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AOSC Graduation Requirements and Research Electives

AOSC Graduation Requirements

All FSM MD students, excluding dual degree (MD/MPH, MD/MA, and MSTP) students, are required to fulfill their AOSC graduation requirement as part of the FSM curriculum. This requirement is fulfilled by either (1) an eligible first-author manuscript submitted to a PubMed-indexed journal (requirement fulfilled on submission even if the article is not accepted); or (2) a thesis which substitutes for the first-author paper requirement. Eligible first author papers must have been written based on research performed during medical school, and are not required to derive from a student's declared AOSC project. Eligible first-author paper formats include original research (including brief reports and research letters if original research), systematic reviews, scoping reviews, or humanities analytical/narrative pieces submitted for publication. We encourage students to consider submitting even "null" results from their research, as several journals including open access ones (such as PLOS One and Nature Scientific Reports) primarily review articles based on validity rather than significance of findings. Northwestern also offers funding for such open access journals. As a substitute for a submitted first author paper, students can submit a thesis (see the thesis template).

Once your thesis is complete or your manuscript has been submitted, please fill out the manuscript/thesis submission form. The AOSC graduation requirement can be fulfilled at any time during your tenure at FSM, but is due during February of your M4 year. Please review the timeline page for more information about deadlines.

Research Elective Guidelines

Students may obtain elective credit for both AOSC and non-AOSC research. Total elective credit for research (AOSC-related and non-AOSC) must not exceed 12 weeks. Students may do up to one month of research in two-week blocks (i.e., a total of two, non-contiguous two-week blocks is allowed). All other research electives must be taken in at least one-month blocks. Flex time can always be used to conduct research (including one week at a time). 

All requests for research electives must be approved by the student’s research mentor and submitted to AWOME for final approval before an elective can be scheduled. A separate form must be filled out for each non-contiguous research block. 

To schedule and receive credit for a research elective, fill out the Research Elective Request form and attest that you have reviewed the contents of the form with your research mentor. You can view a PDF worksheet of the Research Elective Form. The completed form should be submitted for approval at least two weeks prior to starting the research block. You may not request elective credit for research time retroactively. Once your elective request is approved, the registrar will be informed and the research elective will be added to your schedule in OASIS in the block you requested.