Listen to the "Thriving at PSOM" Faculty podcast: Trajectory and Impact on the Tenure Track


The Probationary Period

Those on the Tenure track must be promoted from the rank of Assistant Professor to the rank of Associate Professor by the end of their probationary period, which is the term between appointment and promotion.


Basic Scientists

For Basic Scientists, the mandatory review occurs during the fifth and sixth years. Between appointment and promotion, there is one reappointment. At year seven (7), the Basic Scientist will either be promoted or the seventh year will serve as the terminal year. For example, a faculty member appointed on July 1, 2017 would be on schedule for Reappointment July 1, 2020, and Tenure at the rank of Associate Professor on July 1, 2023.

Tenure Track (Basic Scientist) Seven Year Timeline


Physician Scientists

For Physician Scientists, the mandatory review occurs during the eighth and ninth years. Between appointment and promotion, there are two reappointments. At year ten (10), the Physician Scientist will either be promoted or the tenth year will serve as the terminal year. For example, a faculty member appointed on July 1, 2017 would be on schedule for Reappointment July 1, 2020, and again July 1, 2023, and considered for Tenure at the rank of Associate Professor with an effective date of July 1, 2026.

Tenure Track (Physician Scientist) Ten Year Timeline


Promotional Track Timelines and Extensions

Under certain circumstances, faculty on the tenure track may request and be granted an extension to the length of their probationary period. If you have experienced one of the qualifying events below, you are encouraged to request an Extension. Extensions DO NOT affect evaluation for promotion.


Example Qualifying Events

  • birth or adoption of a child
  • serious medical condition of you or your  spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child or parent.
  • catastrophic event, such as an explosion in a boiler system in the faculty member's building or a fatal viral outbreak amongst research animals (an extensive investigation is undertaken in this situation)

Each faculty member is allowed a maximum of three extensions, one year at a time. Granted Extensions take effect in your current appointment cycle. You must give timely, written notification to the Chair, Dean, and Provost to receive the extension. You will find more information on the Extensions home page.


If you are eligible for an extension, there is no downside to requesting and taking one: you are encouraged to do so! Extensions DO NOT impact promotion. 


Career Strategy

As a new faculty member, you will be quite busy setting up and staffing your lab or clinic, but stay focused and keep in mind that the promotion process starts at appointment. Right away, you will want to make sure that you follow some key best practices.

  • Review your Academic Plan. Your Academic Plan is a job description that details expected effort distribution across research, teaching, clinical service, and administrative duties (if applicable). Your Academic Plan is used as a frame of reference at the time of reappointment and promotion, and therefore, should be reviewed yearly to ensure it accurately reflects department expectations and your clinical schedule.
  • Keep your CV and grant information updated in the Faculty Expertise Database (FEDs), accessed via My.Med (with your Pennkey). 
  • Track your education effort as you go using the PSOM Education Activities Workbook At reappointment and promotion, you will need to demonstrate you have met expectations for faculty educators. 
  • Start developing a list of individuals who might someday be one of your Extramural Consultants (see the Preparing for Promotions section for more information).
  • Cultivate multiple mentor relationships.

Key Takeaway: It is much easier to update FEDs using My.Med and your PSOM Education Activities Workbook regularly. Waiting to update until the time of reappointment or promotion is extremely challenging, and you risk leaving out items. Update FEDS each time you present an abstract/poster, publish a paper, give a talk, join a committee, acquire a new role, or receive an award. Update your PSOM Education Activities Workbook each time you teach.


Onboarding for Research

Once appointed to a faculty position, you will want to begin establishing your research enterprise. As faculty at the Perelman School of Medicine, you have access to world-class resources, opportunities for collaboration, and dedicated support teams.

Ready to onboard for research? Start here.


Onboarding for Teaching

Faculty at the Perelman School of Medicine are expected to excel in teaching. The Professional Development Teaching Requirement for Assistant Professors is designed to support new faculty and foster success in clinical teaching, facilitating, lecturing, longitudinal mentoring, supervising lab rotations, and supervising scholarship. Your Department Committees on Appointments and Promotions (D-COAP) will not review reappointment dossiers for candidates that have not completed this onboarding requirement.

Ready to onboard for teaching? Start here


Resources: Sites Every Faculty Member Should Bookmark

CV and Grants Information

A guide for how to prepare a properly formatted PSOM CV and Grants Page in the only accepted form at the PSOM.

Knowledge Link

The university management system that tracks training enrollment and compliance.

MY.Med (with your Pennkey) is a PSOM portal to many important internal sites. Via you can get to HAMSTER, the Housestaff And Medical Student Teaching Evaluation Record, where access your teaching evaluations, as and FEDS, the Faculty Expertise Database for CV maintenance.

Perelman School of Medicine Campus Map


Penn Online Directory


PSOM Education Activities Workbook Use this document to determine how teaching activities are credited and to track teaching.

U@Penn Portal

U@Penn is a university portal that leads to important sites, such as those for your benefits. Keep your contact information updated in U@Penn/My Directory Information as this is the source data for Knowledge Link and the Penn Directory.


Key Questions to Prepare for your First Reappointment


General Process

The Department Committee on Appointments and Promotions (D-COAP) reviews your submitted materials. If the results are positive, your case then goes to the Perelman School of Medicine's COAP (S-COAP). For promotions to Associate professor and full Professor, if the school COAP approves your case, the dean will then present the case for the Provost's Staff Conference for review. (The Provost's Staff Conference, or PSC, is an advisory group to the Provost that includes Vice Provosts and Deans from across the University.) For all Assistant-rank reappointments, the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs presents your case; approved recommendations then go to the Provost's Staff Conference Subcommittee (or “PSCS”). The PSCS is chaired by the Vice Provost and includes vice deans and associate deans from across the University. The dossier then goes to the University Provost. The University Provost makes the final decision on all faculty appointments, reappointments and promotions.


Advisory Letters

In some cases, the S-COAP may approve a reappointment, but do so with an Advisory Letter. Advisory Letters are not warning letters or in any way punitive. They are a method for the S-COAP to provide feedback for faculty who are not progressing along an expected trajectory in one or more areas. If you receive one, do not be alarmed, but do seek advice from your mentors on how you can adjust your efforts and apply the S-COAP’s recommendations.


Key Topics to Discuss With Your Mentor(s)


Review the Perelman School of Medicine COAP Guidelines


Extramural Consultant Reviews

Your promotional dossier will include Extramural Consultant Reviews. Extramural Consultants are individuals in your field with whom you have not directly collaborated who are asked to provide an unbiased and impartial assessment of your scholarship, reputation and standing in your specific area of expertise. Extramural Consultants do not provide recommendations. They provide reviews.

Per Provost guidelines, Extramural Consultants should be active faculty at your proposed rank or higher and from a peer institution or an institution known for excellent achievement in your specific field. You, the candidate, are entitled to select three (3) Extramural Consultants. Your department must select an additional eleven (11).

Once the Extramural Consultant list is reviewed and approved by the school COAP, the Dean, and the Provost, the Extramural Consultants will receive your CV, your Personal Statement, and Selected reprints (3-4 max). From these documents alone, your Extramural Consultants will be asked to

  • evaluate the scope and significance of your scholarly achievements and their importance within the general discipline
  • comment upon the degree of recognition achieved in the discipline, noting your most distinctive contributions
  • rank you relative to the leading scholars in the same field of study and at a comparable level of professional development
  • evaluate the candidate’s likelihood of achieving a similar faculty position and rank at the leading institutions in this discipline
  • provide any information or insight on your skill and effectiveness
  • provide any additional insights that may be helpful in determining whether or not to recommend promotion

This entire process is confidential with no contact in advance to determine if the consultant has prior knowledge of the candidate or if the consultant is willing to provide a positive evaluation of the candidate. Only PSOM COAP members see the Extramural Consultant letters and only PSOM COAP members know who, from your submitted Extramural List, wrote a review.


Intramural Letters

Intramural letters are not required, but you may include up to three (3) in your dossier. One reason for including Intramural Letters may be that you have collaborated with faculty from the Perelman School of Medicine or faculty from another University of Pennsylvania school.


Promotion Process

Promotion begins at the department level, and during the promotion process, you will work closely with your department Education Officers and Faculty Coordinators to compile your dossier, which is then submitted by your chair to FAPD. Your dossier will include, among other important documents, your CV, extramural letters (see below), and an Educational Portfolio, which is a comprehensive, holistic evaluation of your contribution to the education mission, as well as a Personal Statement. Next, an ad hoc committee is formed that is chaired by a member of S-COAP and includes faculty from within the Perelman School of Medicine and from at least one other school in the University. The ad hoc committee members are chosen for their familiarity with the candidate's area of research. The ad hoc committee may request additional letters from national and international experts in the candidate's field. The ad hoc committee reviews the dossier, votes, and submits a recommendation to the full S-COAP that the S-COAP considers in its deliberations. Supplemental information may be requested by the S-COAP before a dossier is considered complete.


Tenure Track Promotion Process described in section above for Promotion Process

Key Takeaway: Take time to create an accurate Personal Statement that communicates the scope and focus of your work. Share drafts with your mentors and trusted colleagues. Ask to see others’ Personal Statements. Remember that your extramural consultants and PSOM COAP members rely heavily on this document to interpret your CV.