Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy


Federal regulations for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) require that medical schools have reasonable policies for determining whether otherwise eligible students are meeting the requirements for SAP in their educational programs and may receive assistance under the Title IV, Higher Education Act (HEA) programs.  SAP is the successful completion of requirements leading to a degree within defined time limits.  The SAP policy applies to all students enrolled in the Yale School of Medicine (YSM).

SAP Policy Flowchart


    1. Monitoring SAP Standards

The Progress Committee reviews academic progress at the end of each academic year.  At that time, any student who has not successfully completed the requirements for SAP will be required to develop an academic plan for meeting the SAP requirements in consultation with his or her academic advisor.  That plan is subject to approval by the Progress Committee.  The student will be notified in writing of the timeline for completion of the requirements as well as any consequences for not completing the requirements for SAP (e.g. academic probation, loss of financial aid eligibility).

    2. Qualitative Measure of Academic Progress

In order to meet SAP, a student must pass his or her qualifying exams, clinical clerkships, both Step I and Step II (CK and CS) of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, UConn 4 Observed Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) and write an acceptable thesis.

    3. Pace (Quantitative Measure of Academic Progress)

Students completing courses and clerkships at the minimum pace will be able to complete the M.D. degree within the maximum time frame of 5 years.

In addition to fulfilling the requirements above, students must maintain the pace of completion of courses, modules and clerkships as described below for each academic year: 

        Year 1        10 of 12 courses

        Year 2        2 of 3 courses

        Year 3        6 of 8 clerkships

        Year 4        1 of 1 clerkship, 1 of 1 course

In the first two years of study, students receive either pass (“P”) or fail (“F”) for each course.  Students meet the requirements for SAP by meeting the qualifying standards in each course and receiving a “pass”.  If a student receives a “fail” in any course, he or she has not met the requirements for SAP.

In the third and fourth years, students meet the requirements for SAP by receiving grades of “pass,” “high pass” or “honors” in the clerkships. In the fourth year, students need to pass the primary care clerkship and fully participate in the Integrative Clinical Medicine Course.  Students who receive a “fail” for any clerkship do not meet the requirements for SAP.

A student must complete all requirements for the Doctor of Medicine degree within five years after first enrollment in the program, not including any time for approved leave of absence but including time for extended study. Under extraordinary circumstances (e.g. serious illness, death of a family member), the Progress Committee may approve a sixth year.

    During years one and two, the following conditions count as courses attempted, but not completed, for the pace calculation:
        a.    Receiving an assignment of “fail” or “incomplete” for any course
        b.    Withdrawal from any course

    During years three and four, the following conditions count as clerkships attempted, but not completed, for the pace calculation:
        a.    Receiving a grade of “fail” or “incomplete” for any clerkship
        b.    Withdrawal from any clerkship

If they are successfully repeated, repeated courses or clerkships count as both attempted and completed for the pace calculation.

For a transfer student, YSM will grant credit for courses successfully completed at the student’s school of origin. Such credits count as both attempted and completed for the pace calculation.

If a student does not maintain educational pace, he or she has not met the requirements for SAP.

    4. Failure to Meet the Requirements for SAP

A student who fails to meet the requirements for SAP is ineligible for all financial aid beginning with the academic year immediately following the end of the academic year in which the requirements for SAP were not met.  Eligibility for continued financial aid will be reestablished when the student meets all requirements for SAP.  The student’s advisor will notify the student and the YSM Financial Aid Office when the student’s eligibility for financial aid has been reestablished.

    5. Appeal

A student can appeal the decision to deny financial aid as a result of failure to meet the requirements for SAP.  A student must make an appeal, in writing, to the chair of the Progress Committee within seven days of receiving notice that he or she failed to meet the requirements for SAP.  The appeal must include what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow him or her to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.

In addition, the appeal must demonstrate that:

    a)    there were extenuating circumstances that caused the student to fail to meet the requirements for SAP (e.g. serious medical or personal issue that took that student’s attention away from the academic program)


    b)    there is a clear plan in place to meet the requirements of SAP.

If the Progress Committee approves the appeal, the student will be placed on “financial aid probation” and will continue to receive financial aid for the next payment period*.  At the end of one payment period on financial aid probation, the Progress Committee will review the student’s progress toward meeting the requirements for SAP.  At this point the student must meet the requirements of the academic plan and for SAP, or he or she will lose financial aid eligibility.  The Chair of the Progress Committee will notify the student of the change in status and whether the student has maintained or lost financial aid eligibility.  

A student can appeal his or her loss of financial aid eligibility again at this step in the process as described above.  There is no limit to the number of times a student may appeal.

*There are two yearly payment periods at YSM:  September-December and January-August.