Instructions for elective coordinators

Step 1: Setting up the elective

Contact David Rachleff in Undergraduate Medical Education if you are going to set up an elective. This includes those of you who are taking over electives from upper classmates as well as those who wish to establish new ones.

Generally, students take on the role of elective coordinators through the following three routes:



Family & Community Medicine

Roy Johnston


Emerald Wong

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Jacalyn Flagg & Kristin Olson


Doris Masferrer

  • Taking over electives from upper classmates
    This is by far the easiest approach. Because the course is already registered, you do not have to redo a course form, unless the instructor (faculty sponsor) has changed. You must get a departmental administrator to submit a room reservation form to Classroom Scheduling. Department administrators for Family & Community Medicine, Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Pediatrics, are listed in the table to the right. Contact them for classroom reservations and other administrative concerns.

    If you are not able to find a departmental administrator, contact David Rachleff in Undergraduate Medical Education.
  • Setting up a new elective in FCM, Medicine, or Pediatrics “Special Topics”
    These three departments have a series of “Special Topics” courses especially set aside for pilot electives. Contact the departmental administrator for approval and help with classroom reservations.
  • Setting up a new elective in another department
    Check the UCSF course catalog for registered, existing courses that are similar to the elective you are proposing. If you think that your elective will not fit under FCM, Medicine, or Pediatrics “Special Topics,” contact David Rachleff who will help you find a faculty sponsor. In general, new electives are offered the first year as pilot, non-credit experiences.

    If your elective is successful and if your faculty sponsor agrees to become the instructor-of-record for a new course, you may work with him/her to submit paperwork for a new elective. Paperwork for new courses must be submitted at least 3 months prior to the start of the new quarter; see the Academic Senate Course Actions site for deadlines. A few weeks before the start of a new quarter, UME will send a message to students asking that all elective coordinators provide information on new courses. Even if you already submitted this information to the department contact, please ALSO respond to this email. This step allows our office to cross-check and follow up with any discrepancies.

Step 2: During the Elective

Now that you have officially established your elective, below are some policies and nuts and bolts on running your elective.

  • Advertising: Use the student listserv! This is by far the most popular communication channel among students. To include your elective announcement in the listservs of other schools, contact the student/curricular affairs directors for each of the schools (Stephanie Wallace, Dentistry: Associate Dean Catherine Waters, Nursing: Associate Dean Pam Schultz, Pharmacy). You can also post flyers or posters.
  • Credit: Most electives are 1 unit, which corresponds to 8-10 class hours.
  • Attendance and Grades: Students must attend at least 8 hours of class in order to receive a passing grade. You should keep track of attendance by requiring students to sign in at the beginning of class, and check the attendance sheet against the course roster, which you should request from the faculty sponsor or the department.
  • Funding: Not all departments provide funding for non-core courses (i.e. electives), but you can apply for funds from the Associated Students of the School of Medicine (ASSM), which will review your request for funds to cover the cost of handouts, parking for volunteer/guest lecturers, but NOT food. Submit your request to the ASSM treasurer; instructions on the ASSM CLE course.
  • Building Access After Hours: If your elective courses are in the evenings and involve non-UCSF instructors or speakers, please make sure that these guests can enter the building. You can arrange for one or a couple of the students in your elective to greet the visiting instructor and lead them past security.
  • Post Elective Information Online: Once you have set up your elective, please post all information on the Google Calendar on the MedStudent Portal under “Submit an event.”
  • Logistics: Arrange for A/V equipment, food, and all room requests through the corresponding department administrator.

Step 3: When Elective Ends

  • Submit grades:The faculty sponsor, who may submit grades online or on paper copies of the grade report, needs to get a completed final grade roster from the department administrator (see above). Students are not allowed to assign Incomplete or Failing (E) grades without consulting the faculty sponsor or the department administrator regarding appropriate makeup work. Once grades are assigned by the student organizer, students need to provide the completed final grade report to the department administrator so that the faculty member can be approached to sign the form. This form is then submitted to the Registrar by the departmental administrator.