MS4 Requirements


Fourth Year: An Elective Curriculum

The fourth year curriculum in the WVU School of Medicine is partially structured. The fourth year must include an Inpatient Subinternship (Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Trauma/Emergency Surgery or General Surgery), an Acute Care rotation, and one block (4 weeks) non-campus West Virginia community based clinical rotation. With the help of advisors, each medical student designs his or her own fourth year schedule, carefully considering career goals and the preparation needed to achieve those goals. The value of this system depends upon each student carefully evaluating his or her abilities, needs, and deficiencies.


For the student who has chosen a specialty, electives can provide broad clinical experience outside the chosen specialty. For the student who is undecided about a specialty, electives can allow exploration of several potential areas. Basic Science and research electives offer the student a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms involved in disease and therapy and offer an opportunity to study them in depth.

The electives can also:

  • Increase clinical competence and responsibility for patient care.
  • Present areas of medicine not otherwise covered.
  • Reinforce for the student basic disciplines of relevance to the practice of medicine.
  • Introduce the student to methods of self-education and self-evaluation.

The student is strongly urged to use the fourth year to obtain a broad-based experience and avoid the temptation to narrow his education before specializing in a residency program.

Overview of the Program

The fourth year program offers a variety of experiences on the Morgantown, Charleston, and Eastern campuses as well as in other parts of the state. Each student chooses rotations to complete eight and one half (8.5) blocks (34 weeks) of a meaningful, well integrated fourth year. The student can arrange electives outside the state in hospitals that have a major affiliation with a school of medicine for regular rotation of medical students. Approval must be obtained from the Vice Dean or an Associate Dean of Student Services for all out-of-state and international rotations. Written confirmation of the elective location, preceptor and elective dates must be on file in Student Services. All students participating in electives away from their home base must list their addresses with their respective WVU Student Services the week before the rotation starts. Students are NOT permitted to complete rotations under the supervision of family members or first degree relatives. This eliminates speculation concerning possible biased evaluations. This guideline includes, but is not limited to, parents, siblings, spouses, and significant-others. Questions on eligibility should be referred to the Vice Dean or Associate Dean for Student Services.

Procedure for Scheduling

In consultation with a faculty advisor and using the forms and instructions provided by Student Services in Morgantown, Charleston, or Eastern, each third year student develops a proposed fourth year schedule. The importance of early consultation with the appropriate faculty advisor cannot be overemphasized. 

Students must satisfactorily complete eight and one half (8.5) blocks (34 weeks) of academic rotations (2 weeks of this time may be used as USMLE Step 2 CK & Step 2 CS preparation). No release/interview time may be taken or scheduled during required rotations.

If a change of an ELECTIVE rotation is desired, the student should discuss proposed changes with his/her faculty advisor and the appropriate preceptors. Forms for making all changes are available in Student Services and MUST be received at least 4 weeks PRIOR to beginning of the elective. Changes for REQUIRED rotations will be considered IF paperwork is submitted 4 weeks in advance. Once a rotation has begun, no changes may occur.

Housing may be available for WVU students taking rotations at the Charleston location. Upon request, Student Services will help students to identify available housing in the area.

Performance Evaluation

Student performance is evaluated by elective preceptors on forms provided by Student Services. Grading designations are High Pass, Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. Students are expected to evaluate the quality of the electives offered, providing feedback on forms emailed monthly throughout the year.

Electives Available

The following catalog pages describe electives available on the WVU clinical campuses as well as approved offerings elsewhere in the state.

To be approved for inclusion in the MS IV curriculum of the WVU School of Medicine, a program must meet the following criteria:

  1. The proposed experience must be educationally sound, approved by the Vice Dean or Associate Deans for Student Services and the Curriculum Committee.
  2. The preceptor(s) for any proposed experience must hold a clinical faculty appointment with an accredited School of Medicine.

For more information contact:

Christina Politte
Dept. of Medical Education
Student Services
Morgantown Campus

Charissa Davis
Dept. of Medical Education
Student Services
Charleston Campus

Jane Horst
Dept. of Medical Education
Student Services
Eastern Campus