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Academic Guidelines for Advancement & Dismissal

A. Advancement Criteria

  1. Each graded course in the first two years of medical school will be weighted according to the number of weeks devoted to its teaching. Failed evaluation units are cumulative over the two years, and are not erased by remediation of the course.

  2. When retaking a first or second year course, successful completion will be defined as a grade of a "C" or better. Specifically, students cannot successfully complete a course that they are retaking by receiving a grade of a "D" or "conditioning" a course with subsequent examination converting it to a "C". If a student should receive a "D" or "condition" in a course that they are retaking, that grade will automatically become an "F".

  3. Students who have successfully completed at least one semester of ICM 1 or 2 before their withdrawal from an academic year (with the intention of remediating that year) may be permitted to continue with the course through completion. This decision will be made jointly by the ICM coursemaster and the Associate or an Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Such students will be required to work with the Director of Academic Development and the Associate or an Assistant Dean of Student Affairs to create a clinical curriculum for their remediation year in order to maintain their skills in this area. These students must also meet with the ICM coursemaster before returning to school to dilineate specifically any portions of ICM that they must attend during their remediation year. The final ICM grade will be determined upon completion of all requirements delineated by the coursemaster. If required courseowrk extends beyond the original semester for completion, the rules for an incomplete grade will be applied. 

  4. Students who have completed less than a full semester of ICM 1 or 2 before their withdrwal (with the intent of remediating that year) will be required to complete the course in its entirety upon their return to school. The course will be listed as a "W" on their transcript. 

  5. Any student who withdraws at any time from a year 1/2 course (excepting the Introduction to Clinical Medicine) will have to repeat that course in its entirety.

  6. Students who fail, drop, or who have grades of either "incomplete" or "D" in first or second year courses must have achieved at least a "C" grade or "pass" in those courses before they are allowed to begin the subsequent year. The circumstances of remediating these grades will be explained in the MSPE.

  7. Students must pass all coursework in year one before starting year two.

  8. Students who receive a grade of "F" in Pathophysiology and Therapeutics 1 may not take Pathophysiology and Therapeutics II until that course has been successfully remediated.

  9. During years 3 and 4, if a student has 2 or more “open” (not yet remediated) failures of clinical clerkship examinations at the same time, they will be required to take time off of clinical rotations (at least one month) in order to study for and retake all of their failed examinations. The student will also be required to meet with faculty from the OSA regarding the scheduling ramifications of this remediation.

  10. Academic Criteria for Repetition of an Academic Year

    A student will be required to repeat an academic year in any one of the following situations:

    1. Grades of "D" or less in 3 courses within the Year 1 (*) curriculum.
    2. Grades of "D" or less in 2 courses within the Year 2 (**) curriculum.
    3. Grades of "D" or less in 3 required clerkships within the Year 3 (***) curriculum.
    4. Recommendation to the Dean by the Advancement Committee based on student performance other than specified above, including an inability to function adequately in a professional manner.

      * Introduction to Clinical Medicine, Structure and Development, Cell and Molecular Biology, Functional Systems, Neuroscience.

      ** Introduction to Clinical Medicine, Host Defenses and Infectious Diseases, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics I and II.

      *** Core Internal Medicine, Core Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, Neurology, Family Medicine.

  11. Students are required to take Step 1 of the USMLE before starting year 3 rotations. Upon notification of a failure of the exam, students will either complete or be removed from their ongoing site assignment after consultation between the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Academic Development and the clerkship director. Clerkships may not be resumed until the exam has been retaken. In the event of a second failure of Step 1, students will not be permitted to resume their studies and will be placed on leave of absence, or be assigned an "individualized elective" until the examination has been passed. In the event of any failing grade in Step 1, an individual study plan will be developed in conjunction with the OSA and the OME.

  12. Students who have not completed their immunization requirements by appropriate deadlines may be suspended from class. This is both a health issue and professionalism issue and is taken seriously. See also section on Student and Employee health under INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS.

  13. Students may not begin a subinternship until the third year clerkship in that specialty has been successfully completed.

  14. Students must take and pass the School of Medicine Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) before graduation.

B. Failure of a Course

"F" grades require a repeat of the course or its approved equivalent. A course that has been failed may be taken at another medical school only with the prior approval of the University of Maryland course committee or course director. Students will be required to pass the off campus course and then our campus exam. Both the original grade of "F" and the grade received after remediation will be recorded on the transcript. Failed clerkships will be remediated in a method determined by the Department in consultation with Advancement Committee. The evaluations from both clerkships will appear and be explained in the MSPE.

C. Dropping Courses

Dropping year 1/2 courses may be done only under special circumstances with approval of the medical school administration and course or clerkship director. A course that has been dropped may be taken at another medical school only with the prior approval of the University of Maryland School of Medicine course committee or course director. Courses dropped before the first exam will not appear on the official transcript. Courses dropped after the first exam will appear as "W" on the official transcript. Students will not be allowed to drop a course only for poor academic performance. Dropped courses will be explained in the MSPE.

In coursework during the 3rd and 4th year, a student who leaves the course prior to completing at least 2/3 of the required time must withdraw from the course and subsequently repeat the entire course. The course will be entered as a "W" on the transcript and will appear again with a letter grade in the semester in which it is retaken. A student who leaves such a course after having completed 2/3 or more of the required time will receive a grade of "Incomplete" and will be obliged to finish the remaining coursework within one year of starting the course. Exception to this rule can be made at the course director's discretion in conjunction with the Associate or an Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

D. Special Placement

Students judged by the Advancement Committee to have experienced serious academic, professional or personal difficulty may be subject to placement under optimum supervision and frequent review following advancement to the Junior year. Special placement will be re-evaluated each semester and discontinued at the discretion of the Advancement Committee and/ or the Dean of the School of Medicine.

E. Eligibility for Graduation

  1. All requirements for the third year of medical school must be completed at least four months prior to an anticipated graduation date in order for the student to graduate at that time unless an exception has been granted by the Advancement Committee.

  2. All academic requirements for the fourth year must be completed before the date of pre-commencement, including passing the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

  3. All students must have completed the following administrative requirements: meeting with a student affairs dean about post-graduate plans and writing of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE); exit interview with the Office of Financial Aid.

  4. All requirements for the degree of Doctor of Medicine must be completed within six years of matriculation. This does not include combined degree programs. The Advancement Committee may recommend that the dean grant exceptions to the six-year limit.

  5. Students graduating in December may participate in commencement exercises in May of the following year, but are not eligible to be included in May of the previous year. Students graduating in July may be permitted to participate in commencement exercises in May upon recommendation by the Advancement Committee to the Dean.

  6. Students must have satisfied all conditions for resolution of probation before graduation.

  7. Students are required to take, but not necessarily pass, both parts of Step II of the USMLE before graduation. 

F. School of Medicine - Policy on Probation

Upon written notice from the Dean on recommendation of the Advancement Committee, a student may be placed on academic and/or disciplinary probation. In the written notice of probation status, the student will be advised of the reason the student is being placed on probation, the conditions that must be satisfied in order for the student to be removed from probation, and the student's right to appeal the decision. Probationary status will be reviewed each semester and discontinued at the discretion of the Advancement Committee and/or the Dean of the School of Medicine.

Specific conditions that may warrant probation include, but are not limited to:

  1. Failing to meet the Essential Requirements for Admission, Advancement, and Graduation

  2. Receiving a failing grade in a course

  3. Receiving an unresolved conditional or incomplete grade in a course.

  4. Unprofessional behavior

The notice of probation will include direction to the student of remedial requirements necessary to terminate probationary status, which may include, but are not limited to one or more of the following:

  1. Suspension of regular course work until existing deficiencies in courses are satisfied

  2. Clinical rotations to be undertaken only in sites providing supervision by faculty members approved by the Advancement Committee

  3. Evaluation or treatment by a counseling or medical professional approved by the Advancement Committee, with consent provided by the student for periodic reporting by the professional to the Advancement Committee through the Associate Dean for Student Affairs

  4. Other actions consistent with medical school and university policies that are recommended by the Advancement Committee to the Dean, and approved by the Dean

A student on probation may appeal to the Dean for reconsideration. A written, signed appeal must be submitted within 14 days of official notification of probation. The Dean may reject the appeal or accept it and appoint an Appeals Committee to advise him/her. A copy of the notice of probation will be placed in the student's file. Probation status will be recorded on the student's transcript. Documented problems leading to probation, probation status, and remedial requirements will be reflected in the MSPE. A student who has not successfully met all conditions for probation may not graduate.

G. Academic Criteria for Dismissal

A student will be dismissed under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Grades of "F" in two required courses in the first two years *
  2. A grade of "D" or "F" upon repeating any course or clinical rotation**
  3. Three failures of USMLE Step 1

* FOD and FRCT lecture series excluded

** Unsuccessful attempts to remediate "D's" and "F's" through summer exams and/or courses will not count toward criteria for dismissal. Such students will then remediate those courses during the next academic year.

A student will have their academic record presented to the Advancement Committee to consider a recommendation of dismissal under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Grades of "F" in any two rotations in the clinical years
  2. One grade of "F" in a subinternship, ICM 4 or FRCT scholarly project

Dismissal may also be recommended to the Dean by the Advancement Committee based upon student performance other than specified above including inability to function adequately in a professional capacity. Students who are dismissed from school at any point during an academic year will be required to withdraw from all coursework at the time of dismissal, including ICM 1 or 2. There will be no option for continuing in ICM past the date of dismissal.

H. Appeals Process

  1. The Advancement Committee is not permitted to make any modifications to the above guidelines for individual students. 
  2. A student who is dismissed may appeal to the Dean for reinstatement. A written appeal must be submitted within 14 days of official notification of dismissal. The written appeal should include an explanation of any extenuating circumstances which the student believes justify reinstatement. The Dean may reject the appeal or may accept it and appoint an Appeals Committee to advise the Dean on reinstatement. 
  3. The Appeals Committee is comprised of 3 full-time faculty members of the School of Medicine. 
  4. If an Appeal Hearing is granted, the student may meet with a Dean in the Office of Student Affairs to review the appeals process. The entirety of the student’s academic record will be made available to the Appeals Committee by the Office of Student Affairs. The student may also request a copy of the student’s academic record.
  5. If an Appeals Committee is appointed, the student may submit additional, relevant information, including a written statement which should address circumstances not previously considered, and may include letters of support from faculty, students or others. The student’s written response must be received at least two (2) full school days prior to the Hearing.
  6. The Office of Student Affairs will notify the student in writing of the Committee members and any individuals the School of Medicine intends to call to the hearing no less than two (2) full days in advance of the Hearing. It is improper conduct and grounds for disciplinary action for a student or other person to contact a member of the Committee or other individuals invited to attend the hearing about the appeal at any time during the process. Issues or concerns should be directed to a Dean in the Office of Student Affairs. 
  7.  Any person to be called to the Hearing by the student must be made known to a Dean in the Office of Student Affairs no less than two (2) full school days in advance of the Hearing. 
  8.  The Committee Chair may limit or refuse to consider testimony or other information that is irrelevant or repetitive. 
  9.  The purpose of the Hearing is to permit the student, and persons called by the student or Committee, to answer questions presented by or through the Committee, which will allow the Committee to clarify its understanding of issues relevant to the dismissal. Persons called will be limited to faculty, staff and students who are able to speak about a significant role the person has had in the events leading to the dismissal/failure or the recommendation for dismissal. A student will not be permitted to call more than one character witness but may submit written statements from others. 
  10. Only individuals identified in writing to the OSA at least two (2) full school days in advance of the Hearing may participate. 
  11.  Neither the student nor the School may be represented by counsel at the Hearing. The student may be accompanied by a non-attorney advisor of his or her choice. In instances where criminal charges may be pending or under investigation, the student may have an attorney present. The Committee may, at its option, have University Counsel or an Assistant Attorney General present or available to provideguidance. Advisors and attorneys may act only in an advisory capacity and may not address the Committee or examine or cross-examine participants. The student will be permitted to be present during the presentation of all testimony and other information. The student will be permitted to speak to the Committee and to request that questions be presented to individuals through the Committee. 
  12.  A Dean from the Office of Student Affairs will be present at the Hearing ex officio, to assure adherence to policy and to provide information as required or requested by the Committee. The Dean from the Office of Student Affairs does not participate in deliberations or vote on the outcome of the hearing. 
  13.  The Hearing will be closed to the public. All proceedings and decisions will be considered confidential by all participants and advisors.
  14. The three members of the Committee are the sole voting members. Discussions about the Appeal, except for final deliberations of the Committee, will occur with the student present. 
  15.  The recommendation of the Appeals Committee will be sent to the Dean who will consider the recommendation and communicate his/her decision to the student. The recommendations of the Appeals Committee are advisory only and not binding on the Dean. 
  16. A student who is dismissed from school for reasons specified in section F. 1-4 above and who is re-admitted following an appeal shall be dismissed automatically, and without the possibility of appeal, upon a earning a failing grade in any course.

I. Factors typically taken into consideration by appeals committees

Does the student have a good understanding of why the dismissal took place? Were there reasonable extenuating circumstances presented by the student? Did the student seek assistance with any problems that he or she was facing? Was appropriate assistance offered (e.g., remedial assistance, counseling, recommendation for leave of absence)? Did the student take advantage of recommendations made? Does the student take responsibility for his or her behavior? How motivated is the student to successfully complete the curriculum and to behave in a professional manner? What plans does the student offer to prevent a similar situation from recurring? 

In making its recommendations to the Dean for reinstatement, the Appeals Committee may include certain conditions, such as repeating courses or repeating an entire year, regular monitoring by faculty members or administrators, counseling, that certain coursework be taken under certain conditions (e.g., at UMB rather than off-campus).

J. Good Standing

For purposes of verifying student status to outside, non-academic organizations or institutions (e.g., jury duty, auto insurance), a standard letter indicating that the student is in good standing will be issued as long as he or she has not been notified of dismissal from the School. Furthermore, if a student has been notified of dismissal but a formal appeal is pending, a standard letter of good standing will still be issued to these outside, non-academic organizations and institutions

For purposes of holding elective office at the class or School of Medicine level, serving on School of Medicine committees, or representing the School of Medicine in outside organizations either on or off campus, a student shall:

  1. be in good standing as defined above; and
  2. not be on probation for any reason.

In addition, a student may not be permitted to assume certain extracurricular positions if both the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Chair of the Academic Advancement Committee determine, based on the student's documented history of academic performance and professional behavior, that assuming such a role would not be in the best interest of either the student or the School of Medicine. Any necessary review of candidates will be done before elections or appointments. A student's standing for these purposes will be reviewed and readdressed if any faculty member raises a concern about their performance.

K. Leaves of Absence

Leaves of absence may on occasion be required by the School of Medicine for purposes of academic remediation. A leave of absence may also be granted by the Dean at the request of the student for appropriate personal or professional reasons. A student wishing to request a leave of absence (LOA) should meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, who will discuss the implications of taking a leave, refer the student to appropriate campus resources as necessary, and assist the student in preparing a letter to the Dean.

In general, a student is eligible for one LOA request during their tenure at the School of Medicine. Requests for a second LOA will be regarded with great scrutiny taking into account not only the reason for the request but the level of disruption to the student’s timely and orderly progression through the curriculum. If a student was granted a pre-matriculation deferment, he/she will be eligible to take an additional leave of absence after matriculation only under compelling circumstances with the approval of the Dean or his/her designee.

Students considering leaves of absence should consider that fact that an LOA can have significant financial impact, and that the timing of the leave is therefore critical. A leave may affect financial aid, health insurance and malpractice insurance coverage. University health insurance is good only through the last semester for which a student has been registered. Malpractice coverage is in effect only when a student is registered and participating in clinical activities that are approved as part of the curriculum. Therefore, clinical activities are not authorized by the school during an LOA. In addition, a student may not serve elected office or represent the school to another organization while on LOA unless the Dean has specifically granted an LOA with that provision. These factors should be carefully considered along with the timing and benefits of a planned LOA.

Download the OSA's LOA Checklist ‌ 

L. Withdrawal Policy

Should a student desire or be compelled to withdraw from the School Medicine, she/he must: 1. Arrange an appointment to meet with the Associate Dean or one of the Assistant Deans of Student Affairs 2. Write a brief letter to the Dean of the School of Medicine explaining the reason for withdrawal request and sign the letter Once the withdrawal is approved by the Dean, the student must also complete the obligations listed on the withdrawal form posted here‌.

Last Revision: November 9, 2015