Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) only accepts applications submitted through AAMC’s Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) platform. Students who do not have access to VSLO are NOT able to apply for electives at WUSM.  

Find out if your school is a member of the VSLO network » 

Eligible students may only participate in one elective rotation (maximum four weeks). 

Am I eligible? »

Due to the incredibly high volume of applications, not all eligible applicants will be placed in a rotation. Submitting an application does not guarantee placement, and submitting a high volume of applications does not necessarily increase the chances of being placed.  

International Students

Students enrolled in international medical schools must have access to VSLO in order to apply. To ensure that students from many different institutions have access to elective rotations at WUSM, a limited number of students per institution will be accepted. Once this limit is reached, the VSLO portal will be closed for that institution and will NOT reopen for general applicants. For many schools, the limit is reached on the day applications open. After that point, additional students may only be accepted via departmental pre-screening processes. 

Note that VSLO may occasionally be reopened to receive an application from a student who has been selected via a departmental pre-screening process. When this occurs, any students from the same institution who have saved WUSM electives will be notified. Receiving a automatic notification from VSLO that applications have reopened does NOT mean that WUSM is considering additional applicants from the institution. All applications received from students not selected via a pre-screening process will be immediately denied and no refunds will be issued.

Application Deadlines & Decisions 

Applications automatically close in VSLO 45 days (6 weeks) before each rotation start date, so all applications must be released by the student’s home institution and received by WUSM before that deadline in order to be considered. 

Application decisions are made and communicated to students on a rolling basis.  

Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible after applications open, since WUSM receives many more applications than there are spaces available and not all applicants can be offered an elective rotation here. 

Elective availability changes rapidly once applications open. The Electives Office strives to update the VSLO catalog as quickly as possible, but please be aware that listed availability will not always be accurate, especially in the first few months after applications open. 

Due to the high volume of applications, the Electives Office is unable to provide status updates. Do not call or email our institution to check on your application status. All updates are reflected in VSLO as soon as decisions are made. 

Faculty members cannot override medical school policies.

Departmental Pre-Screening 

Some electives have pre-screening processes. For these courses, students must submit the specified materials to the department and be approved before applying to the elective through VSLO.  Applications to a course that requires pre-screening submitted through VSLO without prior departmental approval will not be considered.  

More information about departmental pre-screening requirements and deadlines can be found in individual course listings in the VSLO Electives Catalog. 

Courses that require departmental pre-screening may include, but are not limited to, those in the following specialties: 

  • Dermatology 
  • Emergency Medicine 
  • General Surgery 
  • Neurosurgery 
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology 
  • Ophthalmology 
  • Orthopedic Surgery 
  • Pathology 
  • Plastic Surgery 
  • Psychiatry 
  • Radiation Oncology 
  • Radiology 
  • Urologic Surgery 

Rescheduling Elective Rotations 

The Electives Office strives to place applicants in their highest-ranked course (indicated in their VSLO application), as availability allows. If a student is offered a rotation that they are no longer interested in, they may decline the offer in VSLO. Once an offer is declined, students are welcome to apply again as long as applications are still open in VSLO. Applications to new courses will not be considered if there is an active offer on a student’s VSLO account. Declining an offer does not guarantee placement in another elective course. 

If a student is unable to reapply for a course they wish to be considered for since an application already exists, they should email wusmelectives@wustl.edu to request that their previous application be reconsidered. The Electives Office will only check availability for the second course once the first offer has been declined. 

If a student needs to change the dates of their rotation after an offer has been extended, they should email wusmelectives@wustl.edu. All rotation dates must adhere to WUSM’s standard rotation blocks. Rotations cannot be shortened or lengthened. 


Visiting students who wish to cancel an elective rotation they had previously accepted must notify the Electives Office via email and drop the offer in VSLO. Students are asked to provide at least four weeks’ notice when dropping an elective. 

The WUSM Visiting Student Program undergoes continuous review and improvement, and requirements and processes are subject to change. This page was last updated on February 8, 2024.