6.2: Standards for Performance and Satisfactory Progress

In order to make satisfactory progress towards the MD degree, each student must satisfy academic, professional, and technical standards on an ongoing basis.

Federal regulations require all students receiving federal financial assistance maintain satisfactory academic progress. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the successful completion of degree requirements according to established increments at the end of each academic year that lead to awarding the degree within published time limits. For more information on financial aid eligibility, please refer to our Financial Aid eligibility policies.

A. Academic

Students are required to make satisfactory academic progress in terms of units taken and passed, courses and clerkships successfully completed, timely completion of other requirements, and correction of deficiencies.

  1. Units
    1. Students must take and successfully complete a minimum number of units counting towards MD degree requirements (which include courses/clerkships listed under School of Medicine departments in the ExploreCourses online catalog and courses counting towards the Scholarly Concentration requirement) as follows:
      1. During Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters (except for an approved Graduation Quarter status), at least 9 units are required.
      2. Summer quarter enrollment is optional. For Summer financial aid eligibility, at least 9 units are required.
      3. Students in Master’s or PhD programs that have required courses outside of the School of Medicine (either programs in another Stanford school or interdepartmental medical school programs) will be monitored for a per quarter unit requirement to be set by  the other degree program.  For Financial Aid eligibility, students must enroll in at least 9 units. Professional degrees (e.g. MBA, JD) outside the School of Medicine do not qualify for financial aid funding from the MD Financial Aid Office.
      4. Per Academic Year: If enrolled in all quarters, students must complete at least 27 MD units each academic year (Autumn/Winter/Spring). Approved leave of absence quarters are excluded. For Summer financial aid eligibility, at least 36 units is required per academic year (Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer). No financial aid will be disbursed to a student who completes less than the minimum required units.
  2. Number of Years
    1. Students are ordinarily expected to complete the pre-clerkship curriculum within three years of matriculation.
    2. If a student plans to take more than six years (MD) or eight years (MD/Master's or MD/PhD), exclusive of time spent during an approved Leave of Absence, the student must petition for and receive approval by the CP3, preferably at the end of the fourth (MD) or sixth (MD/PhD) year, but no later than the fifth (MD or MD/Master's) or seventh (MD/PhD) year, in order to facilitate academic and financial planning. The student’s petition must provide reasons for the requested extension and submit specific plans for completing the degree, which plans are subject to the review and approval by the student’s academic advisor.
    3. The maximum time allowed does not include periods of approved Leave of Absence, but no combination of program extensions and approved Leaves of Absence shall exceed eight years (MD) or ten years (MD/PhD) without prior CP3 review and approval.
  3. Scholarly Concentrations
    Students must make satisfactory progress in meeting Scholarly Concentrations requirements.
  4. Examinations
    Students must make satisfactory progress in meeting examinations requirements, such as the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK (see Section 3.22), and the Clinical Performance Examination (CPX) Series (see Section 4.14).
  5. Academic Deficiencies
    1. All pre-clerkship academic deficiencies (e.g., Failure (F), Marginal Pass (MP), Continuing (N), Incomplete  (INC)) must be corrected within 12 months of receipt (or otherwise within a time limit specifically set by the course director or the CP3 in the individual case) and prior to beginning any clinical clerkship.
    2. All clerkship academic deficiencies (e.g., Failure (F), Marginal Pass (MP), Continuing (N), Incomplete  (INC)) must be corrected within 9 months of receipt (or otherwise within a time limit specifically set by the clerkship director or the CP3 in the individual case) and prior to being promoted to Eligible for the MD Degree.
    3. Note that some deficiencies may be considered to be unable to be remediated and may result in immediate dismissal. Such circumstances may include (but are not limited to) when one or more of the following conditions apply:
      1. four failures in pre-clerkship courses of two or more units.
      2. three marginal passes or failures in pre-clerkship courses of five or more units.
      3. two failures in clinical clerkships.
      4. three marginal passes (or combination of marginal passes and failures) in clinical clerkships.
      5. three failures of USMLE Step 1.
      6. three failures of USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge).
    4. A student’s failure to attend required meetings, comply with CP3 directives for remediation, or meet CP3 deadlines may preclude remediation and result in immediate dismissal from the Stanford University School of Medicine MD program.
  6. Promotion
    1. In order to make satisfactory academic progress towards the MD degree and for financial aid eligibility, students must meet all the criteria outlined in Section 6.3, Promotion, including:
      1. Promotion to Second Year Pre-clerkship Student
      2. Promotion to Clinical Medical Student
      3. Promotion to Candidate for Residency
      4. Promotion to Eligible for MD Degree

B. Professionalism

Students are required on an ongoing basis to satisfy professionalism standards. A serious breach of professionalism may result in immediate dismissal from the Stanford University School of Medicine MD program.

C. Technical Standards

Students are required on an ongoing basis to satisfy technical standards. Continued fulfillment of such standards is a requirement for ongoing registration in the Stanford University School of Medicine.

updated August 2022