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Specialty Specific Faculty Advisor (SSFA)

During Phase III of the MD curriculum, students explore medical specialization options, select a specialty, and apply for the Match.  Nearly always, students need assistance in navigating the decisions they must make, weighing options, and understanding the process.  To ensure success, students are required to choose a specialty-specific faculty advisor (SSFA).


  • Based on information provided by the student and available, provide realistic assessment regarding likelihood of matching at a desired specialty.  Students are expected to provide an updated CV, personal statement, available USMLE scores, and performance information from pre-clinical and clinical courses.  Additionally, the Guide to Specialty-based Pathway contains aggregate information regarding match rates and grades and USMLE scores of students from previous classes for each specialty.
  • Utilizing the Guide to Specialty-based Pathway, assist the student in planning Phase III advanced electives.
  • Provide guidance in the Residency Match process and preparing for a backup option.
  • Assist students in obtaining a residency position during SOAP if they fail to match.
  • Provide any additional appropriate career counseling as needed.


Students who are planning for the Phase III advanced electives must select a Specialty Specific Faculty Advisor in August of M3 year.  There is a list of Specialty Specific Faculty Advisors in the Guide to Specialty-based Pathways; students must choose a Specialty Specific Faculty Advisor from the list.  If a student has not chosen a specialty, he/she may choose the Learning Community Faculty Director or one of the OSAC Deans to assist in formulating the Phase III advanced elective schedule.  Students are highly encouraged to select a Specialty Specific Faculty Advisor as soon as possible.

Student and the advisor will review the planned electives.  Once satisfactory plan has been formulated, the Specialty Specific Faculty Advisor must sign off on the proposed schedule.  The signature is necessary before the registrar will accept the student’s Phase III advanced elective scheduling request.

All changes to the Phase III advanced elective schedule (drop/add) must be approved by the student’s Specialty Specific Faculty Advisor.  If a student has not chosen a Specialty Specific Faculty Advisor, he/she will need to contact your Learning Community Faculty Director or one of the OSAC Deans.  This should be accomplished by an e-mail approval and a copy of the e-mail must accompany schedule change request (sent to CCOM-Reg-Schedules@uiowa.edu).  Moving a scheduled elective to different time slots will not require an e-mail approval by the advisor.

For more information, contact the CCOM Registrar