Clinical Years

Advising in the Clinical Years

During the third year, students should seek advisement from the Dean of Students, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, clerkship course directors or faculty preceptors regarding their clinical performance, or future career plans. A list of Specialty Advisors (departmental faculty) is also available to all students so students may seek advisement about specialty interests or choices. Throughout the fall and spring semesters of the third year, students undecided about their residency choice are encouraged to make an appointment to see any one of those resources listed above. During the spring semester, third year students are also assigned a clinical assistant dean. During the fourth year, students should consult with their clinical assistant deans for guidance regarding their senior year program of study, and specialty advisors for information about residency programs.

Completion of clerkships requires satisfactory performance in clinical work including the professional conduct component; passing a written exam; and in some clerkships, also passing an oral exam or a history and physical practical.

Students are required to complete their clerkships at SUNY Downstate. Permission will not be granted to complete a required clinical course at another medical school.

Scheduling of Clerkships

Students will express preferences for the order they will complete their clerkships and electives through a computer lottery program. This process is conducted in late spring of the second year. Specific times and procedures are announced annually. The Office of the Registrar maintains the official list of clerkships and roster of students. Therefore, any changes must be initiated through the Office of the Registrar.

Schedule Changes for Clerkships

Changes in the clerkship schedule are approved ONLY if space is available for rescheduling. Clerkship changes must be finalized through the Office of the Registrar, Room 112, Basic Science Building, at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the proposed change.

Clerkship Site Assignments

Hospital site assignments for each clerkship rotation will be initially assigned through a lottery process. The specific clinical department will handle individual changes to site assignments. Each clerkship coordinator will notify students of their procedures, in accordance with the policies of the particular department. All assignments are subject to change.

The department chairs have stated that each department will consider exceptional hardship travel situations. Students, who believe they have an exceptional hardship situation which precludes them from attending certain hospital sites, should submit a statement describing their individual situation, why they cannot travel to the site and their suggested alternative site, to the Office of the Registrar by July 1 of the third year.

Special Needs

If you have special needs (i.e. you are a Sabbath observer), please send the clerkship course director a note with that information at least one month prior to the date on which you would start that clerkship.

Parking (for clerkships)

If a student is assigned to University Hospital or Kings County Hospital for a clerkship rotation, the student may obtain parking information from the clerkship departmental office.

Credits Assigned to Clerkships and Clinical Electives

Credits are assigned to clinical courses based on the number of weeks of full-time training. For example, the Medicine clerkship is 8 weeks in length, and therefore the Medicine clerkship appears on the transcript as 8 credits followed by the grade earned in the course.

Clerkship Credits
Transition to Clerkships 0.5
Primary Care I 4
Anesthesiology 2
Surgery 8
Emergency Medicine 2
Women’s Health 6
Medicine 18
Primary Care II 4
Neurology 4
Pediatrics 6
Psychiatry 6
Core YR (MS3) Electives 2-4

Electives are also assigned credits based on the length of the elective, if the elective is a full-time commitment. If a student is enrolled in a four-week, full-time elective, the course will carry four credits and will appear on the transcript as a four credit hour course. A full-time elective is approximately 30 hours per week time commitment.

Tuition is charged based on the number of credits you are registered for during each semester. You need to register for a minimum of 12 credit hours in the Fall (July-December) by June 1st. Additional information regarding tuition charges is in the Student Handbook.

For financial aid purposes, full-time status for medical students is defined as 9 or more credits per semester. Half-time status is equal to 5 or more credits but less than 9 credits. A student must be registered for 9 or more credits each semester in order to be eligible to receive grants. A student must be registered for 5 or more credits in a semester, in order to be eligible to receive loans.

Grading System

Departments and faculty members define which grading options are used in their courses and how grades are determined; these policies should be defined and distributed in writing to students on the first day of the clerkship/elective.

SUNY Downstate’s College of Medicine grading system is as follows:

H Honors Outstanding work in the subject area far exceeding the requirements of the course.
HP High Pass Above average work in the subject area that exceeds the requirements of the course.
P Pass Successful completion of all requirements of the course.
F Fail Failure to successfully complete the requirements for a major portion of the course, or the entire course, or withdrawal from a required course after 75% of the course has been completed. Remediation of a course in which a grade of "Fail" has been received requires the prior approval of the Grades Committee and the Academic Promotions Committee.
I Incomplete A portion of the requirements of a course has not been attempted, for reasons beyond the student's control (e.g., illness).
C Conditional A failure of a limited part of a course (e.g., a written or oral examination in a clinical course) which requires remedial work. In the opinion of the faculty, the student has performed well in the other segments of the course to warrant a passing grade upon successful completion of the required remedial work. Remediation may not be undertaken while you are taking other courses.
W Withdrawal A student withdraws from a required course prior to 25% of the completion of the course
WP Withdraw/Passing When a student withdraws from a course at a passing grade level after 25% of the course is completed but prior to 75% of the completion of the course.
WF Withdraw/Failing When a student withdraws from a course at a failing grade level after 25% of the course is completed, but prior to 75% of the completion of the course; or failure to complete an elective course and not officially withdrawing from the elective. A "WF" grade is an academic deficiency and subject to review in the student evaluation process.
Y Year-Long course Used as a grade in the fall term for ECM 1 and ECM 2. Letter grade appears in the spring term.
Z Maintenance of Matriculation Research Year Maintenance of Matriculation