Graduation Requirements


There is one set of graduation requirements for all students. Mandatory courses for each Core and year of the curriculum must be completed for each enrolled student to advance to the subsequent Core and/or year. Students will adhere to the required courses and Cores set in the year in which they matriculated.

These requirements apply to students who matriculated in 2022 and later.

  • For students who matriculated in 2019, 2020, and 2021, please click here to see graduation requirements.
  • For students who matriculated in 2018 and earlier, please click here to see graduation requirements.

Core 1: Pre-Clerkship

  • Fall 1st Year (4.5 credits) 
  • Spring 1st Year (6 credits) 
  • Fall 2nd Year (4 credits) 

Core 2: Clerkship

  • Spring 2nd Year to Fall 3rd Year (12 credits) 

Core 3: Post-Clerkship

  • A sub-internship (sub I) in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, or Pediatrics (1 credit);
  • 4 months of standard electives as listed in the on-line course catalogue (4 credits);
  • 2 months of other electives, which may be standard electives, away US months, Botswana (counts as 1 month), or 2 additional months of scholarly pursuit (beyond the required 3 months), which may include scholarly work completing a concurrent PhD or Master’s program at the University of Pennsylvania, or as approved (2 credits);
  • 4 weeks of direct patient contact time are required in or after September of the final year. Requirement must be completed via a standard Penn elective, an away US elective, or Botswana sub-I (1 credit);
  • Scholarly Pursuit (minimum of 3 months, post-Core 2; can also be fulfilled by earning a 2nd degree while in medical school) (3 credits);
  • STeP to Residency (.75 credits) 
  • Bioethics (1 week) (.25 credits)
  • Frontiers (applies to students who matriculated in or prior to 2018):
    • Students earning an MD/MBE and other medical students not earning a second degree:
      • 3 weeks of Frontiers in Medical Science courses 
    • Students earning an MBA, ML, MSCE, MSHP or MSME degree while in medical school: 
      • 2 weeks of Frontiers courses
    • Students earning a PhD, MPH or MTR degree while in medical school:
      • These degrees cover the requirement for Frontiers coursework

Required Examinations

  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
    • Step 1
      • All students matriculating in and after 2015 must take and pass Step 1 to graduate.
      • Step 1 must be taken by June 30th of the student’s 3rd year of study. 
      • Step 1 for MD/PhD students must be completed before graduate school orientation begins. 
      • A passing grade on Step 1 must be obtained prior to a student beginning a Master’s, PhD, or a research year. 
      • A passing score is required prior to submitting a Match Ranking List and prior to graduation for students matriculating in and after 2015.
    • Step 2
      • All students matriculating in and after 2015 must take and pass Step 2 to graduate.
      • Step 2 must be taken by Nov 15th of the graduating academic year. 
      • A passing score is required prior to submitting a Match Ranking List.
  • Clinical Skills Inventory (CSI) exam
    • CSI must be taken early in the calendar year after all Core 2 clerkships have been completed. 
      • It is recommended that students take and pass the CSI exam prior to taking the USMLE Step 2 exam.
  • ACLS Certification

Every student is required to attend graduation in order to publicly recite a commitment to the precepts of the profession by stating the Declaration of Geneva, the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath. Should there be extenuating circumstances that preclude attendance at graduation, the student must recite the Oath in the presence of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness and at least one other member of the community (staff, family, friend, faculty). Attendance at the White Coat Ceremony and the Student Clinician’s Ceremony is similarly required. Any extraordinary exceptions must be presented to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Wellness.


All of the above categories must be fulfilled. Substitutions are not permitted.

Updated 08-26-2022