Absences from Medical School

Medical Student Handbook: Other Codes and Policies for Students

Absences from Scheduled Classes and/or Clerkships

In case of illness, students are encouraged to take appropriate time off and seek medical care. After three (3) days, documentation from a healthcare provider is required.

The policy for religious holidays can be found at http://www.unr.edu/student-conduct/policies/university-policies-and-guidelines/religious-holiday-observation.

Years 1 and 2

First and second year medical students are expected to attend class and other academic functions as scheduled Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Students may also be expected to complete additional educational activities in the evenings or on weekends.

Unless otherwise stated by the course or block director, attendance at lectures is very highly encouraged. Please note that a student with marginal academic performance in a course who does not attend class regularly may influence the Student Promotion and Conduct Committee's (SPCC) recommendations to the Dean regarding academic promotion.

Attendance at all examinations, laboratories, small group sessions, assessments, and clinically oriented activities is mandatory. Students who are unable to attend mandatory activities due to illness or personal problems must inform the course or block director prior to the absence. Students who must be absent from mandatory activities more than three days must also inform the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs and Office of Medical Education of their absence.

Students must contact the Dean of Student Affairs and one of the Block directors at least one week in advance to obtain permission for a potential absence. The Dean of Student Affairs will notify the student if permission is granted and forward the information to the Block Directors. 


The following constitute excused absences: 


  • Serious illness of self or immediate family member 

  • Death of close family member or family issues 

  • Emergencies and accidents 


To request an absence for traveling to conferences:

  • Students must request an absence from a required activity by emailing Dr. Singer, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and Dr. Howard, the Director of Curricular Operations, at least one month in advance of the requested leave. The request must include a description of the required activities that you will be missing.
  • Approval will be based on several factors including: any academic concerns related to the requesting student, the number of days being requested, the material covered during the leave, and the purpose of the request.
  • Students will be responsible for completing any missed required assignments at the discretion of the Block Director(s) in whose block the leave falls and provide approval from the Block Director(s) regarding their plan.

*Please note that students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to travel to conferences.

Clerkships and Electives

The third and fourth year student schedules are determined by the clerkship and elective directors. Students are expected to adhere to professionalism standards during their clerkships. If a student is unable to arrive on time for a teaching or clinical activity, he/she is expected to inform the responsible faculty member in advance.

The following constitute excused absences: 


  • Serious illness of self or immediate family member 

  • Death of close family member or family issues 

  • Emergencies and accidents 


Students are required to inform the responsible faculty member of any absence due to anticipated medical needs prior to the absence. If a student is ill for more than three days, students must inform the clerkship director for the respective clerkship and the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs and Office of Medical Education. Depending on the circumstance and the length of time away from the clerkship, the director may give students an in progress grade and require that further work be completed in the clerkship at another time.

Students are required to inform their supervising faculty member in advance when personal matters take them from educational and patient care responsibilities, and are responsible for arranging coverage while absent.

Attendance at Professional Conferences and Meetings

Students may occasionally wish to attend professional meetings. Permission must be obtained in advance from the course/clerkship director and then from the supervising faculty member(s). Students may not take more than three days away from their clerkship responsibilities during any single clerkship. Students are responsible for arranging coverage during the absence, and are responsible for any make-up work.

Attendance at conferences is usually granted only if a student is presenting scholarly work at that meeting.

During fourth year, interviewing for residency positions should be scheduled during vacation time. If interviews cannot be scheduled during those times, written verification of the date(s) made available by the interviewer must be submitted to the elective director. The student and elective director will draft a written agreement to specify length of absence and any material to be covered during the absence, along with any other stipulations required by the elective director. A copy of the agreement will be forwarded to the Student Records Coordinator in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs to be placed in the student's file.

Rescheduling of Required Course Activities

On rare occasion, it may be necessary for a student to miss a required examination, due date for a paper, report, or other course activity. These situations are limited to emergencies, death in the student's immediate family, and/or illnesses documented by a physician.

Each request for rescheduling of a required course activity must be approved by the Associate Dean for Medical Education. The student should submit the request to the Associate Dean prior to the scheduled exam or activity. The Associate Dean shall determine whether an exception will be granted. No student shall be allowed to reschedule more than one (1) exam within a semester.

Extended Leave of Absences

Student-requested leaves of absence due to illness or any other emergency are to be made to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs. After discussion with the SPCC a recommendation will be made to the School of Medicine Dean. Approval is either granted or denied by the Dean. Students who request a leave of absence are expected to attend classes and continue to be students in good standing until such leave is granted. Leaves of absence are not granted for students experiencing academic difficulty. Students who are on a leave of absence are not eligible to receive financial aid and may be required to start payment on existing student loans. A leave of absence may create a gap in a student's professional timeline that will be of concern to residency program directors, state medical boards, credentialing and various other entities.

Student Requested Medical Leave of Absence

  • A leave of absence is available for medical or personal reasons.
  • A student requesting a leave of absence may be required to provide a signed statement to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs from a licensed and certified health care professional indicating the student is unable to fully participate in academic and/or clinical activities for medical or psychological reasons. The statement should include the following:
    • How long the student has been a patient of the health care professional;
    • Diagnosis;
    • Relationship of symptoms to essential functions;
    • Anticipated length of time required for treatment;
    • Consideration of hospitalization;
    • Specific recommended accommodations;
    • Prognosis for return to medical school; and,
    • Recommendation of whether the student should be required to have a Fit for Duty evaluation conducted prior to returning to medical school.
  • The leave of absence must be documented and approved by the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs and the School of Medicine Dean.
  • The maximum term for a medical leave of absence is six (6) months.
  • The leave of absence can be renewed up to three times, for a total of two years, if the need for additional time is again documented as outlined above. In addition, the student must provide a course of action to be taken to ensure maintenance of knowledge base and, if relevant, clinical skills. The student should be aware that readmission after a leave of absence of greater than six (6) months may require an examination or additional remedial course work to ensure retention of knowledge base and, if relevant, clinical skills and/or a Fit for Duty evaluation.
  • The renewal of a medical leave of absence must be approved by the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, the SPCC and the School of Medicine Dean.
  • The total time taken for a medical leave of absence cannot exceed two years during the total period of medical school. Should a leave of greater than two years be necessary, dismissal will result. The student must reapply for admission to School of Medicine if they desire to attend medical school. Acceptance under these conditions is not assured. The decision for readmission will be made by the School of Medicine Admissions Committee.
  • A student who is on a leave of absence for any reason may be required to participate in a Reentry Program in order to progress into the third year. The Reentry Program consists of a mandatory SP experience in May. The reentry program is administered by the Office of Medical Education (OME).
  • A student cannot enter the third year of medical school at any point other than the transition course.
  • The six year limit policy applies for time on LOAs.

Military Activation Policy

  • The activated student will serve for as long as necessary.
  • The six-year limit policy does not apply to activated military.
  • If the military service exceeds two years, remedial coursework will be developed on an individual basis, depending on need, when the student returns before resuming study.
  • Reimbursement issues have been determined by UNR's Student Services department including full reimbursement for tuition, fees and books.

Five-Year Program

Five-year extended programs are available to students in extraordinary circumstances. These include voluntary extensions of the academic program or involuntary extensions necessitated by a student's failure to meet the cognitive and behavioral criteria for promotion.

Voluntary Extension of Academic Program

Students who desire or require additional time for personal reasons can also request the extended curriculum. These reasons include, but are not limited to:

  1. the birth of a child;
  2. extended illness of self or a family member; and,
  3. research, international medical experience, or other curricular programs.

Students must be in good standing to extend the academic program, and must maintain satisfactory performance to continue with the program. Students considering this program should contact the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs for more information. Voluntary extensions cannot exceed a total of two additional years.

The SPCC reviews and makes a recommendation to the Dean for approval or denial of requests for voluntary extensions. The Dean's decision is final. Students who request extension of their academic program and who will not be engaged in academic or educational activities will not be eligible for financial aid.

Students who want to extend their academic program by participating in a research program must comply with the following requirements:

  • Submit written documentation and details of the research experience to the Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs and the Associate Dean of Medical Education for initial approval;
  • Obtain approval of the research experience from the SPCC;
  • After approval, the student will be enrolled in an independent study course for the duration of the research program, with evaluation of either pass or fail;
  • The student must provide written documentation of work product on the research project to the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Medical Education once each semester;
  • A letter from the Research Supervisor indicating that the student is participating in full-time research must be received by the Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs once each semester;
  • With evidence of satisfactory completion of the research experience, a pass will be awarded in the Independent Study course;
  • The student will pay full tuition for the research year but will be considered eligible for financial aid; and,
  • Upon return to the regular curriculum, the student will not pay tuition for a period of time equal to the research program. He or she will only be eligible for financial aid for educational expenses, excluding tuition.

Involuntary Extension of Program Required by the School of Medicine

In some cases, students are required to repeat a year of medical school for cognitive and/or behavioral reasons. Students will be required to complete remediation and seek academic support services during the repeated year. The student will be on academic probation until satisfactory completion of the repeated year.

Students who are required to repeat an academic year during medical school are required to pay full tuition for each year they attend the School of Medicine. Students completing an extended curriculum due to academic reasons are eligible to apply for scholarships and other financial aid during all years of enrollment. Students who are required by the school to repeat a year do not have the option of voluntarily extending their academic programs. The student will be required to pay full tuition and fees for the repeated year.

Tuition Policy for Extended Programs

If a student voluntarily extends his/her educational program from four to five years, he/she will be charged tuition for only the first four years (eight semesters) of enrollment at the School of Medicine. During his/her fifth year of enrollment, he/she will be eligible for financial aid to cover educational expenses not including tuition. The student will be charged for any applicable student fees for all years he/she is enrolled at the School of Medicine. The student's financial aid package will be calculated based on direct educational expenses.

If a student is required to extend (i.e. involuntary) his/her educational program from four to five years, he/she will be charged tuition for every semester of enrollment at the School of Medicine. During his/her fifth year of enrollment, he/she will be charged full tuition and fees and will be eligible to apply for financial aid.

Maximum Number of Years to Complete the M.D. Degree

The requirements of the M.D. degree must be completed within a six (6) year period. Activated military students and students enrolled in dual degree programs may request an extension for the period of active duty or enrollment. Students failing to complete the medical school program in six years (including leaves of absence) will be dismissed. Reentry requirements will apply for all students who deviate from the traditional four-year medical education program. This includes activity such as research, dual degree, and academic difficulties. Students must undergo a clinical skills assessment prior to reentering the clinical environment. The Re-entry Program is coordinated through the Office of Medical Education (OME).

Academic Difficulties

Procedures are applicable to all students who fail to meet the cognitive (knowledge-based) and behavioral personal and professional qualities, values, characteristics, attitudes and interpersonal skills that are necessary to the development of a physician) standards expected of students enrolled at the School of Medicine.

Definitions

Probation

Probation is a status assigned to a student to indicate that he/she has not met the minimum standards of performance expected of students at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. A student may be placed on probation for cognitive or behavioral/professionalism reasons.

The performance of students on probation will be reviewed by the Student Promotion and Conduct Committee (SPCC) at the conclusion of each semester or earlier as needed. The student's status of probation will be considered by the SPCC in all matters pertaining to that student. The terms of probation may include cessation of some part or all course work, a remedial course of study, a repetition of part or all of the curriculum, counseling, and other cognitive criteria for satisfactory performance. Students on probation are not permitted to: serve in elected leadership positions, serve on medical school committees, participate in admissions applicant interviews, or to participate in dual degree programs. Students on probation are considered not in good academic standing until the status has been removed. Students may not graduate with the MD degree while on probation.

Suspension

A suspended student is prohibited from attending classes or otherwise continuing medical training. The Dean, in consultation with the SPCC, determines the length of suspension and terms of enrollment. Students who return to school from suspension will be placed on probation. A record of the suspension will be placed on the student's permanent academic record.

Dismissal

Student dismissal shall abide by the School of Medicine's Discipline & Due Process Policy. A student is dismissed from the School of Medicine and is prohibited from any further attendance in class or participation in medical training. A student can be dismissed for cognitive or behavioral reasons. The student will not be permitted to reenroll at the School of Medicine.

Terms for Removal from Academic Probation and Suspension

  • Specific terms and conditions for removal from probation or suspension will be recommended by the SPCC and submitted to the Dean for approval at the time the action is imposed.
  • The SPCC will determine whether the conditions for removal of the probation or suspension have been satisfied.
  • Students who are suspended from the School of Medicine will be on probation upon return to school. The student's progress and adjustment to the resumption of regular training shall be monitored by the SPCC, and the committee will determine removal from probationary status.
  • Probation must be removed prior to the second semester of the senior year in order for the student to be allowed to graduate. If removal from probation has not been approved, the student's course of study may be extended or the student may be dismissed.

Returning Medical Students – Clinical Clerkships and Electives

  • Scheduling priority will be given to students who have had no disruption in their academic progress at the School of Medicine and to those students who are enrolled in dual degree programs.
  • Students whose medical school education is disrupted as a result of failure to pass a course or clerkship, voluntary extensions, leave of absence, probation or suspension, will be scheduled on a space available basis.
  • Returning students whose academic progress is disrupted as a result of approved leaves, probation, or suspension should be aware that the School of Medicine cannot guarantee that they will progress through the third and fourth years of medical school at the same rate as they would have had they not had a disruption to their progress. A reasonable effort will be made in order to provide the students with readmission to the School of Medicine clinical rotations and to schedule them when space is available.
  • It is the responsibility of students whose progress through medical school has been disrupted or modified for any reason, to contact the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs at least six (6) months in advance of any anticipated readmission to determine available reentry spots, to complete appropriate forms, and to receive appropriate advisement.
  • Planning for the remainder of the medical school education is contingent upon the outcome of a review by the SPCC. Students planning to return should contact the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs following the review.
  • Students who have been on a leave of absence from medical school in order to pursue a dual degree or to perform research, or for personal reasons between Year 2 and 3, are required to contact the Office of Medical Education concerning a clinical re-entry program to refresh their clinical skills. Students who have been on leave between Year 3 and 4 are encouraged to contact the Office of Medical Education to schedule a clinical re-entry program. Students may only enter the third year of medical school at the point of the transition course.