D&I Policies

During D&I, students must adhere to the following policies and guidelines that pertain to registration and attendance.

Four Week Policy
The Office of Medical Education observes and enforces a policy that restricts schedule changes within 4 weeks of the rotation start date. At the 4 week mark, course directors and coordinators start to assemble their rosters for the following month, which may include assigning preceptors and preparing orientation materials. Changes within 4 weeks of the start date may be reviewed by the Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs, based on the following criteria:

  • personal emergency of the student;
  • faculty not available to provide the course as described;
  • urgent academic issue; or
  • a change in career plans.

This policy affects all schedule changes within 4 weeks, including electives at P&S and away institutions. All Self-Arranged electives fall under the 4 week policy. Students who request to add Away electives within 4 weeks of the start date must receive approval by the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs before the rotation is pursued or started. Requests made after the start of the rotation will only be considered under extreme circumstances, and if related to the student's wellbeing. Students risk forfeiting a month of elective credit if the request to add/drop is not made prior to the rotation start date.

As a courtesy to faculty, staff, and other P&S students, it is the student's responsibility to contact the Office of Medical Education in a timely fashion. For further instruction, please visit UserVoice.

Specialty Restrictions for Original Class of 2017 Students
Students in the original Class of 2017 who are now part of the Class of 2018 have two options regarding specialty requirements:

  • Option 1: Students may enroll in unlimited specialty electives and must take a Medicine, Pediatrics, or Surgery subinternship before graduation.
  • Option 2: Students may enroll in up to 3 (or up to 7 if waiving Scholarly Projects) specialty electives and must take a Medicine, Neuro ICU, or SICU subinternship before graduation. The specialty restrictions are as follows for Option 2:
    • Except for medicine and pediatrics (which are unlimited), students can receive credit for two (2) electives in the same specialty. A total of three (3) electives are allowed if a Medicine, Neuro ICU, or SICU subinternship is also completed. This policy includes all electives at P&S and at away sites.
    • Students can receive credit for only one (1) month in a Medicine or Pediatrics subspecialty. Example: 1 Cardiology, 1 Nephrology, etc.
    • All surgical subspecialties count together as Surgery.
    • All Emergency Medicine (including pediatric) count as Emergency Medicine.
    • All ICUs (except for pediatric) count as Medicine (SICU and NeuroICU). NeuroICU will not count towards the total of Neurology/Neurosurgery electives.
    • Neuro subspecialties (Neuroradiology, Neuroophthalmology, Neuropathology, Neurosurgery) count as Neurology AND the second specialty.

Medicine Subinternships (March through September)
Due to high volume of need for subinternships prior to residency applications (March through September), P&S students are permitted one (1) Medicine Subinternship from March through September. This restriction does not apply to subinternships in other specialties unless otherwise communicated to the class. Example: Students may take a Medicine subinternship and a Surgical subinternship in March through September.

Students can take only one of the following Medicine subinternships March through September 2016:

  • MEDI-MD09P **Aids Subinternship (NYP)
  • MEDI-MD10P **Oncology Subinternship (NYP)
  • MEDI-MD13P **Medicine: Hospitalist Subinternship @ Allen (NYP)
  • MEDI-MD14P **ICU Subinternship @ Allen (NYP)
  • MEDI-MD16P **Cardiac ICU @ Millstein (NYP)
  • MEDI-MD17P **Medicine: Hospital Subinternship (NYP)
  • MEDI-MD20C **Medicine Subinternship (Bassett)
  • MEDI-MD20P **Heart Hostpial CCU (NYP)
  • MEDI-MD23C **Intensive Care Subinternship (Bassett)
  • MEDI-MD30S **Medicine Subinternship (Stamford)
  • MEDI-MD31S **Critical Care Subinternship (Stamford)
  • MEDI-MD44H **Critical Care Subinternship (Harlem)
  • MEDI-PU02P **Critical Care Subinternship (NYP)

Students who take 3 electives in any one specialty (other than Medicine and Pediatrics), and are therefore required to take a Medicine subinternship, can do so at any point before graduation. Therefore, students who only need to fulfill this requirement are advised to enroll in the medicine subinternship after September 2016, which will provide space for students who need the medicine subinternship for residency applications.

Away Electives and VSAS
Away Electives
A maximum of three (3) electives may be taken at an away site. All away electives must be at least 4 weeks in length, except for the University of California system, which can be 3 weeks.

P&S students are also not allowed to drop a Columbia elective for an away site within 4 weeks of the rotation. This does not meet the criteria for dropping a course, and P&S students are advised to not add a Columbia elective if planning to go away. If the away site falls through, it is much more convenient to add a Columbia elective after the fact, and the Office of Medical Education is happy to help those students in need of electives.

Visiting Student Application System (VSAS)
P&S students are responsible for knowing what materials are needed for their away site applications, and are expected to coordinate these applications in advance to avoid last-minute requests. Due to the volume of P&S students using VSAS, please note the following estimates for processing VSAS requests:

  • Transcripts: One week to upload. Please contact the CUMC Registrar to request a copy of your transcript.
  • Letters of Recommendation: One week to upload. Letter writers can email pselectives@columbia.edu attaching your formatted letter, or you may submit a hard copy to the front desk in Room 3-401.
  • Verification and Releasing Applications: Every week day at 9:00am. For emergency requests, please submit a ticket through UserVoice.

Self-Arranged Electives: Preceptorships and Research
Due to the volume of requests for self-arranged electives, all requests must adhere to the Four Week Policy. To add a self-arranged elective, please review instructions in UserVoice:

Research Summaries
For self-arranged research electives, a two to five page summary of the month’s activities and results will be required to receive a grade. Results of the research do not have to be shared if being published. The Office of Medical Education guarantees privacy of all research projects.

P&S Attendance and Absence Policy
Students are responsible for keeping electives faculty and staff aware of all absences. Please see the P&S Attendance and Absence policy for more information.