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Promotional Guidelines

During every semester of medical school, a student must have demonstrated both the requisite levels of professionalism and academic success, as judged by the appropriate Progress and Promotions Committee.  Professionalism may be part of any course’s evaluation and grade.  Independent of the final grade, unprofessional behavior may be the sole criterion for which a student may be recommended for academic warning, a period of academic probation, suspension, dismissal, or other appropriate sanctions as described throughout this document. The designation of Academic Probation or suspension may result in the loss of federal financial aid. 

Guidelines for Foundation Phase Performance

Assuming the required level of professionalism has been met:

  1. A student qualifies for promotion with grades of “S” in the Healthy Human blocks and in the Human Disease blocks, given acceptable professional attitudes and behavior.
  2. Receiving an initial grade of “unsatisfactory” for one section or block,or unprofessional behavior, may result in a student being placed on academic warning and admonished to improve academic performance in the future. Remediation will be required for the block in question.
  3. Two or more initial grades of “unsatisfactory” in any semester during the Foundations Phase will result in an Academic Warning, at a minimum.  Remediation will be required for the blocks in question. After review and evaluation of the student’s overall record, a student may (a) not be promoted, (b) be requested to repeat specific courses, or (c) be asked to repeat the Foundation Phase, or (d) be asked to withdraw from medical school.

A student may not be promoted with one or more final grades of “U”.  The Progress and Promotions Committee will review the entire record of any student who has a final grade of “U” in any subject to decide if remediation of the single “U” will be sufficient for promotion, or if the student should repeat any or all of the Foundations Phase, or if the student should be dismissed from medical school.  No student may be promoted to the next academic Phase while still holding a grade of “IP” or "I" in any course.

In addition to successful academic and professional performance during the Foundation Phase, students must also earn a passing score on the Step 1 examination of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) prior to receiving permanent promotion to the Application Phase of medical school. 

The following guidelines have been adopted regarding failure to pass the first administration of Step 1 of the USMLE, which will be taken by February 1st of their second year.

A student whose failing score is 15 points or less below the passing level has two options to gain promotion into the clinical years, provided that the student’s overall academic record warrants promotion. 

  • Option A - permits re-taking the test at the next available administration.  Once the examination has been re-taken, the student may begin clinical work.  If a passing score is achieved, the student will continue the Application Phase; if a passing score is not achieved, the student will cease Application Phase course work and be allowed to retake the examination.  It is highly encouraged that such students engage in an intense review of the basic sciences and consider auditing courses prior to re-taking the examination for the third and final time.
  • Option B - grants a year’s time during which time the student is encouraged to obtain remedial help and engage in an intense review of the basic sciences, with re-take of the examination by February 1st of the following year.  If the test is passed at that time, the student then enters the Application Phase.

A student whose failing score is more than 15 points below the passing level is generally required to take a leave of absence to prepare for retaking the test the following year.  Such students may appeal to the Executive Associate Dean of OMESA and request an earlier re-take if extenuating circumstances are felt to exist.  On successful re-take, such a student enters the Applications Phase.

A student who fails USMLE Step 1 on the second administration will be given a third and final option to successfully complete Step 1 of the USMLE.  Dismissal from Emory University School of Medicine is mandatory after three unsuccessful attempts to pass Step 1 of the USMLE.

Guidelines for Performance in the Application, Discovery and Transition Phases

As stated above,  independent of the final grades, unprofessional behavior may be the sole criterion for which a student may be recommended for a period of Academic  Warning, a period of Academic Probation, suspension, dismissal, or other appropriate sanctions.  The following guidelines do not preclude the Progress and Promotion Committee from recommending repetition of courses, assignment of Academic Warning or Academic Probation, suspension or dismissal based on the Committee’s overall assessment of student performance, regardless of the specific grades.

  1. With one “D”, a student may be (a) withdrawn from medical school, or (b) allowed to continue on Academic Warning or Academic Probation and required to repeat the course in which the grade of "D" was earned, or (c) allowed to continue on Academic Warning or Academic Probation and required to repeat the entire year. Grades of “C” or better will be required in all course work thereafter.
  2. With more than one “D”, a student may be (a) withdrawn from medical school, or (b) allowed to continue on Academic Probation and required to repeat the courses in which the grade of “D” was earned, or (c) allowed to continue on Academic Probation and required to repeat the entire year. Grades of “C” or better will be required in all course work thereafter.
  3. With a grade of “F” or “U” in any clinical education course, a student may either be dismissed or may be allowed to continue, after the course is successfully repeated.  Alternatively, the student may be required to repeat one or all of the  Application, Discovery, and Translation Phases of medical school.  If allowed to continue, the student will be placed on Academic Probation.  Grades of “C” or better will be required in all course work thereafter.
  4. Students required to repeat clerkships or courses will receive grades for both the initial and repeat attempts. Those grades will be recorded on the official transcript and remain a part of the student's permanent record. 
  5. Two grades of “F” call for dismissal.