Academic Requirements - Courses



Required Rotations:

Acting Internship: One four week Acting Internship course is required.

Specialties:  One four week Specialties course is required. 

Basic Sciences:  One four week Basic Science course is required. 

Transition to Residency:  IDY-481 required to be taken in Block 9.

In addition to the 4 courses /16 credits of required rotations, there are 4 courses/16 credits of additional rotations that are required for graduation.  Students must have the required 32 credits to graduate. 

Special Electives “444”

Special Elective “444” courses (Independent Study) are designed to offer students and faculty an opportunity to develop electives which are not currently offered in the M4 Oasis Electives Course Catalog and can only be established with a USA faculty member.  Steps for course “444” approval are:  The student must first contact The Associate Dean, Medical Education & Student Affairs by email and present the course of interest. The student will need to attach a written proposal delineating specific objectives and list the responsible USA faculty.

Maximum Number of Courses Per Department:

Although University of South Alabama elective courses are designed to be four weeks in length, faculty members often agree to lengthen or shorten courses for seniors.  These courses require special permission and an Exception Form must be filled out.  The following rules apply:

  1. The student is allowed the max of 4 courses at 4 credits each from the same department – including:  Audition Electives and Special Electives.  For example - when the student looks at the schedule the student should have NO MORE that 4 courses that start with the same department code, i.e. MED, OPD, SUR, OGY, etc. 


Course List


    • Transition to Residency: All M4s MUST take in Block 9
    • IDY-481 – Transition to Residency

    • Basic Sciences: MUST schedule 1
    • BSC-407 – Teaching Assistantship Anatomy - (Blocks 7 & 8 only)
    • BSC-440 - Teaching in Medicine
    • BSC-480 – Reflection on Basic Science
    • BSC-481 – Clinical Anatomy - (Block 10 only)
    • PHM-480 – Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics - (Block 1 only)

    • Acting Internship: MUST schedule 1
    • EMM-450 – Acting Internship Emergency Medicine
    • EMM-453 - Acting Internship Pediatric Emergency Medicine
    • FMP-450 – Acting Internship Family Medicine
    • MED-450 – Acting Internship Medicine
    • MED-452 – Acting Internship Critical Care Medicine
    • NRY-450 – Acting Internship Neurology
    • OGY-450 – Acting Internship Obstetrics
    • OGY-451 – Acting Internship Gynecology Oncology
    • OGY-461 – Acting Internship High-Risk Obstetrics
    • OPD-450 – Acting Internship Orthopedic Surgery
      PCH -450 -  Acting Internship Psychiatry
      PED -450 - Acting Internship Pediatrics
      PED -451 - Acting Internship Pediatric Critical Care
    • PED - 452 - Acting Internship Neonatology - Pediatrics
    • SUR - 450 - Acting Internship General Surgery
    • SUR - 452 - Acting Internship Surgery Critical Care
    • SUR - 454 - Acting Internship GI & Laparoscopic Gastrointestinal
    • SUR - 455 - Acting Internship Colorectal Surgery
    • Specialties: MUST schedule 1
    • EMM-460 – Emergency Medicine
    • FMP-461 – Family Medicine Office Rotation
    • MED-460 – Pulmonary Medicine
    • MED-462 – Renal Medicine –Nephrology-Kidney
    • MED-463 – Cardiology Consultation Service
    • MED-464 – Infectious Disease
    • MED-465 – Gastroenterology
    • MED-468 – Cardiology Inpatient Service
    • MED-470 – MercyLIFE-Geriatrics
    • NRY-460 – Clinical Outpatient Neurology
    • NSY-480 – Neurological Surgery
    • OGY-465 – Gynecologic Surgery
    • PAT-482 – Surgical Pathology
    • PCH-460 – Psychiatry Ambulatory
    • PED-460 – Pediatric Cardiology
    • PED-461 – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
    • PED-462 – Pediatric Subspecialty Clinic
    • PED-464 – Pediatric Ambulatory Care
    • PED-465 – Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition
    • PED-466 – Pediatric Emergency Medicine
    • PED-470 – Pediatric Infectious Diseases
    • PED-472 – Pediatric Endocrinology
    • PED-473 – The Adolescent Patient
    • RAY-460 – Intervention Radiology Clerkship
    • RAY-481 – Radiology Clerkship I
    • SUR-451 – Burn Surgical Subspecialty
    • SUR-458 – Surgical Oncology: Breast & Endocrine
    • SUR-465 – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    • SUR-481 – Ophthalmology –Dr. Semple – (limited blocks to Ophthalmology students only)

    • Electives: Electives available in the M4 year but not required
    • ANY-401 – Anesthesiology Elective/In House
    • EMM-411 – Emergency Medicine Response
    • FMP-430 – Population Medicine
    • IDY-481 – Wilderness in Medicine
    • INT-410 – Elective to Rwanda- (form must be signed by Dr. Peevy) (Block 8)
    • OGY-480 – Ultrasound (signature required by course director)
    • PAT-483 – Laboratory Medicine for the Practicing Physician
    • RAY-480 – Basic Radiology
      RAY-483 – Pediatric Radiology
    • RAY-484 – Radiology Clerkship II

Away Electives - Off Campus Away Audition Electives

During the Senior year the student may choose to participate in senior year work “off-campus.” This opportunity allows the student to evaluate the practice of medicine at other schools or abroad, as well as a chance to evaluate these programs as potential sites for residency training. The student is allowed to take up to (3) different four week block Audition Electives at approved institutions. The student is NOT allowed to rotate at an institution/office where a parent/family member is employed. The student is not allowed to start any part of their M4 senior year before the actual Block 1 start date. NOTE: All questions concerning away Audition Electives should be handled with Karen Braswell in Mastin #202.

Steps to Obtain an Away Elective

Elective rotations not listed in the senior Course Catalog in OASIS are called Audition Electives “400”. Simply follow the steps outlined below in the order listed. Negotiations with the people at the off-campus site should begin as early as possible. This is particularly true, of course, if the elective is in another country. The student is limited to three (3) Audition Electives the entire M4 senior year.

  1. Determine that a given school, hospital, or program does accept senior level students for short term training. The AAMC Extramural Audition Electives Compendium can be found at:
    This resource contains essential information regarding elective opportunities, e.g., school contact and Website addresses, etc. at Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) - accredited medical schools in the U.S. Some other resources (brochures/fliers) are also available in the student room in Mastin 202.
  2. Obtain course name, number, and faculty member in charge, address, email, telephone, course objectives, description, and exact dates of anticipated rotation. Most schools do not have the same block dates that we have; some will work with the student to allow them to take the extramural audition elective during our block/s. This is the most desired option as once the student begins to split blocks, it affects the student’s entire senior schedule. For those that will not change dates, the student may have to “sandwich” the extramural audition elective between vacation blocks.
  3. Students may also use the telephone in the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs at Mastin 202 to contact the program’s electives coordinator. Several things should be accomplished during this phone contact. First, of course, is determining the availability of the course at the time the student desires to take the course. The student should be flexible, if possible, both in the choice of an elective and the dates the student can attend. The student may request an application, if it is not available online at the site-location website. The student can inquire about provisions for housing, meals, laundry, etc. These are usually not provided. The student should obtain the specific name and address of the person to whom the student should mail the application and the complete check off list for their school.
  4. Complete their application form paying particular attention to any special requests such as health certificate (immunization requirements), our school official seal, registration fees, criminal background checks, etc.
  5. Complete our “green” faculty approval form (AUDITION ELECTIVE APPROVAL FORM) and have the form signed by the appropriate chairman (e.g., a Medicine Audition Elective must be approved by our Department of Medicine chairman) and the student’s faculty advisor. These forms are always located in the student room in Mastin 202 or online and are due to Karen Braswell NO LATER than 30 days before the rotation begins.
  6. Call and make an appointment with Karen Braswell in Mastin 202 once the student has all the papers completed. Take the audition elective application (Number 4 above) with the student’s portion completed and signed and the completed and signed “green” audition elective approval form and all other items needed to the meeting in the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs, Mastin 202. If all
    requirements have been met, she will complete the form and mail it for the student. Be sure that the school is accepting applications at that time and not at a later date. Most schools will not process early forms sent to them. Our office does NOT accept other visiting student’s applications until after June 1st once all of our student’s schedules have been set. The “green” AUDITION ELECTIVE APPROVAL FORM will be placed in the student’s file and the student OASIS schedule will be updated with the information. When the student’s evaluation has been received, we will attach the green audition elective approval form to the back of the student’s evaluation and send it to student records.
  7. When the student receives confirmation (email or written), inform the Mastin Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs (sometimes, this office is sent a copy, but often, all correspondence is directly with the student). Forward the acceptance email to This is essential if the required Medical Malpractice coverage exceeds the coverage at U.S.A. If the away institution does require more than the Mil/3 Mil coverage – they should have a contact at their institution for students to obtain more. If the student does not receive confirmation of participation in the rotation in a reasonable period of time, the student should contact the electives coordinator at that school, again, either by email or telephone.
  8. The student should at all times provide the Office of Student Records with a current up-to-date address and/or phone number (in addition to a current cell phone number) where the student can be reached while they are away. The M4 Oasis software does not update the student’s main contact information in the Office of Student Records. You must complete this process with the Associate Registrar.
  9. Evaluation Forms: IMPORTANT! Pick up a Senior Performance Evaluation grade form and postage paid envelope before the student leaves on an Audition Elective and hand carry it to the extramural elective Course Director. At the end of the rotation, the student should ask the Physician assigned to them to complete the form and mail the evaluation to our office in the postage paid envelope. The student must be evaluated by a Physician. Senior It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the grade arrives in the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs in Mastin 202 within 2 weeks after the rotation has ended. The student will not receive credit if an evaluation is not received in a timely manner.
  10. If the student elects not to take an Audition Elective for which they have received confirmation, be sure to cancel it with that school (if verbal, make a notation of whom the student talk has spoken with and on what date). The student represents the University of South Alabama and it is unprofessional to not show up or cancel at a late date for a rotation the student has scheduled.
  11. The dates in OASIS for the Audition Elective must match up to the dates the student is participating in the audition elective. The Evaluation Form must also match up exactly to the dates listed in OASIS for the student or it will be rejected. 

Audition Electives Issues to Avoid

If the AUDITION ELECTIVE APPROVAL FORM with all of the necessary signatures is NOT SUBMITTED to the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs 30 days PRIOR to the beginning of the elective, the student will not be covered by professional liability (malpractice) insurance during that elective and in addition, THE STUDENT WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THE ROTATION. If the student comes to the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs AFTER they have completed an off-campus elective to turn in the paperwork, the student will NOT RECEIVE any credit for those 4 weeks. It will be as if the student never attended the rotation. No exceptions will be made. This statement is emphasized because there have been seniors in past years who have run afoul of this requirement for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Some have forgotten to complete the green Audition Elective form before they left for the away elective.
  2. Some students have wrongly assumed that paperwork submitted by the student and/or the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs to another medical school or the military (attesting that the student is in good standing) meets the requirements. For schools that use VSLO this is not an issue. However, for those schools that do not use VSLO, it is the responsibility of the student to be certain that all paperwork satisfies the Audition Elective requirements.
  3. Some have left their extramural school’s application and our Audition Away Elective APPROVAL FORM in a faculty member or Chairman’s office with the request that the form be signed and mailed to the Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs. The form may or may not make it to our office. All students should keep up with their paperwork and follow through. Oasis will have updated information for the student located on their schedule.
  4. Students have said, “Well, I put it on the chairman’s secretary desk,” or, “I handed it to her;” however, when the student’s file is pulled, the document is simply not there. No matter how much we believe the student and no matter how much the student believes that it is our fault, if the paperwork isn’t in the student’s file, it doesn’t exist and never did exist and the course is NOT approved.

    To avoid this problem, go on-line and check the schedule in OASIS. If the form has been turned, the information regarding the Audition Elective will be posted on the student’s schedule beneath the course title. Although it is important that we know where the student can be reached at all times during the senior year, this is particularly true during extramural rotations.

Karen Braswell, Supervisor, College of Medicine, Clinical Education, Mastin 202 is the contact person in Office of Medical Education & Student Affairs to assist the students in applying for extramural electives- or (251) 471-7145.

VSAS (Visiting Student Learning Opportunities)

Most schools can only be processed online through the VSLO program. To learn more about VSLO, please visit their web site:  Updates to the schools can be checked daily through their web‐site. Students will pay fees based on the number of electives they apply to, regardless of the number of dates selected for each. The first three (3) electives are covered by a base fee of $40 USD. Each elective thereafter is $15 each.


Acting Internship

4th Year Electives Options for Acting Internship

An in-house designated Acting Internship from the list is required for all M4 students. This includes Audition Electives deemed by the USA COM department chair as compliant with the following minimum standards.

Acting Internship:  Minimum Standards

These standards represent the minimum requirements for a 4th year medical student elective to be designated as an Acting Internship (AI). These standards are applicable to the present departmental Acting Internships.

  1. The Acting Intern will be the primary provider of care for hospital patients of the Service, operating at the level of a PGY-1 Resident, with appropriate supervision by housestaff and attending physicians.  
  2. The AI will be integrated into the same work schedule of the Service as that of PGY-1 Residents to include the taking of night and weekend call or of assigned shifts, attendance at conferences, and attendance at outpatient clinics.
  3. The AI will perform a comprehensive history and physical examination on each patient assigned to him/her.
  4. The AI will maintain the medical record in a fashion identical to that of a PGY-1 Resident with the counter-signed admission History and Physical and daily progress notes entered in the electronic medical record.
  5. The AI will perform, under direct supervision, patient procedures that are expected of a PGY-1 Resident.
  6. The AI will be responsible for arranging for the orderly discharge of his/her patients to include discharge instructions, prescription of home medications (counter-signed by a licensed physician), and arrangements for post-hospital follow-up.
  7. The AI will prepare and complete a written and/or dictated Discharge Summary that, when counter-signed will be part of the permanent medical record.