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Frequently Asked Questions

1) What are selectives?

Selectives are special topic courses that are one or two weeks in length. One week of a selective corresponds to one semester hour of credit. Selectives expose students to areas of veterinary medicine with which they may be less familiar and allow students with a clear interest to gain expertise in their chosen field.

2) When are selectives instructed?

There are two weeks at the end of each semester that are reserved for the instruction of selectives. Selectives are instructed during the two weeks after final exams end.

3) What is the grading method for selectives?

Selectives are graded by the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory method. The grade will appear as an “S” or a “U” on your official university transcript.

4) How am I informed about selectives and registration?

Early each semester, you will receive an email from Student Services directing you to the selective catalog for that semester and advising you of your randomly generated selective registration number for your class.  The Selectives Catalog for the current semester is available here.

Selective registration is done on a priority system rather than a first come first serve basis. Third year students register first, second year students register second, and first year students register third. Furthermore, each student is assigned a random order number within their class. Students are registered according to the randomly assigned order number within their class (e.g., the student with #1 will register first, followed by #2, #3, etc).

5) How do I register for selectives?

Registration will happen at lunch on different days for each class. Student Services will notify you by email of what day and time your class will register for selectives and in what room. On that day, you will lineup in order of your registration number and will proceed with registration. Be prepared with many choices and backup choices as registration will need to move swiftly and selectives can fill up quickly.

When you approach the person with whom you will register, make sure to say your last name followed by your first name. Then give the class you want to take by course name. If the course is offered in multiple week options, please give the section number and/or week desired. Have instructor permissions handy, if needed.

6) How will I know which selectives are available/closed when I register ?

Along with the selectives catalog link, you will have access to a dynamic link that will show you open seats for selectives. Even in line, you can monitor real time selectives availability.  This will allow you to adjust your choices dynamically. A screen will be available during registration to monitor class status.

7) What if I cannot attend registration?

You are required to attend registration and must qualify for and receive an excused absence from the Office of Academic Affairs if you are ill or otherwise unable to attend. If there is a chance of this happening, we suggest you elect a  classmate to register for you. I recommend giving them explicit directions and to provide them a precise and lengthy list of your choices and copies of any instructor permission so there will be no confusion. Please let Kirk Nuss know in advance who your surrogate will be. Students missing registration without an excused absence from the Office of Academic Affairs will be registered in remaining selectives after the process is complete.

8) If I want to register for an extramural or professional meeting, do I have to attend registration?

Yes. Everyone must attend registration and go through the registration process.

Unless the extramural requires instructor permission, you don’t have to turn in your extramural registration form or professional meeting form at registration (although it is encouraged, if possible). These registration forms will be required these at least 30 days prior to the selective for an extramural and at least 7 days prior for a professional meeting.

8) How are the priority order numbers generated?

The random order generation tool is used through a data analysis software program. The tool randomly assigns each student within a class a different number each time the program is run. Order numbers are never reused.

9) How do I receive consideration for selectives required by my declared focus ?

Focus area priority is no longer granted for selectives in most situations. However, if you have declared a focus area prior to the term deadline, AND the course is required (not just recommended) by your focus area (e.g., Equine Dentistry for the equine focus area), AND this is your last opportunity to take the course, you can request pre-registration for this course. Email Kirk Nuss in Student Services at least 1 week prior to 3rd year selectives registration for consideration. Please review the focus area webpages to see what courses are required—they can be found at

10) What is the penalty if I have declared my focus area and I would like to change it to a different focus area?

Students who switch from one focus area to another will be given priority behind other students in that focus area. The last date a student can switch focus areas is September 15, third year. Changing focus areas is not encouraged and must be approved by the Office of Academic Affairs.

11) Can I register for a course requiring Instructor Permission prior to receiving permission ?

No. You must have written permission from the instructor present in order to register for a course that requires instructor permission. Please bring this with you in printed form. You can print a faculty email and/or receive written permission from the faculty member.

12) Should I obtain Instructor Permission for courses that are not my first choice?

Definitely. As selectives are competitive, many of your top choices could be gone once you register. It is better to have permission and not need it then to need permission and not have it.

13) Can I switch courses after registration?

No. Selectives are often small, intimate experiences, and seats are at a priority. If you vacate a seat, it might mean a course not making, someone not being able to take that course that you occupied or create a domino effect. This is why it is essential to be ready for backup options during registration and to monitor options.

Only if there are extenuating, unanticipated circumstances, can you contact Kirk Nuss to see about options.

10) How many credits of selectives do I need?

It is mandatory that each student earn 12 selective credits before they begin their fourth year clinical rotations. Therefore, each student needs to take (2 credits) of selectives each semester during the first, second, and third years.

11) Can I earn selective credit for extramural experiences in the summer and break?

No, students may not pursue more than (2 credits) of selectives in a semester and these must be completed during selective weeks with the exception of NCSU faculty sponsored International trips and Professional Meetings. If a student completes an extramural experience in the summer or during breaks (with prior approvals, etc.) they can apply for elective credit for the semester immediately following the experience, only. The student must still complete two selective credits in that semester. "Banking" of selective credit is not allowed.

12) What are professional meetings?

There are a wide variety of professional meetings, conferences, and conventions that veterinary related associations conduct each year. DVM students are invited to attend these meetings and may be eligible to get credit for their attendance. Students must follow the Professional Meeting Guidelines set forth here in order to receive credit for their attendance at a professional meeting.

13) What is an extramural experience?

An extramural experience is when a student sets up a visit with an outside veterinarian or a practice/clinic to gain further clinical skills. Students do not have to have a practice experience arranged before registering but must complete the extramural registration form with signatures and turn in to Student Services at least one month prior to selectives. The student evaluation, which is to be completed by the supervising veterinarian, and the student report are due in student services within one month of experience.

Extramural Paperwork is available on line.

14) Why do we register for selectives so early?

Selective registration occurs early so that instructors can commit to their schedules, finalize their selective budgets and acquire the appropriate textbooks and/or supplies for the selective.

15) Do the selectives have course descriptions?

Yes. Each year a selective catalog is created. The selective catalog can be viewed online.

16) Why are there minimum and maximum enrollment numbers for selectives?

It takes a budget to run each selective. A minimum enrollment number is put in place to justify the cost of conducting the selective. A maximum enrollment number is put in place to limit the amount of students registered for a selective. We need to consider room space and van rental space. Additionally, it ensures that each student will have a unique learning experience. Once a selective reaches maximum enrollment, it will be closed to other registrations.

17) What happens when a selective does not reach minimum enrollment?

The selective is cancelled, as we could not justify the cost of running the selective without minimum enrollment. If a selective is cancelled, Student Services will contact each student enrolled.

18) Can I add a selective that is at its maximum enrollment if I obtain instructor permission?

No, all students must follow the selective guidelines that have been set forth with the priority system. Obtaining instructor permission to add a selective that is closed is unfair to your classmates who have abided by the priority system rules.

19) Can I find a fellow student who is willing to switch selectives with me?

No, all students must follow the selective guidelines that have been set forth with the priority system. Switching selectives with another classmate is unfair to other students who have abided by the priority system rules.

20) Do I have to do a course evaluation form for selectives?

Yes. The Academic Affairs Office will send you an online link to the course evaluation form you’ll need to complete. Additionally, course evaluation forms will be placed in the student mailboxes. All course evaluation forms are to be returned to the Academic Affairs Office.

21) Can I take a selective more than once?

It is common for students to take extramural experiences more than once. There are a few instances in which students would like to take a selective again; however, the permission of the selective instructor is required. Some selectives are not repeatable.

22) Can I get paid for my extramural experience selective.

No, you cannot get paid for your practice experience.

23) Can I split the weeks of VMC 992 – Active Learning in the VHC like we can split the weeks for practice experience selectives?

Typically no. However, a few Active Learning experiences can be taken first week or second week. These exceptions will be indicated in the catalog as 1 week selective options. Other than these exceptions, students cannot split the weeks of the Active Learning in the VHC. Active Learning in the VHC is on a block clinical schedule and the clinical coordinators only approve students for two consecutive selective weeks.

24) Can I switch my selective with another student?

No, students cannot switch their selective with another student. Switching defeats the purpose of having the order number system and would be unfair to those students who had the next order number to take the selective.

25) Why do some courses appear multiple times in the catalog with different section numbers?

The first digit of the three digit section number indicates what week the selective is offered. If it is offered in Week 1 for 1-credit, it will begin with a 1; if it is offered in Week 2 for 1-credit, it will begin with a 2; and if it is offered for both weeks for 2-credits, it will begin with a 3. Please make sure to select the correct section number when registering--this is often true for extramurals and other external experiences. The last two digits of the section number indicate the unique topic number for each selective.



Questions regarding Selectives should be directed to the Scheduling Coordinator.