Summary of Requirements

  1. Documented approval from Faculty Sponsor
  2. Rotation request form
  3. Specialty Contract
  4. Specialty Completion form: the Narrative evaluation
  5. Exit Interview
  6. Course Structure Evaluation


The Specialty Track is the heart and soul of the Clinical Distinction experience. All students must do one specialty track, but it can be done twice during third year as well. The specialty track follows principles of adult learning theory and uses the competency based medical educational framework and entrustable professional activities as guides for project design and assessment.  Through this opportunity, students can explore a broad range of interests and prepare for their future in a way that allows them to distinguish their unique professional identity.



The Specialty Track has as many forms as there are students. The course requirements are a method of structuring the process so students can succeed in achieving the course learning outcomes and developing a successful MSPE.

There are two sections in this website which will help students and faculty navigate the Specialty Track.

  • The first is the section Design Your Specialty Project, which has multiple pages that detail all the steps needed to create and complete a Specialty Project.
  • The second section is Resources. In this section students can find sample MSPE excerpts, sample course documentation, and project resources. There are even a few course templates, complete with required activities for students overwhelmed at the amount of free choice. There are interested faculty sponsors, a letter students can use when discussing CD with adjunct faculty, a FAQ section and more.
  • There is also a faculty development page with more resources coming soon.

To Do List

As with all other tracks the first steps to the Specialty Track are to get approval from your faculty sponsor and to register for the course on time.

  1. Getting approval 

    • Prior to registering for the course you will need a faculty sponsor!
    • The best way to get approval from a faculty member is to begin drafting your contract so the sponsor knows what they are agreeing to!
    • Review the web page Getting a Faculty Sponsor for more details and to understand who would be the best sponsor for your project.
  2. Registering for the course

    • The rotation request form is due 60 days prior to the start date of your course.
    • You must have documented approval from your faculty sponsor to complete this online form.
    • If you are unable to speak with your desired faculty sponsor prior to the due date of the rotation request form, contact your CD advisor, who may be able to be a back up sponsor.
    • Click this link and follow the directions to schedule: Rotation Request Form

    • The rotation request form should be submitted 60 days before your rotation starts.
  3. Submit a Contract of Study

    • When it’s due: The Specialty Contract is due on the first day of the course.
      • It’s a good idea to draft it and talk with your CD advisor or sponsor about it at least one week in advance so that it can be turned in on day one.
    • Components of the Contract: This contract is an online form which asks you to describe your project including:
      • Why you’ve chosen the topic and created this project
      • What you are going to study
      • How you are going to study
      • What you expect to be your growth and development in the competencies and entrustable professional activities
      • How you will determine if you should pass the course
    • Collaboration with your Faculty Sponsor is Key: Collaboration on your study plan is a tool for improved satisfaction and learning, offered to students through this course.
      • You should also draft some ideas and review them with a potential faculty sponsor as a way to get approval on the project.
      • You can meet with a CD advisor for help on your draft, especially in regards to the competency and EPA selection.
      • Once you feel comfortable with your draft you can submit the form and it will be sent to your faculty sponsor to comment, ask for revisions or approve.
        • The online form can move back and forth between the sponsor and the student multiple times.
        • Once approved, both student and faculty electronically sign and submit the contract of learning.
      • Changes to the Contract After Submission
        • In general, changes after submission should simply be discussed between the student and their sponsor during the course and in the narrative at the end of the course
        • If changes might impact the student’s ability to pass the course, based on what was written in the pass/fail section of the contract, it is important the the sponsor be notified and an agreement be made to determine any changes to the passing requirements.
        • If the student and faculty feel like it is important to do so, a new contract can be submitted. In this case be sure to use the link to the newly approved contract when completing the narrative evaluation at the end of the course.
        • In most cases, a new contract is not needed. Instead students should use the section of the narrative evaluation that asks them if they made any changes to their contract of study to explain how the changes they made in their plan better helped them develop in the core competencies or the logistical hurdles they faced in trying to complete the terms of the contract.

Notify Dr. Weiss if you submit a second contract, but most important is that you use the correct link for your narrative evaluation.

    • How to Fill out the Form: In Canvas, select the link for the specialty contract on this page.

  • Getting Help: There are lots of ways to get help on your contract at different stages in the process:
    • If you are having trouble with the online function of the forms, contact Dr. Weiss.
    • If you are wondering what the questions are, and want to view sample specialty track forms, go to the page Sample Documents and Workflows.
    • If you’d like to have your CD advisor review your contract before you submit it to your faculty sponsor you can:
      • Meet with them to go over the form as you complete it or after you’ve done a first draft.
      • or Select the option in the form to send it to your CD advisor for review. This allows you and your CD advisor to send the form back and forth between you before your sponsor sees it. It’s a good idea to let them know via email that you would like this help before you send it so they’ll be on the look out for it and not delay your submission process.
  • Getting Approval:
    • Once you submit your contract your faculty sponsor will be asked to approve it and submit their approval.
    • When this happens you’ll be notified that you are approved to start your project.
    • If they would like you to make revisions you will be notified electronically of the changes they’d like and will be able to re-submit the form.
    • This process can repeat multiple times.
  • Contracts That Are Not Approved:
    • If a sponsor does not want to work with you and they receive a contract from you they may refuse to sponsor you. You will be notified by email if this happens.
      • To avoid this, talk to your desired sponsor before you submit the form to them.
    • If you don’t get email notification of approval, revisions or denial:
      • Most likely the sponsor hasn’t looked at the form.
      • However, it could be a glitch in how the form was filled out that resulted in it not being sent to the sponsor.
      • Steps to take:
        • Contact your sponsor and ask if they received the form and if they are able to use the link and complete it.
        • If they haven’t, contact Dr. Weiss for assistance.


4. Completion Documentation: the Narrative Evaluation

  • When it’s due: At the end of the course you must evaluate your work during the course. It’s due on the last day of the course or the end date specified in your learning contract and registration form.
  • Components of the Narrative Evaluation Form:
    • The online form will review what you contracted to do and ask you to describe:
      • If you did anything differently than you planned
      • If you were successful in your plan, what you learned and how you grew
      • If you think you passed the course
    • You’ll also be asked to write
      • A short summary description of the project for the MSPE
      • A description of how you developed professionally and in the competencies and in entrustability.
        • The online form also gives you ample room to discuss your experience in a narrative form and to include inspiring or creative personal comments.
    • After you submit your self-evaluation, the form will be sent to your Faculty Sponsor to review and they will be asked to submit a pass/fail grade or they will ask you for revisions before submitting your grade.
    • As with the contract, the revision process can repeat online multiple times.Collaboration with your Academic Mentor is Key: Getting quality feedback through discussion of your narrative evaluation, review of the faculty portion and the exit interview is a benefit of the Clinical Distinction Specialty Track.
    • If you’re in the class of 2021 your grade will be recorded in Canvas in the Clinical Distinction organization.

5. The Exit Interview 

  • An important step in completing the course is having an exit interview.
  • This can happen live, on the phone, through video conferencing, or calls, or even through emails.
  • The student should pro-actively schedule an exit interview by reaching out the faculty sponsor and requesting it.
    • The student should complete the narrative evaluation prior to the meeting so it can be discussed before the faculty submits comments and the final grade.
    • Once the faculty has submitted their portion the form cannot be changed.
  • Your written comments and theirs will appear in your MSPE so this conversation is important, and should happen prior to the faculty completing their portion of the evaluation form.
  • For many students this exit interview will happen during, or before the process in which faculty completes their portion of the evaluation form.
  • The best way, and the best time, to do the exit interview, is that which allows you to get quality feedback that helps you and that which that allows your sponsor to effectively evaluate you.

6. Course Structure Evaluation

  • At the end of the course you’ll be prompted by NI to fill out an evaluation of Clinical Distinction.
  • This is different than your self evaluation or completion paperwork, and speaks to the opportunity, tools provided, and structure of the course. It’s due on the last day of the course.


  • When completing the rotation request form, make sure you have documented approval from your faculty sponsor first.
  • If you want an adjunct faculty to sponsor you and won’t be able to talk to them till the clinical activity starts, ask your CD advisor to work with you on the contract and be your back-up sponsor. The form allows your CD advisor to approve it provisionally so that it won’t be late. They have to agree in advance to do this!
  • If you want to do a longitudinal CD make sure you review the requirements.
  • Your complete narrative evaluation form is sent automatically to your sponsor when you complete it and it advises them to have an exit interview with you prior to completing their portion – be proactive and schedule the exit interview!