Clinical Distinction

Your future, by you

The Longitudinal Option

One of the resources you’ll need to reach your learning outcomes is time. Like all third year courses, Clinical Distinction is scheduled for 4 weeks. The Longitudinal option allows you to work on your Clinical Distinction project before or after those 4 weeks.

What a Longitudinal Track Is

A longitudinal Clinical Distinction Course is simply a longer course.

It allows more freedom to create an expansive project.

The requirements don’t change but the due date of the final evaluation is later.

If you complete a longitudinal course, by definition you’ll be working on it during other third-year months – either vacation, elective, or your core rotations.

What you use that time for is up to you…

Perhaps you are going to spend Saturdays completing online nutrition modules.

Perhaps your project is a study of yoga and you plan to do yoga every day after your surgery rotation work is done.

Maybe you’ll be keeping an eye out for complications of diabetes no matter what rotation you are on.

Maybe on all your rotations you’ll spend a few hours during each week on a pub med literature review

Perhaps you are attending convocation during vacation.

Whatever path you choose… it’s critical to draft your contract before you start the work of your course.


The most important change is the date the final evaluation is due!

  • The rotation request form is due 60 days before the rotation block starts.
  • The contract of learning is due on the first day of the rotation.

The narrative is due at a date, determined by the student and agreed upon by the faculty member later than the last day of the course but no later than May 12th.


low angle photography of tunnel

You haven’t found a sponsor yet but that 60 day rotation request form deadline is approaching talk to your course director. They can help you understand the options of back up sponsor and longitudinal projects.

low angle photography of tunnel

If you are going to work on the same topic for both CD’s you can do two specialty tracks or a specialty track and a clerkship track. Either way this is not a longitudinal course. Read more here.

low angle photography of tunnel

If you have a plan for your longitudinal project, but no sponsor, your CD course director may agree to be your backup sponsor. Read more here.

Reverse your longitudinal project: If you want to get started on your course work before your rotation block happens, you should meet with your course director to understand how to make this successful. Hint: If you aren’t working with a sponsor and you don’t have a contract, you haven’t started your specialty track. Don’t make the mistake of doing work and expecting it to “count” as your course without planning ahead and taking care of the requirements!

Why Choose a longitudinal project?

There are several reasons to choose a longitudinal design
  • Allows collection of patient information or procedure opportunities during core rotations or the selective rotation.
  • Allows for extended participation or data collection in a research project.
  • Allows attendance at medical conferences not available during registered four-week block.
  • Allows time to complete work that couldn’t be done in four weeks.


There are three important restrictions for students hoping to do a Longitudinal specialty track.

Plan Ahead

Longitudinal design is allowed only if it is specified at the time of course registration for either CLIN 717 or CLIN 718*.

Communicate the Plan

The end date of the course must be listed in the rotation request form or it will be assumed that the end date is the last day of the rotation block.

End on Time

It can be no later than May 12th. This means you and your course sponsor must agree on the end date and that the course will be longitudinal.