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Keck School of Medicine MD Student Required Clerkship and Site Placement Policy

Policy Statement

As part of the Keck School of Medicine’s commitment to providing the best educational experiences for all students, a variety of clinical sites are used for clerkships. These include both local (within 30 miles of HSC) and off-site locations (Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Visalia). Housing and reimbursement for mileage to the Visalia site are provided for the off-site locations. These sites have been selected based on their ability to provide exposure to a wide variety of patient encounters, in combination with outstanding faculty teaching and mentorship.

In addition, the Keck School of Medicine ensures that all students have comparable experiences across clerkship sites. Site placement and clerkship order is determined by the Office of Student Affairs in collaboration with appropriate affiliate personnel. Students with any at-risk or probation status for professionalism or academic performance may be placed locally at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Students with extenuating circumstances may discuss these concerns with the Assistant or Associate Dean for Student Affairs. After consideration, the decision of the Assistant or Associate Dean for Student Affairs is final.

Policy Requirement

Students will be notified of their specific site assignment four weeks prior to the first day at the site or as far in advance as is possible. All site assignments are final unless extenuating circumstances arise after initial site assignments are determined. Unforeseeable circumstances may require students who were initially assigned to one location to be changed to another. Unless there is an exemption on file for the student(s) as explained below, the student(s) will be asked to move sites. Changes to assignments can be made at the discretion of the clerkship director.


  1. Students must complete required clerkships at designated sites approved by the Year III/ IV Curriculum Committee and the Medical Education Curriculum Committee. Off-site rotations arranged by individual students at non-approved locations will not be allowed for required clerkships. Academic credit will not be given for non-approved clerkship rotations.
  2. Students will submit their preferences through a lottery system and final track and site determinations are made by the Office of Student Affairs. The KSOM reserves the right to reassign students as needed after placement based on site capacity or other factors.

Extenuating Circumstances for Track and Site Placement

Extenuating circumstances that may require a specific clerkship order, track or site placement or require a student to stay in a specific geographic area must be submitted by the student in writing at the time of the initial track and/or site request. Examples of extenuating circumstances include:

  1. Personal health or disability
  2. Personal health or special needs of a dependent, significant other, or family member requiring student as primary caregiver (excluding pets)

In order to obtain any of the above site exemptions, the student must submit a written request to the Assistant or Associate Dean for Student Affairs PRIOR to assignments being determined. The request must be approved by the Assistant or Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Reviewed and Approved: February 21, 2024

Medical Education Curriculum Committee (MECC)

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