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Education Institute

Medical Students' Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for an Elective at HSS

After Acceptance


Contact Us


Applying for an Elective at HSS

Q. Who is eligible to take an elective at the Hospital for Special Surgery?

A. To be eligible to take clinical electives at Hospital for Special Surgery:
    1. You must be an MD candidate in good standing and must be currently enrolled in a medical school that has been accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME);
    2. You must have completed all the required clerkships at your home school and be a senior student at the time you plan to take electives at Hospital for Special Surgery;
    3. You must be covered by liability and malpractice insurance through your home school;
    4. You must have personal health insurance through your home school or submit other documentation of personally held coverage with your application;
    5. You must submit a completed application through VSAS;
    6. You must submit an official copy of your medical school transcript;
    7. You must submit a supporting letter from your Dean detailing that you are in good standing at the time of your request, your step 1 USMLE score, any honors received in medicine or surgery, and your AOA status, if applicable.
    8. You must submit a CV that includes recent research activity, including publications from peer reviewed journals and/or presentations at national meetings (poster or podium);
    9. You must complete the Health Clearance Form (pdf) and submit with your application materials along with supporting health documentation.

Q: Is there an application fee to apply for electives?

A. No. There is no application fee at this time.

Q. Do I have to select the pre-determined elective module dates?

A. Yes. Module dates must be followed as published on our website.

Q. Is there a tuition fee for the elective?

A. No. Hospital for Special Surgery does not charge tuition for our electives. For International Electives, please visit Cornell University's International Programs page for Visiting International Students. Fees may apply.

Q. How may I increase my chances of being scheduled?

A. Your chances of being scheduled may increase if you include alternate choices for electives and module dates. This is especially true for the summer and fall module dates. In addition, submission of completed applications with all requested documentation significantly expedites the review and acceptance process.

Q. Which electives should I apply for?

A. When deciding on which elective to apply for, consider your personal interests and the career path you would like to take. Which previous clerkships have sparked your interest? Ask your medical school advisor or other faculty members for guidance.

Q. How early can I apply for an elective?

A. The academic year for the Elective Program begins in July and ends the following June, VSAS will be open for the 2016-2017 academic year on March 1, 2016.

Q. How late can I apply for an elective?

A. Completed application materials must be submitted no later than six weeks prior to the start of an elective.

Q. Can you hold my application for a later elective?

A. No. We cannot hold applications for students. Completed applications should be submitted no earlier than six months prior to the start of the elective.

Q. When will I know if I have been accepted?

A. Students who have applied prior to the start of the academic year will be notified in May of their acceptance. Once the academic year has begun, you will be notified approximately six to eight weeks after a completed application is received. No phone calls please; email inquiries only. Our email address is academictraining@hss.edu.

Q. May I contact the sponsor(s) of the elective(s) directly?

A. Applicants should not contact the sponsors directly. Sponsors are not aware of the availability of electives and are not equipped to answer detailed questions regarding application procedures. As a future physician, you also need to be mindful of time constraints placed on a practicing physician's busy schedule. All inquiries should be directed to the Academic Training Department. No phone calls please; email inquiries only. Our email address is academictraining@hss.edu.

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After Acceptance

Q. How will I be notified of my acceptance?

A. Email acceptances will be sent to students through VSAS. This email communication serves as your official notification of acceptance.

Q. Does Hospital for Special Surgery provide housing for medical students?

A. No. Hospital for Special Surgery is unable to provide housing for medical students.

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Q. What about cancellations?

A. Accepting an elective is a commitment and a reflection of your professionalism. While there may occasionally be circumstances out of your control, we strongly discourage cancellations. Although there are no penalties for cancellations, last minute cancellations result in a missed opportunity for a fellow medical student.

Q. What should I do if I cannot attend my scheduled elective?

A. You must notify the Academic Training Department immediately, by emailing academictraining@hss.edu. We will require a written letter from your school confirming your cancellation.

Q. Will my application be kept after my cancellation?

A. No. Applications are not kept after a student notifies us of his/her cancellation. If you are interested in another elective, you may submit a new application.

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Contact Us

Q. How do I contact the Academic Training Department?

A. If you do not find an answer to your question in the FAQ section, you may e-mail your inquiry to academictraining@hss.edu.   Due to the high volume of applications, we can only respond to e-mail inquiries sent to this address.