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 USCSM. 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.

USCSM M-IV Electives

All USCSM M-IV electives are listed by department in this catalog. These electives cannot be taken prior to completion of the six M-III clerkships in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery. For additional information regarding specific electives, contact the Elective Director or the departmental Director of Medical Student Education.

SCAHEC Electives

SCAHEC, in cooperation with the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and USCSM, offers elective programs at SCAHEC-affiliated hospitals in Anderson, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Greenwood and Spartanburg. The uniqueness of one-to-one teaching relationships, coupled with increased clinical responsibilities, ensures the development of students’ clinical skills. Community settings offer students opportunities to evaluate hospital-based residency programs by working with faculty members and residents in these facilities. Meals, housing and a mileage allowance are included.

All SCAHEC electives are listed by hospital in this catalog. For additional information about specific electives, contact the USCSM Director of Enrollment Services/Registrar.

Independent Study Electives

Independent study electives permit senior medical students to pursue, under the sponsorship of USCSM faculty members, areas of study that are not included among USCSM's regular elective offerings. Arrangements for these electives are made between the student and the faculty member; they require the approval of the appropriate departmental chair and the Assistant Dean for Clinical Curriculum. A student must be in good academic standing at USCSM in order to request and register for an independent study elective.

Extramural Electives: United States and Canada

Extramural electives are regularly offered for visiting students at other Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-accredited medical schools and at their affiliated facilities. The process of arranging for an extramural elective in the United States and Canada should begin in the spring of the M-III year. A student must be in good academic standing at USCSM in order to request and register for an extramural elective.

The Extramural Elective Compendium can be accessed on the AAMC website at   This resource provides elective information on all LCME-accredited medical schools in the U.S. and Canada.

International Extramural Electives

Students interested in completing an elective outside of the United States and Canada should contact the USCSM Director of Enrollment Services/Registrar. The process for arranging for an international elective should begin a year prior to the time of the desired elective, preferably during the fall of the M-III year. A student must be in good academic standing at USCSM in order to request and register for an international extramural elective. The purchase of a travel/evacuation insurance policy is required of students who will take an elective rotation in a developing nation. Information on policies is available in the Office of Enrollment Services.