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New Elective Course Proposal Process

Thank you for your interest in proposing a new School of Medicine (SOM) elective course! Proposals for new elective courses offered primarily to medical students are reviewed by the SOM Electives Committee (EC) via the process described below. Questions? Contact

 Note: Courses offered by SOM faculty that are primarily targeted to graduate students are reviewed instead by the SOM Graduate Programs Education Committee (GPEC). If your proposal falls in the GPEC category, contact for a referral to that process.

Proposal Requirements

To propose a new elective, please carefully review the course type descriptions below and complete the following steps:


Prepare a syllabus for your proposed elective using the template linked below:

Syllabus Guide (DOC)

Complete the New Elective Proposal Form for your proposed class type:

Preclinical Elective (DOC)

MS3 Selectives (DOC) 

MS4 Clinical Electives (DOC)

Complete the Electives Proposal Course Approval Form linked below:

Course Approval Form 

Course directors for School of Medicine electives must be UC San Diego SOM faculty with an appropriate faculty appointment. In very rare cases, faculty from another UC San Diego Health Sciences professional school may be permitted to direct a preclinical elective. Non-SOM faculty should contact for more details before continuing with this course proposal.

Once completed, submit all materials via email to

Approval Process & Timing

  1. The EC meets once a month from September through June. Once a new elective proposal is received it will typically be reviewed within a month or two depending on the submission timing and the EC’s existing review load.
  2. The EC may approve a new course outright, with recommendations, or pending. If approved pending, additional changes must be made or information provided for full approval; this can add time to the process. Please respond to a pending approval notice ASAP.
  3. If the EC approves the new course, paperwork will be routed for signatures and submitted to the main campus Registrar’s Office for approval by the Academic Senate. Please plan ahead; courses may not be offered until the approval process is complete.


Please be aware that the full approval process typically takes 2-3 quarters (not including summers) to complete!

Course Types

Preclinical Electives

 Preclinical Electives provide MS1 and MS2 students with opportunities to gain experience, develop skills, and explore fields of medicine at the outset of their medical school career. Most students are required to take five PCE in their preclinical years. These courses:

  • Typically require 2-3 hours of in- and out-of-class work per week for 8 weeks, or the equivalent amount of time (16-24 hours per quarter) condensed into a shorter period
  • Graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) scale and offered for 1 unit
  • Offered after 1 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays in the Fall, Winter and Spring

MS3 Selectives

Selectives are taken by MS3 students to explore specialized clinical practice areas along side their core clerkships. Currently students take two, 2-week selectives but– starting in Summer 2025 – students will be required to take three, 3-week selectives. Due to the length of the approval process, all new selective proposals must meet the new criteria and start in summer 2025. Selectives are:

  • 40 hours per week for three weeks (6 units each)
  • Graded Pass/Fail (no honors)
  • In compliance with the UCSD SOM policy on medical student work hours

MS4 Clinical Electives

Clinical Electives are taken by MS4 students to further explore specialties as they apply for residency. They may be categorized as either Direct Patient Care (DPC) when the student is part of the treating team that makes and executes patient care decisions, or Non-DPC when their role is more consultative in nature. Clinical electives are:

  • 40 hours per week for four weeks (7 units each)
  • Graded Honors/Near Honors/Pass/Fail
  • In compliance with the UCSD SOM policy on medical student work hours