How to Create Electives

IU School of Medicine offers elective courses in clinical practice, professional development and advanced science research, which serve to widen the student’s involvement in his/her medical education, gain deeper insight into their field of choice as well as to delve deeper into areas that may enhance their overall medical experience. Elective courses also provide each student with opportunities to strengthen areas of weakness and to pursue subjects of special interest.

Proposing a New Elective

The IU School of Medicine is always interested in supporting the development of new and innovative electives. If you are interested in pursuing the development of a new elective opportunity, then please complete the steps below.

Step 1: Review the Elective Policies and Procedures and the Frequently Asked Questions

Step 2: Complete and submit an Elective Proposal Form

The form includes the issues that you will need to think over and include in order for the elective to be approved. These include, the overall design of the elective, the objectives, the working plans that should provide an idea of how the objectives will be met, who will be involved in the operations of the elective, a tentative schedule, how many students will be allowed at a time, any prerequisites that the students must have met in order to participate, and how the student will be assessed. You can also view a Sample of Completed Elective Proposal.

You can find the elective proposal form by clicking on the “Elective Proposal Form” link on this page. The Submit button at the end of the form will prompt you to either automatically email the form (via desktop application) to or attach the form to an email with instructions to email to the same address. If you need assistance with this process, please contact

Step 3: Be available to answer questions and/or provide additional information throughout the Elective Review Process, as described below.

Elective Review Process

The approval process takes approximately one to three months from the time of proposal submission to reach final approval before course number assignment and course catalog listings are established.

Step 1: Proposal Submission—The Course Director (or designee) submits an Elective Proposal Form to

Step 2: MSE Office of Curricular Affairs Review—The proposal is received electronically by MSE Liaison (an Elective Sub-Committee representative) via the IUSM Electives Team email: The content is reviewed for content areas that may cause concern throughout the committee review/approval process. The MSE Liaison communicates change recommendations to the Proposal Submitter/Course Director. Once updates occur, the proposal moves to the next step.

Step 3: Department Chair Review/Approval—The proposal is sent to the appropriate Department Chair or designee for review/approval. If approved, the proposal moves to the next step of the process. If change recommendations are provided, then the MSE Liaison fosters communication between parties. Once updates occur, the proposal moves to the next step.

Step 4: Elective Subcommittee Review/Approval—Proposal is forwarded to the Elective Sub-Committee (ESC) of the Curriculum Council Steering Committee, which meets the 2nd Tuesday of every month. Proposals are assigned to teams of faculty members, who review content and present the proposal to all ESC members at the meeting.

  • If the elective is approved, the proposal moves to the next step of the process.
  • If there are changes needed, the assigned team will contact the course director, copying the proposal submitter (if relevant) to discuss and approve proposed changes. Once these recommendations are approved by the course director, the proposal will receive a final review at the next ESC meeting and, if approved, moves to the next step.

Step 5: Curriculum Council Steering Committee Review/Approval—The proposal is forwarded to the Curriculum Council Steering Committee (CCSC), which meets the second and third Tuesdays of every month.

  • If the elective is approved, the proposal moves to the next step of the process.
  • If there are changes needed, the CCSC chair will return the proposal back to the CCSC and/or the ESC, whichever is deemed most appropriate, to review and update (see Step 4)

Step 6: Course Number Assignment and Notification. After final CCSC approval, the course is routed to the Registrar’s office for course number assignment. Following course number assignment, the course information is forwarded for addition in the IUSM Elective Catalog. The MSE liaison also notifies, by email, the course director, department chair, center director (if relevant), and proposal submitter (if relevant) of the approval and course number. Once the course is live in the IUSM Elective Catalog, the MSE liaison or designee then notifies the students via the Student Newsletter of the new electives available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my responsibilities as a course director?

  • If not already an IUSM faculty member, obtain and maintain a volunteer faculty appointment with IUSM. Directions for initiating a faculty appointment are in the Elective Proposal Form.
  • Read and adhere to the IUSM Elective Policies and Procedures.
  • Determine the overall content and course schedule.
  • Oversee the elective course experience, including the assignment of additional teaching faculty
  • Assess students and assign grades.
  • Submit updates for the elective course to, both during the annual elective update window and as needed.

What should be in the Brief Elective Course Description on the proposal form?

The description will be viewed by students in the IUSM Elective Catalog where they make decisions about course selection. Content includes an overview of activities, expectations, and assessments used during the elective.

What should be included in the Elective Course Activities?

Include activity information that students will be required to participate in when taking the elective. Information should include: instructional setting/s, # of shifts/hours in clinic per week, laboratory work, weekly schedules, etc.

Who can be involved as “Other Faculty”?

Any full time physician or faculty member can be included in this category. They do not need to have a faculty appointment, unless they are designated as a Co-Director of the course.

How do I write learning objectives?

The Six ACGME categories of Medical Knowledge, Patient Care, Systems Based Practice, Practice Based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skill, and Professionalism are used to frame our Institutional Learning Objectives (ILO). These ILOs will be linked to the Course Level Objectives (CLO) you create for your course. You can find additional information about writing objectives at Tips for Writing Student Learning Objectives and are welcome to contact for additional assistance

Where can I find some example learning objectives? Below are examples organized by each Competency. If you need others, please contact

Medical Knowledge (MK)

  • Discuss the details of gross human anatomical structure and human embryology, and radiography as applied to the study of human structure (MK1).
  • Describe the pathophysiology of acute and chronic pain (MK3).
  • Apply knowledge of general surgical diseases, differential diagnosis and treatment options by contributing to the care of patients (MK5).
  • Diagnose and manage the most common skin diseases (MK4).

Patient Care (PC)

  • Use a fundamental approach to caring for patients with urgent and emergent medical conditions (PC1).
  • Diagnose and manage the 20 most common skin diseases (PC3).
  • Perform a directed history and physical exam to assess patients with skin disease, formulate a differential diagnosis, and initial management plan (PC2).
  • Perform the following procedures: KOH preparation, scraping for ectoparasites, skin biopsy, minor suturing, electrodessication (PC6).

Systems Based Practice (SBP)

  • Describe the impact of enhanced sensitivity to culture and diversity in patient populations, resulting in more compassionate, efficient healthcare delivery (SBP1).
  • Participate in and describe medical policy making (SBP4).
  • Explain the roles that EMS Medical Directors play in the overall operation of their respective ambulance systems (SBP6).
  • Discuss the roles played by the various disciplines involved in the care of the emergent patient and how to best use those individuals to provide excellent patient care (SBP6).

Practice Based Learning and Improvement (PBLI)

  • Understand and discuss their role as “teacher” in the medical profession (PBLI1).
  • Demonstrate active participation in laboratory teaching and evaluation (PBLI1).
  • Draw upon their existing medical knowledge to model the art of using science to guide diagnosis, management, and prevention of disease (PBLI2).
  • Discuss the information resources available to aid in the care of the emergent patient (PBLI3).
  • Discuss and evaluate surgical complications in the frame of quality improvement and assess medical literature for the surgical technique, outcome, and evidence-based medicine (PBLI3).

Interpersonal and Communication Skills (ICS)

  • Communicate effectively with patients and other members of the health care team (ISC1).
  • Demonstrate effective communication with Hispanic/Latino patients at clinical encounters as observed by preceptor (ISC3).
  • Construct and deliver a 90 minute lecture to first year medical students enrolled in LCME 507 (ISC5).
  • Create a scholarly abstract suitable for submission to a national or regional conference (ISC5).

Professionalism (P)

  • Explain awareness of the need for culturally competent care oriented toward the growing Hispanic community of Indianapolis (P2).
  • Describe the risks and benefits of surgical procedures and understanding of informed consent by obtaining surgical consent (P4).
  • Recognize appropriate indications for reporting suspected abuse, work effectively with Child Protection Services and convey appropriate information to all involved persons (P5).

What forms of assessment can be used?

  1. Clinical Performance Evaluation (for clinical performance electives)
  2. Professional Development Evaluation (for professional development electives)
  3. Research Evaluation (for advanced science electives)
  4. Other Forms (Examples may include observation, oral exam, written exam, logbook entries, case presentation, oral presentation, written essay, discussion with faculty, etc.)