Rotations & Electives in Family Medicine


The third year of medical school is composed of core rotations, or required clerkships, in which you apply the classroom knowledge acquired during your first and second years as a medical student to clinical experience. The required clerkships at most medical schools are:

  • Internal medicine
  • Obstetrics-gynecology
  • General surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Family medicine and/or neurology

Find a Clerkship for Family Medicine

Use the AAFP's online Clerkship Directory to locate an opportunity that fits your goals.

What experiences should a famiy medicine clerkship include?

The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) has developed a family medicine clerkship curriculum.  STFM describes this as a "list of common and important presentations that students should experience during their clerkship experiences." Visit the STFM Web site( for that curriculum information.

Choosing Electives

Not every school offers a required family medicine rotation, though, so if your interest lies in this area, you can take it as an elective. Contact the dean of student affairs or your faculty advisor to access your school's elective policies and catalog.

Curious about what other electives you should take? Read this article on Suggested Fourth-Year Electives »(5 page PDF)

International Electives

A variety of options exist for those seeking international experiences. The AAFP has a robust resource for Global Health Opportunities in Family Medicine.

These resources offer additional information on international elective options: