Clinical Rotations (MS3-MS4)

Students should complete the clinical phase of the program in a minimum of 15 months and a maximum of 18 months. MSTP students are given credit for a significant portion of the normal requirements for the M.D. degree during the MS-3 and MS-4 years due to the completion of Graduate School courses and their research leading to the PhD degree.  The specific items NOT required for MSTP students are as follows:

  • the Special Topics during the MS-III/IV years;
  • a third Acting Internship (AI);
  • any additional electives (in addition to the one required);
  • The Scholarly Activity.

Once the requirements for graduation and the additional program options described have been completed, the student will have completed the program leading to both the MD and PhD degrees.  Stipend support and tuition remission will not be extended beyond completion of the program.

The clerkship grading policy awards the grade of Honors, Pass, Fail, and High Pass (HP). Students who meet one but not both Honors criteria (e.g. met Clinical but not NBME criteria or vice versa) will receive the HP grade.

To plan the schedule for MS-3 & MS-4 clinical clerkships several factors must be considered:

  • MSTP students must take and pass the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and by August of the MS-4 Year.  MSTP students are not required to complete all the MS-3 Clerkships prior to scheduling USMLE Step 2CK.
    • Students must also take the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Exam to complete their MD degree.  Note that some residency programs require the score be reported prior to beginning their residencies and some are now requiring these scores prior to doing their residency applicant ranking.  Please check with individual residency programs regarding their specific requirements.  Policies and practices pertaining to regular MD program students will apply in this regard.
  • Application deadlines for different medical specialties, the National Residency Match, and the start time for entering most residencies are fixed at one time each calendar year. 
  • Entry into the clinical phase of the program must start at the beginning of an 4-week or 8-week rotation block, based on the School of Medicine calendar.
  • Because the Family Medicine rotation is required for medical licensure in several states, including California, all MSTP students are required to take a 4 week Family Medicine rotation.  This rotation may be a UASOM clerkship or elective.
  • Two additional Medical School Electives (4 weeks each) can be taken as a part of the MSTP curriculum, but they are not a formal requirement for graduation. 
  • MSTP Students are required to take two Acting Internships (AI): 1) Medicine AI, and 2) the Surgery AI, or Critical Care AI, or Ambulatory AI, or an Elective AI.
  • MSTP students may take 8 weeks off to complete interview trips for residency programs and/or to prepare for and to take the required USMLE Step 2 CK exam. 
  • Additional time off during a particular clerkship/elective may be granted by individual directors.  Normally, all medical students are allowed 3 days off for the Step 2 CK Exam, but this time cannot be taken during an AI rotation.  Other than these specific times or for medical reasons, no other time off is allowed.
  • Once the graduation requirements for both the MD and PhD are complete, the student is considered "graduated" from the program, although the diploma is formally conferred only at the regular commencement exercises in December or May.  Stipend support will end when the requirements for graduation or 3 semesters of clinical clerkships are completed, whichever comes first.  
  • During a term, an MSTP student may complete the requirements for graduation, but elect to remain enrolled in the Medical School to take additional electives beyond those required for graduation.  In this circumstance, students will not be required to pay tuition for the remainder of the academic term in which they completed the requirements for graduation.  However, if the student completes the program in the fall, registration for the spring term will require the student to pay his or her own tuition. 
    • Students may request an exemption from this policy from the MSTP Director.  Students should discuss their rationale with the Director and then submit a written request detailing both the additional activities and rationale at least 6 months prior to the time when the requirements for graduation will be completed. 
  • All MS4s are required to take the MSTP Exit Survey