Elective Requirements

Authorizing Body:

Curriculum Committee


Most Recent Reviewer:

Robert Noiva, Ph.D., Lynda Misra, D.O.,

Cynthia Ledford, M.D.

Date Issued:

August 1, 2011

Last Update:

September 17, 2018


Students must take and pass a total of 16 weeks of electives.  The purpose of electives is to provide students with the opportunity to 1) explore a focused area of interest, 2) prepare for a specific career path or residency program, or 3) gain experience not available through required courses or clerkships. Consultation with mentors, career advisors, or the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education is strongly recommended when planning elective time.

Scope and Applicability:

All students enrolled in the School of Medicine

Standard Practice Guideline:


Electives must be taken in two or four-week blocks.  Students may take two (2) two-week electives in lieu of a four-week elective. Students must complete a minimum of 16 weeks of electives before graduation.  At least 12 weeks of the electives must be clinical electives. Students may also complete research electives or other non-clinical electives. 

OUWB policy allows a student to receive credit for up to 8 weeks of electives in the same clinical specialty or host department.  Additional electives in the same subspecialty will not count toward meeting the minimum graduation requirements of 16 weeks, but may be taken if time allows.  All electives must reflect meaningful learning experiences and cannot duplicate coursework or learning in other electives or required clerkships.

Students may select electives from the OUWB catalog, from institutions outside OUWB or may design their own elective:

  1. If an equivalent elective is not available in the OUWB course catalog, students may design their own elective.  Please see the Directed Independent Elective guidelines for additional information.  
  2. Students may choose to enroll in away or international away electives offered by other schools or teaching hospitals. Please see the Extramural (Away) or International Electives guidelines for additional information.

Paid clerkships or externships are not acceptable as electives and cannot be used for credit towards graduation. The only exception to acceptance of funding for an elective is funding that is provided as travel stipends, such as may be offered for an away or international away elective.  The travel stipend amount must comply with specified standards and cannot exceed standard per diem rates.

  • In the event of domestic travel the GSA Per Diem rate (www.gsa.gov/perdiem)
  • In the event of foreign travel the U.S. Department of State Per Diem rate


Clinical Electives

A clinical elective is an educational experience that involves patient contact or diagnostic procedures used for patient care that consists of a minimum of 50% patient care time.

Non-clinical Electives

A non-clinical elective is an educational experience that does not involve patient contact or diagnostic procedures used for patient care.  Research electives are considered non-clinical.

Related Policies and Forms:

M3-M4 Graduation Requirements
Modified M4 Schedule for Students with Academic Difficulties
OUWB Religious Observance Guidelines
Directed Independent Electives
Away Electives
International Electives
Add-Drop and Scheduling Changes