Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Research & Fellowship Opportunities for
Penn Med Students

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Year Out Planning Guide

Year Out Planning Guide

If you are a Penn medical student, who is considering taking a year out from Med School, here are a couple of things for you to think about and be aware of:


Once you have decided to take a year out, please notify the PSOM Registrar. You will need to complete paperwork to formally register for the year out and extend your graduation date.


Be sure to contact the PSOM Registrar as early as possible to work through scheduling your electives and sub-I around the timing of your year out.


For the typical year out student, in your 5th year of medical school you will need to complete 3 weeks of Frontiers (offered in October, February, March), one week of Bioethics (only offered in February), and minimum of 4 weeks of a clinical rotation (which can include a 2 week elective + 2 week elective).


In your 5th year of medical school, you will be required to register for a minimum of 2 months each semester of some activity. This can include electives, Frontiers, Bioethics week, elective research, etc.


If you are conducting a research project during your year out, then you will likely want your year out research project to count as your Scholarly Pursuit project. If so, you will need to complete the Scholarly Pursuit paperwork from the Registrar’s office.


There are mixed opinions as to whether students are better off taking STEP 2 before or after their year out. In some cases, students have felt that it is better to take STEP 2 before, when your knowledge and skills are at a peak, and you can “just get it over with”. In other cases, students have felt it was better to take after, so they can choose whether to include the score on their residency application, and they can refresh their skills before starting residency. It is up to each student to decide for themselves.   


Students typically receive up to 5 credits towards graduation requirements. The rest of the year counts towards enrollment requirements.  


During a year out, students will be charged a general fee, technology fee, clinical fee, disability fee, and health insurance (if applicable). Paying fees maintains your full time student status.


Prior year loans are eligible for deferment as a full time student. Direct loans may be available to assist in covering fees, health insurance and living expenses.


If you are considering a global health year out experience, contact The Center for Global Health for more information.

  • Registration or scheduling, contact Chris Veitz, Registrar’s Office
  • Financial Aid, contact Michael Sabara, Financial Aid Office
  • Year out research opportunities, contact Francia Portacio, Combined Degree Office