Elective used as a "adjective" means that it is optional and chosen, for example, by election. An elective, a "noun", chosen by a student means that it is an optional subject or course in a curriculum.
Elective is a term used for an academic course chosen by the student from a set of options, as opposed to a required course. While required courses (sometimes called core courses) are deemed essential for an academic degree, elective courses tend to be more specialized. Elective courses usually have fewer students than the required core courses. [See for example [http://www.mba.com/mba/FindYourProgram/EvaluateSchools/ResearchCurriculumServicesEnvironment/CoreandElectiveCourseWork.htm] ]
The term elective is also used for a period of medical study conducted away from the student's home
medical school, often abroad. Motivations for choosing such a program include a wish to experience other cultures, and to learn how to work in the clinical situations in other countries. [ [http://student.bmj.com/issues/05/02/editorials/47.php A guide for electives] ]
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Elective — E*lect ive, a. [Cf. F. [ e]lectif.] 1. Exerting the power of choice; selecting; as, an elective act. [1913 Webster] 2. Pertaining to, or consisting in, choice, or right of choosing; electoral. [1913 Webster] The independent use of their elective… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
elective — elec·tive adj 1 a: chosen by popular election an elective official b: of or relating to election c: based on the right or principle of election the presidency is an elective office 2 a: permitting a choice compare … Law dictionary
elective — [ē lek′tiv, ilek′tiv] adj. [ME < LL electivus] 1. a) filled by election [an elective office] b) chosen by election; elected 2. of or based on election 3. having the power to choose 4 … English World dictionary
Elective — E*lect ive, n. In an American college, an optional study or course of study; a course that is not required. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
elective — early 15c., from L.L. electivus, from electus, pp. of eligere (see ELECTION (Cf. election)). In reference to school subjects studied at the student s choice, first recorded 1847. As a noun, from 1701 … Etymology dictionary
elective — [adj] able to be chosen constituent, discretionary, electoral, facultative, nonobligatory, not compulsory, optional, selective, voluntary, voting; concept 535 Ant. required … New thesaurus
elective — ► ADJECTIVE 1) relating to or appointed by election. 2) (of a course of study, treatment, etc.) selected by the person concerned; not compulsory. ► NOUN chiefly N. Amer. ▪ an optional course of study. DERIVATIVES electively adverb … English terms dictionary
elective — I. adjective Date: circa 1531 1. a. chosen or filled by popular election < an elective official > b. of or relating to election c. based on the right or principle of election < the presidency is an elective office > 2. a. permitting a choice … New Collegiate Dictionary
elective — e|lec|tive1 [ıˈlektıv] adj formal 1.) an elective position or organization is one for which there is an election ▪ the 34 elective seats in the National Assembly 2.) elective medical treatment is treatment that you choose to have, although you do … Dictionary of contemporary English
elective — I UK [ɪˈlektɪv] / US adjective 1) an elective position is one that someone holds because people have voted for them 2) a) elective medical treatment is treatment that you choose to have, rather than treatment that is necessary b) American an… … English dictionary