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MSTP Guidelines for Returning to Medical School In Year 3

Timeline for an organized return to Year 3 of Medical School (Planning to Re-Enter Med School):

Being added to the 2nd year medical student e-mail list-proc. Any student in the PhD years can be added to the list at their request and discretion, without approval from me or anyone else on any level. Permitting students to be informed about the 2nd year process through e-mails costs no effort to us, and does not create any commitment on our part to permit the student to use the electronic registration system or to re-enter using the ad-hoc mechanism.

Think about whether it may be possible to return to medical school with 10-16 months (e.g. by January* of the following year).

When you begin to think that you would like to re-enter medical school, start by speaking with your advisor and thesis committee about a year in advance (July; and then six months later (January)) to make sure that it's not impossible.

December-January: Hold a thesis committee meeting to find out in what time frame your advisor and committee think you can finish. Has your thesis committee given you permission to write? If it is hopeless to finish by December (or earlier, depending on your interests), then plan to meet with the committee again in a year and aim for July 1st of the following summer or later.

- If the committee and your advisor are positive, then schedule your thesis defense date   as a goal well in advance to avoid last minute disasters, counting backwards from the   thesis submission deadline to give yourself time to get it in without risk (e.g. at least   one week between deadline and thesis defense date). This will ensure that your   committee members are available when the time comes, which can otherwise be a   step that causes serious delays at the last moment.

- Counting forwards, you can then plan on two weeks to revise the thesis and submit it;   the re-entry date should be after this. Adding a month or two of reserve time would be   prudent. If you wind up finishing early, Marilyn can usually squeeze in a small clinical   elective for you to do, or you may wish to prepare better for re-entry, or take a short   vacation, or there may be things you could productively do in the lab.

- Counting backwards, you will need to give your thesis to the committee two weeks   before the defense, and will need 1-2 months to write it (less if you start on it at this   point in January and do as much as you can).

IMPORTANT: Once the re-entry date is set, do NOT contact just Marilyn London to change the re-entry date. If it becomes increasingly clear that the thesis defense date can not be met, then the issue of timing will need to be re-addressed by discussion with Marilyn London, the advisor, committee chair, and MSTP director. A new date will be set that represents the best, new, safe, guess for completion of the PhD requirements.

Failure to comply with this rule may lead to a failing grade in a 3rd year clerkship, suspension from the program, and / or loss of stipend.

* The formal requirement for graduation is approximately 14 months of clinical training (i.e., entering as late as Feb). However, most MSTP students nationally take 16-17 months of courses (i.e., entering by mid-late Fall), and some like to have a full two years (i.e., entering July 1st). Many factors determine the best course of action and the ideal path differs for students when considered as individuals. The factors include whether the student is interested in post-graduate residency training (most are) versus basic science training; whether the student knows what type of post-graduate residency training they wish to undertake, or at least have significantly narrowed down the choices; and how well the student performed in their first two years of medical school and on the Step I exam, which will affect their competitiveness for top-ranked residency programs. Students with strong academic records who know what type of residency they wish to pursue can safely enter on the later side. Students with weaker records or who wish to determine their clinical career path after experiencing most of all of the 3rd year courses should plan to enter on the earlier.

The Return of the Med Student

Overview: A lot of info follows, some in random order. Please read over and work with Carron on the specific items as the process unfolds. All will become clear with time.

The 3rd year course structure changes frequently, so it is important to learn about any changes new to this year.

– but the basic idea is that the year is composed of six blocks of courses, which in   some cases are further subdivided into two sub-blocks. As an MSTP student, you can   return on July 1st to start with the regular students.

– or re-enter at a later time at the beginning of a subsequent block or sub-block.

How late can you or should you return? Technically, you can return as late as February or March and still manage to complete the required courses in time to graduate the following May.

a) If anything happens to delay you, and such things have happened to several students     in recent years, you would not make it in time, and would then need an extra     semester to graduate. Such things include – family circumstances (child birth, or     illnesses or death of family member); personal circumstances (stress or health-     related leave of absence); or academic difficulty (if you need to take Part I and fail,     you will need to take to study and re-take it; if you fail a course shelf-exam, the     remediation could cost a few months).

b) If the needing of an extra semester caused you to need 5 semesters of tuition to     finish, the 5th semester is on you (e.g. return in November, lose several months for     some reason, and then not be able to graduate the following May) – the Dean will not     pay for it (nor can the MSTP – no funds to do so).

c) Since your Dean’s letter and residency applications are prepared in September of     your 4th year, keep in mind that the fewer months of clinical work you do, the less     strong the letter will be. Losing a few months is not terribly important – but if you     return in January and have a few off-months until you regain momentum, it could be     a bit weaker than you would like.

d) You may need more time to figure out what residency you would like to do. If you     know, great – but if you have an open mind, then you could wind up unwilling to enter     into the match because you are uncertain as to what career path you’d like to do (and
    hence wind up taking an extra year).

So basically, if you want to do a postdoc instead of a residency, or know what residency you want to do, have good Part I scores, and have confidence about your skills upon returning, you can re-enter on the late side – but other wise should try to come back earlier (Nov. 1st at the latest).

Block 1 (starts July 1st); Block 2 (starts August 26th); Block 3 (starts October 21st)

Block 4 (starts January 6th); Block 5 (starts March 3rd); Block 6 (starts April 28th)

For the complete Third Year Schedule for 2014-2015, please click on the link.

Note the following interesting and irritating financial trap: If you defend in a particular semester (fall, spring, or summer), there is a specific deadline associated with that semester by which you must submit your thesis to the Graduate School. If you miss this deadline, you will need to be enrolled for 1 credit hour the following semester to enable you to submit your thesis. The one-credit hour will cost several hundred dollars, and waivers are not given for this (go figure – I don’t know why). Most likely the graduate program will not be willing to pay this for you (they will view it as a failure of yours that they are not responsible for), and the MSTP does not have funds that can be used for this purpose (complicated, but trust me on this). Your advisor may choose to pay this for you – but if they don’t, it will be your responsibility.

From the Graduate School Policy Manual

This is a reminder that the policy outlined below takes effect this semester for doctoral students submitting a dissertation. Students are now required to submit their dissertation within three months of a successful defense. Some examples:

If a student successfully defends in the month of September, they will need to submit the dissertation by the start of December.

If a student successfully defends in November, and wishes to be considered for December graduation, they will still need to submit the dissertation by the December submission deadline.

If a student successfully defends in November, they would still be allowed to register for the following Spring semester, and would become a May degree candidate - but the dissertation would need to be submitted by the start of February.

The Graduate School Policy Manual currently states that a doctoral student may register for no more than one additional semester following the successful defense of the dissertation' (in Academic Policies, Policy on Dissertation Defense). This means that a student who defends in September can register and remain on-campus until the following May. This is not an acceptable practice, and many of our peer institutions only allow a two-week period for these revisions. After reviewing this policy the Graduate Council has agreed that the time for 'minor revisions' needs to be reasonable and that two weeks is too short; on the other hand, if a dissertation needs 'major revisions' it probably requires a second defense before it is approved.

The Graduate Council has decided that three months is an acceptable period of time between a successful defense and the deadline to turn in the dissertation. (If a student has to defend a second time, the deadline would be based on the date of the second defense). This way a student who successfully defends in December would still be able to register for the Spring semester, but is expected to hand in his or her dissertation by
February and not during the last week of classes in May. Likewise, a student who defends in September is expected to hand in his or her dissertation by December for December graduation. This student would not be allowed to register for the Spring semester.

The point of this revision is not to punish students, but to encourage timely graduation. Registered degree candidates maintain their student status (with housing and library privileges, visa status, etc.) until their final semester is over, regardless of when they turn in their dissertation during that semester.

Thesis Submission Deadline to the Graduate School: Please click on the link for the summary of deadlines.

You may not enter year 3 of med school until all PhD responsibilities are completed - i.e. your dissertation needs to have been accepted by the Graduate School before physically starting the clerkship (we will need confirmation of the acceptance of the thesis by the Graduate School by e-mail). You must have completed the graduate school ethics course requirement as well. Students need to satisfy all other requirements before re-entering (e.g. the mini-courses taken in June, ect.). I will forward the e-mail from the Graduate School to Burke Kincaid, Marilyn London and Mary Jean Allen to get you matriculated administratively for re-enter into medical school. Please do not contact Burke Kincaid, Marilyn London and Mary Jean Allen until you hear back from me. Please make sure you do not have any outstanding financial holds on your account when you graduate, as financial holds prevent the release of official transcripts and diplomas.

You must have passed Step 1 to re-enter (not just to have taken it – you need to have passed it). If you are taking it prior to re-entering, find out the details about how long it will take to get back the results so that you can register on-line to take it early enough that it does not prevent you from entering when you wish to. The Dean’s office will provide two months of stipend support to study for the exam and prepare for re-entry (i.e. May and June). Students wanting additional time should discuss the issue with the Program Director, and should be prepared to go off the clock (i.e. take the extra time without stipend support).

Once you have a thesis defense date, send an e-mail to the MSTP Director and Administrator, to request a specific re-entry date. The Director will discuss the feasibility of the date with your advisor and thesis committee chair and return a message to confirm the re-entry date or request additional discussion. The Administrator will request Marilyn London to add you to the medical school 2014 class e-mail list. Once you are registered, please make sure to check your health science center e-mail address on a regular basis to obtain relevant information on the registration process and as to the requirements needed and for all official medical school information.

If you are thinking of returning July – Dec., you will need to take the supervised History & Physical exam in the prior year to re-entry. You will need to satisfactorily perform, take, and pass a simulated patient experience (H&P skills). In some cases, at Dr. Wackett's discretion, he may waive the exercise if the student has been engaged in a clinical activity during the prior year and he is already comfortable that their clinical skills are acceptable. Around May / June Dr. Wackett organizes the simulated patient exam (OSCE) for MSTP students in the Clinical Skills Center. You can reach him via e-mail at awackettanotes.cc.sunysb.edu, or Perrilynn Baldelli at baldelli@notes.cc.sunysb.edu. Clinical competency needs to be assured before you can return.

Electronic registration:

Electronic registration: If you can provide a compelling case by January 15th that you will likely be able to return between July 1st - Sept. 1st, you will be permitted to participate in the electronic registration (schedule) system. Approval for participation in the electronic registration is given by the Program Director (Mike) after consultation with your advisor and thesis committee chair (i.e. don’t wait until January 15th to initiate this conversation!!!). If you do not meet this deadline, then your schedule will be generated later using the adhoc mechanism (below).

Ad-hoc re-entry:

Ad-hoc re-entry: This consists of meeting with Marilyn London to hand-pick your schedule after you have formally set a thesis defense date. The re-entry date needs to be at least one week after the thesis defense date to permit time for thesis corrections and submission of the thesis to the graduate school, and two weeks would provide a greater margin of safety. Note that, depending on the time of the year, Marilyn may want to hold off actually generating the ad-hoc schedule until closer to the actual re-entry time, since many clerkships that are filled up during April-June become available after July 1 as some students defer, need to re-take Step I, or drop clerkships to take other ones.

Note – over the years, students have been fairly equally satisfied with both the electronic and ad-hoc mechanisms. There is a lot of debate through about the best order to take clerkships in, which may vary depending on your interests. The MS3 and MS4 students have some strong feelings about this and would be happy to share them with you if you wish.

Anyone returning to the clinical years in the following July, must let Carron Kaufman or Mike Frohman know by December 1st.

This deadline will enable the student to receive information in a timely manner to enable timely registration, receipt of informational emails and invitations to important meetings that occur in December and January prior to re-entry. The SOM sends out informational emails to all students every Friday called TGIF. All registration powerpoints, meeting information and deadlines are posted in the TGIF. When the medical school hears from Dr. Frohman that a student will return in July, the student will be placed on the incoming year 3 list and the SOM will request activation of a medical school email account. Then students should read the TGIF every Friday for the information they’ll need in order to register.

- The third year clinical orientation will be held during the week of June 24th - June  28th, including courses on CPR and some other stuff. Please go into CBase and click on the calendar for 3rd Year for the location on where the orientation will be held. Orientation is mandatory for all who are returning anytime during the academic year.

You will need to get "matriculated" (administratively re-enter med school). Please contact Marily London to be matriculated and for your class schedules and Mary Jean Allen to inquiry about medical school financial aid information and to submit updated health information. Please read your emails. Email Moshe Eisenberg if you do not have your username and password for Cbase or cannot access your email for any reason. These things should be arranged at least a month before your intended start date.

Please notify your Graduate Program Coordinator (well in advance) of the date that you plan to return to medical school so that you can be terminated from your advisor's grant (and officially be terminated from Graduate School). If you are a student at CSHL or BNL, make sure your Graduate Program Coordinator is working with the appropriate parties at CSHL or BNL.

School of Medicine Academic Policy and Procedures
Office of Medical Education

In order to continue your stipend, you will need to meet with Carron to fill out your Stipend Appointment and Direct Deposit of Salary Form Package. Schedule an appointment with her after your PhD requirements have been met. You will need to provide a voided check for your Direct Deposit of Salary Form. For your health insurance enrollment, you will need to provide a copy of your birth certificate OR passport, and a copy of your social security card and marriage certificate (if applicable). You will also need to provide these documents for your dependents as well. These documents are required by the Department of Civil Service.

If you have an individual fellowship and the fellowship continues beyond the re-entry into the 3rd MD year, and your stipend is currently being paid from this fellowship, the MSTP Office must receive a copy of the NRSA award statement details via e-mail before your re-entry date. Failure to do this, WILL delay your appointment paperwork.

When you re-enter Med. 3rd Yr., your stipend will come from the Dean’s office. If you are being paid from an individual external fellowship (e.g. from NIH NRSA, U.S. Army Breast Cancer, American Heart Association, Merck Pharmaceuticals), you’ll be able to receive a merit bonus of 10% (for as long as the fellowship is active).

Human Resources requires your forms to be filled out and be in payroll four to six weeks prior to your new appointment date.

PhD students matriculating back into 3rd year medical school in the middle of a semester will only be responsible for payment of the graduate activity fee. If you return to medical school at the beginning of the semester, the program will only be responsible for the medical school fees.