Council on Curriculum

Elective Policies


Elective Study & Reading Months

Students may take up to three months of independent study or readings for credit. Any combination of study and readings for the three months is acceptable (e.g., 3 study months and 0 readings months, 2 study months and 1 readings month, etc.). A request for additional study/readings months must be petitioned to the Council on Curriculum. These additional months will be considered “Audit” (not for credit) and will not count toward the required 38 medical school months.

Any study month, credit or audit, granted for a student must be a supervised, organized experience, under the direction of the student’s docent. A Study Month Goals and Objectives form must be completed by the student, signed by the Docent and submitted to the Council on Curriculum no later than the first calendar day of the month prior to the start date of the study month or credit will not be issued. Students are required to attend Continuing Care Clinic while on a study month, whether credit or audit. Due to clinic responsibilities, a study month may not be taken out of town.

Any readings month, credit or not-for-credit, granted for a student must be a supervised, organized experience, and may be conducted with any physician approved by the Council on Curriculum. A Readings Month Goals and Objectives form must be completed by the student, signed by the physician, and submitted to the Council on Curriculum no later than the first calendar day of the month prior to the start date of the readings month or credit will not be issued. Students are required to attend Continuing Care Clinic while on a readings month, whether credit or audit. Due to clinic responsibilities, a readings month may not be taken out of town.

Note: the only exception to this policy is a formal Step I program, during which a student may petition to be out-of-town.

Clinical Electives Policy
  • Clinical electives are assigned to one of nine distinct categories by the Council on Curriculum: (1) Family & Community Medicine, (2) Internal Medicine, (3) Neurology/Psychiatry, (4) Obstetrics/Gynecology, (5) Pathology, (6) Pediatrics, (7) Radiology, (8) Surgery and (9) Other. To promote breadth of experience, clinical elective selection must conform to these guidelines:
    • Students must complete at least three clinical electives as a graduation requirement.
    • At least one clinical elective must be selected from three of the nine general categories. Further selection of clinical electives may take place at the discretion of the student, with appropriate advising from the Docent and Education Team Coordinator.
    • Students must also complete at least one Critical Care elective. This elective will also count toward the three required clinical electives chosen from the nine categories.
    • All students must petition the Council on Curriculum to take more than 3 clinical electives from any one of the nine categories.
  • Participation in clinical electives can take place in any order.

All clinical electives available for medical students are reviewed by the Council on Curriculum. The Council on Curriculum assigns each individual elective experience to a general UMKC elective category, and within each category the elective is matched to the most appropriate UMKC elective title. These agreed upon elective titles correspond to ACGME approved postgraduate training programs. For example, three students may participate in different general nephrology electives in the US, but these electives would all be grouped under the same UMKC elective title (Internal Medicine-Nephrology) and placed within the same UMKC elective category for purposes of implementing our clinical elective policy.

The official list of clinical electives which guides our policy is available here, sorted by elective title and here, sorted by elective category.

Clinical Electives Hours Policy

In order to receive credit for any medical school elective fulfilling requirements of the Clinical Electives Policy, students will need to attend clinical and educational activities for a minimum of 20 eight-hour days or 160 hours for that one month rotation. To qualify as a “clinical” elective, the majority of the time or >50% is spent seeing patients in a clinical setting. Examples of educational activities include but are not limited to: interaction with patients in clinic/inpatient wards; conferences; discussions; rounds; assignments online with products specified such as answers to questions or exercises, essays, short papers, or reading assignments with a graded assignment; field trips with assignments; and case discussions or reflective meetings with faculty. In accordance with the Council on Evaluation policy that students cannot be absent for any reason, either excused or unexcused, more than four (4) working days from a one-month elective, students can and should use days of educational activities or additional clinical experiences to complete adequate time in a clinical elective. Should a student determine that they are unable to meet the requirements necessary to satisfy a clinical elective experience, the student is responsible for contacting their ETC and Council on Curriculum without delay.

Non-Clinical Electives

Students may enroll for credit in academic electives, research electives and humanities electives. These non-clinical elective experiences yield one month of required medicine credit, but they do not fulfill requirements for clinical elective months required for graduation. All non-clinical elective experiences must be approved initially by the Council on Curriculum; to receive credit for the elective, students must satisfy all requirements specified in the elective description form. Students taking any elective experience must also comply fully with attendance policies. Should a student determine that they are unable to meet the requirements necessary to satisfy a non-clinical elective experience, the student is responsible for contacting their ETC and Council on Curriculum without delay.

Audit or Not-for-Credit Electives

Some clinical and non-clinical electives are designated as Audit (or “not-for-credit”) experiences. No academic assessment is made of student performance during an audit elective; however, the student is still responsible for adhering to all requirements outlined in the elective description form. Reasons an elective may be classified as audit could include: a clinical elective does not meet the minimum UMKC SOM standards for the assignment of credit (the clinical elective does not require 3 weeks attendance or 160 hours of contact), or a student requests additional study or readings months beyond the three which are sanctioned by UMKC SOM for credit. In these circumstances, only the Council on Curriculum may approve participation in an elective on an audit basis. Students may not designate any clinical or non-clinical elective as a not-for-credit experience, since only the Council on Curriculum has the authority to do so. Should a student determine that they are unable to meet the requirements necessary to satisfy a not-for-credit elective experience, the student is responsible for contacting their ETC and Council on Curriculum without delay.

Elective Requirement Scheduling Policy

Students cannot schedule any of the three required clinical electives from the nine designated categories or the critical care elective requirement for the month of their graduation. Exceptions are only made by the Associate Dean of Curriculum in situations of to academic difficulty.

Advisinig Guide for Clinical Elective Selections

UMKC residency directors have assembled a list of elective recommendations that students can use to advance their career goals. The residency directors believe these elective choices would strengthen the competitiveness of a student applying for their residency. A list of commonly chosen residencies with elective suggestions from the different UMKC categories is provided here as a guide only.

Choosing Electives

Electives are an important aspect of each student’s medical education. Students have the responsibility of thoroughly investigating electives with the assistance of their Docent, Education Team Coordinators and Council on Curriculum staff. Students may choose to take any elective that has been previously approved by the Council on Curriculum. In order for students to determine if an elective has been approved, they should contact their Education Team Coordinator or the Coordinator of the Council on Curriculum. Approved electives can be viewed by searching the Electives Database maintained by the Council on Curriculum. If the elective is not in the Electives database, students should follow the steps listed under “Procedures for Establishing New Electives”.

Electives with a Timeframe of Three Weeks or Less

UMKC students are NOT permitted to enroll for credit in clinical electives which do not last for a duration of at least one calendar month. Students who do enroll in approved clinical electives which last for three weeks or less will be permitted to do so only on a Not-For-Credit basis. Only in those instances where an approved clinical elective is scheduled for three weeks or less will an explanation for the assignment of a No Credit be provided within the official School of Medicine MSPE letter.

Scheduling In-Town Electives
(Kansas City Metropolitan Area)

Students are allowed approximately four weeks to research in-town elective choices. It is beneficial to discuss elective options with peers, Education Team Coordinators, Docents, and the Council on Curriculum staff. Information on most area electives is available in the Electives database.

Students will be asked to submit three choices for every in-town clinical elective month. For basic science electives, only one choice is typically required. From mid-February to mid-March, students submit elective choices for the Summer and Fall semesters (June-December). Spring Semester (January-May) choices are due during mid-September to mid-October.

When choosing a clinical elective in the Kansas City area, a student must list second and third choices. Students should make certain that all choices are educationally acceptable. Students will be moved into their second or third choice if the first or second choice is not available. It is necessary to indicate the specialty area, the physician and the medical center for each elective choice. In-town electives must be arranged through the Education Team Coordinators.

Scheduling Out-of-Town Electives

Out-of-town electives are handled differently than in-town electives. Many out-of-town electives have been approved by the Council on Curriculum. Elective information and course descriptions are available in the Electives database. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange out-of-town electives. Students should keep their Education Team Coordinator informed of the status of these electives. Electives that have not been approved by the Council on Curriculum must be arranged prior to the beginning of the elective. The approval process is explained under “Procedures for Establishing New Electives.”

Year 5 & 6 students may not miss more than four months of Continuing Care Clinic per academic year. This allows for three months of out-of-town electives and one month of vacation. Year 4 students are allowed two months away from clinic per academic year. This allows for one elective month and one vacation month.

Procedures for Establishing New Electives

It is important that decisions concerning electives be made well in advance so the necessary approval may be obtained. If students wish to schedule new electives that have not previously been approved by the Council on Curriculum, they should use the New Elective Course Description Form. Detailed instructions for completion can be found on the form.

The Course Description Form must be completed and returned to the Council on Curriculum no later than the first calendar day of the month prior to the start date of the elective. If course description information cannot be acquired within this time frame, the student should contact the Curriculum Office to discuss the situation.

Electives with Family Members
(Revised February 2010)

If a student wishes to petition to take an elective under the supervision of a family member the following criteria must be satisfied:

    1. At least two-thirds of the clinical experience must be spent and supervised by a non-family member in the practice. A detailed daily schedule showing supervision by non-family member partner(s) will need to be provided with the elective petition.
    2. During the clinical elective a log of activities must be maintained and signed daily by the faculty that supervised the student. This log will be turned in at the end of the rotation to confirm item #1 above.
    3. Students who receive approval to take an elective with an immediate family member must have a non-family member be the evaluator of the student’s performance. The name of the evaluator should be provided on the application to take the rotation or elective.

If a student applies to take an elective without following the above procedure, the Council on Curriculum may decline the petition or accept the petition with a recommendation to the Council on Evaluation that the student will not receive credit for the elective or rotation.

Continuing Care Clinic Attendance During Elective Months (Revised April 2009)

All students are required to participate in Continuing Care Clinic for one half day per week beginning in September of Year 3. The only exception to this is during Vacation months, Preceptorship and out-of-town electives. Year 5/6 students may not miss more than 4 months of Continuing Care Clinic per year. Year 4 students may not miss more than two months of Continuing Care Clinic per year.

Students who participate in an elective month within the Greater Kansas City Area (within a 25 mile radius of the School of Medicine) are required to participate in their regularly scheduled weekly ambulatory care clinic. Students participating in an elective outside of the Greater Kansas City Area are not required to participate in their weekly ambulatory care clinic and the month will be counted as one of their allowed four months away from clinic during Years 5 and 6 (includes one vacation month each year).

Students participating in an elective month within the Greater Kansas City area, at a hospital that is NOT affiliated with UMKC School of Medicine and which has ACGME accredited Residency program(s) who request to remain on-site at their elective facility must petition the Council on Curriculum no later than 30 days prior to the start of the elective to be excused from clinic during that month. If their petition is approved, the month will then be counted as one of their allowed four months away from clinic during Years 5 and 6. (Includes one vacation month each year.)

Elective Military Scholarships

Students on a military scholarship are required to use vacation and elective months to fulfill basic training or military maneuver requirements. If used, the elective month is classified as MEDICINE 9714 – Academic General. This month counts toward the required 38 medicine months but does NOT count as a clinical elective.

Visiting Student Policy, UMKC School of Medicine
  1. Department chairmen and/or the director of medical education at an affiliated clinical site will decide on whether to take visiting students into electives. Visiting students can be added to electives as long as:
    1. UMKC students are given priority in choosing which months they will take electives. The deadline for UMKC students to sign up for electives during June through December will be March 7, and for electives during January through May the deadline will be October 15. After these dates, visiting students may be accepted into electives.
    2. So that the education of UMKC students is not compromised, limits on the number of visiting students accepted should be set and followed. Each visiting student is eligible to take no more than two electives at UMKC.
  2. Visiting students shall not be accepted into clerkships required for UMKC medical students – clerkships in family medicine and pediatrics excepted. When accepting visiting students in family medicine and pediatrics, the total number of students including the visitors should not exceed the maximum number of students set by each clerkship director.
  3. The UMKC website: http://www.med.umkc.edu/electives/ contains a list of all electives open to visitors and the contact person for the elective at the medical school’s affiliated hospitals. Interested visiting students should get in touch with the Senior Education Team Coordinator based at the UMKC School of Medicine directly to request the standard application and immunization forms. They should send these forms to the UMKC contact person responsible for the elective, and s/he will notify the students whether they have been accepted into an elective.
  4. The decision to accept a specific visiting student for an elective will be made by the departments/hospitals in which s/he wishes to take the elective. Each contact person must keep the approved application and immunization forms for one year.
  5. All visiting students accepted at Truman Medical Center will be responsible for completing compliance/HIPAA training and should contact the coordinator at the TMC Corporate Compliance Office to make arrangements for completing this mandatory requirement. Each month the UMKC contact person will provide a list of all visiting students and elective assignments to the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Medical Officer (816) 404-5300.
  6. As required by the school’s accrediting body, the visiting student coordinator will keep a running record of numbers of visitors, the electives they took, and the type of school they attend (Liaison Committee on Medical Education accredited, America Osteopathic Association accredited, etc.). For that reason, each elective contact person at CMH and St. Luke’s Hospital must report to the School of Medicine’s elective coordinator every six months the number of students who take that elective and the type of school from which they came (LCME, AOA, etc.).
  7. The letter currently sent to foreign medical students will be retained unless a written agreement between institutions exists. The letter states that space does not permit foreign medical students to pursue study in the School of Medicine with the sole exception being students participating in the International Federation of Medical Students Associations-United States of America (IFMSA-USA) program (involvement for these students will be strictly limited to an observational role in designated electives).
  8. Post-graduate M.D.’s will not be scheduled into medical student electives.