Away Rotations

Available to M.D. students in their senior year of medical school, away rotations are generally elective activities that take place away from the student’s academic “home” institution and can be within or outside of the United States. The following information is provided to help guide you through the different application processes.

Effective October 12, 2023, students will only receive AI credit for away rotations if the course is explicitly designated as an Acting Internship or Sub-internship in the course title or course description by the host institution. 

How can I apply for an away rotation?

Many away rotations use the AAMC Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO), which makes it easier for medical students to apply to senior away electives.  CWRU currently only participates in VSLO as a home institution within the U.S. network.  To read more about the service and application process, and to see a list of participating VSLO host institutions, please visit the VSLO website.

To access VSLO, the School Of Medicine Registrar’s Office will need to issue you a VSLO invitation. To request an invitation, please submit the VSLO Invitation Form. Once the invitation has been issued, students will receive an email from VSLO with login instructions.

Instructions for how to use VSLO

Application requirements vary between host institutions and the electives for which you are applying. A complete list of an institution’s requirements can be reviewed in the elective details in the application service. In general, VSLO requires the following four standard documents to be uploaded to your application.

  • Photograph (uploaded by applicant)
  • CV (uploaded by applicant)
  • Immunization records (uploaded by applicant)
  • Transcript (must be uploaded by medical school - please submit a separate Transcript & MSPE Request Form)

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of any additional documents that may be required by a program. Please review program requirements, fee information, and application dates and deadlines for each participating Host institution. In general, students should start researching program requirements and application deadlines at least 4-5 months in advance.

As a final step in applying for electives in VSLO you will need to complete and submit the VSLO Student Verification Form to the School Of Medicine Registrar’s Office. It is helpful to review the verification form in advance so you are aware of the information being requested. Our office will not be able to verify you in VSLO or release your applications to programs until it has been received. can also apply for electives at institutions that do not participate in VSLO. They can use the Extramural Electives Compendium (EEC) for visiting student application information.

We recommend also visiting these institution’s websites for application instructions and forms. Please review their program and application requirements and deadlines carefully.

International electives are elective activities that take place outside of the United States. All Case Western Reserve University medical students are required to submit international rotations to the Case Western Reserve University Office of Education Abroad using their electronic application. 

What do I need to know about program requirements that vary between institutions and states?

The most common requirements and supplemental documentation are described below. These requirements can pertain to any away rotation and students are responsible for reviewing specific program requirements at other institutions.

Students must be in good academic standing in their final year of study and have proof of completion of core course work.

Specific letters can be provided upon request (include the name, address, and pick-up/delivery instructions) by submitting the Student Letter Request Form (CWRU login required).

Students are expected to annually renew training in these areas, as applicable. For more information, see OSHA and HIPAA Training in the Student Handbook.

All medical students are required to complete an in-person OSHA training session with the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Office. Retraining is required annually and can be completed online. If you completed the required OSHA training session through EHS, the SOM Registrar's Office will have your expiration date on file. Documentation of your OSHA training is available through the EHS website via the "Check your Training" link. 

Most away programs require applicants to provide immunization records and many of them accept the AAMC Standardized Immunization Form. Whether they require AAMC's standardized form or their own personalized form should be noted in the program's requirements.

AAMC Standardized Immunization Form (needs to be signed by University Health and Counseling Services)

AAMC Standardized Immunization Form FAQs

Please be aware an away program may require documentation of additional vaccinations or titers beyond what CWRU School of Medicine requires. Please allow yourself plenty of time to review a program's individual immunization requirements and get any necessary titers drawn to confirm immunity. For example, the AAMC Standardized Immunization Form required both a documented full Hep B series AND a quantitative Hep B Antibody titer. If you matriculated to CWRU with only a full series but no titer, the titer is still required per AAMC standards. Please contact University Health and Counseling Services directly if you have any questions regarding your immunizations.

If accepted by an away program students can view their immunization records on MyHealthConnect

Mask fit testing is not mandatory unless required for a specific rotation. For students who need respiratory training, visit the Respiratory Protection Training page at Environmental Health and Safety or call EHS at 216.368.2907. When going to purchase a mask, any type is fine, but in general we use 3M N95.

Some programs require an official score. See Requesting a Trancript of USMLE Scores. Also, see Scoring and Score Reporting in the USMLE Bulletin for more information.

All enrolled students must have proof of personal health insurance.

BLS and ACLS may be required for an away rotation. Medical students receive BLS training in their M2 Year prior to starting Clerkships. Once completed, students can claim their BLS eCard from the American Heart Association (AHA). See How To Claim Your AHA BLS eCard

If an away rotation requires proof of BLS and/or ACLS certification, it is the responsibility of the student to provide current documentation.  

If needed, medical students may contact the following organizations to inquire about BLS, ACLS, or PALS training and certification. Advanced registration is required:

  • Cleveland Clinic Training Center at 216.636.2900
  • University Hospitals EMS Institute at 440.735.3513
  • American Heart Association at 1.888.97-ENJOY 
  • American Red Cross at 1.800.REDCROSS

Students are responsible for providing their own background check and/or drug screen. Specific requirements can vary for each program.

Background checks are initially completed by the med school upon matriculation and are valid for five years. Some students may complete a more recent background check, e.g., as part of their research credentialing. Anyone with a background check older than five years is responsible for obtaining an updated one and paying any necessary fees. It is highly recommended that students complete a background check within one year of the expected start date of an away rotation. For a Criminal Background Check, please see Student Instructions.

The CWRU Police provide electronic fingerprinting (BCI/FBI). Fingerprinting is handled by the CWRU police detectives by appointment only at the main campus police department, 1689 E. 115th St. Walk-ins are not permitted. Appointments are scheduled for Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Special accommodations made on a case-by-case basis.

Fingerprinting services

Students can obtain drug panel testing at University Health and Counseling Services if required. The fee is $88.00 and it is the responsibility of the student to pay UHS at the time of service.

Official verification: If an official verification of a successful background check or drug screen is required, students are responsible for providing a copy of the results with a written request for verification (include the institution name, address, and pick-up/delivery instructions) to the School of Medicine Registrar.

Requests can be submitted through the Student Letter Request Form.

All CWRU enrolled medical students are covered for $1,000,000 per instance / $3,000,000 aggregate.

Proof of malpractice insurance can be provided upon request (include the name, address, and pick-up/delivery instructions) by submitting the Student Letter Request Form.

Our office can upload a LoR to your VSLO application. Instruct your letter writer to email their LoR,if needed for your application to All LoRs should be in PDF format, signed, dated, and on official letterhead. Our office will notify you upon receipt and upload the LoR to your VSLO Document Center. 

Does my away rotation require State Authorization?

Effective September 16, 2015, Case Western Reserve University was approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. It is intended to make it easier for students to take courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.

If rotating out of Ohio it is extremely important for students to submit the Unlisted Elective Form at least 45-30 days prior to the proposed start date. The School of Medicine Office of the Registrar will review all Unlisted Elective requests to ensure that the institution meets state authorization requirements. Students will be contacted immediately if there are any questions or concerns.

Please note: Case Western Reserve University currently is not authorized in Puerto Rico but is pursuing authorization.

To review the list of states/territories in which CWRU is authorized, exempt, or permitted to operate under the terms of SARA, please visit the CWRU Authorization and Accreditation page and select the SARA pull-down.

Please also visit the NC-SARA Fast Facts page. Ms. Yolanda Cunningham is Coordinator of State Authorization and Compliance at Case Western Reserve University. Feel free to email Ms. Cunningham for additional information.

How will an away rotation be added to my transcript?

The School Of Medicine Registrar's Office has prepared detailed information about how to add an away rotation to your transcript on our website. Please review information under Scheduling for Unlisted Electives and International Electives.