[Skip to Content]
Respiratory therapy for child

Planning Your Clinical Years

Entering the clinical years is a major milestone for medical students! It indicates the successful completion of Step 1 and marks the long-anticipated and significant shift to hands-on patient care. This is also the time, through experiences in required clerkships, in which students begin to narrow their career choices. Third year begins with a mandatory orientation in which students learn about what it means to be "on the floors". The orientation program, hosted by the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education, features advice from current students, training on those topics in which students need to hit the ground running, and introduction of clinical faculty.

Clinical Years Scheduling

In the late Fall of the first year, clinical years courses are scheduled based on "tracks" which are designed to ensure students complete all clerkships in year three of medical school. Each track sequences the clerkships and identifies the specific period in which students take the clerkships. Students select their tracks through the electronic Track Selection process. For this process, each student is assigned a randomly generated number that determines priority for selecting tracks. Fourth year electives are added via My Upstate or the Elective Lottery.

Elective Lottery

The elective lottery is designed to provide the greatest flexibility possible in choosing electives. The elective lottery operates on the principle that what a student takes is more important than in which period it is taken, but that students want some control over both factors. The steps of the elective lottery are as follows:

  1. Each third year student will be given twelve lottery numbers.
  2. Students request their course preferences via the web through MyUpstate.
  3. Once the elective lottery has been run, students' schedules are available through MyUpstate.

More information about "how to" will be provided by the Registrar's Office in a timely fashion for each class as the lottery approaches.

Elective Lottery and MSIV Planning FAQs

Expand all

Can I have a refresher on how the elective lottery works?

Please review the Planning for MSIV Year ppt from the January class meeting for a brief overview of the elective lottery.  

My lottery number for Round 1 is 140 and my lottery number for Round 2 is 10. Since 10 is a better number than 140, should I preference the elective I most want in Choice 2 instead of Choice 1?

No, your best number, no matter how high or low, is in Round 1 and Choice 1. In the first round of the lottery, the process will sequence through every student, starting with the student with number 1, then 2, then 3, and so on and so forth. It will sequence through all students before moving to Round 2. By the time Round 2 starts, it will have gone through 150 preferences (or the number of students in your class) and then will start again with the student with number 1 for Round 2. Therefore, if you have number 140 in Round 1,139 electives have been preferenced. By the time it gets to you at number 10 in Round 2, it will have gone through 159 preferences (150 in Round 1 and then 9 in Round 2)

Are all courses available in the elective lottery?

Most courses are available in the elective lottery, but not all. All concurrent courses and courses listed for variable credit are not available in the elective lottery. Some courses also require permission of the elective sponsor and specify in the Course Selection Book under Periods Offered “this course is not available in the elective lottery”. These courses may be added after the elective lottery either by submitting an Add/Drop form (with elective sponsor’s approval) to the Registrar’s Office in Syracuse or the Student Affairs Office in Binghamton or by registering for the course in MyUpstate. If the course requires the sponsor’s approval MyUpstate will generate an automatic email to the elective sponsor indicating that you wish to add the course and request permission on your behalf. 

How many elective credits are required to graduate?

You need a minimum of 25 elective credits to graduate. Remember that up to six elective credits taken in the basic science years count towards graduation requirements. But, Transition into Residency DOES NOT count towards the 25 elective credits because it is a required course. For a list of degree requirements, please refer to  Course Requirements Class of 2023.

How do I find out which courses fulfill the basic science selective requirement?

Please refer to the list of basic science selectives.  Also, you can search for basic science selectives in MyUpstate and if an elective fulfills the basic science selective it is indicated in its description in the Course Selection Book.

How many total credits should I request in the elective lottery?

This is totally up to each student based on what you want for your schedule.   If you are planning to do away electives or electives not in the lottery, these elective credits will not need to be included in the total requested in the lottery.  Remember, you can (and most likely will) add and drop electives after the elective lottery is run.   The important thing is that you fill in a number for the total number of credits.

Can I preference the same course more than once in the elective lottery? If I do, will I be registered for the same course more than once?

Yes, you can preference the same course more than once in the elective lottery, but you will only be registered for the course once. The elective lottery keeps track of which electives it has registered you in in prior rounds, and will not register you in the same elective in a later round. Keep in mind, however, that there is no need to preference again unless you change the desired periods. (You were either registered for the course, and won’t get it again, or the course was full in the periods you desired.)

How do I get access to VSLO/VSAS?

The Registrar’s Office has already granted you an authorization in VSLO/VSAS. If you are unable to locate your authorization (sent from the AAMC), then contact [email protected] and we will re-issue your authorization.

How do I find out what electives fulfill the AI selective requirement?

Please refer to the list of AI selectives.

What if, after reviewing the ppt and this FAQ, I still have questions about the elective lottery?

You may email your questions to [email protected] or set up an appointment to meet with someone in the Registrar’s Office.