Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs

Last updated: January 12th, 2023 at 10:36 am

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar is posted on Canvas and the WAUSM website and students should familiarize themselves with the required activities for the medical educational program. Dates are subject to change; therefore, students must check the course syllabus and the university’s website for the latest academic schedule.

Students are expected to participate in ALL scheduled orientation activities, as well as required classes, exams, and other performance assessments, and required WAUSM activities, from the first through the last date in each semester that appears on the academic calendar, excluding breaks.

Units, courses and clerkships listed in the academic calendar are organized to begin and end on common dates in each year or semester and generally have a uniform weekly schedule. Course and clinical directors are required to adhere to approved WAUSM academic calendars when scheduling their units and courses. Examination dates and times are coordinated and timed to attempt to ensure a reasonable workload for students.

WAUSM is officially closed on a few national holidays, and during the period that includes Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. WAUSM is closed and does not hold classes on university holidays; however, during clerkships, semesters 6-10 students may be expected to work and take call on these days (depending on the patient care activities at their assigned clinical sites), or to attend other scheduled activities.

The WAUSM Curriculum

The WAUSM curriculum is organized by two phases: pre-clerkship (semester 1-5) and clerkship (semesters 6-10), and electives. In the pre-clerkship phase, each semester includes a Foundations of Medicine (FoM) course, which occur concurrent with a Patient Centered Care (PCC) course. The clerkships are organized as a series of six Clerkship courses and 27 weeks of elective clerkship. Student performance is assessed in each unit, course and clerkship. The Student Progress Committee (SPC) has defined standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress, which include the requirement that students must pass each course and clerkship, in the curriculum.

The syllabus for each course and clerkship, contains the course objectives, the WAUSM General Competencies and Educational Program Objectives, the schedule of activities, learning objectives for specific sessions or activities, names and contact information for the faculty involved, a listing of course materials, the student assessment system, and grading policies.

The competency-based grading process at WAUSM ensures that teaching, assessment, and remediation of all competencies are equally prioritized. All WAUSM courses and clerkships are mapped to the WAUSM Competencies and the AAMC Physician Competency Reference Set (PCRS). The grading system is in place to facilitate early identification of at-risk students and to provide a supportive formative remediation process to improve student performance without permanently marking their transcript or MSPE. Should students have unsatisfactory performance in courses or clerkships or have ongoing repeated concern in competency performance and/or failed remediation, they will be referred to the Student Progress Committee (SPC).

WAUSM General Competencies

Medical Knowledge: Students will apply evidence-based medicine principles of biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, and social-behavioral sciences to guide diagnosis, treatment, and patient care decisions.

Patient Care: Students will use knowledge and skills during clinical encounters to gather necessary information and apply evidence to develop appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic plans that enhance health and treat disease.

System-Based Practice: Students will demonstrate an awareness of, and responsiveness to, the larger context and system of health care, utilizing other resources in the system to provide care for patients. Students will acknowledge the relationship between the patient, the community, and the health care system and the impact on health of culture, economics, the environment, health literacy, health policy, and advocacy to determine their role within these social and system dynamics.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: Students will be able to actively set and pursue clear learning goals and exploit new opportunities for intellectual growth and development. The student will demonstrate the ability to generate critical, reliable, valid self-assessment(s), and use this knowledge for self-regulation and to promote their development. Students will be able to recognize and thoroughly characterize a problem, develop an informed plan of action, act to resolve the problem, and subsequently assess the result(s) of their action.

Interpersonal Skills and Communication: Students will listen attentively and communicate clearly with patients, families, peers, faculty, and other members of the health care team, establishing rapport; fostering, forming, and maintaining therapeutic relationships with patients; effectively gathering and providing information during interactions with others and participating in collaborative patient-focused decision making.

Ethics and Professionalism: Students will carry out professional responsibilities with the highest standards of excellence and integrity, consistent with the Honor Code and with adherence to ethical principles. Students will value the humanity of all and demonstrate accountability to both patient and society by placing the patient first and advocating for improved access and just distribution of resources.

Interprofessional Collaboration: Students will demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.

Personal and Professional Development and Wellness: Students will demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth and wellness.

Scholarly Inquiry: Students will apply knowledge of the scientific process to integrate and synthesize information, solve problems, and formulate research questions and hypotheses. Students will be facile in the language of the sciences and use it to participate in the discourse of science and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.

WAUSM Assessments

Narrative Assessments

In the majority of WAUSM courses and clerkships, a narrative description of student performance will be completed by faculty. Narrative comments will be provided to students for their review in a timely manner and will be a part of the student’s permanent file. Clerkship grading narratives are included verbatim in the MSPE/Dean’s Letter.


Most written examinations are conducted as web-based objective examinations, using secure questions; examination questions will not be available for study before or after exams. Examinations are timed and proctored, and students take them using either software from Canvas for local formative and internal summative exams or on laptops/PCs with wired connections linked only to servers at the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) for Customized Assessment Service (CAS) final exams (and other exams).

Students have opportunities to raise concerns about exams or ask specific questions by contacting the course, unit, or clerkship director. The grade manager will notify students of exam results within 24-48 hours of score retrieval.

Course, unit, and clerkship directors are expected to use a variety of performance measures in addition to the secure, web-administered, objective exams. The performance measures and percentage contribution to the final grade in each unit, course, or clerkship is described in the syllabus.

To the degree possible, exams for concurrent courses will be scheduled so that exams do not compete with other learning activities.

Formative Assessments

Throughout the courses, and clerkships in all 10 semesters of medical school, students are provided with regular, formative feedback on their performance. This feedback takes the form of narrative feedback by faculty and peers and a range of other assessments, such as practice tests on course content. Course, and clerkship directors are expected to ensure structured formative feedback to students early enough to allow sufficient time for remediation.

The NBME Comprehensive Basic Science is administered during the end of the pre-clerkship curriculum (end of semester 5). It is a required exam and will be part of students’ 5th semester. Aside from formulating the semester 5 grade, the purpose of this exam is for students to self-assess their preparation and guide their study for the USMLE Step 1 exam.

Licensing Examinations

To become fully licensed to practice medicine in the United States, individuals must pass all three USMLE Step examinations. This section describes the required components of the USMLE licensing examinations during medical school and the implications for the residency match and graduation.

All students must take the USMLE Step 1 exam before beginning clinical clerkships and must receive a passing score for promotion to the next semester. Students must take and pass the USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) and the appropriate ECFMG Pathway Program, including the Occupational English Test (OET). Students are expected to take and pass each examination by the deadlines.

Students must be enrolled in WAUSM to be able to register for and take the USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 CK examinations. Students are required to complete applications for the USMLE examinations in sufficient time to request test dates on or before the deadlines.

Students with circumstances that prevent them from taking or retaking the USMLE Step 1 or Step 2 CK examinations by the required dates, must submit a petition in writing to SADSA as soon as possible. The SADSA will review the request and make a determination.

USMLE Step 1 Examination

Students are required to take the USMLE Step 1 examination no later than 16 weeks after completion of semester 5. Students who delay taking Step 1 until after this time are subject to action by the SPC.

Students who fail USMLE Step 1 on their initial attempt are required to take a leave of absence to prepare for and retake Step 1. Students must retake Step 1 within 16 weeks of their 1st attempt. Students who fail their second attempt are subject to being placed on a leave of absence. Students must pass their third attempt at Step 1 within 16 weeks of their 2nd attempt.

Failure to pass Step 1 on the third attempt will result in automatic dismissal from WAUSM.

USMLE Step 2 CK Examination

Passage of Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) is required for graduation. Initial attempts to pass Step 2 CK must be completed by Dec 31 in the year preceding graduation. Step 2 CK should be taken no later than July-August for the results to be released in time for review by the residency programs when the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) opens.

To ensure that a student who matches to a residency program is ready to start the PGY-1 year on time, any student who will not be able to obtain a passing score on USMLE Step 2 CK before the final date for submission of the NRMP rank order list will be withdrawn from the residency match by the Office of Student Affairs.

Failure to pass Step 2 CK on the third attempt will result in automatic dismissal from WAUSM.

ECFMG Pathway Programs

In response to the suspension and subsequent discontinuation of Step 2 CS by the USMLE, the ECFMG|FAIMER offers pathways to allow international medical graduates (IMGs) to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification.

The Pathways allow ECFMG Certification to continue to perform its critical function of providing assurance to the public and U.S. graduate medical education (GME) programs that IMGs are ready to enter supervised training. They also allow qualified IMGs to continue to pursue ECFMG Certification and to compete for positions in U.S. GME.

Applicants who pursue one of the Pathways are required to attain a satisfactory score on the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine to satisfy the communication skills requirement for ECFMG Certification. All Pathway applicants, regardless of citizenship or native language, must satisfy this requirement. OET Medicine is only one of the requirements for completing a Pathway. Applicants also must submit an online application for the appropriate Pathway.

For a description of the pathways, eligibility information and application procedures, please visit: Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2023 Match.

Grades and Transcripts

The official WAUSM transcript is organized by academic year, listing all courses and clerkships in the academic year, with the credit hours for each course or rotation, followed by the final grade earned for each course or rotation. The transcript will also record that the student passed the University’s internal competency assessments.

Medical Advancement Preparatory Program (MAPP)

The final course grade for a student is determined by the percentages and designation indicated below. Several methods of evaluation may be used to make this assessment, including but not limited to, written examinations, team-based activities, direct observation of students, written reports, oral presentations, and evaluations of professional conduct. Students should see the MAPP course syllabus for detailed information about grading. Student achievement of competencies results in either a Pass (P) or Fail (F) final grade.

a. Each student earning the following percentage scores on the overall course grade will receive the indicated designation, at minimum:

i. 70% – 100+%: Pass (P)

ii. Less than 70%: Fail (F)


The final course grade for a student is determined by the percentages and designation indicated below. Several methods of evaluation may be used to make this assessment, including but not limited to, written examinations, team-based activities, direct observation of students, written reports, oral presentations, Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and evaluations of professional conduct. Students should see the course syllabus for detailed information about grading for an individual course. Student achievement of competencies results in either an Honors (H), High Pass (HP), Pass (P) or Fail (F) final grade.

a. Each student earning the following percentage scores on the overall course grade will receive the indicated designation, at minimum:

i. 90% – 100%: Honors (H)

ii. 80% – 89.9%: High Pass (HP)

iii. 70% – 79.9%: Pass (P)

iv. Less than 70%: Fail (F)


Student achievement of competencies is stratified, based on clinical performance and NBME Subject Examination performance, resulting in a final grade of Honors, High Pass, Pass, and Fail.

a. Honors (H): The student has performed consistently in a manner judged as truly outstanding. The performance is worthy as a model.

b. High Pass (HP): The student has performed consistently in a manner judged to be clearly above average competency. The performance may occasionally be exemplary but not consistently so.

c. Pass (P): The student has performed consistently in a manner judged to be at or above the minimum level of competency. The performance may occasionally be superior, but not consistently so. No significant portion of the performance has been below the minimum level of competency.

d. Fail (F): The student has performed in a manner judged as marginal in relation to the minimal level of competency. In some respects, performance may have been above the minimum level, but in other aspects, or at other times, performance has been below the minimum level. The student has not demonstrated adequate mastery of the pertinent competency. Remediation or repetition of coursework is required.

In Process (IP) and Fail (F) Grades in Permanent Student Records

a. In Process (IP):

i. This temporary grade is used for students who have not completed all required components of a course or clerkship but can do so before a completion date established by the University.

ii. In Process (IP) grades change to Fail (F) grades if the remediation is not completed in a satisfactory manner within the time limits prescribed by SPC.

b. Fail (F):

i. Students who receive a Failing (F) grade in a medical school course, clerkship, or rotation will be referred to the Student Progress Committee (SPC) for review of the student’s overall academic progress.

ii. All Fail (F) final grades will be listed on the student’s permanent transcript. The transcript will reflect both the initial grade of Fail (F) and the final remediated grade earned in the course or clerkship.

iii. Failure to complete the plan for remediation (i.e., work not completed or performed at an unsatisfactory level) will be reported to the SPC for action, which can include requiring the student to repeat the course/clerkship, repeat the semester or year, be placed on probation, suspension, or dismissal from WAUSM.


a. A withdrawal occurs when a student’s enrollment is discontinued with no intention of returning to the program. Withdrawals can be either student initiated or administratively determined.

b. Students are subject to a withdrawal based on the following:

i. A student electing to withdraw, prior to the first exam, will receive a grade of a “W” on their transcript.

ii. A student electing to withdraw after taking one or more examinations will receive a grade of a withdrawal passing (WP) or withdrawal fail (WF) based on their performance on the examination(s) taken on their transcript.

iii. A student that is administratively withdrawn will receive a grade of withdrawal administrative (WA) on their transcript.

Please see the “Withdrawal Policy” and “Withdrawal Procedure” for more information.

Faculty Recusal from Academic Evaluation

Assessments in and promotions through the academic program of WAUSM are expected to be made fairly, impartially, and without bias. To accomplish that goal, both faculty and students have an obligation to alert the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) if they perceive a potential conflict of interest. In addition, Student Progress Committee (SPC) members must identify as early as possible any situation that could reasonably call into question the judgment of the member.

As soon as a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest is recognized, faculty members participating in the student assessment process shall recuse themselves from both assessment of the student in courses, units or clerkships and any discussion of and voting on the student.

A conflict of interest is present if the faculty member has or has had a treatment relationship with the student or has, or has had, a close personal or familial relationship with the student.

Faculty members shall bring any conflict to the attention of the Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs (SADSA) as soon as they become aware of the situation.

Students have the obligation to avoid small groups, preceptor assignments, clinical sites, as well as specific clerkships and elective rotations where evaluating faculty members have a close or personal relationship with the student.

Examples of situations where the faculty would be considered to have, or have the future potential for, academic or professional influence include, but are not limited to:

a. Faculty supervisors and collaborators on a trainee’s research or scholarly project

b. Faculty teaching a course in which the trainee is enrolled, regardless of whether the faculty and trainee are in the same school, department, or program

c. Faculty serving as the student’s mentor

d. Faculty or staff who would normally be expected to provide regular formal evaluation of a trainee’s performance, such as an attending physician in a field closely related to the trainee’s

Generally, any conflict is considered resolved by

a. recusal of the affected faculty member from an academic assessment role or proceedings involving the student before the SPC, or

b. if the faculty member is in a position to mentor or assess the student in other WAUSM educational activities, the replacement of the faculty member with an impartial faculty member or reassigning the student to an appropriate alternative experience.

c. The Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs will determine whether additional steps should be taken to manage the potential conflict.

Procedure for medical students with a prior or ongoing relationship with a faculty member or resident physician:

a. In the case that a medical student is assigned to work with a faculty member or resident physician with whom they have had a prior or ongoing professional care provider relationship or close personal relationship, either party must request that the student be granted an immediate change of assignment without fear of reprisal for this request.

b. The medical student should contact the SADSA, who will facilitate an immediate reassignment for the student.

c. The faculty member should contact the SADSA, who will alert the course, unit, or clerkship director immediately about the need to change the assignments and to ensure that the faculty member will have no influence on the assessment or determination of the grade of the medical student.

d. The resident physician should contact the SADSA, who will contact the residency program directly to inform them of the relationship.

e. The SADSA shall also alert the clerkship director immediately about the need to change the assignments to ensure that the resident will have no influence on the assessment or determination of the grade of the medical student.

Grade Appeal

Students may appeal a grade or evaluation if there is a concern about a perceived grading error, or perceived procedural irregularities in the process that affected the grade. Students are encouraged to raise any concerns or complaints about a grade as soon as possible to the appropriate authority as indicated in this policy.

The purpose of the grade appeal process is to protect the rights of both the student who earns a grade and the Faculty who assign the grade. Faculty have the right to use their professional judgment, both subjectively and objectively, in determining a student’s grade based on academic performance. They also have the responsibility to award grades in a uniform manner based on established expectations and criteria for academic (including clinical) performance. Students have the right to appeal a grade that they feel has been awarded in an arbitrary and capricious manner. They also have the responsibility to accept the faculty member’s professional judgment about their performance.

Informal Resolution:

a. Before filing a formal appeal, students are encouraged to try all other routes to resolve differences. For example, speaking to individual faculty members, or the unit or course directors. Students should seek the counsel and help of the Office of Student Affairs and consider such an appeal only after all alternative routes have been explored.

b. Before the formal appeal process is initiated, any student who believes a final grade is inappropriate should confer with the course, clerkship, or elective director to request a reconsideration. This is considered an informal review of the grade. This discussion should be initiated within two (2) weeks of the posting of the grade. The student is entitled to an explanation of exactly how the final grade was determined and to view the results of component quizzes, examinations, and evaluations that contributed to the final grade, if available.

Appeal of a single examination or evaluation:

a. Students may appeal a single examination grade in the MAPP or pre-clerkship program within three (3) business days of the grade being posted if it is believed a grading error has occurred or there is another concern. Students should submit their concern in writing to the Course, Unit, or Program Director to arrange a meeting to discuss the concern/s.

b. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of meetings with the Course, Unit, or Program Director, the student may submit their concern in writing to the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). The Office of Student Affairs (OSA), or their designee, will consult with the appropriate faculty or leadership for review. The student will be notified of the decision within three (3) business days after deliberations and decision.

c. The decision of the OSA is final for single examination or evaluation appeals.

Appeal of a final course grade or evaluation:

a. Students may appeal a final grade or final evaluation within ten (10) business days of the final grade being posted if it is believed a grading error has occurred or there is another concern. Students should submit their concern in writing to the Office of Student Affairs (OSA).

b. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) will review the written appeal and will consult with the appropriate faculty or leadership for review.

c. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the OSA, they may appeal in writing to the Executive Dean within ten (10) business days.

d. The Executive Dean will review the appeal and respond to the student within ten (10) business days of receiving the appeal.

e. The decision of the Executive Dean is final for final course grade or evaluation appeals.

If an appeal is not filed by the student in a timely manner, any ramifications related to transcript generation, determination of academic standing, and promotional considerations will be the responsibility of the student and may be irreversibly or negatively impacted.

The burden of proof rests with the student to demonstrate that the final grade was awarded inappropriately.

Falsification or fabrication of information to support an appeal is subject to disciplinary action under the Code of Conduct.

Course and Faculty Evaluations

The evaluation completion policy has been designed to grant all students the opportunity and responsibility to evaluate faculty, curriculum delivery and implementation in an anonymous manner throughout the semesters. High quality, meaningful, and constructive feedback from the students will play an imperative role in WAUSM’s success, development, and growth.

Students’ evaluations play a vital and essential part in the continual improvement of WAUSM’s medical education program and all aspects of WAUSM. Our students’ feedback is critical to the medical profession and reflects the mutual obligation that teachers and learners have, to provide constructive commentary to each other as they seek to improve and enhance their performance. Consequently, all students are expected to actively participate in the University’s comprehensive evaluation program. The Office of Medical Education collects and compiles evaluation data, which are analyzed by the Office of Institutional Assessment and Quality to provide anonymized reports and analysis to the appropriate curriculum committees.

These committees, in conjunction with the Office of Medical Education, utilize the data to formulate and implement curriculum improvement and faculty development strategies. To attain valuable participation of every student in the evaluation process, the Office of Medical Education has established the following guidelines:

a. Students are expected to complete all assigned faculty teaching evaluations, final evaluation of courses and clerkships, and evaluations of other aspects of the educational program as part of their professional responsibilities at WAUSM.

b. Evaluations that students must complete will be assigned at appropriate times throughout the curriculum, with a clearly designated timeframe for completion. Whenever possible class time will be allotted for completion of evaluations.

c. WAUSM commits to assigning as few evaluations as possible to achieve the goal of ongoing curricular improvements and faculty development/evaluation.

d. Should a student receive an evaluation for a non-mandatory session that they did not attend, the student is expected to complete a few questions on why they chose not to attend and what alternative resources they used to master the material covered in the session.

e. As often as possible, results that are anonymous in nature that help improve the program of medical education and student services, will be released to faculty and students alike so that all members of the community can work together to better WAUSM’s Academic and Student programs.

Confidentiality of all Student Responses

Under normal circumstances, confidentiality of student responses on all evaluations is guaranteed. The responses to evaluations are always compiled and anonymized prior to being reported. Should a one-on-one relationship with a faculty member, such as a clinical preceptor, preclude anonymity then evaluation data will not be shared.

Should a student have any concerns or questions about the anonymity of an evaluation, he or she may speak to the module or clerkship director and/or the Senior Associate Dean, Student Affairs (SADSA).

Quality of Student Responses

Students are expected to complete all evaluations in a highly professional manner. All comments submitted in evaluations are shared verbatim with faculty once the grading process is complete and grades are submitted, so we expect them to be high quality, meaningful, constructive, and free of personal slurs.

Failure to Complete Assigned Evaluations

Student completion rates and timeliness of completion on all evaluations will be tracked. If a student does not complete an evaluation by the due date, they will receive a notification with a reminder to complete the assigned evaluation(s).

If a student consistently fails to complete evaluations after receiving the reminders, the Office of Student Affairs will be informed and will meet with the student to discuss this professionalism concern, which may result in referral to the Student Progress Committee (SPC).



The academic catalog describes the educational program and activities available at WAUSM. WAUSM’s curriculum is designed to build a solid foundation and positions students for success.



The information contained in the student handbook serves as a guide for students throughout their academic, clinical,  and extracurricular life as members of the WAUSM community.