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Medical Student Programs

Fourth Year Electives

A variety of exciting one month inpatient and ambulatory electives are offered including a writing elective,  medically underserved, Indian Health Service, International Health, the Department of Public Health, rural health, homeless and outreach, college health and both inpatient and ambulatory correctional health for various credit.

Please click here to view our Department's list of electives.

An elective is defined as:  A structured learning experience in a field of medicine or the biomedical sciences approved by the faculty of the UMass Chan Medical School, which is not required as part of the basic medical school curriculum.  Definitions for each elective type are described below.

Type A

Students have PRIMARY responsibility for patient care in an acute hospital setting.  This implies that the students are responsible for and direct the diagnostic and/or therapeutic plan under the direction of the attending physician and with the aid of the intern or resident.  This role is traditionally referrred to as a "subinternship."

The Type A elective must be at least four (4) weeks in length.  Additional criteria are that the student:

  • Sees approximately three (3) new patients per week;
  • Performs initial history/physical;
  • Writes orders (consigned by house officer);
  • Coordinates work-up and follows hospital course;
  • Performs or observes all procedures on patient;
  • Is responsible for 'scut' work on patient and scrubs for surgical procedures on patient;
  • Takes night call according to intern's schedule;
  • Takes part in AM work rounds/visit rounds;
  • Is responsible for case presentation to the attending physician;
  • Participates in teaching sessions regularly. 

Type B 

Students must have direct patient contact as a major feature of the elective.  They are expected to perform histories and physical examinations and offer diagnostic and therapeutic alternatives.  Students need not have primary responsibility for patients.  Such electives include the traditional consultative services in medicine and surgical subspecialties as well as anesthesiology, preceptorships in primary care (medicine, pediatrics, family practice) in ambulatory and office settings, certain experiences incommunity hospital. etc.

The Type B elective must be at least four (4) weeks in length.  Additional criteria are that the student:

  • Acquires approximately fifteen (15) patients per month;
  • Performs histories and physical examinations on patients and formulates diagnostic and therapeutic plans;
  • Presents cases to preceptor or attending physician;
  • Follows course of patients with appropriate follow-up notes if necessary;
  • Reviews recent literature on problems encountered;
  • Attends regular didactic teaching sessions (a minimum of one per week);
  • Makes rounds on his/her patients on a regular basis;
  • Performs procedures related to a specialty whenever possible.

Type C

This elective encompasses all elective experiences where there is limited patient contact as in a diagnostic or therapeutic field where major reliance is placed upon information gathered or therapy administered via sophisticated techniques such as radiology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, etc.  It also includes electives in the basic sciences.  In general, such electives will be in four week blocks but programs can be modified or offered full-time for less than four weeks.