9.7 Clinical Electives Policy

Policy Statement
Students pursuing clinical electives at outside institutions for credit is contingent on the student meeting all criteria: eligibility, approval, credit, and performance evaluation, as specified in the Curriculum Office’s educational requirements.

The University’s malpractice insurance does not cover students during away electives unless they are formally enrolled for credit at the University of Washington. Retroactive credit may not be awarded for any course or clerkship for which the student did not receive approval and register prior to taking the course or clinical clerkship or elective, including those taken away from the University.

Requirements, Procedures and Guidelines

Special Assignment Electives are 2- or 4-week clinical electives for students who have completed their Required Patient Care clerkships. All electives must begin on a Monday and end on a Friday. Special assignment electives cannot be used for research credits nor to fulfill Advanced Patient Care requirements. These electives must be approved by the department that administers your preceptor’s specialty (ex. FAMED electives cannot be approved by Internal Medicine).

There are two types of Special Assignment electives with specific requirements for each. Clerkships must take place within the UW School of Medicine Academic Clinical Calendar’s 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 student is taking a 697 away clerkship at another LCME accredited institution.  Special Assignment elective require departmental permission; most clerkships require completion of required MS3/Patient Care clerkships.  This is determined by the Department- please check with department administrator for pre-requisites.

Away Special Assignment – 697s

  • Outside of WWAMI region
  • Clerkships generally follow the dates on the UW SOM Clinical Calendar, although special exceptions can be made.

WWAMI Special Assignment – 699s

  • Within WWAMI region
  • Clerkship must follow clerkship dates on UW SOM Clinical Calendar
  • Special Assignment electives at non-LCME accredited institutions or non-ACGME accredited Residency programs are permissible within the WWAMI region, and require additional application information.


  • Applications for electives at LCME* accredited institutions and ACGME** accredited Residency programs are due to SOM a minimum 2 weeks before the start date to allow for processing.
  • Applications for electives at non-LCME accredited institutions or ACGME accredited Residency programs are a due to SOM a minimum of 2 months before the start date to allow for processing.

*Most university programs (ex. Stanford University Hospital) are LCME accredited, whereas private clinics and community-based programs (ex. Providence Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane) are not. Check for LCME accredited schools here.

**You can check for ACGME Accredited Residency Programs here.

Please note:

  • A course which was previously passed may be repeated one time for credit to receive financial aid.
  • It is not appropriate use of Special Assignment Electives to take an established elective during an off-calendar timeframe.

Effective: Current
Last updated: October 19. 2023
Policy Contact: UW School of Medicine, Curriculum Office, somgov@uw.edu; Education Quality Improvement Office, eqi@uw.edu