Section V: Policies and Protocols on Academic Standing and Promotion

The Medical Committee on Academic Standing and Professionalism (MCASP) is comprised of ten to twelve AMS faculty members.  Only those faculty who have no significant responsibility for the determination of medical student course/rotation grades (such as that assumed by pathophysiology block leaders or clerkship directors) will be considered for membership. MCASP is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the academic performance and professional behavior of all students in the medical school. On the basis of this review, the MCASP determines whether the student is to be promoted, promoted with conditions, not promoted, dismissed, graduated, or graduated contingent upon completion of certain remaining requirements.

Students who are experiencing academic difficulty or issues with professionalism are reviewed by the MCASP when that difficulty has been identified. Students are notified of decisions made by the MCASP in writing. Mechanisms for appeal are described below.

The MCASP makes its decisions based upon each student's individual situation. In general, the committee will adhere to the following guidelines for decisions related to academic standing.

I. Preclinical
  1. Students who have received a grade of Satisfactory in all courses in the core curriculum of the period under review will be recommended for promotion.
  2. Students who have received a grade of NC or ED in one course but who have received satisfactory grades in the remaining courses in the core curriculum may be promoted with the condition that the curriculum component be satisfactorily completed on a schedule determined by the administration in consultation with curriculum Directors. This may be accomplished through special examination, repetition of the course, approved outside courses or by special arrangements with the curriculum Directors (for more information, see Section III of this handbook). Students will only be allowed to take a special remediation examination once. If a student fails a special remediation examination, s/he will be required to repeat the course the following year. Exceptions will be considered by the Associate Dean for Medical Education in unusual circumstances.
  3. Students who have received a grade of NC or ED in two courses will be considered for placement on academic warning.
  4. Students who have received a grade of NC or ED in three courses or have received a grade of NC or ED in one or more courses while on academic warning may be placed on academic probation. Grades of NC or ED while on academic probation may lead to dismissal.
  5. Students who have received grades of NC or ED in all courses during a period comprising one semester may be dismissed.
  6. Students being considered for dismissal will be given an opportunity to appear before the MCASP in order to speak and respond to questioning. The MCASP may also invite other individuals to appear for the purpose of providing information to the Committee. The student may be accompanied by a Brown University faculty member or staff advisor but may not be accompanied by an attorney. The student shall be informed of the committee’s decision in a letter from the Associate Dean for Medical Education. The student will be informed in the letter that he or she has the right to appeal any decisions to the Dean of Medicine.
  7. If a student has appeared before the MCASP based on consideration of dismissal but has not been dismissed, and the student subsequently fails additional courses or rotations, the student may be dismissed without being asked to again appear before the MCASP.
  8. Students who have been placed on financial aid warning/probation and are unable to complete the required academic plan developed by their advisor within the specified timeframe, will not continue to be eligible for federal financial aid. Please review Section XIV of this handbook for a complete description of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Receipt of Federal Aid.
II. Clinical
  1. Students who have received a grade of Satisfactory or Honors in all courses in the preclinical curriculum will be recommended for promotion to Year 3.
  2. Students in Years 3 and 4 who have one grade of ED or NC may remain in good academic standing. Course leaders will utilize their discretion in determining the timing of remediation. Remediation must be completed within 1 year. If the remediation is not completed in 1 year, the course/rotation must be repeated.
  3. Students with two grades of ED or NC in clinical courses may be placed on academic warning.
  4. Students on academic warning who receive an additional grade of NC or ED may be placed on academic probation. Students in good academic standing who receive three grades of NC or ED may be placed directly on academic probation.
  5. Future failures while on academic probation could lead to dismissal.
  6. If a student fails a clinical rotation having repeated that rotation for a second time, the student can be considered for dismissal.
  7. Students being considered for dismissal will be given an opportunity to appear before the MCASP in order to speak and respond to questioning. The MCASP may also invite other individuals to appear for the purpose of providing information to the Committee. The student may be accompanied by a Brown University faculty or staff advisor, but may not be accompanied by an attorney. The student shall be informed of the committee’s decision in a letter from the Associate Dean for Medical Education. The student will be informed in the letter that he or she has the right to appeal any decisions to the Dean of Medicine.
  8. If a student has appeared before the MCASP based on consideration of dismissal but has not been dismissed, and the student subsequently fails additional courses or rotations, the student may be dismissed without being asked to again appear before the MCASP.
  9. Students who have been placed on financial aid warning/probation and are unable to complete the required academic plan developed by their advisor within the specified timeframe, will not continue to be eligible for federal financial aid. Please review Section XIV of this handbook for a complete description of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Receipt of Federal Aid.
III. MD/PhD Dual Degree Program
  1. Students cannot matriculate to the graduate program unless they are in good academic standing at the end of Year 2 of medical school.
IV. General
  1. Students who are on academic warning or probation will be considered by MCASP for return to good academic standing following one full semester (Years 1 and 2) or two full quarters (Years 3 and 4) during which the student is fully engaged in and registered for courses/rotations, and passes all courses or rotations. A return to good academic standing is not automatic. Depending on a variety of factors, including the level of academic performance, the MCASP may vote to continue the student on warning or probation for whatever period of time deemed appropriate by the committee.
  2. A student who has not remediated a failure (NC) or existing deficiency (ED) in a required course or clerkship within two years of the original grade submission may be dismissed.
  3. If, at the time of review, a senior medical student is scheduled to complete all requirements in the medical school by graduation but has not yet actually done so, the MCASP will recommend that the student be graduated contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the remaining requirements.

It should be noted that grades of ED or NC that are remediated and converted to Satisfactory will still count towards consideration by MCASP for placement on academic warning or probation or towards consideration for dismissal.

In general, the committee will adhere to the following guidelines for decisions related to issues of professionalism:

Issues of professionalism can be documented in two ways- a brief reporting form (the “Professionalism Report Form”) that can be completed by individuals within the community (e.g., staff, faculty, residents, students) or through an OASIS evaluation in which any of the three questions regarding professional behavior are answered with a “No”.

First reports of unprofessional behavior are submitted to the student’s Academy Director.  Reports will be placed in the student’s confidential file.  The identity of the person making the report, especially if that person is a medical student, will be protected.  Anonymous reports will not be accepted.  Single reports of unprofessional conduct will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis at the Academy Director’s discretion.  Any behavior that rises to the level of a violation of the Academic Code will automatically be dealt with via the University processes.

Two or more reports will be considered a pattern and will be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean for Medical Education and to the MCASP.  The student in question will be alerted when their behavior is discussed at the MCASP and may be asked to meet with the Associate Dean prior to that MCASP meeting.  The Associate Dean will communicate any actions by the MCASP to the student.

The MCASP will determine if the pattern of behavior warrants a “Citation”.  A Citation will take the form of a letter to the student 1) expressing concern regarding the pattern of behavior and 2) asking the student to respond to the committee in writing with a brief reflection on the behavior in question, and with a concrete plan for remediating the issue.  The student’s Academy Director will act as a resource for the student in writing an appropriate response and outlining a plan. 

The Citation will also include a warning that if the response is not received within an appropriate time frame (as determined by the MCASP and the Academy Director), and/or the remediation plan is not enacted within an appropriate time frame (as determined by the MCASP and the Academy Director), the Citation may be included as part of the student’s MSPE (“Dean’s Letter”).  The Citation may also be included in the MSPE in particular instances at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Medical Education.

Appeal of Decision to Dismiss

The student may initiate an appeal of an MCASP decision to dismiss by filing a letter within 72 hours of notification of the committee's decision to the Dean of Medicine requesting reconsideration of the decision. (MCASP decisions to place students on academic warning or academic probation may not be appealed.) The letter should also include a statement of the basis for the request and any documents in support of the student's request. The Dean may either (1) reconsider the matter him/herself, or (2) direct the matter to the MCASP for reconsideration and issuance of a recommendation to the Dean. The student may attend the MCASP meeting to present the basis for his/her appeal. If the matter has been referred to the MCASP, the MCASP will review the appeal and transmit its recommendations to the Dean. The Dean will, either through his/her own reconsideration or through reconsideration and recommendation by the MCASP, review the appeal in a manner he/she determines is appropriate under the circumstances, and may, at his or her discretion, interview the student. Upon appeal, the Dean may then sustain, modify, or reverse the original MCASP decision. The decision of the Dean is final.

Special Considerations Relating to the MD/PhD Dual Degree Program

The MD/PhD Program is a combined course of study in which the student completes the first and second years of medical school prior to entry into a graduate program. Following his/her graduate work, the student reenters the medical program to complete Years 3 and 4 of medical school. There are several policies that pertain to this course of study.

  1. Students must be in good academic standing at the time of completion of MD Year 2. If they are not, then they will not be permitted to continue on to the graduate portion of the program. A student may appeal the implementation of this policy. Such an appeal will be considered by the MCASP.
  2. Students must complete all of their experimental work prior to their return to the medical program. They must have a plan in place to complete this work and a defense date approved by their PhD advisory committee prior to scheduling clerkships.
  3. Whereas MD students are expected to complete their course of study in 6 years, MD/PhD students are expected to complete the combined course of study in 9 years. Any extension beyond the 9 years requires that a waiver of this limit be granted by the MCASP.

For other pertinent policies, see:
Section III -- Grading Policies
Section VI -- Medical Students Standards of Behavior