International Electives Policy

Policy ID Number: N/A
Policy Title: International Electives
Classification: University
Approval Authority: Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
Responsible Entity: College of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education
Policy Owner: Selectives and Electives Committee

I. Policy Statement

Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine employs a process to review all proposed international electives prior to approval, to ensure the return of a performance assessment of the student, and to obtain an evaluation of the elective by the student.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all proposed international electives that MUSC students in the 4th Year/ Enrichment Phase may be permitted to complete at other medical schools, institutions, or organizations.

III. Approval Authority

The Selectives and Electives Committee is responsible for periodic review of this policy and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee is responsible for final approval.

IV. Purpose of This Policy

The purpose of this policy and guidelines are 1) to provide a framework for the oversight of international electives for medical students and 2) to provide guidance to MUSC College of Medicine students and administrators who receive requests from enrolled students to complete international electives as part of the requirements for their MD degree.

V. Who Should Be Knowledgeable about This Policy

College of Medicine MD Students
Selectives and Electives Committee
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
Faculty and Administrative Staff in the College of Medicine
Faculty and Administrative Staff in the MUSC Center for Global Health

VI. The Policy

Students may be approved to complete one four-week international elective during 4th year (Enrichment Phase). No more than four weeks of academic credit in the 4th year (Enrichment Phase) may be applied toward graduation requirements. To be eligible for international electives, students must be full-time matriculated students in good academic standing with successful completion of all of their clinical core clerkships and promoted to the enrichment phase (year four) of training. While on international rotations, students are responsible for compliance with pertinent MUSC policies (ex. absence policy, professionalism policy, dress code policy etc.).

Students may only apply to participate in international electives operated by the MUSC Center for Global Health or by MUSC-affiliated partners OneWorldHealth and Child Family Health International. The Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine reviews all international elective courses before approval and after receipt of student feedback in order to assess any potential risks to students as well as the educational quality of the experience. In particular, review of international electives considers:

• Potential risks to the health and safety of patients, students, and the community at large;
(e.g. infectious disease)
• The availability of, and support to, obtain emergency care while on site, particularly in the event of a needle stick, occupational exposure, or if the student should become ill during the elective
• The possibility of natural disasters, political instability, and exposure to disease (ex. hurricane warnings, potential for or reported violence, disease outbreaks, and travel warnings)
• The need for additional preparation prior to, support during, and follow up after the elective
• The level and quality of teaching and supervision
• Any potential challenges to the code of medical ethics adopted by the home school
• Appropriate provision of information to students to support their needs and education experience while on rotation (ex. name and contact information for course director, course coordinator, student affairs, dean of students, etc.)

For all international electives, students must submit a description of the elective with the learning objectives, patient experiences, level of supervision, potential safety issues, and expected responsibilities to the Director of Clinical Curriculum and Visiting Student Program. These are reviewed and approved by the Selectives and Electives Committee or its designee. It is the responsibility of the student to adhere to any visiting student policies of the host institution and to all policies of the MUSC Center for Global Health. In particular, the student should
• Carry an ID badge identifying them as a medical student with them at all times, as well as their health insurance card;
• Refer to the sponsoring organization’s rotation materials for details on where to report in the event of a needle stick or blood/body fluid exposure or other emergent/urgent situations and follow those guidelines; and
• Contact the COM Office of Student Affairs for further assistance (011 1-843-792-1184) should the student become aware, at any point, of a threat to their learning environment or safety. The student should also contact their sponsoring organization, the MUSC Center for Global Health, and International S.O.S., as appropriate.

MUSC may revoke approval of the international elective at any point in time and mandate that the student return to campus.

MUSC requires that students who complete international electives have a formal performance assessment submitted to the Dean’s Office at the completion of their rotation. The Director of Clinical Curriculum and Visiting Student Program monitors, tracks, and reviews the submitted assessments.

MUSC requires that students complete an evaluation of their international elective experience following completion of the rotation. Tracking of student evaluations is performed centrally. The Selectives and Electives Committee is responsible for ongoing monitoring of all international electives, periodic review of student evaluations by the committee, and provision of prior student feedback to students so they may make informed choices. Student feedback will be redacted or summarized to protect the anonymity of students.

VII. Special situations


VIII. Sanctions for Non-compliance

In cases where the policy is violated, the College of Medicine Dean’s Office staff will discuss with the sponsoring organization and, if applicable, the student, to educate them about the policy. The student will receive a professionalism form regarding the non-compliance if applicable

IX. Related Information


X. Communication Plan

The policy will be reviewed at the annual Planning for 4th Year/Enrichment Phase presentation and published on the COM policy website.

XI. Definitions


XII. Review Cycle

The Selectives and Electives Committee will review the policy every 2 years.

XIII. Approval History

Approval Authority Date Approved
Selectives and Electives Committee 05/28/19
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee 09/20/19
Selectives and Electives Committee 01/28/20
Clinical Science Planning and Evaluation Committee 03/05/20
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee 03/06/20

XIV. Approval Signature

Donna Kern, MD           March 6, 2020

Title: Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education