Skip to Content

My School of Medicine Columbia

Elective Course Information

The senior year at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia (USCSOM) consists of four required clinical rotations totaling 16 weeks (Acting Internship, Critical Care, Step 2 Prep and Capstone); four elective rotations (totaling 16 weeks); and the opportunity for two additional four-week electives, if desired by the student. The Capstone curriculum is designed to enhance academic, clinical, medicolegal, and management skills of graduating students in order to assist them in their transition to residency training and clinical practice.

It is imperative that the academic integrity of the M3 and M4 years at USCSOM be maintained for each student. For this reason, a student should not expect to be excused from required rotations or electives for residency interviews during the senior year. Students who find it necessary to miss any days of a rotation or elective must obtain permission from the respective clerkship director or department chair. Any student who is absent for residency interviews for more than three days per four weeks of a clerkship may be required to makeup the missed time. Excessive absences during a rotation or elective may result in an "Unsatisfactory" grade in personal and professional conduct or in a reduction in the academic letter grade.

Up to four rotations may be scheduled away and no more than three electives are permitted in the same specialty or subspecialty. One or two additional rotations beyond the eight required rotations can be scheduled, if desired, in any specialty or subspecialty and at any approved site.

Each student will be evaluated at the conclusion of each required rotation and elective by means of evaluation forms. Each department determines the method of overall evaluation. If a letter grade is to be assigned, a grading scale consistent with the USCSOM letter grade system outlined in the School of Medicine Bulletin is utilized.

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 USCSOM. 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.


Scheduling procedures and forms are explained in detail at a class meeting early in the spring semester of the M3 year. Students are given approximately one month to meet with a faculty advisor to discuss schedules and make their selections in OASIS, our registration software system.

It is recommended that students plan their required rotations first and then fill in the remaining blocks with their electives. Students may choose to do some rotations at the Florence Regional campus as space allows. As much flexibility as possible will be allowed throughout the third and fourth year for changes, but required months cannot always be changed due to limits in the number of students allowed on certain rotations.

Schedules are processed in OASIS using a lottery system and then are made available to students. After the schedules have been posted, students have two weeks to change rotations among themselves before the schedule is finalized and sent to elective and clerkship directors.


When applicants are made an offer of acceptance to the School of Medicine Columbia, they will be informed that the assignment to a clinical campus will occur early in their first year. By accepting the offer, applicants will acknowledge that while they will be able to state a preference, there is no guarantee that they will be assigned to their preferred campus.  Students will be assigned to the Florence Regional campus for their third and fourth year clinical rotations. Similarly, scheduling procedures are explained at a class meeting on the USCSOM campus.

M3 and M4 students register and manage their course schedules via the OASIS registration system. Students are provided access to the system by the Office of Curricular Affairs. In general, the deadline to drop or add is four weeks prior to the beginning date of the elective. However, some electives may have additional requirements that involve special consideration/notification.  Independent Study, Extramural Electives, and Extramural Acting Internship experiences must be approved by the Director of Enrollment Services/Registrar and/or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Curriculum. Failure to do so in the specified time frame can result in the student not receiving credit for the experience.


Be sure to already have the confirmation or letter of acceptance from the host school/director of the experience before completing the form.

Please note that a student is not registered for the elective until confirmation of approval is received.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.