University Policy

School of Medicine Policy

First- and Second-Year Students

Final Course and Clerkship Grades

A student will not be promoted with any Fail, Withdraw, or Incomplete grades in required courses. A student will be subject to Academic Dismissal from BUSM for:

  • Four or more Fail grades within an academic year
  • After reexaminations, any Fail grade within an academic year

Remediation of Course Grades by Reexaminations

A single round of reexaminations will be administered before the start of the second or third curricular years at a time selected and coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) and the Course Directors. The remediation schedule will be posted on the OAA webpage. First- and second-year students sign up through the OAA Administrator and the OME DRx Administrator, respectively. Third-year students who are remediating Shelf examinations sign up directly through the Clerkship Administrator.

Students who fail to meet the standards for promotion after final grades become available at the end of the curricular year must petition the SEPC for permission to remedy more than two Fail grades. Normally, a student may not remediate more than two courses, either by means of a reexamination, or other method determined by the Course Director. Under unusual circumstances, however, a student may petition the SEPC for permission to remediate a third course.

USMLE Step 1

Each student must pass USMLE Step 1 Examination to be promoted to the fourth curricular year and to graduate from BUSM.

All BUSM 2 students in good standing, e.g., without any prior academic deficiencies, must take USMLE Step 1 by the first day of the BUSM 3 Orientation and begin the third year on the first day of the third curricular year.

Preparation to take USMLE Step 1 should not be allowed to compromise a student’s effort in any pre-clerkship course, clinical clerkship, rotation, or elective taken for academic credit. Preparation for Step 1 is not an acceptable reason for inability to fulfill course requirements, which should result in a grade of Fail rather than an Incomplete.

A student who fails USMLE Step 1 must arrange to meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or his/her representative within two weeks of the receipt of the examination scores to identify the reasons for the failure and to construct a plan to help the student prepare to retake the examination. The Director of Academic Enhancement will keep a file of the plans which will be available to the SEPC as needed.

Any student who fails USMLE Step 1 for the first time may finish the current rotation. The student’s course of study will then stop until s/he retakes the Step 1, after which the student may re-enter the curriculum. If the student again fails Step 1, the student will leave the curriculum and may not continue until s/he receives a passing score on the Step 1.

The SEPC may, at its discretion:

  • Require the student to repeat courses or clerkships, or to pursue a modified or decelerated course of study upon returning to the curriculum;
  • Academically dismiss the student if s/he fails Step 1 of the USMLE three times; or
  • Take such other action, as the committee deems appropriate.

Third- and Fourth-Year Students

USMLE Step 2

Each student must take USMLE Step 2, Parts A and B by November 1 of the academic year in which they are graduating. All students applying for residency must take the Step 2 CS and CK.

All students must have registered and scheduled dates for their USMLE Step 2:

  • Clinical Skills (CS) exam by January 31 of the year prior to their graduation
  • Clinical Knowledge (CK) exam by June 1, 11.5 months prior to graduation

Remediation of a Fail Grade

A student will remediate any Fail grade in a clinical clerkship, rotation, or elective, according to the requirements established by the clerkship, rotation, or elective. Fail grades must be remediated at a clerkship or rotation site within the BUSM system approved by the Clerkship or Rotation Director.

  • The plan to remediate the grade must be reviewed and approved by the SEPC
  • Remediation of a Fail grade in any clinical clerkship, rotation, or elective should not be allowed to compromise a student’s efforts in any other course or rotation being taken for academic credit
  • No student will be allowed to repeat any clerkship, rotation, or elective more than once

Timing of Third-Year Grade Remediation

All third-year Fail and Incomplete grades must be remediated before a student is eligible for promotion to the fourth year. Students must remediate all third-year grades at the beginning of the fourth curricular year no later than the second curricular block. They are expected to participate in the process of selecting the required fourth-year rotations beginning in January of the third year, and to sign up for elective rotations beginning in March of the third year, but may not participate in any of the fourth-year rotations prior to successfully remediating all third-year deficiency grades.

A third-year student who has received Incomplete or Fail grades because of failing to pass a final clerkship examination is expected to:

  • Take and pass the clerkship makeup examination(s) no later than the second block of the fourth year. The student may not receive credit for any fourth-year rotations or electives taken until the clerkship examination failure is remediated.
  • Meet with the Clerkship Director to determine which electives, if any, may be taken during the study period.
  • Meet with the Registrar to arrange for an appropriate fourth-year schedule considering the requirements for the makeup examination, and
  • Meet with the Clerkship Director or staff to schedule the reexamination.