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To receive the MD degree, every student must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Have attended eight regular semesters (or equivalent of medical instruction in four or five separate years), have attended the practical instruction in all departments and have satisfactorily completed all course work and examinations as required by the faculty. 
  2. Pass all required examinations.
    a.   Taking and passing the USMLE Step 1 examination as a requirement for promotion to the second semester of the first clinical year (usually the third year).  (Academic Senate Certification 2012-2)
    b.   Taking and approving the USMLE Step 2CK examination as a requirement for graduation (Academic Senate Certification 97-98-1 March 16, 1998)
    c.   Taking and passing a Clinical Practice Examination (CPX) to be given at the end of their Third Academic Year as a requirement for graduation.
    d. Taking the USMLE Step 2CS examination as a requirement for graduation.
  3. Have shown a behavior considered acceptable to academic instructors and supervisors.
  4. Have received the recommendation of the Medical University Faculty as presented to the Promotions Committee.  The Committee reviews both cognitive and attitudinal aspects of performance.  The decisions on each student are then submitted to the Dean for the corresponding administrative process.
  5. Have settled all financial and library obligations with Ponce Health Sciences University.
  6. Attend the commencement program.

USMLE Requirements

United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Policy

This policy states the requirements and timeline established for Ponce Health Sciences University medical students for the USMLE examinations. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for the MD Program establishes the maximum time frame to complete the entire academic program that is currently six years.

Comprehensive Basic Sciences Examination

  1. All medical students must take the Comprehensive Basic Science Examination (CBSE) developed by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), as a USMLE Step 1 performance indicator.
  2. The Office of Medical Education coordinates the administration of the test that is offered several times during the second semester of the last pre-clinical year.
  3. The test score along with the students’ academic performance during the first years of medical studies will be used to assess the readiness of the student to take and pass the USMLE Step 1.
  4. The required scores to be authorized to take the USMLE Step 1 are revised annually and are based on PHSU-SOM student’s outcomes in the past academic years.
  5. Students who pass all preclinical courses and have not interrupted the regular medical curriculum program of studies will be allowed to enroll in the clerkships the first semester of the first clinical year, for which taking or passing USMLE Step 1 will not be required.

USMLE Step 1

It is the student responsibility to apply to take the USMLE Step 1 through the Licensing Examination Services at the USMLE website and select the eligibility period. 

  1. For students authorized to take the USMLE Step 1, it is strongly recommended to take it before the beginning of the course: Introduction to Clinical Practice, offered at the end of July.
  2. Students will not be excused from scheduled academic activities to study or take the examination after the beginning of courses and clerkships. USMLE Step 1 is offered Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
  3. To register in the clerkships for the second semester of the first clinical year (January to May), the students are required to have a passing score in the USMLE Step 1 examination.
  4. The registration for the second semester is in December.  The official registration dates are published by the Registrar Office.
  5. Those students who don’t take or fail the USMLE Step 1 or the score is not available by the commencement of the second semester of the first clinical year cannot register in the clinical clerkships for the second semester. Students must contact the Registrar Office for the options for review courses.
  6. For those students who have interrupted the regular medical curriculum program of studies, it will be required to have a passing score in the USMLE Step 1 examination to enroll in the clerkships for the first semester of the first clinical year (August to December).
  7. The registration for the fall semester is in July and the official registration dates are published by the Registrar Office. 
  8. Students have a maximum of three opportunities to pass the USMLE Step 1.
  9. Students are not allowed to be more than one year out of the regular medical curriculum program of studies unless for an approved medical LOA.
  10. Students who fail the USMLE Step 1 for the third time and/or have been one year or more out of the regular medical curriculum program of studies will be referred to Students Promotion Committee for consideration of dismissal from the Medicine Program.

USMLE – Step 2

The USMLE Step 2 has two components: Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Skills (CS).

  1. All medical students must take and pass the USMLE Step 2-CK component as a requirement for graduation.
  2. It is strongly recommended that the students take the USMLE Step 2-CK no later than August 30, of the year they will start applying to residency programs, in a way the score is available when the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS) opens and the interviews for residency programs begin.
  3. The last opportunity to take and pass the USMLE 2-CK examination to complete this graduation requirement with the May graduating class will be the last week of April of the corresponding graduation year.
  4. All MD students must take the USMLE Step 2-CS component as a requirement for graduation.
  5. It is strongly recommended the students take USMLE Step 2-CS no later than November 30, of the fourth/last academic year.
  6. All MD graduating students must take USMLE Step 2-CS to graduate; however, a passing grade will not be required.

Clinical Practice Examination

  1. All medical students are required to take and pass a Clinical Practice Examination (CPX) to be given at the end of their Third Academic Year.
  2. Written feedback concerning individual performance will be provided to each student.
  3. Students not meeting the acceptable level of performance will receive guided learning to overcome areas of low performance during one or more of the fourth year required clinical rotations. A modified version of the exam will be given after completion of the guided learning experience.
  4. Satisfactory completion of this additional guided learning fulfills the requirement to pass this examination.

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