American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Value of Electives During Medical School

During your fourth year of medical school you will have the opportunity to take some electives. Most program directors agree that the fourth year of medical school should be spent learning things you won't get to during residency years. Recommended electives include: anesthesia, radiology, intensive care (either surgical or medical), pulmonary, and cardiology. You should refer to the American College of Surgeons Prerequisite Objectives for Graduate Surgical Education: a Study of the Graduate Medical Education Committee and determine wherein your deficiencies lie. Arrange your electives accordingly.

"Away" electives

Most general surgery programs do not require that you do a surgery elective at program sites that you are interested in (sometimes referred to as audition electives). However, orthopedic surgery programs do make a strong recommendation that you do. The other specialties lie somewhere in between. You need to identify an advisor or two and get their input as to the impact of doing such an elective.