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Academic and Education Policies

Academic Calendar and Curriculum

Curriculum documents for the University of Oklahoma MD Program are viewable at least six months prior to the start of the academic year (COM Policy 411). Detailed course information is available on leo.ouhsc.edu.

  • The Academic Calendar
  • MD Program Curriculum Overview
  • Preclinical Curriculum Course Dates
  • Clinical Curriculum Rotation Dates

Academic Calendars and MD Curriculum Information

Competency-Based Education Program Objectives

The competency-based Educational Program Objectives guide the planning, delivery, and evaluation of the OU College of 

Medicine undergraduate medical education program. Courses and clerkships organize the instruction and assessment of medical students using relevant objectives (COM Policy 400).

  1. Medical Knowledge
  2. Patient Care
  3. Communication
  4. Professionalism
  5. Practice-Based Learning
  6. Systems-Based Practice

Course Catalogs

The catalogs listed below provide a comprehensive listing of courses (including course descriptions, contact information, site location, etc.)

Courses, Grading and Examination

All MD Students

Academic Counseling

While the admissions process to the College of Medicine is rigorous and attracts highly gifted students, the burden of the curriculum may be overwhelming. The College of Medicine integrates the efforts of faculty, course and clerkship directors, student affairs staff, and OUHSC counseling services to provide certain educational assistance and counseling services for students who have encountered difficulty. 

COM Policy 300

Quartiles

The class quartiles for the previous academic year will be available for students by August 31 of each year. The word “course” below refers to courses, clerkships, selectives, electives, or any other activity for which academic credit is granted. The determination of class rank includes only those courses that (1) every student takes and (2) calculates a final percentage course grade. 

COM Policy 304

Student Educational Obligations and Work Limitations

The OU College of Medicine and its curriculum committees have developed and implemented policies regarding the amount of time students spend in required activities during the first two years of medical school (preclinical policy) and the total required hours spent in clinical and educational activities during clinical clerkships. Refer to the policy for specifics.

COM Policy 321

Impact of Campus Closure on Academic Activities

External factors such as inclement weather or power disruptions may affect the operation of the academic campuses in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. Students are typically considered non-essential personnel. When University officials deem it to be in the best interest of faculty, student, and staff, they may issue a “Campus Closed” alert or “Campus Closed for Non-essential Personnel” notice. Review the policy for details regarding continuity of education.

Students are encouraged to sign up for the campus-wide Emergency Communication System (ECS) to update contact information to list a cell phone for text messages. If you need assistance, please call the IT Service Desk at 405-271-2203. 

COM Policy 325

Use of Incomplete Grade

At the time final grades are reported, any student who has not completed all course requirements will be assigned a grade of "I" (incomplete). The "I" grade can then be changed to the appropriate letter grade once course requirements have been met. The incomplete grade is not to be used for a student whose course evaluations are in the failing category.

COM Policy 403

Grading Regulations Relative to Incompletes, Withdrawals, and Drops

Students' grades in all courses are filed in the Office of Admissions and Records and become a part of the official records of the university.

Incomplete ("I")

The grade of “I” (incomplete) is a neutral mark, not an alternative to a grade of “F.” No student who is failing a course when grades are awarded may receive an “I”. The student should have completed a substantial portion of the required coursework for the semester satisfactorily to receive an “I”. The “I” grade is intended to be temporary and to be used when a student, for reasons acceptable to the instructor, is unable to complete certain identifiable requirements of a course and cannot be assigned another grade. For example, missing a final exam because of illness or inability to submit a term project for extenuating circumstances might constitute a student’s being granted an “I”.

Complete Withdrawal

For students withdrawing from all courses in the first two weeks of the semester (the first week of a summer session), no grade is recorded. For complete withdrawals occurring after the second week of the semester (first week of summer), the instructor will assign a grade of "W" or "F" for each course.

Drop/Withdrawal ("W")

MD Students should review COM Policy 413 ("Grades and Leaves of Absence") for information specific to course withdrawals in the College of Medicine. 

For regulations relative to withdrawals and drops for courses that deviate from the Academic Calendar, please contact the Office of Admissions and Records at (405) 271-2359.

Academic Appeals Policy and Procedures

A student may appeal an academic evaluation using the Academic Appeals Policy and Procedures described in the OUHSC Faculty Handbook.

COM Policy 412

Academic Evaluation of Students

This policy outlines the College of Medicine MD program standards of academic achievement and describes the consequences of unsatisfactory academic performance. 

Student Review of Closed Examinations

All interval exams are closed.

COM Policy 415

Pre-Clinical

Administration of Examinations for First and Second Years

Students must take all examinations at their home campus (exceptions made for unpredictable extraordinary circumstances).

COM Policy 408

Timetable for Generating Course Schedules

The MS1 and MS2 preclinical curriculum detailed course calendar is finalized approximately four to six weeks prior to the start date of that semester.

COM Policy 411

Preclinical Curriculum Examination Policy

In order to minimize conflicts between examinations and on-going curricular activities in other courses, major examinations are given during a week when no other activities are scheduled. The arrangement of the examinations within the exam week is negotiated among the course directors for that semester’s course offerings.
Attention is given to the placement of each examination. As a rule, because of shared facilities, the long term planning for such schedules, and the University requirements for examinations, no changes can be considered from the posted schedule.
 

Clinical

Policy 402 - Timely Remediation of Grades in the Clinical Years

Students with a single deficiency in a clinical course, who are required to remediate this deficiency, will be required to alter their enrollment at the time of notification of the deficiency. Students will be permitted to complete the current rotation.

COM Policy 402

Policy 405 - Off-Campus Elective Rotation for Fourth Year Students

Fourth year students are provided with guidance on number of electives in a specific discipline, maximum number of rotations at off-campus sites, and compliance requirements for off-campus rotations. Off-campus work is defined as work not at the OU Health Sciences Center-Oklahoma City, the Tulsa campus, or under the direct supervision of a member of the full-time faculty of the OU College of Medicine. International affiliated programs are considered on-campus with respect to this policy.*

COM Policy 405

*Students in the OU College of Medicine may apply for acceptance in a one-month elective in the fourth year at one of the affiliated international medical schools. These rotations are available at limited times during the year, and are generally restricted to four students per site at one time. Electives at international affiliated programs are considered on-campus rotations and subject to specific requirements detailed by the Student Affairs Office and the host medical school. It will be the students’ responsibility to complete these requirements and make their travel arrangements.

Policy 421 - Clinical Skills Assessment

Students must demonstrate a minimum level of clinical skills proficiency upon completion of core clerkships. All medical students must take and pass a standardized clinical skills assessment.

COM Policy 421

Absence Policies

Absences

OU College of Medicine students pursuing the Doctor of Medicine degree are aspiring to a profession in which full participation in the learning environment is an essential component of lifelong learning and aligns with accreditation and licensing standards. Professional development dictates that, as physicians in training, students are expected to make medical school their highest priority. Attendance and participation are expected in all educational activities, and are required for all other sessions specified by the Course/Clerkship Directors. Attendance and participation are assessed and documented in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE also known as the Dean’s Letter).

Refer to the policy for clarification on:

  • Attendance and Punctuality Expectations
  • Consequences of Absences
  • Special Circumstances (including residency interviews)

COM Policy 306

Leave of Absence (LOA)

Leave of absence (LOA) may be granted for up to one year, but requires review and approval by one of the Associate Deans. All LOA requests must be made in writing and submitted to one of the Associate Deans.

Examples of reasons for LOA may include: extraordinary personal/family situations or illness, health concerns, pursue research experience, pursue an additional degree such as Ph.D. or M.P.H, etc. Academic difficulty in itself is not a sufficient reason to request a leave of absence.

Students who are granted an LOA for health concerns will be required to submit a letter from a medical or mental health provider before re-enrolling.

Health and disability insurance coverage may be affected while on leave. Students on a leave cannot receive financial aid. The University considers a student on LOA to be in continuous enrollment and subject to adhering to all University and College compliance issues, to include but not limited to urine drug screen, national criminal background check, etc.

COM 307

Grades and Leave of Absence (LOA)

If a student is granted an approved Leave of Absence (LOA) before 5/8 of a course is completed, they will receive a “W” grade for that course. If an approved LOA is granted after 5/8 of the course is completed, the course director will assign a “W” if the student is currently passing the course and an “F” if the student is currently failing the course.

COM Policy 413

Promotion and Graduation

Graduation and Commencement Ceremonies

Students in the OU College of Medicine who meet the minimum standards for graduation and have the recommendation of the Faculty Board of the College of Medicine are eligible to participate in the commencement ceremonies of the College. Review this policy for information on diplomas and participating in the Commencement ceremony.

COM Policy 315

Diplomas are available to students approximately 6-8 weeks after their graduation date. More information is available here.

Guidelines for Honors Designation

There will be two levels of recognition for graduates: Special Distinction and Distinction. The top 1/6th of the class on the basis of cumulative percentages weighted by clock hours for all graded courses will be eligible for either Special Distinction or Distinction.

Special Distinction will be reserved for those students obtaining a ranking in the top five percent of graduating students on the basis of cumulative percentages weighted by clock hours for all graded courses.

Distinction is reserved for the balance of the top 1/6th of the graduating students on the basis of cumulative percentages weighted by clock hours for all graded courses.

COM Policy 316

Medical Student Promotion Committee

The committee functions as prescribed by the Faculty Board to monitor the performance of individual medical students and recommend who shall and shall not be promoted, and, if appropriate, what must be accomplished to receive a recommendation for promotion. The Student Promotions Committee shall also recommend to the Faculty Board and Executive Dean who shall and shall not graduate, and, if appropriate, what must be accomplished to be granted the M.D. degree.

COM Policy 331

Promotion and Graduation Standards

Standards for promotion in the OU College of Medicine and subsequent graduation are defined. Each student must meet all financial obligations to the OU College of Medicine.

COM Policy 401

Scheduling

First-Year Scheduling

First-year medical students are enrolled automatically into their courses through the OU College of Medicine Office of Student Affairs (OKC) and Office of Student Services (Tulsa SCM). A student’s enrollment may be blocked if specific information requested by the University is not received in advance of matriculation (i.e., failing to submit a final undergraduate transcript to Admissions and Records, etc.) or if a hold is placed on the student’s account for failing to fulfill specific obligations (i.e., not completing online training, lacking immunizations, carrying a debt on a Bursar’s account, etc.).

MS1 course information can be found in the Preclinical Course Catalog.

Second-Year Scheduling

Second-year medical students are enrolled automatically into their courses through the OU College of Medicine Office of Student Affairs. A student’s enrollment may be blocked if specific information requested by the University is not received in advance of matriculation (i.e., failing to submit a final undergraduate transcript to Admissions and Records, etc.) or if a hold is placed on the student’s account for failing to fulfill specific obligations (i.e., not completing online training, lacking immunizations, carrying a debt on a Bursar’s account, etc.). All second-year medical students are enrolled in the following courses, which are graded on an honors, pass, and fail scale.

Updated MS2 course information can be found in the Preclinical Course Catalog.

Third-Year Scheduling

Seven (7) Core Clinical Clerkships: All students are required to successfully complete seven (7) core clinical clerkships during third-year. The seven (7) core clinical clerkships are graded A, B, C, D, and F. These include Family Medicine, Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery.

Updated MS3 clerkship course information can be found in the Clerkship Catalog.

Three (3) Selectives: Students are also required to successfully complete three (3) selectives during third-year. Unless otherwise noted, each selective is two-weeks and include: Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine (Tulsa), Emergency Medicine-Adult, Emergency Medicine-Pediatric, Medical Informatics (Tulsa), Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Radiation Oncology, Radiology-Diagnostic, Sports Medicine (Tulsa), and Urology.

Updated MS3 selective course information can be found in the Selectives Catalog. 

Selectives are graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Unlike the lock-step schedule for the first two years of medical school, in which all students take the same courses (with the exception of the enrichment courses) at the same time, the students’ third-year schedule varies and is based upon templates that arrange enrollment in clinical courses upon the maximum number of students a specific course may accommodate at any one time. This means that not all of the students will enroll in the same courses at the same time. A random lottery will determine the order in which students select their templates (ascending order students choose their templates and in descending order students choose their selectives).

Third-year students may not change their schedule without expressed permission from the Office of Student Affairs.

Fourth-Year Scheduling

Fourth-year scheduling is considerably more flexible compared to first- through-third-year scheduling. The flexibility allows fourth-years to schedule on-campus and off-campus elective rotations in clerkships that may be of particular interest or applicable toward their intended career path. Geriatric and Capstone are graded A, B, C, D, and F. Sub-internship and electives are graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Similar to third-year scheduling, a random number draw will determine the order in which students select their required core clerkships and electives.

Updated MS4 elective course information can be found in the Selectives Catalog.

Students may not change their schedule without expressed permission from the Office of Student Affairs. Requests for schedule changes must be submitted 30 calendar days in advance.

United States Medical Licensing Examination Policies

United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Requirements

Second-year medical students must take and pass Step 1 according to timeline outlined in Policy 406.11 before promotion to the third-year. Fourth-year medical students must take and report their scores on the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge component prior to being certified for The Match. Students are advised to take USMLE Step 2 CK no later than December 31 of their fourth year of medical school.

COM Policy 406

USMLE - Step 1

The policy reflects current USMLE Step 1 guidelines for classes entering medical school 2017 and after.

COM Policy 406.11 

Other

Medical Student Performance Evaluation

MD/MPH Program Policy

Military

Students with Military Obligations

Students who have completed their third-year requirements are eligible for off-campus electives if they are in good academic standing.  Students with military obligations are allowed to take eight weeks off-campus to fulfill active duty military obligations as well as graduation requirements. All guidelines governing off-campus electives are followed.

COM Policy 303

Military Reserve Call-Up

Please refer to the policy for specifics.

COM Policy 311