School of Medicine

Elective Counseling


Academic Advising and Elective Counseling

The individuals primarily responsible for providing guidance to medical students on their choice of intramural and extramural electives are the Student Affairs Deans, Learning Community Advisors, and Specialty Mentors.  Elective advising is provided in a coordinated manner, allowing students several options to obtain guidance as their school experiences help focus their career interests. Students may select any faculty member as a primary advisor/mentor. They are not limited to the individuals identified as Learning Community Advisors or Specialty Mentors. However, final approval from a formal Specialty Mentor, Learning Community Advisor, or Dean is required before registering for any pre-clinical or clinical elective. All away rotations must be approved by a Student Affairs Dean..  Students must attest that they have received elective advising from a Learning Community Advisor, Specialty Mentor, or a Student Affairs Dean as part of the elective registration process.

Student Advising Notification
Students are sent emails reminding them of the need to have their elective choices reviewed and approved by a Learning Community Advisor, Specialty Specific Mentor, or Student Affairs Dean before each registration period. Emails will be sent from the Office of Student Affairs, which houses the LC Advisor and Specialty Specific Mentor programs.

Elective Advising/Mentoring Program Email Notification Schedule Sent to Each Medical School Class, the LC Advisors, Specialty Mentors, and Student Affairs Deans
  Fall Fall Send Date Spring Spring Send Date
MS1 Pre-Orientation  Mid-July (once get emails)

Pre-Term 4 

Feb. 22, 2021

Pre-Term 2 Sept. 21, 2020 Pre-Term 5 May 10, 2021
Pre-Term 3 Nov. 23, 2021    
MS2 Pre-Term 1 July 27, 2020 Pre-Clinical Elective Sign up Feb. 15, 2021
Pre-Clinical Elective Sign up Sept. 14, 2020    
Pre-Term 2 Sept. 21, 2020    
MS3 Pre-Clinical Elective Sign up Sept. 14, 2020 Pre-Clinical Elective Sign up  Feb. 15, 2021
MS4 Pre-Clinical Elective Sign up Sept. 14, 2020    



Foundational Sciences (Pre-Clinical) Electives


All MS1s and fall semester MS2s are able to sign up for pre-clinical electives.  The semesters of the Foundational Sciences curriculum are divided into terms.  The sign-up period for non-clinical electives occurs one week before the elective begins, except at the start of each semester when students sign up on the first day of classes. LC Advisors will remind students of the need for review and approval of elective choices prior to each registration period. Issues medical students should consider may vary with each period of the preclinical curriculum.  

  • MS1s Fall Electives: MS1s meet with their Learning Community Advisors during orientation week and discuss with tthe upcoming semester. The LC Advisors explain the workload differences between medical school and college and ask students to consider the risks and benefits of signing up for an elective in Fall MS1
  • MS 1 Spring Electives: MS1 who have enrolled in one of the BCM pathways (i.e. Global Health) may have mandatory electives during this semester.  LC Advisors remind students to consider their first semester academic performance and other obligations that may affect taking on added work (i.e. research, social/family obligations). LC Advisors will also encourage students who have already chosen a potential specialty interest to meet with a Specialty Specific Mentor to begin planning summer research projects or other oppotunities.
  • MS2 Fall Electives: Students who have enrolled in one of the BCM pathways (i.e. Global Health) may have mandatory electives during this semester.  LC Advisors remind students that Fall MS2 is very busy in terms of pace and testing frequency.  Students are again advised to consider their prior academic performance and other obligations that may affect taking on added work. Students who are interested in highly competitive specialties or in conducting research are encouraged to reach out to Specialty Mentors for advice and planning. 

Students must attest that their Foundational Sciences electives have been approved by a LC Advisor, Specialty Mentor, Student Affairs Dean through the CAMS portal.  A compliance report is prepared for Student Affairs (SOM Student Pre-Clinical Registration Attestations). All Specialty Mentors and LC Advisors use checklists they fill out with each student met/communicated with. This ensures guidance standards. 

Clinical Electives

Clinical students receive elective counseling either from their LC Advisor or a Specialty Mentors. Students also may choose to meet with a Student Affairs Dean to obtain elective advice. The Specialty Mentors have compiled  a list of “High Value Electives,” electives identified as important for obtaining letters or recommendation or developing the skills necessary to be a competitive applicant to the field. Students and Advisors can review these “High Value Elective” lists on the Student Affairs Blackboard page. All Specialty Mentors and LC Advisors have checklists for their advising meetings, ensuring consistency.  All students in fields requiring Away Electives should meet with a Specialty Mentor or Dean of Student Affairs early in the process to plan for these rotations and to receive appropriate advice. 

All MS2s, MS3s and MS4s sign up for Clinical Electives in October for the coming spring semester and March for the coming fall semester.  October registration is coordinated with Core Clinical Rotation registration. Fall 2020 will be the last time MS2s register for core clinical rotations.  Starting with the Fall 2021 MS2 class (Class of 2024) all students will be assigned a Core Rotation schedule based on their LC Squad. 

  • Elective Scheduling is prioritized based on MS year.  For example, 2-week electives are prioritized to MS2 students who have limited time in their schedules for electives and are able to schedule experiences in fields in which they may not have yet had a core rotation. 
  • All students who have identified a career specialty choice are advised to contact and meet with a Specialty Mentor.  
  • The Specialty Mentors have compiled “High Value Electives” for students interested in their field.  Such electives are important for obtaining letters of recommendation or developing skills needed to be successful as a resident. The list of electives may be found in Blackboard under the Curriculum Office and Student Affairs Organization 
  • All Specialty Mentors and LC Advisors use checklists they complete ensuring that all mandatory topics of discussion are reviewed at each student meeting. This approach ensures adherence to proper guidance standards 
  • All students in fields requiring away electives are must meet with a Specialty Mentor or Student Affairs Dean.  Students are advised to consider the reasons for selecting a specific site (letter of recommendation vs month-long job application), the student’s likelihood of matching at that or an equivalent site, and student’s preparation for away electives, including economic burden, living arrangements, transportation challenges, etc. 
  • Students must attest that they have received approval for their clinical elective choices from a Specialty Mentor, Learning Community Advisor, or Student Affairs Dean as part of the elective registration process.  LC Advisors reach out to all MS2-4 students before each elective registration period (October and March) and inform students that they are required to obtain elective advising.  Final approval of clinical elective choice must come from a Special Mentor, LC Advisor or Student Affairs Dean. 
  • Residency Programs at BCM offer programs to students for residency application/interviewing preparation including elective choices.  The Ob/Gyn Residency has an established program for MS3-4 students applying in the fall of each year.  
  • Student Affairs has an annual Deans Hour “Residency Workshop” every March.  MS3 students are taught about the residency application process including personal statement advice, CV preparation, asking for letters of recommendation.  This workshop includes breakout sessions with Residency Program Directors, who meet with students planning to apply in the fall for residency in that field.  Discussion of letters of recommendation and electives are a part of this conversation. 
  • Students complete their core clinical rotations by December of MS3.  Clinical core and course obligations that remain are the Sub-Internship, Selectives, Emergency Medicine and both DDASH and APEX courses.  Students pursuing Pathways may have additional obligations.  Students have from spring of MS3 year through spring of MS4 year to complete needed electives.  If students require a shift in their schedule (Sub-Internship, Selectives, Emergency Medicine) they can request adjustments through the Schedule Petition Committee.  The Committee consists of Student Affairs Deans, Curriculum Office Deans, and the Registrar.  The Committee acts as another level of advising on electives.  Students are, if possible, emailed schedule options to consider, and  students are encouraged to make an appointment with a Student Affairs Dean if their schedule issues remain.