Clinical Distinction

Your future, by you

About Clerkship Track

The clerkship track is identical to doing another elective with a few caveats.


The clerkship track is identical to doing another elective with a few caveats.
  • Unlike your elective requirement, the CD clerkship can only be done across 4 weeks. You cannot split it into 2 two-week rotations.
  • The CLIN number will either be 717 or 718.
  • The rotation request link used is for Clinical Distinction not Clinical Rotations Elective


  • Documented approval from Clinical Site, research PI, MPH advisor or GH program
  • Rotation Request Form
  • Clinical Preceptor Evaluation (CPE)
  • Site evaluation

Requirements for the Clerkship Track.

  1. Documented approval from Clinical Site, research PI, MPH advisor or GH program
  2. Rotation Request Form
  3. Clinical Preceptor Evaluation (CPE)
  4. Site evaluation

To-Do list

  1. As with all other tracks, the first step to the Clerkship track is to get approval from your faculty sponsor and to register for the course on time. For the Clerkship track, your faculty sponsor is your preceptor, principal investigator, MPH advisor, or Global health program director. Contact the appropriate faculty in advance and document their approval. In the case of clinical rotations, the site must approve your rotation time. Be sure to follow the same steps you would for an elective so that credentialing and Letters of Good Standing can be handled in a timely fashion.
  2.  Once you’ve registered for the course, make sure you know, from the site, what is expected of you on the first day. It’s a good idea to review the Clinical Rotations Manual before starting Selective rotations.
  3. At the end of the course, you will be prompted by NI to complete a site evaluation. It’s due on the last day of the rotation.
  4. At the end of the course, your preceptor will be asked to complete an evaluation of your work in NI (the clinical performance evaluation or CPE)
    • It’s a good idea to talk to your preceptor about your performance, both halfway through the rotation and on the last day. This is the best way to get important feedback so that you can be more successful!


As you probably know by now, you can rotate at a clinical site during a specialty track. You can spend a week, a few afternoons, or all four weeks at a clinical site. Students who have decided they want as much clinical experience as possible, often ask, why they would do a second specialty track when they can do a clerkship.

The benefits of turning a Clerkship into a Clinical Specialty track include:

To do a Specialty Track you have to do a contract, a narrative, and get a sponsor.

A chance to get comfortable with the Specialty track process to improve the CD experience

The only part of a Clerkship Track featured in your MSPE is the P and a comment if your preceptor gives one.

An opportunity to demonstrate distinction, which will be featured in the MSPE

When you show up to a rotation you do what the preceptor asks you, see the patients that show up. When you direct your learning with a contract you are expected to negotiate these aspects of your experience.

An opportunity for self-directed learning within the random learning environment of clerkships

Students who discuss their learning goals with preceptors before starting the rotation are the students who stand out as engaged learners.

An opportunity to be a top-performing clinical student by taking the initiative for focused self-evaluation and training.

A clerkship is four weeks of clinical activities. In a specialty track you decide with your sponsor– are you going every day? M/W/F? E every afternoon? Just for surgeries?

The ability to create a clinical activity schedule that suits learning needs and lifestyle.

The Clerkship Track is always 4 weeks. If you want to work at 2 sites during a CD it must be a specialty track and you’ll only have one sponsor!

The ability to do two – two-week clerkship activities within one Clinical Distinction Course

These are the benefits of turning a Clerkship into a Clinical Specialty track

A Specialty Track that includes clinical activities is one of the most robust ways to design a specialty project as it allows meaningful workplace assessment of the Core competencies by actually performing Entrustable Professional Activities with a faculty observer present. These are key features of the language residency directors speak.


  • For research and MPH completion, additional information is needed and in some cases, you will have to apply for an IRB. This information will be asked for when you fill out the rotation request form.
  • For Global health, you must follow the Global Health Program requirements. You’ll be asked for some information when completing the rotation request form, so make sure your program is approved and you can meet all the requirements before registering for the course.
  • Choosing a Clerkship is a viable option for students who want to do a clinical activity without as much personal investment. It will be noted in your MSPE only as an elective with comments from the preceptor if they write any on your CPE (evaluation.) The minimum that will appear is the name of the elective specialty and the passing score.

More Information

As always your course director is the best person to guide you through the process of Clinical Distinction. But if you decide to do a clerkship track you should use the CED resources for planning an elective.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The CED third year coordinator can be contacted through CED connect. They are your resource for finding an elective and making sure your paperwork is completed adequately.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A clerkship track, like an elective, requires credentialing and or affiliation agreements. These take time – plan ahead and make sure you can do the training you want to do!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wondering if you should be using a Clinical Distinction course for clerkship track? Check out the blogs to learn more.