Clinical Education at Rocky Vista University

| Academics | Clinical Education


For the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and the Master of Physician Assistant Studies programs, clinical externship sites are located primarily in Colorado and Utah, with a few satellite externship sites in Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona and many other states. Externship slots are determined by lottery during the second year. The externship site assignment list is issued to students prior to beginning externships each year. All regional assignments are considered final. A student may request to change his or her assigned externship 90 days prior to the start of the externship; however, there is no guarantee that the change will be possible. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Office of Clinical Education.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Clinical Clerkships (Elective)

The remaining elective clerkships, required to meet credit hours, are requested by the student and arranged in conjunction with the 4th year clinical coordinators, at the approval of the Office of Clinical Education, to complete students’ preparation for residency training. Elective Clerkship sites are credentialed through the Office of Clinical Education where state authorization has been granted or not required by a particular state, as RVU is not currently a member of the NC-SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement).

Sub-Internship/Audition Clerkships

Students are required to complete clinical and didactic training that best prepares them for residency. During the first half of the 4th year (OMS IV), students are required to complete a minimum of two sub-internship/audition clerkships at residency programs. The clerkships chosen must have the approval of the Associate Dean for Clinical Educations or designee.

Students may also pursue research projects and global medicine experiences, with approval of the Associate Dean of Clinical Education or designee.

Master of Physician Assistant Studies

The clinical portion of the program is designed to expose the student to patients in a variety of clinical settings. The setting, assigned tasks, and schedule will vary depending on the site. Clinical experiences will average approximately 40 hours/week on-site, in patient-related care. Some clinical experiences may involve slightly shorter (no less than 32 hours/week) or longer hours (no more than 80 hours/week), evening, holiday, weekend, or on-call responsibilities. The preceptor will determine the student’s on-site schedule and clinical responsibilities. Students must adhere to each clinical experience schedule and to all assignments developed by the preceptor. If this is not possible in any given week at a specific clinical site, the student is to notify the clinical team in advance. Patient-related care includes evaluating and treating patients, charting and appropriate paperwork (written or electronic), case presentations, discussions with the preceptor, and other duties as applicable. See specific course syllabi for objectives and goals for each rotation.

Student Suggestions for Clinical Experiences

The PA Program will acquire and coordinate all clinical rotation sites and preceptors for students. Students are not required to obtain their own sites or preceptors. Students may, however, suggest sites or preceptors to the PA Program. The Program, at its sole discretion, will review and evaluate student-suggested sites and preceptors for educational suitability before approving them for use as clinical sites. All clinical sites and preceptors must meet program expectations and policies.


Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine has developed several specialized educational tracks and programs to further develop the education of interested students. These range from 3.5-year-long tracks to single-semester elective courses.

Student research/scholarly activity is a vital part of health provider education. Research enhances critical thinking skills and increases medical knowledge, as well as preparing students for graduate medical education. Therefore, all students are encouraged to participate in research activities while at RVU.

During their third and fourth years of medical school, students work on clinical clerkships, under the guidance of preceptors. RVU students have clerkships available to them through Colorado and the other Mountain West states.