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Elective Course Information

The senior year at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine (USCSOM) consists of four required clinical rotations totaling 16 weeks (Acting Internship, Critical Care, Step 2 Prep and Capstone); four elective rotations (totaling 16 weeks); the opportunity for two additional four-week electives, if desired by the student. The Capstone curriculum is designed to enhance academic, clinical, medicolegal, and management skills of graduating students in order to assist them in their transition to residency training and clinical practice.

It is imperative that the academic integrity of the senior year at USCSOM be maintained for each student. For this reason, a student should not expect to be excused from required rotations or electives for residency interviews during the senior year. Students who find it necessary to miss any days of a rotation or elective must obtain permission from the respective clerkship director or department chair. Any student who is absent for residency interviews for more than three days per four weeks of a clerkship may be required to makeup the missed time. Excessive absences during a rotation or elective may result in an "Unsatisfactory" grade in personal and professional conduct or in a reduction in the academic letter grade.

Up to four rotations may be scheduled away and no more than three electives are permitted in the same specialty or subspecialty. One or two additional rotations beyond the eight required rotations can be scheduled, if desired, in any specialty or subspecialty and at any approved site.

Each student will be evaluated at the conclusion of each rotation and elective by means of evaluation forms for required and elective course work. Each department determines the method of overall evaluation. If a letter grade is to be assigned, a grading scale consistent with the USCSOM letter grade system outlined in the School of Medicine Bulletin is utilized.

During the academic year, all senior medical students are required to complete a minimum of four electives totaling 16 weeks. These electives provide students with opportunities to augment previous experiences in the clinical and basic science areas in preparation for their chosen careers. In order to meet this requirement, a sufficient variety of appropriate educational experiences is offered by USCSOM. Students may also fulfill elective requirements through the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (SCAHEC) and by means of independent study electives, extramural electives within the United States and Canada, and international extramural electives. In selecting elective experiences, students are encouraged to seek advice from faculty advisors, mentors, department chairs, personnel in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services and from as many other sources as possible.


Scheduling procedures and forms are explained in detail at a class meeting early in the spring semester of the M3 year. Students are given approximately one month to meet with a faculty advisor to discuss schedules and make their selections in OASIS, our registration software system.

It is recommended that students plan their required rotations first and then fill in the remaining blocks with their electives. Students may choose to do some rotations at the Florence Regional campus as space allows. As much flexibility as possible will be allowed throughout the third and fourth year for changes, but required months cannot always be changed due to limits in the number of students allowed on certain rotations.

Schedules are processed in OASIS using a lottery system and then are made available to students. After the schedules have been posted, students have two weeks to change rotations among themselves before the schedule is finalized and sent to elective and clerkship directors.


When applicants are made an offer of acceptance to the School of Medicine, they will be informed that assignment to a clinical campus will occur early in their first year. By accepting the offer, applicants will acknowledge that while they will be able to state a preference, there is no guarantee that they will be assigned to their preferred campus.  Students will be assigned to the Florence Regional campus for their third and fourth year clinical rotations. Similarly, scheduling procedures are explained at a class meeting on the USCSOM campus.

M3 and M4 students register and manage their course schedules via the OASIS registration system. Students are provided access to the system by the Office of Curricular Affairs. In general, the deadline to drop or add is four weeks prior to the beginning date of the elective. However, some electives may have additional requirements that involve special consideration/notification.  Independent Study, Extramural Electives, and Extramural Acting Internship experiences must be approved by the Director, Enrollment Services/Registrar and/or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Curriculum. Failure to do so in the specified time frame can result in the student not receiving credit for the experience. Links to the respective forms are below.

Request to Take M-IV Independent Study Elective Form [pdf]

Request To Take Extramural Elective Form [pdf]

Request To Take Extramural Acting Internship [pdf]

A student is not registered for the elective until confirmation is received and the request form has been completed and approved.

Before approval, the student must submit the request form(s) and the following items to the Director of Enrollment Services/Registrar and the Assistant Dean for Clinical Curriculum: letter of acceptance and/or e-mail confirmation from program/director of experience, elective or independent study description, exact description of student's responsibilities, and the name, address and telephone number of the elective or independent study director/coordinator.

USCSOM will accept visiting medical students for extramural fourth year electives from any United States or Canadian medical school fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Medical Association (AMA) or by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).Third year electives are not available for visiting students.

A visiting student must be currently enrolled and in good academic standing as a candidate for the M.D. or D.O. degree at his/her home school and have completed all required clerkships at the home school prior to initiating elective work at USCSOM. Electives are of four weeks duration. Visiting students are scheduled on a space-available basis. A maximum of two four-week electives may be scheduled. Students are not required to pay tuition. After a rotation has been offered and accepted, a non-refundable processing fee of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) per elective is due as confirmation. Visiting students are required to provide a criminal background report and malpractice liability insurance.

Visiting students are responsible for their own personal health care costs and must provide current documentation of immunization status. Students are also responsible for securing their own housing. Upon request, students will be provided a list of area hotels that may have vacancies during the year.

USCSOM M-IV Electives

Visiting students interested in taking a fourth-year elective at USCSOM should contact the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, at 803-216-3625 or log onto VSAS (soon to be VSLO).

Applications will be processed after May 1st of the applicant's third year of medical school and no later than four weeks prior to the elective's starting date. The applicant will be notified as soon as departmental approval or disapproval has been received by the Visiting Student Coordinator. Students who are unable to attend an approved elective are responsible for notifying the USCSOM Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services of cancellation as soon as possible.


SCAHEC Electives

Any visiting student interested in an elective offered by the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (SCAHEC) should contact the SCAHEC office directly: Ms. Kristin Cochran, Student Coordinator, SCAHEC, Medical University of South Carolina,171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, 843- 792-6977.


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