Advanced Studies Program


Recognizing that medicine is a highly complex and diversified field and that needs and interests of medical students are quite varied, the University of Massachusetts Medical School emphasizes a strong Elective/Advanced Studies program to complement the required areas of study.  It is anticipated that each student, with the advice of their mentor will plan a program beneficial to their educational experience and postgraduate goals.

An elective is defined as a structured learning experience in a field of medicine or related fields approved by the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which is not specifically required as part of the basic medical school curriculum.  To fulfill the requirements for graduation, each MD Student must satisfactorily complete 24 weeks of elective time as outlined below:

In addition to the required Sub I, ECPC, ABTS and Transition to Internship, students must complete *24 weeks of elective time as followsbelow: 


      *Required Electives by Type: 

  • 12 weeks must be Type A or B and at least 8 weeks must be A or B1.
  • The remaining 12 weeks can be A, B or C electives.
  • 8 weeks maximum of clinical International electives can count toward graduation credit.
  • 12 weeks maximum of Type C electives can count toward graduation credit.

    *Required Electives by Length:

  •  Up to 8 weeks can be taken in blocks of two weeks or greater.
  • The remaining required electives must be in blocks of at least 4 weeks.

*  Students who participated in Core Clinical Experiences during AY 2011-12 must complete an additional 8 weeks of A or B1 electives.  Please see: Requirements for Graduation; “Fourth Year Graduation Requirements chart”.

  • Electives applied toward graduation credit are normally advanced fourth-year courses taken after required third-year clerkships are completed.  Electives taken for credit at other times during the student’s medical school career may be considered for graduation credit with the approval of the Clinical Science Academic Evaluation Board (CSAEB).  They should not interfere with required courses and all the prerequisites of the elective must be met.  All electives require prior approval by the associate dean for student affairs.
  • The school does not restrict the proportion of time spent on internal versus external electives.
  • Students considering international electives must discuss their plans with their UMMS Elective Advisor.   Additional information can also be found at http://www.umassmed.edu/oume/international-medical-education/
  • Elective programs offered are posted on the Student Affairs Web site: http://www.umassmed.edu/studentaffairs/electives/list.aspx.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to arrange their fourth-year elective schedule, obtaining all necessary paperwork and approvals prior to the beginning of each elective.  The Office of Student Affairs is available for assistance with any questions or concerns.
  • Elective schedules are maintained by the Office of Student Affairs.  It is the student’s responsibility to check his/her on line PSSA elective schedule to insure that an accurate elective program is on file.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to forward all elective confirmation correspondence to the Office of Student Affairs or email it to: electives@umassmed.edu.  The only exception are electives received through the EVOS process.  Please note, because an elective is ‘requested’ or is listed on a student’s PEP is not confirmation that the elective was approved.  If the approved paperwork is not received by the Office of Student Affairs, it will not be added to a student’s Schedule.  Students should frequently check their Peoplesoft schedule, which is the ‘official’ schedule of record.

For changes to Elective/ Advanced Studies schedule please see the Student Handbook: Section Three: "Attendance, Withdrawal, Rescheduling; Changes or Withdrawing from Electives/Advanced Studies Program." 


Types of Electives 
An elective is defined as a structured learning experience in a field of medicine or related fields approved by the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which is not specifically required as part of the basic medical school curriculum.


TYPE A:

  • Block of continuous time of at least two or more weeks.  Length requirements are specific to the elective.  See: Required Electives by Length.
  • Work-up approximately three new patients per week.
  • Perform initial history and physical exams.
  • Write orders (co-signed by house officer).
  • Coordinate work-up and follow hospital course.
  • Perform or observe all procedures on assigned patients.
  • Be responsible for “scut” work on patients.
  • Scrub for surgical procedures on assigned patients.
  • Take night call according to intern’s schedule.
  • Participate in AM work rounds and attending rounds.
  • Present assigned patients to attending physician.
  • Participate in teaching sessions regularly.

TYPE B1: Students must have direct contact with patients as a major feature of the elective. They are expected to obtain histories, perform physical examinations and offer diagnostic and therapeutic alternatives. Students need not have primary responsibility for patients. Such electives include the traditional consultative services in medical and surgical subspecialities as well as anesthesiology, preceptorships in primary care (medicine, pediatrics, family practice) certain experiences in community hospitals, etc.

Criteria to be considered in the definition of a Type B1:

  • Block of continuous time of at least two or more weeks.  Length requirements are specific to the elective.  See: Required Electives by Length.
  • Work-up approximately 15 patients per month.
  • Attends regular didactic teaching session (a minimum of one per week).
  • follows course of patients with appropriate follow-up notes if necessary.
  • obtain history and perform physical examinations on assigned patients.
  •  formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plan.
  • Present patients to preceptor or attending physician.
  • Make regular rounds on assigned patients.
  • Perform procedures related to a specialty as appropriate.
  • Review recent literature on diseases or problems encountered.

TYPE B2: Students must engage in the type of clinical care carried out by the clinicians practicing in this field but may not have direct patient care as a major feature of the elective. Such electives include advanced radiology electives (not the introductory radiology elective, which is a Type C), pathology electives, radiation oncology.

Criteria to be considered in the definition of a Type B2 elective:

  • Block of continuous time of at least two or more weeks.  Length requirements are specific to the elective.  See: Required Electives by Length.
  • Attends regular didactic teaching session (a minimum of one per week).
  • Follows course of patients as clinicians in this field do, with follow-up notes as appropriate to specialty.
  • Obtain history and perform physical examinations on assigned patients as appropriate to specialty.
  • Formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plan as appropriate to specialty. 
  • Present patients to preceptor or attending physician. 
  • Make regular rounds as appropriate to specialty.
  • Perform procedures related to a specialty as appropriate.
  • Review recent literature on diseases or problems encountered. 

TYPE C:This type of elective encompasses all those elective experiences where there is limited contact with patients, as in diagnostic or therapeutic fields where major reliance is placed upon information gathering or therapy administered via sophisticated techniques such as radiology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, etc.  It can also include electives in the basic sciences, and international/cultural experiences. The only requirement is that there be some general relationship to the broad area of medicine and the medical sciences.  In general, this elective will be in a block of continuous time of at least two or more weeks.