Grades and Course Credits

University Policy

BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine Policy

Once a student initiates a course or clerkship, a grade will be recorded. The Chobanian & Avedisian SOM grading system is used to define levels of competence and must be expressed as one of the grades listed below. Chobanian & Avedisian SOM students must earn Pass or higher for all courses to be eligible for promotion and graduation.

First- and Second-Year Courses

Pass (P): Awarded when a student’s work in a course meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for competence in that course.

Fail (F): Awarded when a student’s work in a course fails to meet the minimum requirements for competence in that course.

Third- and Fourth-Year Courses and Clerkships

Honors (H): Awarded only for third- and fourth-year clerkships and rotations and signifies that the student’s performance exceeds the standards of competence in that rotation.

High Pass (HP): Awarded only for third- and fourth-year clerkships and rotations. Indicates performance that has consistently demonstrated competence in that rotation, but not at the level necessary for Honors.

Pass (P): Awarded when a student’s performance in a rotation meets the minimum requirements for competence.

Fail (F): Awarded when a student’s work in a rotation fails to consistently meet the minimum requirements for competence.

For students who do not complete a course or clerkship, one of the following two grades may be given:

  • Withdraw (W): Assigned as the final grade in any course from which the student withdraws. The Withdraw grade can be assigned at any time prior to the completion of a course. A student who is assigned a grade of Withdraw from any course will be required to retake the entire course before promotion or graduation.
  • Incomplete (I): Due to extenuating circumstances, when one or more requirements of the course, clerkship, or rotation has not been completed, the grade of Incomplete will be assigned. If a student is unable to complete a required part of the course, clerkship, or rotation before the grade submission deadline, the student may receive an Incomplete if the student is otherwise progressing as expected in that course, clerkship, or rotation. The Course/Clerkship/Rotation Director will provide a plan for the student to complete the course. An Incomplete grade is an internal grade marker and will not remain on the Official Transcript once it has been remediated. All Incomplete grades must be resolved within one year of the original start date of the course or clerkship. If not remediated within one year, the Incomplete will be converted to a Fail grade, which will appear on the Official Transcript.

Transparency of Transcript

Grades for all courses will appear on the Official Transcript. All Incomplete and Fail grades must be remediated in order for the student to be eligible for promotion and graduation. Any repeated course will be listed on the transcript and the word “Repeat” will appear next to the course name. Courses in the first two years of the curriculum in which a student receives a grade of Fail, but is able to remediate by an additional examination, will appear on the transcript as “Fail/Pass.” A transcript note will be made to designate that the remediation was completed by an additional examination.

If a student receives a grade of Fail in a third- or fourth-year rotation due to a shelf exam failure, the student will have the opportunity to remediate the failing grade by reexamination. Upon earning a passing score, the final grade will be recalculated as specified in the course syllabus and will appear on the transcript as a Fail/(Remediated Grade). A transcript note will be made to designate that the remediation was completed by reexamination. A shelf exam failure in a second clerkship requires appearing before the Student Evaluation and Promotions Committee (see section 3 of the main BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine Policies and Procedures page).

If a student fails a third- or fourth-year clerkship for reasons other than, or in addition to, failure of the end-of-clerkship examination, the student will receive a Fail grade and will be required to repeat the clerkship. The grade for the repeated clerkship will be calculated based on the grading criteria outlined in the course syllabus for Pass, High Pass, or Honors independent of the prior Fail. The original Fail grade will remain on the transcript. The original summative evaluation narrative will be included in the Medical School Performance Evaluation, in addition to the summative evaluation from the repeated clerkship.

Grade Reconsideration

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

A student who chooses to appeal a grade must follow these procedures:

  1. Contact the Registrar to review the grade appeal process. The Registrar will serve as a liaison between the student and department to ensure that all requirements are met.
  2. Submit a written grade appeal to the Module, Course, Clerkship, or Rotation Director no more than 15 business days after the date on which the grade is officially recorded in the Registrar’s office.

A student 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., PISCEs or Doctoring Leadership Committee, Chair of the Department [clerkships]): The leadership committee must provide a written decision to the student within 15 business days of receipt of the appeal.
  • The Associate Dean of Medical Education: The Associate Dean must provide a written decision to the student within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Associate Dean is final.

The Module, Course, Clerkship, or Rotation Director must provide a written decision to the appealing student within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal.

Chobanian & Avedisian SOM 3 and 4: A student should contact the Clerkship or Rotation Director with any specific concerns about their final grade and/or narrative evaluation. Preceptors provide recommendations based on observations of the student’s clinical skills but do not provide a final grade for students. Students should not reach out directly to their preceptors about their evaluations.

If the student contends that a grade was due to discrimination based on the student’s protected class status (i.e., gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity), the student should file an appeal with the Appropriate Treatment in Medicine (ATM) Committee.