Rotations & Electives

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

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.

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.

For tips on making the most of your rotations and choosing senior electives, view Expectations.