Last updated on December 2nd, 2021

Guidance for Our Clinical Students

During the clinical years, the school has extensive student support services to provide academic counseling, career counseling and psychological services. The Office of Career Guidance and Student Development should be consulted for advice on preparing for postgraduate training. The Office of the Dean, Office of Clinical Studies and the Office of the Dean of Students are available for guidance on other issues. The Directors of Medical Education, clerkship directors, preceptors, medical education coordinators and clinical faculty at clinical sites are also available for advice.


Most students complete their clinical training and graduate in two or two and one-half calendar years after completing the basic science program. These students usually take Step 2 CS during their third year and Step 2 CK at the end of their third year. However, students have the option to choose a three-year schedule (a fifth year in the Four-Year MD program) at no extra tuition.

These students can take Step 2 CS and CK after four years of medical school, allowing them more time to prepare for Step 2. During this period, students also have the option to participate in individually tailored program of electives and/or conduct research.

The Office of Career Guidance (OCG) may advise students to consider a fifth year if they meet one or more of the criteria below which are predictors of poor performance on Step 2 CS and CK.

  1. Academic difficulties in the basic science terms
  2. Failing or performing poorly on Step 1
  3. Negative comments or a C in the Clinical Skills component of the clerkships
  4. Deficient performance on the NBME Clinical Subject Exams, including any failure and/ or less than a 62% average


A student may take a LOA in the clinical phase. Students who have taken excessive leaves of absence for health or other reasons should limit their bridge time and are forewarned that they must complete their program of study within the timeline requirements.

The need to take off more than one year is incompatible with satisfactory progress and can lead to dismissal from the medical school. Above all, students must remain within the satisfactory academic progress guidelines.

Students need to be aware that extending their timeline, which may be advantageous academically, may diminish their prospects in the residency match program. In addition, any disruption in a student’s matriculation may affect their loan repayment status if they are receiving US federal loans.