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Fifth Year Option for the MD Degree

The Fifth-Year Option requires extension of the educational program for completion of the MD degree, including a minimum of 9 credits per semester for up to two semesters.  This option is not intended for students who are required to extend their program in order to complete courses required for the regular MD degree (e.g. decelerated students, students remediating courses, or students who took a leave during their regular program).  The option is under the oversight of the Office of Student Affairs and will be overseen by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Common reasons for application for entry into the Fifth-Year Option:

  • extended international experience
  • extended research experience
  • extended clinical experience

Requirements for completion of Fifth-Year Option:

  • Students may elect to enroll in the option for one or two semesters.
  • Extension of a one semester into a two semester option is permissible with approval of CSAEB (if, for example, a research project is found to take longer than anticipated). If the option extends into the second semester, the student is required to successfully complete a minimum of 9 credits during the second semester.
  • A minimum of 9 credit hours must be taken per semester of enrollment.
  • Students must fulfill educational objectives s/he set out in his/her proposal.
  • Students will be held to the same standards of academic and professional behavior as during the regular MD program.
  • Students beginning this option will not be eligible for the MD degree until they have completed the Option as approved.
  • Failure to successfully complete this option once approved and begun may result in consequences up to and including dismissal.

Opportunities to apply:

  • Students may apply for the Fifth-Year Option at any time after matriculation. The expectation is that most proposals would be made at the end of the third or beginning of the fourth year.
  • Proposals must be submitted to the CSAEB for approval by April 30 of the year preceding the fifth year of enrollment (e.g. by April 30, 2019 for entry into the Option in AY 19/20).

Application process:
Student must meet with:

  • His or her Learning Communities Mentor
  • Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee
  • Appropriate sponsor/s
  • Research mentor if a research proposal is part of the Fifth-Year Option
  • Specialty advisor if a specialty field has been chosen; otherwise the LC mentor letter of support will suffice
  • Director of Financial Aid or designee
  • Others as may be determined by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Applications must be submitted by completing an online application form, which can be found on the Office of Student Affairs website.  The application consists of:

  • Student’s description of the Fifth-Year Option including the educational goals/ objectives and stating whether it is a one semester or a two semester proposal.
  • Letter or email of support from the student’s Learning Communities Mentor.
  • Letter or email of support from an international advisor if participating in a global experience.
  • Letter or email from the Director of Financial Aid or designee attesting that the student understands the financial ramifications of application for the Option.

Option details:

  • Enrichment courses may be started during the fourth or the next to last year of enrollment, with required courses completed during the fifth or the graduation year.
  • A single semester option may be completed in the fall or spring semester.
  • Students may be eligible for federal financial aid but must consult with the financial aid director for specific information.
  • Institutional gift aid will not be made available to Fifth Year Option students.

Approval will be by the CSAEB; CSAEB may choose to appoint a subcommittee to pre-review all proposals and recommend action before voting by the entire committee.

Fifth-Year Options that include International Experiences:
All Fifth-Year option requests must be approved by the Clinical Science Academic Board, as noted above, and not the Office of Global Health (OGH) or the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education (OUME).  However, students do need OUME and OGH pre-approval for any global health experience. The process is described on the OUME website. Courses taken to fulfill the requirements for the option will be noted in the MSPE and on the transcript.

(Approved by EPC on 6/4/2012) (revised 070814) (rev. 060315)

* Please see: Extended Students and the Financial Ramifications here.

FYO Form Link

Fifth Year Option Form

This content is current to the 2021-2022 Student Handbook.