Student Progress Committee

The Dean of the School of Medicine has delegated to the Student Progress Committee responsibility for issues related to the progress of students while enrolled in medical school. This includes, but is not limited to, decisions on promotion, remediation, probation, leaves of absence, expanded curricular programs, suspension, dismissal, and graduation.

The Student Progress Committee is composed of nine to twelve faculty members from the School of Medicine. The Student Affairs Dean serves as the Committee's chair. Faculty members are selected based on their knowledge and understanding of the medical school program and their interest in committing time to serve on the Committee. The Committee membership also represents a balance between the basic science and clinical disciplines.

The Student Progress Committee expects that students will perform at an unqualified passing or above level in all coursework, and will satisfactorily meet all graduation requirements. The student usually receives feedback on his/her performance through course examinations or other assessments and may also discuss performance with the Student Affairs Dean or with the Student Progress Committee when necessary. A student who has received two Fail grades during the academic year will automatically be placed on academic probation. The Committee may also place a student on probation based on overall marginal performance to provide a warning of poor performance.

The Committee reviews students' records on a routine basis to ensure satisfactory progress in all areas included in the requirements for graduation. These include performance in coursework, III, USMLE Steps 1, 2-CK, and 2-CS, professional attitudes and behavior that demonstrate fitness for medicine, and high standards of conduct within the medical school and community. Recognizing that student’s progress at varying rates, there are opportunities given for additional study and reexamination to learn the material and for expansion of the curriculum beyond the four years if this is considered to be the appropriate approach given the identified deficiency. A pattern of documented concerns (two or more) about a student's performance may indicate an unsatisfactory performance when the record is viewed as a whole, even though passing grades have been assigned in each course or clerkship. Dismissal from the School may occur, regardless of whether the student has been on probation, if the student fails to maintain an acceptable academic record, fails to follow academic directives provided by the School's committees, or fails to develop professional attitudes and behavioral patterns appropriate to a career in medicine. The Faculty Council on Academic Affairs reviews the Student Progress Committee's actions, and the Dean of the School of Medicine has final approval of the Committee's and Council's recommendations for dismissal.

The review mechanism available to the student will in general include
(1) notification of inadequacies, when they occur and where appropriate,
(2) careful and deliberate decision-making,
(3) an opportunity for the student to meet informally with the Student Progress Committee.
The student may be accompanied by a medical school faculty advocate. The presence or appearance of a student's legal counsel is not permitted because a formal hearing and appeals are not part of the academic review process. The Committee's decision is based on the professional judgment of faculty after reviewing the student's entire academic record including the student's academic performance in both cognitive and non-cognitive areas.

General Guidelines

The following are general guidelines, which have been established by the Committee, on what is expected of all students. When a student does not meet these general expectations, the Committee will set specific guidelines for performance that are relevant to the issue being considered.

All required basic science courses and clinical clerkships must be completed within the University of Washington School of Medicine's own program. Under rare circumstances, and with the approval of the course chair, Student Progress Committee, and the appropriate curriculum committee, a student may be permitted to complete a required course at another approved medical school.

A student is expected to complete successfully the first year of the Foundations Phase curriculum in order to be promoted to the second year, and is expected to complete successfully the second-year Foundations Phase prior to being promoted to the clinical curriculum. If the Student Progress Committee recommends dismissal while the student is in the basic science curriculum, the Committee will determine the appropriateness of the student's continuing in coursework. If the student is permitted to continue in coursework or in fulfilling other graduation requirements such as Independent Investigative Inquiry or USMLE during the dismissal review process, the Committee will make a decision, on a quarterly basis, whether to permit the student to schedule additional coursework. In most cases, the student will not be able to complete more than one quarter's work while in the dismissal review process.

The USMLE Step 1 examination must be taken following successful completion of the Foundations Phase curriculum and prior to entering the clinical curriculum. The student must be enrolled and in good academic standing to be approved to take the USMLE examination. If the student does not pass this examination, he/she may not be permitted to continue in the clinical curriculum.

In the clinical curriculum, students are expected to complete the required third-year clinical clerkships without interruption, unless there is a personal or family emergency or academic issue for which permission is given to reschedule a clerkship. Permission is required to delay a required third-year clerkship into the fourth year. Should a Fail grade be received in a clinical clerkship and if the student is permitted to continue in school, the Student Progress Committee, in consultation with the Department, will arrange the remediation as soon as possible. In most cases, the student will be expected to repeat the clerkship at the next available opening. At times, the deficiency in a clerkship may be sufficiently serious that no additional clerkships may be taken until the level of the student's competence can be determined through a mechanism agreed upon by the Student Progress Committee in consultation with the Department that submitted the Fail grade. Similarly, if the Fail grade results in a dismissal recommendation, no additional coursework can be taken without the approval of the Student Progress Committee. Should an issue of personal and/or professional behavior be raised as a concern, the appropriate administrative official and/or the Student Progress Committee will make a decision on whether the student may continue in the clinical curriculum. Examples of issues that will prohibit continuance in the clinical setting are concerns related to patient care or potential for compromising necessary compatibility for effective functioning of the health care team, as well as concerns related to professionalism.

Both components of the USMLE Step 2 examination must be passed prior to graduation. USMLE Step 2-Clinical Knowledge and Step 2-Clinical Skills must be taken in the July to September timeframe of the fourth year. The status of compliance of taking on time and/or completion of the USMLE examinations is noted in the Dean's Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE). If either component of Step 2 is not passed, this and the timing of the retake will be noted in the Dean's MSPE. The residencies to which students applied or matched are informed of the student's status if unsuccessful on either component of Step 2.

Satisfactory progress on the Independent Investigative Inquiry (III) project is monitored. The III requirement must be completed in a timely manner based on the student's progress in the curriculum. Deadlines for III selective choice and final requirements are managed by the Curriculum Office. Failure to meet specified deadlines will result in an interruption of the student's progress in the clinical curriculum and may initiate a dismissal recommendation.

Throughout the medical school training, the student is expected to develop and demonstrate professional qualities, attitudes, and behavioral patterns appropriate to a career in medicine and consistent with the oath taken at the time of graduation. The student is expected to maintain high standards of personal and professional behavior in interactions with patients, peers, members of the health care team, and members of the faculty and staff, and to follow hospital policies and procedures. Integrity is considered an essential personal quality for successful completion of the M.D. program. Students are expected to abide by University, local, state, and federal regulations and laws. Should concerns arise in any of these areas, the appropriate administrative official and/or the Student Progress Committee may make a decision on whether the student may continue in the curriculum.

Guidelines for Personal/Professional Conduct

The School of Medicine is committed to maintaining the highest standards of academic performance, professional behavior, personal integrity, and respect for each other as individuals among our students, residents, fellows, faculty, and staff. Integrity is considered an essential personal quality for successful completion of the M.D. degree, and thus breaches of integrity are considered grounds for suspension or dismissal. As medical students, you are entering into a world of self-regulation where you will be responsible for the professional behavior of your colleagues within the medical profession, as well as your own professional behavior. It is expected that students will be on their honor to maintain these high standards of professional behavior in all aspects of their medical school training, both in the academic setting and also in the community.

Students are expected to abide by University, local, state, and federal regulations and laws. Infractions of these standards may result in a sanction, up to and including dismissal, being imposed by the Student Progress Committee apart from whether there is any action that may be taken in civil or criminal court. For any infractions related to personal/professional behavior and conduct, the Student Progress Committee's review process will be followed. Where applicable, students may be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee.

Below are broad categories of personal/professional behavior and conduct which fall under the purview of the Student Progress Committee as part of the overall academic standards expected of students who are continued in the medical school program and/or recommended for graduation. This is not intended as an exhaustive list, but rather as general guidelines for students.


  • Any examinations, including concurrent, no-fault, midterm, or final
  • Copying work of others or intentionally allowing others to copy your work


  • Careless attribution of sources
  • Intentional misrepresentation

Inappropriate interaction with patient

  • Taking action regarding patient care outside of the care team hierarchy
  • Arguing about diagnosis or treatment in front of patient
  • Describing patient in inappropriate terms
  • Inappropriate personal relationship with patient or member of patient's family

Inappropriate behavior in clinical setting

Non-compliance with HIPAA and/or Security Agreement

  • Taking patient's record from the hospital
  • Inappropriate access to patient's electronic record

Talking about patient in public setting

Acting beyond level of responsibility without direction from the patient care team

Fabricating clinical data, such as when asked about patient status or in recording information on the patient

Inappropriate personal attire/hygiene; non-compliance with required immunizations

Ignoring proper universal precautions

  • Not following protocols for infection or disease spread precautions, such as for HEP B positive
  • or HIV positive status

Inappropriate interaction with peers, staff, faculty

Argumentative behavior beyond what is reasonable for issue or setting

Harassment or abusive behavior


Inappropriate behavior outside Coursework

Conviction of a misdemeanor or felony

Harassment or abusive behavior

Crimes against property