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Phase 3 Scheduling

Phase 3 scheduling occurs in multiple stages to ensure students meet graduation requirements and are well-prepared for residency. Prioritization and scheduling are based on each student’s declared specialty interest to ensure all students receive clinical experiences and letters of recommendation that enhance residency applications.

Scheduling overview

  • Stage 1 prioritizes core required clinical rotations and occurs in late fall during Phase 2. These rotations are the highest priority and are most difficult to reschedule.
  • Stage 2 allows students to select customized electives for residency preparation and graduation requirements. This phase occurs in early spring during Phase 2 and is broken into four parts.
  • Stage 3: Monitor course enrollments to ensure graduation and enrollment requirements are met. During this stage, all course drop/add requests must be approved by the lead advisor in addition to course directors.
  • Stage 4 allows students to select their Transitions 3 track during early fall of Phase 3. This occurs later in the scheduling process to ensure students can select the T3 residency preparedness track that is most closely aligned with their future intended specialty and scheduling plans.

Scheduling Timeline

Most scheduling occurs during Phase 2 (Year 3).

Stage 1:
Required Rotations
Stage 2:
State 2:
Stage 3:
Stage 4:
December Early to mid January February March through end of the academic year September of Phase 3
Schedule required rotations Meet with career mentor and lead advisor to discuss plan for elective scheduling in light of core rotation schedule, Step 2 plan, away rotations and interviews Schedule electives Ensure graduation and enrollment requirements are met Schedule Transitions 3

May features graduation activities but is otherwise unscheduled time to prepare for graduation and prepare to transition into residency. This period may be used to complete graduation requirements only in exceptional circumstances subject to approval by Medical Student Education deans.

Approach to Phase 3 scheduling

IU School of Medicine has developed a staged process for scheduling that allows our statewide school to provide every student with an outstanding clinical education, complemented by a panel of individualized electives and plenty of time for vacation, Step 2 preparation, research, residency interviews and other personalized goals. Additional flexibility is built in to accommodate the common changes that occur as students receive away rotation offers, interview requests, changes of career goals, adjust Step 2 plans and so forth.

Students can obtain the most benefit and reduce stress from the scheduling process by setting flexible goals that are robust to scheduling availability and schedule changes.

For example, let’s say Sam Student plans to apply to Emergency Medicine and plans to complete the EM clerkship, an away rotation, dedicate one month for Step 2 preparation, and schedule an additional rotation for a letter of recommendation during the first 4 rotations of Phase 3 in order to generate a strong application to Emergency Medicine residencies prior to the opening date for ERAS, which is expected in Rotation 5. Sam initially sets a rigid goal, i.e. has each month planned out exactly in order to have a “perfect” schedule. Sam’s faculty mentor points out that the challenge with this approach is that it is not very robust to scheduling changes and it is not possible to guarantee specific months for clinical rotations or away rotations.  After Sam’s mentor advising setting more flexible goals, Sam sets robust, flexible goals that look something like this:

  • Clerkship in my planned specialty: Rotation 1, 2, 3, or 4. Highest preference for rotation 1 or 2.
  • Away rotation: Also during Rotation 1, 2, 3, or 4, and my highest preference is to take it the month after my clerkship here, if possible
  • Step 2: Preferably in rotation 3, but I could take it in rotation 1, 2, 3, or 4.
  • Letter of Recommendation rotation: I have the most flexibility with this rotation because I could ask for a strong letter of recommendation on my Sub-I, Critical Care, or one of several available electives. If something comes up, I also have a good letter from a Phase 2 clerkship to fall back on.
  • Sam also reflects that a few other clerkships were really enjoyable and those specialties could be personally fulfilling in the long term, and it is hard to make a lifelong commitment halfway through the third year of medical school. Knowing that many students explore or change career preferences early into their fourth year, Sam therefore considers an alternative plan for general surgery in case of a change of career goal over the coming months.

Your career faculty mentor and lead advisor can also help you to set flexible goals, allowing you to get everything you need out of your fourth year of medical school while also really enjoying your final year of medical school.

Stage 1: Required rotations and vacation time details

  • Required rotations

    Students must schedule all required clinical rotations during this part of the scheduling process (see the Phase 3 Curriculum page for required clinical rotations by class year).

  • Vacation time

    While scheduling required rotations, students have the opportunity to designate priority periods to protect for vacation time. During elective scheduling, students can use any unscheduled time for vacation or flexible time for rescheduling rotations. There is no single optimal placement of vacation time; times should fit each student’s schedule as it develops. Protecting rotations for vacation time as a placeholder for possible “away” rotations or special electives that have not yet been approved or scheduled is not recommended.

    Historically, students have used vacations for personal needs (as noted in the scheduling instructions, please give us this information in the comments section), wellness, preparation for Step 2 exams or times when they expect to have many residency interviews.

    As you plan your schedule with the help of your advisors, bear in mind that the required Phase 3 rotations are intensive experiences to prepare you for your first year of residency. Even though Medical Student Education has worked to create additional time-away flexibility, these rotations are important portions of your education that have limited capacity for absences. Following the selection and verification of your initial required rotations and vacation, the next phase of scheduling will open for the electives that complete your personalized senior schedule and meet all of your graduation requirements.

Stage 2: Elective scheduling details

  • Part 1

    The first part of elective requests occurs around mid-February and focuses on the first five rotations (May, June, July, August, and September). These are the most crucial rotations for faculty letters of recommendation and preparing for residency applications. Once this request period closes, all requests are processed based on career specialty interest (including whether or not you received a Sub-I in your area of career interest), availability and time of request (if needed).

  • Part 2

    The second part of elective requests occurs from mid-February to late February and again focuses on the first five rotations so that students who were not able to get what they requested in the first part can make different requests for those months. As in the first part, all requests are processed based on career specialty interest (including whether or not you received a Sub-I in your area of career interest), availability and time of request (if needed).

    The registrar does everything they can to make sure students who did not get a Sub-I in their career interest area will get an early elective instead. This ensures that all students have the rotations that they need to get the opportunity for faculty letters of recommendation for their specialties.

  • Part 3

    The third part is an open request period that occurs in late February and is for any elective month. The requests are processed based on availability, time of request (if necessary) and career specialty interest (if necessary).

  • Part 4

    The fourth part of elective requests begins in March and entails ongoing adds/drops that continue throughout the academic year. To request an elective at this point, you need course director or proxy (whoever is listed in the elective course catalog as the contact) permission and lead advisor permission to add any elective. Permissions must be attached to all requests in E*Value and must be specific to the month you are requesting. Please do not forward permission to the registrar via email. Elective requests are processed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis throughout the remainder of the year.

Special electives and away rotations

  • Away rotations

    Coordination of away rotations is a complex process and will also involve completing host school/program application requirements. Many of these opportunities are accessed through the AAMC VSAS website. However, some institutions have their own application process.

    Away rotations are not mandatory and many IU School of Medicine students do not complete any. The importance of doing away rotations varies by discipline and should be discussed with a career mentor or with the Career Development team along with a lead advisor. The application timing for away rotations varies by discipline and location. It is important to remember that many students apply for these opportunities nationally. Therefore, rotation timing and acceptance is unpredictable. The Office of the Registrar will make every effort to work these opportunities into student schedules upon admittance to the away rotation opportunity.

    For more information, you can:

  • Special electives

    View the procedures, form and timelines for special electives on the Special Electives page. A special elective proposal form must be submitted a minimum of 30 days in advance of a rotation, including away rotations, even if you have received approval from a host institution in VSAS/VSLO.

Scholarly Concentration scheduling

Students who still need to finish their Scholarly Concentration project and/or product are encouraged to think holistically about when to schedule this work and communicate with their concentration co-directors, mentor, and lead advisor. All Scholarly Concentrations requirements must be fulfilled by Jan. 31 of the fourth year. The process for registering for these Scholarly Concentrations electives is separate from other elective scheduling. It will take place in April and be conducted through an email process, not E*Value. Instructions will be emailed to students and posted online in March.

Scheduling FAQs

General FAQs

  • During which clinical experiences should I focus on getting letters of recommendation?

    Clinical experiences and opportunities for faculty reference letters may come from several sources, including sub-Internships, other Phase 3 core rotations, Advanced Clinical Electives (ACE), other Clinical Practice electives, or Special Electives. ACE rotations will allow students to actively participate in a robust clinical experience as an integrated member of a health care team, with a focus on progressive responsibilities, professional development and career readiness.

  • Do we rank the order we schedule each rotation?

    The preferencing screen allows students to show which rotation they want, where they want to complete it, and when they want to complete it. If a center has a spot during the time they want the rotation, students can preference that center. The centers do not have spots for Indianapolis students in all clerkships for all rotations. Students enter their preferences in order from top to bottom with their highest choice at the top. The Registrar’s office works to accommodate as many student preferences as possible.

  • Do we get to rank which hospital we do each rotation?

    Not through the Registrar’s office. Students will be asked by each clerkship to rank their preferences for site and sometimes service for that specific clerkship. The only exception to this is for Emergency Medicine in Phase 3. Students can preference Emergency Medicine by rotation and site during the initial preferencing process in December.

  • I don’t see my question in the FAQs. Who do I go to with additional questions?

    Submit your question to AskMSE!

    If you have questions about requesting electives in E*Value, please contact Amanda Ybarra.

    If you have questions about special and away (VSLO) electives scheduling, please contact Gina Blanchford.

General Elective FAQs

  • When is the deadline to drop an elective?

    You cannot add or drop electives within 30 days of the start of an elective. Students are required to provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice to the course director/course admin, their lead advisor, and the registrar that they are dropping an elective.

    It is imperative that students notify the course director/course admin that they are dropping an elective as that notification cannot occur via our systems. Failure to do so may have a significant impact on our course teams and their ability to schedule and accommodate students.

  • How do I sign up for “by permission only” electives?

    You must reach out to the primary course contact and obtain proof of permission to enroll via email. You must attach the email permission to a request in E*Value for any of the electives listed as by permission only in the electives catalog. Electives that require permission for enrollment will say “Permission Required” and “THIS ELECTIVE DOES NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE INITIAL SENIOR MATCH” in the notes.

  • What does it mean in the electives catalog when a course says, “THIS ELECTIVE DOES NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE INITIAL SENIOR MATCH”?

    This means that a course requires permission from the primary course contact before it can be added to a student’s schedule. Even during electives open enrollment, courses with this designation require prior approval and cannot be added to a student’s schedule without email approval from the primary course proxy.

  • I already know all of the electives I want to take for the entire academic year. Can I go ahead and just add all of my requests, regardless of the stage of elective scheduling?

    No. Any elective requests entered prior to the start date for each stage phase will not be processed. Please follow the instructions and timeline from the registrar. The purpose of this process is to ensure fair scheduling to meet the career and professional development needs of all students.

  • I really enjoyed the Clinical Practice elective I took during Phase 2. Can I take the same course during Phase 3?

    You cannot take the same clinical elective for credit more than once, including one that you might have taken during Phase 2.

  • I would like to get ahead on my Phase 3 requirements by taking an elective during Phase 2. Are there any restrictions on taking electives during Phase 2?

    Yes, there are certain restrictions for third-year electives. Some electives are only available to Phase 3 students. The course listing in the elective catalog will specify if an elective is open to the enrollment of Phase 2 students. Many electives also specify pre-requisite requirements, such as the completion of particular clerkships before enrollment. It is imperative that you check the pre-requisite requirement information in the catalog before requesting enrollment from a couse director (or their proxy).

  • I see an elective I’m interested in taking in another elective academic year catalog. Is that course still offered and may I request it?

    If an elective is not listed in the elective course catalog for the academic year you are requesting, then it is not being offered. While you may wish to plan ahead by looking at the current year catalog before the next academic year’s catalog is released, bear in mind that the elective catalog is updated annually. Please be sure to look at the elective catalog for the correct academic year when choosing the courses you want to take.

Special elective FAQs

  • I had a really great experience working with a particular practice, but they don’t offer an official elective course. Is there a way for me to complete an elective rotation with them even though there isn’t a course to choose from in the electives catalog?

    Yes. As long as you have permission from someone at the site, you can propose a special elective rotation for an opportunity that is not offered in the regular course catalog. Please see the procedures and timelines for special electives.

  • Do I need to have all of the details for a special elective rotation figured out before I start the elective scheduling process?

    No. A special elective request does not need to be submitted until one month prior to the start of the rotation. For example, if you were to propose doing a special elective during February of your fourth year then the request form would be due by January 1 of your fourth year.

  • Do I need to submit a special elective proposal if I have received approval for an away rotation from a host institution in VSAS?

    Yes! To receive credit for an away rotation, you must have approval from IU School of Medicine for the rotation. A special elective request form must be submitted with supporting documentation from the host institution as soon as approval has been received for the rotation from the host institution. The form must be submitted a minimum of 30 days before the start of the rotation. Approval through VSLO by a host institution does not guarantee approval for credit by IU School of Medicine.