Grades and Course Credits

University Policy

School of Medicine Policy

The BUSM grading system is used to report grades for all courses. Evaluation of student performance must be expressed as one of the following grades:

H (Honors)

This designation is used only for third- and fourth-year clerkships and rotations and indicates that the student’s performance and achievement are outstanding. Consistent performance at this level throughout the curriculum is required for graduation with Academic Honors.

HP (High Pass)

High Pass is used only for third- and fourth-year clerkships and rotations and indicates performance just short of Honors, exceeding satisfactory or acceptable performance.

P (Pass)

Pass indicates an acceptable performance and achievement. Consistent performance at this level throughout the curriculum is expected of a student qualified for promotion and graduation. BUSM students must have all Pass grades to be eligible for promotion and for graduation.

I (Incomplete)

Work in the course, clerkship, or rotation is incomplete.

If a student is unable to complete a course, clerkship, or rotation due to circumstances beyond his or her control (e.g., an emergent illness in which the student is incapacitated), the student may receive an Incomplete if s/he is in good standing in that course, clerkship, or rotation. The Course Director/Clerkship Director/Rotation Director will provide a plan for the student to complete the course.

Students must contact the appropriate Course Director or Clerkship/Rotation Director and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in advance whenever possible to explain any inability to take a scheduled examination or to meet other course obligations. If the Course Director or Clerkship/Rotation Director finds the reason acceptable, e.g., serious illness or a death in the immediate family, arrangements should be made for the student to complete the course requirements as soon as possible. If the reason is unacceptable, then the “Incomplete” grade is inappropriate, and a grade of “Fail” (see below) will be given.

Incomplete grades will become internal grade markers and will not appear on the official transcript. Incomplete grades must be remediated within a year of the original start date of the course or clerkship. If not remediated in that time frame, the Incomplete will become a Fail grade.

W (Withdraw)

Assigned as the final grade in any course in which the student withdraws. The grade can be assigned at any time prior to the completion of a course. Students who are assigned a grade of “Withdraw” will be required to retake the course.

F (Fail)

Work in the course was at a level of quality too low to meet the minimum requirements determined by the department or faculty.

All Incomplete (I) and Fail (F) grades must be remediated prior to promotion, or, for BUSM 4, prior to graduation. When the SEPC judges that a student is qualified for promotion or for graduation, grades of H (Honors), HP (High Pass), P (Pass), and F (Fail) followed by a P (Pass) for repeated courses, are recorded in the official transcript.

Exemption

Prior to matriculation, students may apply for an exemption from courses for which they previously completed coursework outside of BUSM. Applications should be directed to the individual Course Directors who determine the credentials necessary to award exemption status (which may include satisfactory completion of a placement examination). The official transcript will record these courses as “Exempt.”

Repeat

The transcript will record the word “Repeat” next to the grade for repeated courses.

Grade Reconsideration

The Module, Clerkship, and Rotation Directors determine grades in consultation with the course or clerkship faculty based on the thoughtful and careful consideration of the criteria described in the module or clerkship syllabus.

A student who chooses to appeal the grade decision should follow these guidelines:

  • Contact the BUSM Registrar to review the grade appeal process. The Registrar acts as a liaison between the student and department to ensure that all requirements are met.
  • Submit a grade appeal in writing to a Module, Course, Clerkship, or Rotation Director no more than 15 business days after the date the grade is officially recorded in the Registrar’s Office.
  • The Module, Course, Clerkship, or Rotation Director must provide their grade appeal decision to the student in writing within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.
    • BUSM 3 and 4: First contact the Clerkship or Rotation Director with any specific concerns about their clinical evaluation. Do not contact preceptors directly about grade complaints or reviews before talking with the Rotation Director. Preceptors provide recommendations based on their observations of the student’s clinical skills and do not provide a final grade for their students. Revised preceptor grades thus are advisory and require discussion with the Clerkship Director.
  • Students may request sequential reviews of the appeal in the following order within 10 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.
    • The relevant course leadership committees (e.g., PrISM [BUSM 1] or DRx Leadership Committee [BUSM 2], Director of Medical Education office [IP or ICM], Chair of the department [EPH, HBM, clerkships]). The leadership committee must provide their grade appeal decision to the student in writing within 15 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.
    • The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean must provide their grade appeal decision to the student in writing within 10 calendar days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Associate Dean is considered final, and cannot be further appealed.

A student files an appeal with the Appropriate Treatment in Medicine (ATM) Committee only if they feel their grade was:

  • based on discrimination (i.e., gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity)
  • adversely affected by an unresolved grading policy error (i.e., conflicting grading policies exist within a single module or clerkship)