Branches Course Suggestions

Advice on scheduling your electives.

It's very important to diversify your experiences.

You will forever be asked questions about different medical conditions, and the Branches are the last opportunity to compliment the experiences in your chosen residency.

Being able to excel in other areas of medicine shows versatility and commitment. Training programs look for residents who will perform well in different settings — from the outpatient clinic to the ICU.

Choosing appropriate electives depends on your goal for choosing that particular elective and it typically falls under one of these categories:

1. To facilitate the decision-making process regarding career choice:

If you are not yet sure you want to go into a certain field, we recommend you take an elective in that field or a sub-internship early in the Branches.

2. To increase your chance of being accepted into a particular internship and residency program:

Good training programs are competitive. If you are extremely interested in a particular program, then you might consider taking an elective in that program (e.g. a subspecialty elective or sub-internship), and doing a first-rate job. This elective should ideally occur before July of your final year.

Caution: It is very important you discuss this option with your career advisor to make sure this is a good idea, as in theory this can also hurt your chances to get into this particular program if you do not do a first rate job.

3. To supplement the normal residency curriculum in your chosen field:

  • Choose an elective in an area that's not a standard part of residency training, but important to the practice in your field.
  • Choose an elective to provide added experience in an area of particular interest in your field subspecialties.

4. To fulfill your personal needs and interests:

  • Choose an elective in an area of relevance or of interest to you. Take advantage of the opportunity to take an interesting elective before residency, when there will be little time. This might include a research elective or an elective in another country.
  • Choose an elective in an area that will broaden your knowledge base. Branches are not meant to be a mini residency in your chosen field. Pick an area that you want to learn more about in a different field.
  • Visit the site below for specific recommendations by specialty and review additional resources:

UMMS Career/Residency Program Information