A Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy has been established to ensure that medical students complete the academic program within the acceptable time frame and the minimally accepted quality of performance.  This policy also ensures that the Student Financial Aid requirements set forth by federal regulations have been met.  The SAP applies to all medical students enrolled in Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine. Student’s academic progress is evaluated twice each academic year.

General Requirements

a.   Time Frame for completion of the Academic Program

A medical student will be allowed a maximum time frame of two semesters of enrollment beyond the standard required for the completion of the program.  Summer enrollment is considered part of the academic year for the purpose of this measure.

For transfer students, the total years for completion of a degree include those years accredited on admission to MD Program.




Doctor of Medicine – Four Year Program

4 years

6 years


b.   Completion of Program Requirements:

  1. Course Requirement
  2. Students must complete all courses within the established time frame.
  3. Performance Requirement
  4. A student must pass each course. Any student failing to meet this standard of performance will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee to determine the action to be taken.
  5. Medical Licensure Exam Requirement
  6. A passing score for USMLE Step 1 is required to enroll for the second semester of the first clinical year. A passing score for USMLE Step 2 CK and taking the USMLE Step 2 CS are required for graduation.
  7. Professional Behavior Requirement
  8. The students must conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional conduct set forth by the Ponce Health Sciences University and the corresponding accreditation agencies.
  9. Clinical Practice Examination (CPX)
  10. All medical students are required to take and pass a Clinical Practice Examination (CPX) at the end of their first clinical academic year.

Grade Requirement

The Ponce Health Sciences University Medical Program does not measure academic progress by cumulative grade point average.  In order to graduate, the student should pass all required and electives courses.  Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed each semester.

An “I” (Incomplete) grade will only be allowed under very special circumstances as determined by the professor. The student must complete the “I” (Incomplete) by the following semester or an – “F” will be recorded for that course. The “I” (Incomplete) grades are part of the academic record as are the final grades.

Academic Probation

Any student failing to meet Ponce Health Sciences University medical program performance requirement will be referred to the School of Medicine Students Promotion Committee and placed on academic and financial aid probation. The following guidelines will be applied:

  1. If the student fails one course, he/she should remediate the deficiency during the summer time. 
  2. If the student fails two or more courses or fails a course a second time, he/she may be considered for
  3. If the Students Promotion Committee determines that the student must repeat one or more courses during the summer or the next academic year, the student is considered in academic probation.
  4. If the Students Promotion Committee determines to dismiss the student from the medical program, the student must be informed about his/her right to appeal.
  5. If the dismissal decision is reversed by the due process, the student will be considered in academic probation.

Appeal Process for Academic

Students who are notified by the Associate Dean of Medical Education a decision of the Students Promotion Committee that he/she must repeat failed courses during the next academic year or to be dismissed from the medical program, have the right to appeal the decision within seven working days after receiving the notification.

The appeal or due process presented below must be followed.

The student will appeal in writing to the School of Medicine Students Promotion Committee (SPC) and include all relevant documentation to support the request.  The Committee will evaluate the reasons and evidence submitted to determine if they change their initial decision.  The SPC has 48 hours to submit its decision to the Associate Dean for Medical Education, who will notify the decision to the student. 

If the SPC sustains the adverse decision, the student has the right to appeal to the Dean of Medicine. The appeal must be submitted in writing within seven working days after receiving the notification.  The Dean of Medicine will evaluate the appeal and the student’s academic record. The Dean can appoint a three-member Ad-Hoc Committee to re-evaluate all evidence. Rejection of the appeal by the Dean is final.

If an Ad-Hoc Committee is appointed, they will notify the student in writing of the date and the time when the appeal will be evaluated. The Ad-Hoc Committee has forty-eight (48) hours to submit a recommendation to the Dean of Medicine. The Dean of Medicine will consider the Ad-Hoc Committee recommendation and make the final decision within forty-eight (48) hours.

Any decision will be reported to the student in writing. The decision made by the Dean of Medicine is final.

The same process described above will be followed in the case that the adverse decision made by the Committee is for non-academic reasons, such as unacceptable professional behavior. The Department Chairperson, the Associate Dean for Medical Education or the VP for Student Affairs will refer the case to the SPC. If the recommendation of the SPC is to dismiss the student, the appeal process described above may be activated.

In the l event that an adverse decision is made due to non-academic reasons and the Dean of Medicine sustains the decision after the appeal process, the student may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and then to the President. 

Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial Aid eligibility is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. Please refer to the institutional policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress published by the Office of Financial Aid.


The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall have primary responsibility for overseeing this policy and will provide all medical students a copy of this document upon admission to Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine.

The President, Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs, as well as the Dean of Medicine, Associate Dean for Medical Education, Registrar and Financial Aid Director will receive all pertinent data to ensure proper enforcement of the policy here set forth.