Clerkship Scheduling Policy

Policy Statement
Students’ clinical schedules are created by the School of Medicine’s Registrar’s Office in the year prior to the start of clerkships. All assignments and/or changes to students’ schedules are made exclusively by the School of Medicine Registrar’s Office and no other parties may change clinical schedules, sites, and/or timeframes including but not limited to: other academic affairs staff; department clerkship directors or coordinators; WWAMI deans, faculty, or staff; site coordinators; or preceptors.

Approval of any schedule changes due to extenuating circumstances, such as illness or personal/family emergency, residency interviews etc. must be approved by the UW School of Medicine Associate Dean for Student Affairs before the Registrar will modify a student’s schedule. It is the student’s obligation to contact the Registrar’s Office to ensure that the updates are made to their clinical schedule.

All clerkship timeframes must start on a Monday and end on a Friday and are approved for two, four, six, eight- and twelve-week timeframes.  Because clerkships are approved by the School of Medicine Curriculum Committee and UW Curriculum Committee for specific credits and timeframes, clerkships may not be shortened or lengthened.

Since the University of Washington is on a quarter system, clerkships offered by the UW School of Medicine must take place within the 12-week quarter and cannot overlap with breaks or extend into another quarter.  Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if a UW medical student is taking an  away clerkship at another LCME accredited institution.

Requirements, Procedures and Guidelines

Patient Care Phase Clerkship Scheduling
Unless approved by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or the Student Progress Committee, students are not permitted to expand the curriculum within the Patient Care Phase. Each clerkship must be taken in a full-time capacity, (i.e. it is not acceptable to expand a six-week clerkship over ten weeks). To ensure educational continuity, the Patient Care Phase year must be completed without interruption, assuring development of clinical skills, preparation for USMLE Step 2 CK, Patient Care OSCE and time for students to meet all requirements. Students should review the Student Progress Committee policy for additional information about expanding the curriculum.

The Patient Care Phase curriculum scheduling is managed by the School of Medicine’s Registrar’s Office within Academic Affairs. Clerkships will be assigned based on WRITE, Olympia LIC, Track, Greater Seattle Area option, or traditional program guidelines, including regional and departmental requests of minimum enrollment at sites. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs can approve variances within the usual scheduling guidelines.

Once the Patient Care Phase clinical schedules are published, students have a two-week window to review their assigned clerkship sites and timeframes. During that two-week review period, students have the opportunity to “swap/trade” with other students by mutual consent.

Swap/Trade Rules
Students who wish to “swap/trade” must find another student willing to “swap/trade” via student-initiated communication. Students wishing to “swap/trade” with one another are required to set up an appointment with the School of Medicine’s Registrar’s Office for the schedule changes to be reviewed, approved, and facilitated. Many factors are taken into consideration prior to approving a “swap/trade.” These include, but are not limited to, schedule and travel coordination, housing availability, and academic standing. Once the two-week review/swap/trade window has concluded, students may not drop, add, or change required clerkships for the remainder of the year. Approval of any schedule changes due to extenuating circumstances, such as illness or personal/family emergency, must be approved by the School of Medicine Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

All changes to students’ schedules must be made through the Registrar’s Office; no other parties may change clinical schedules, sites, and/or timeframes, including but not limited to other Academic Affairs staff; department clerkship directors and coordinators; WWAMI deans, faculty, and staff; site coordinators; and preceptors. In cases where permission is necessary, it is the student’s obligation to contact the School of Medicine Registrar’s Office to ensure that the updates are made to their clinical schedule.

Explore & Focus Phase Scheduling
The Explore and Focus Phase requires two Advanced Patient Care clerkship requirements (one of which must be a subinternship), an Emergency Medicine requirement, a Neuroscience requirement, as well as a Transition to Residency requirement for all students. Students should refer to clinical elective policies when scheduling their coursework to ensure they complete sufficient credits to meet graduation requirements.

After the Explore and Focus Phase clinical schedules are released, students may revise their schedule up to six weeks prior to the start of a clerkship. After the six-week deadline, students may not drop, add, or change their required clerkships without approval from the department that is responsible for the clerkship. Some departments have further limitations when dropping their clerkships (such as permission from the department), that supersede the six-week guideline mentioned above.

All changes to students’ schedules must be made through the University of Washington School of Medicine Registrar’s Office. No other parties may change clinical schedules, sites, and/or timeframes, including but not limited to: other Academic Affairs staff; department clerkship directors and coordinators; WWAMI deans, faculty and staff; site coordinators; and preceptors. In cases where permission is necessary, it is the student’s obligation to contact the School of Medicine’s Registrar’s Office to ensure that changes are made to their clinical schedule.

Clinical Elective Clerkships Add/Drop Policies
Clinical electives may be added or dropped up to six weeks prior to the start of the clerkship. Clerkships identified as “permission only” require students to seek permission from the department to add, drop, or otherwise modify their registration related to that particular course. After the six-week deadline, students may not add an elective clerkship without approval from the clerkship department that is responsible for the clerkship. Approval to drop an elective that is less than 6 weeks away due to extenuating circumstances, such as illness, personal/family emergency, residency interviews, etc. must be approved by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. Some permission-only electives may also require the approval of the sponsoring department’s clinical clerkship coordinator.

Effective: Current
Last updated: April 9, 2021
Policy Contact: UW School of Medicine, Curriculum Office, somgov@uw.edu; Education Quality Improvement Office, eqi@uw.edu