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Office of the Registrar

Houston, Texas

The Registrar Office provides services for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Office of the Registrar
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Introduction to the Elective Program

The elective program gives students the opportunity to select approximately 25 percent of their medical curriculum, and thereby places a major share of the responsibility for determining the direction of the educational effort directly on the student. To provide the student with wide latitude in designing their elective program, the faculty offers approximately 225 courses.

The elective credit requirements for graduation are as follows:

40 credits (equivalent to 20 weeks of study).

Of the credits required, eight credits may be earned from electives taken during the Pre-Clinical Curriculum. Medical students may also earn up to 16 of the credits while participating in visiting student elective programs officially conducted at other medical schools or other certified medical facilities. The remainder of the credits (24) must be selected from the elective course catalog and performed at Baylor College of Medicine.

Note: Students graduating in 2007 and after are required to select and pass one elective from the list of required Sub-Internships in the Elective Catalog. This elective must be completed between January of the third year and December of the fourth year.

Students participating in the M.D./Ph.D. program are eligible to transfer credit from their graduate school program to fulfill up to 24 of the credits required. They may earn eight of the remaining credits while participating in a visiting student elective program at certified facilities.

All electives (minimum of four (4) weeks required for each elective) performed away from Baylor College of Medicine must be certified by the Office of the Registrar in order for malpractice insurance to be in effect and elective credit to apply to graduation requirements.

These rules apply to the basic requirements for graduation, however, students are encouraged to utilize the elective program to broaden their knowledge earning as many elective credits as their schedule will permit. Non-clinical oriented research electives are also available to students but do not satisfy the basic requirements for graduation from the M.D. program.

The elective program, as conceived by the faculty, is not intended to facilitate early specialization by the medical student. Most faculty members agree that in the choice of electives, students should emphasize the acquisition of breadth of general medical knowledge and should not devote substantial elective time to areas in which they expect to have extensive postgraduate training.

The advantages of the flexibility offered by the elective program are twofold. First, the student who has not determined precise career goals after completing the required clinical rotations has the opportunity to experience firsthand a variety of areas in pre-clinical or clinical specialties, all of which offer attractive career options. It is anticipated that by such firsthand experience the student will be in a far better position to make a well-informed decision regarding long-range career goals.

Second, the student who has already determined long-range professional plans has the opportunity of taking additional pre-clinical/ clinical courses relevant to a future specialty, covering these fields far more comprehensively than can be accomplished in the required curriculum. Thus, the future surgeon can obtain additional training in anatomy, and the future internist can study mechanisms of disease by taking courses in pathology, biochemistry, virology, and genetics.

The current catalog lists course offerings by department/division, states whether the course is full-time, part-time, lecture or seminar, and lists the credits. We have purposely not listed hours for full-time courses since clinical electives, at the prerogative of the preceptor and departmental chairman, may include night call and weekend duties. Interdepartmental courses are listed in each department and are given the same number with the participating departments listed in parentheses. Not all courses are given every block or quarter, but since the time schedule for courses is often undetermined, we have not given the time of course offerings unless this information is firmly established for the coming year.

We strongly advise students who want information regarding elective programs appropriate to eventual specialization to discuss career goals with their mentor and/or a Dean in the Office of Student Affairs. In addition, the first faculty member listed in an elective course description should be consulted whenever questions arise regarding course material and its relevance to a particular student's plans.

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