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Who Is Eligible?

Actively enrolled students are eligible to take away electives during their MS4 year. Away electives — also called visiting electives — are short-term courses typically offered at teaching hospitals that are either a AAMC-member institution or have at least one Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or American Osteopathic Association (AOA)-accredited program. An away elective may count for up to four weeks of elective credit toward graduation requirements.


Do I Need to Take an Away Elective?

The decision to take an away elective is based on a variety of factors, including your desired specialty, your level of certainty about that specialty, personal factors, etc. Your career advisor or student services leadership at your campus can help you determine the best answer for your situation.  Away electives are not required to graduate. 


How Do I Apply for Away Electives?

Use the AAMC’s Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) Program

Many US medical schools, teaching hospitals, and health systems use a centralized application service called the Visiting   Student Learning Opportunities Program (VSLO).

  • Participating institutions - also called host institutions - can be found here.
  • Away electives offered by participating institutions can be found here.
  • A student guide to VSLO can be found here and here.  You can also sign into VSLO from either page.      
  • For VSLO assistance: call (202) 478-9878 or contact them online.

Apply Directly to Non-VSLO Programs

  • If a medical school, teaching hospital, or health system does not use VSLO, go to the institution’s website to research visiting elective opportunities and to find application instructions.
  • All students attending a Non-VSLO rotation must ensure that UAB has signed an affiliation agreement with the host program. Please reach out to Krista Long in UME and copy visiting@uab.edu to inquire whether there is an existing agreement. UAB has many affiliation agreements, so a new agreement may not be necessary. However, if a new, nonstandard affiliation agreement is needed, it may take months of review by UAB Legal before approval.

When Can I Take A Visiting Elective?

Other medical schools and teaching hospitals operate on their own unique calendar systems, and those rarely align with ours. In most cases, the start and end dates of a visiting elective cannot coincide with any part of another course on your schedule.

  • You can overlap* dates with a co-enrolled elective, teaching associate course, or learning community course. 
  • *Note: Overlapping refers to scheduling, not to missing course activities. Check with the UAB course director if you are enrolled in any of these course types to ensure that the dates of your visiting elective do not conflict with activities in the UAB course.
  • You cannot overlap dates with any part of Special Topics, Scholarly Activity, clerkships, acting internships, or electives.

How Do I Get Credit for a Visiting Elective?

Step 1: Get It on Your School of Medicine Schedule BEFORE the course begins

For a visiting elective accepted through VSLO: 

  1. Make sure you have met all post-decision requirements and your status in VSLO for the course is "offer confirmed." We cannot register you until you have a confirmed offer status.
  2. Use the Online Schedule Change Request (OSCR)
  3. After receiving your form the scheduler will check VSLO, add the course to your schedule provided there are no conflicts, and email you a confirmation.

For a visiting elective you accept from a non-VSLO institution:

  1. Submit an Online Schedule Change Request (OSCR)
  2. After submitting your request, view your request by navigating to the Home screen in the OSCR system. You must submit the request first.
  3. Add the following document(s) to your request in the OSCR system.
    • Host’s offer email or letter
    • Your acceptance email or letter back to them

The scheduler will add it to your schedule provided there are no conflicts and email you a confirmation.


Your acceptance of a visiting elective does not automatically add it to your schedule.  Programs will not contact us on your behalf to schedule your visiting elective.

You are responsible for making sure any visiting elective (VSLO, non-VSLO, military, international) gets added to your schedule.

We do not permit retroactive scheduling. If you forget to contact the scheduler prior to the start of the visiting course you will not receive credit for it.

Step 2: Get a Grade for It

It is your responsibility to ensure that a grade has been submitted for any visiting elective (VSLO, non-VSLO, military, international). Grades will be recorded on your transcript as Pass or Fail.

We will accept the visiting school/hospital's grade form sent directly from them to scheduler@uab.edu.

If the visiting school/hospital prefers using a UAB grade form, email visiting@uab.edu. The host institution must return the grade directly to the Registrar’s office (instructions on our form).

Visiting Institution Requirements

Institutions vary in their requirements for visiting students. You may be asked for some, all, or one of the following items.

If VSLO has a requirement marked as Home Institution, you are responsible for getting the documentation listed and emailing it to visiting@uab.edu, so our office can upload and attach it to the application in VSLO.

Requirement How to Meet Requirement
Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) Visit the American Heart Association ACLS webpage for options to complete this training.
Basic Life Support (BLS) Get a copy of your card via American Heart Association (AHA) eCard online. Contact your training entity if you did not go through AHA.
Affiliation Agreement UAB has affiliation agreements with many schools and institutions. If an institution requests this, forward that information to Randal Trusler in UME (rtrusler@uab.edu) and copy scheduler@uab.edu. Note: New, nonstandard affiliation agreements may take months of review by UAB Legal before they are approved.
Clerkship Completion You can find exact start and end dates of your clerkships on the Calendar Overview webpage.
Criminal Background Check To obtain a copy of your original AAMC background check, contact Certiphi Screening. UAB is not permitted to release the criminal background check you had during the admissions process. You must make the request directly with Certiphi. If your program requires a more recent background check, see if they have a provider that they prefer. If not, see the AAMC's “Resources for Criminal Background Checks” for more options.
Drug Test/ Drug Screen Locations near UAB are below. Check with your regional campus Student Affairs office for other options.

The Workplace
UAB Hospital-Highlands
1201 11th Ave. S, Suite 100
Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $40 (10 panel)

Analytical Testing Group (ATG)
920 18th St. S, Suite B
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $45 (5 panel), $55 (10 panel), $275 (17 panel)
Health Compliance and Immunizations For proof of health compliance, login to the UAB Student Health Services Patient Portal, and select the “Immunization” tab. For questions regarding your compliance, use the Patient Portal “Messages” tab.
Health Forms See the section below this table for instructions from UAB Student Health & Wellness.
Health Insurance If you use UAB’s Student Health Insurance (United Healthcare), visit UAB Student Health Services to see how to get a copy of your insurance card. If you use a different plan, contact your insurance company for a card.
HIPAA Training To print your certificate from HIPAA training done at the start of medical school, log in to the UAB Learning System and select “Medicine Learning System (HealthStream). Log in, click on “Completions” in the list under “Sitemap.” In “Date Range” select “Complete History” from the drop-down menu, and find the completed HIPAA training course. Select the “Certificate” box and print.
Letter of Good Standing Print a letter from the SOM Registrar & Records webpage. In the rare instance that an institution will not accept this letter, email scheduler@uab.edu with specific instructions from the host institution, and the Records office will prepare a letter for you. Do not contact the Dean's Office or Medical Student Services for this letter.
Letter of Recommendation Ask your letter writer to send their letter via email attachment to visiting@uab.edu. We will upload it in the documents section of your VSLO account for you to assign to specific application(s).
Mask Fit Test We have uploaded all mask certificates on file, and you can retrieve yours via the Student Credentialing portal. If there is no certificate in the portal, then we do not have a copy. Locations near UAB are listed below. Check with your regional campus Student Affairs office for other options.

The Workplace
UAB Hospital-Highlands
1201 11th Ave S, Suite 100
Monday- Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (walk-ins OK)
Contact: Lisa Long, llong@uabmc.edu
Note: $20 test fee

UAB Environmental Health & Safety
Occupational Medicine
933 19th St S, Suite 412
Appointment required
Malpractice Insurance

Medical Liability

Certificate of Professional Liability Insurance Coverage
Email UAB Insurance/Risk Management at insurance@uabmc.edu with your name, the name of the institution, and the dates of your visiting elective (if known). They will send a certificate for malpractice insurance coverage upon request. Contact the office by phone at 205-934-5382.

Note: Standard coverage is $3M aggregate/$1M per instance. If an institution requires more coverage, ask Risk Management to state the specific amount required.
OSHA Measures Training

Infectious Disease Control Precautions and Training
Universal Precaution on Handling of Bodily Fluids (bloodborne pathogens) training was done as part of your clerkship orientation.

If you are required to send documentation for this training, you can go to uab.edu/learninglocker to check if the training is listed. If not, you should be able to complete it and print the certificate to submit.
Transcript - Official We upload these directly into VSLO. If your program needs an official, paper copy besides the one that was uploaded, make an online Records request.
USMLE Step Scores Some programs will accept the score report that you received from the NBME. If they require an official score report transcript from the NBME, visit the USMLE website for instructions.

Note: We are prohibited by the NBME from reporting/releasing scores.


Instructions from UAB Student Health & Wellness for Health Forms for Away Electives

Follow these steps if you need health forms completed for an away elective:

  1. Gather all away rotation applicaitons.
  2. Complete all personal/demographic information.
  3. Check the away rotation forms to see if any new blood tests or immunizations are reqired.
  4. Check the away rotation forms to see if additional tuberculosis testing (aka TB or PPD or TST) is required. Usually, 1-2 tests are required within the past 6 months to a year, depending on the program. All TB testing must be done in the U.S.
  5. Check the away rotation forms to see if a physical exam is required. Depending on the program, some applications require a physical exam within the past 6 months to a year.
  6. Check the away rotation forms to see if a "letter of good health," "certification of good health," or a "provider's signature certifying good health" is required. If yes, this is a suitable way of saying that a physical exam is required.
  7. Check the away rotation forms to see which type of provider needs to sign the form. Some forms specifically require MD, NP, or RN
  8. Check your Student Health Patient Portal to verify that all immunizations are up-to-date.
  9. Submit documents to the UAB Student Health’s Medical Clearance Team via the Student Health PortalPlease allow 5 business days to have your forms completed.


  • UAB SH&W charges $10 per Total amount is expected to be paid when forms are dropped off.
  • UAB SH&W requires appointments for all immunizations and blood titers. You may schedule an appointment through the Student Health Portal, or by calling the appointment receptionist at 205-934-3580.
  • UAB Student Health & Wellness does not place TB skin tests after 3 p.m. on Wednesday and does not place them at all on Thursday. Quantiferon TB Gold blood tests are drawn Monday-Friday, but only until 2:30 p.m.
  • If you need a physical exam, call 205-934-3580 to schedule an appointment with a UAB Student Health & Wellness
  • Allow 5 business days for the order.

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