M4 Elective.
  5. Students may take up to 20 weeks of non-clinical electives in the M4 year. Included in the definition of non-clinical electives is interview month, research, reading electives, the USMLE Step 2 board study, or vacation. This list does not include all non-clinical electives.
  6. Students may enroll in no more than four away electives. Two may be international. Please refer to the “Policy and Procedure for Students Taking Extramural Domestic Electives” and the “Policy and Procedure for Students Taking Extramural International Electives.”
  7. All students are required to take one Critical Care month. See M4 Catalog for selections.

 

AI and Critical Care electives should not be scheduled during potential interview months.

    1. Students who have M3 requirements to complete must schedule this work with the Curriculum Office. The make-up must be completed before the third Friday in December.
    2. If a preceptor considers a student's performance to be unsatisfactory, the preceptor should report this to the Electives Office, while at the same time notifying the student.
    1. Policy And Procedure For Students Taking Extramural Domestic Electives
      1. Extramural domestic electives include all educational activities that are not specifically required by the School of Medicine for purposes of graduation, and involve educational programs outside of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Care System or the School of Medicine affiliated healthcare institutions, but within the continental United States.
      2. Credit for no more than four extramural electives will be recognized by VCU/the VCU School of Medicine.
      3. The procedure for arranging extramural domestic electives is as follows:
        • The student contacts a physician or faculty member at the hosting institution and its Office of Student Affairs, or a similar designated office responsible for managing electives.
        • The student obtains an application from the hosting institution (or VSAS System) to arrange for the program and dates, including a letter from the preceptor at the institution where the elective is planned. The letter must contain a detailed description of the elective, method of assessment and the agreement of the preceptor to sponsor and supervise the student for the experience.
        • The student completes the application. For elective sites that do not have a formal application, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Application for Extramural Course or Clerkship [PDF] must be used.
        • The student completes the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Agreement and Release Form [PDF] for each domestic elective.
        • The application for the elective and the Agreement and Release Form are submitted by the student to Mrs. Nancy Jackson, Electives Coordinator on the Richmond campus.
        • If the student is spending M3/M4 years on the Richmond campus, the above materials are reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and signed as an indication that the elective is deemed a legitimate educational experience and the student may participate. If the student is spending M3/M4 years at the INOVA campus of the School of Medicine, the above materials are either mailed or faxed to Mrs. Nancy Jackson after being reviewed by the Assistant Dean of Medical Student Education for the INOVA Northern Virginia Division and signed as an indication that the elective is deemed a legitimate educational experience and the student may participate.
        • After review by the appropriate deans, Mrs. Nancy Jackson, Electives Coordinator, submits a letter of good standing, transcript, immunization record, proof of malpractice insurance, the school seal, and if requested, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. Copies are made for the student’s permanent file.
        • Upon completion of the elective a grade evaluation is required. Students are solely responsible for submitting the grade evaluation to the preceptor of that elective and for all costs or fees involved in taking an extramural elective.
    1. Policy And Procedure For Students Taking Extramural International Electives
      1. All International electives must be approved by the Senior Associate Dean, Dr. Susan Digiovanni or the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Christopher Woleben.
      2. Extramural international electives include all educational activities that are not specifically required by the School of Medicine for purposes of graduation, and involve educational programs outside of the continental United States.
      3. Credit for no more than four extramural electives will be recognized by VCU/the VCU School of Medicine. Two of these may be international.
      4. The procedure for arranging extramural international electives is as follows:
        • The student contacts a physician/faculty member at the hosting institution and their Office of Student Affairs, or a similar designated office responsible for managing electives.
        • The student obtains an application from the hosting institution to arrange for the program and dates, including a letter from the preceptor at the institution where the elective is planned. The letter must contain a detailed description of the elective, method of assessment and that the preceptor agrees to sponsor and supervise the student for the experience.
        • For elective sites that do not have a formal application, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Application for Extramural Course or Clerkship [PDF] must be used.
        • In addition, the student must go online and complete the International Independent Study form for each international elective.  The student should also click and complete the Medical Elective Abroad link and Travel Registry link.
        • The application for the elective is submitted by the student to Mrs. Nancy Jackson, the Electives Coordinator on the Richmond Campus.
        • The applicant needs to contact Student Health four months in advance for any immunizations for international electives.
        • If the student is spending M3/M4 years on the Richmond campus, the above materials are reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and signed as an indication that the elective is deemed a legitimate educational experience and the student may participate. If the student is spending M3/M4 years at the INOVA campus, the above materials are faxed to Mrs. Nancy Jackson after being reviewed by the Assistant Dean of Medical Student Education for the INOVA Northern Virginia Division and signed as an indication that the elective is deemed a legitimate educational experience and the student may participate.
        • After review by the appropriate Deans, the electives coordinator sends a letter of good standing, transcript, immunization record, proof of malpractice insurance, the school seal, and if requested, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. Copies are made for the student’s permanent file.
        • Upon completion of the elective, the assistant electives coordinator sends the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine electives’ evaluation form to the preceptor for completion.
        • Students are solely responsible for all costs or fees involved in taking an extramural elective.
    1. Evaluations
      1. Students must receive grades of H, HP, P, M, or F for all AI and Critical Care electives and those leaving the U.S. must get their grade sheet before they leave and take it with them. It is the student’s responsibility to bring the evaluation back with them and to submit it to the Electives Office.
      2. Students will receive CA or CN for all electives.
      3. Students who receive an unsatisfactory evaluation from a preceptor will be interviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs on the Richmond Campus or by the Assistant Dean at the INOVA Campus. 
    2. Changes in Elective Requests
      1. Any student request for a change in an elective may do so by the deadline dates.
      2. REQUESTS FOR CHANGES MUST BE MADE BY THE DEADLINE DATES OR YOU WILL HAVE TO GET WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE PRECEPTOR WHO CAN RELEASE YOU OR SAY IT IS TOO LATE TO BE RELEASED FROM THEIR ELECTIVE.
      3. Changes will only be accepted for entire elective periods and must coincide with the beginning and end of the period.
      4. Changes to the final elective schedule must be approved by the student’s M4 Advisor prior to submission to the Electives Office.
    1. Internship Interview Weeks

Special time has been provided in your schedule for internship/residency interviewing either Time Period 7 or 8. We expect all of you to be able to complete your intern interviewing during the allotted time. Students in the Armed Forces and those applying for early match may need to plan to use a different time for interviewing. Time Period 6 has been allotted for interviewing. AFTER THAT DATE YOU WILL HAVE TO GET WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM ELECTIVE COORDINATOR. Where correspondence will substantiate that the program cannot interview the student during the uniform period, exceptions to the uniform interview dates may be made by the ELECTIVE COORDINATOR. It is anticipated that this will rarely be necessary.

                2. Courses with Limited Enrollment

Those students interested in seeking residency positions in certain AI's and Critical Care electives, should schedule them early between time periods 1 thru 6. Those that are interested in doing these electives for experience, please schedule them during time periods 9 through 11 to give those interested in the above electives for residency a chance to schedule them early. You can always come by the Electives Office to see if the other time periods are full.