Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
MD Program

Satisfactory Academic Progress & Good Standing

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To be eligible for assistance from any Federal Title IV student aid program, a student must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) according to the University's Federal Title IV Aid Program SAP policy.

SAP may be related to academic and professionalism performance and/or time enrolled in the curriculum. All students must achieve SAP as per Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) standards in order to receive federal aid. The student must be completing credit units at a rate which would enable them to complete the requirements for the degree in a maximum time frame of 150 percent of the published length of the academic program. The typical length of the MD program is 4 years. It is expected that time from enrollment for any MD student will not exceed 6 years, including time for remediation and/or deceleration, and not including time for scholarly, personal, family, or medical leaves of absence. Enrollment for students in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) should not exceed 10 years. Any further extension of time must be approved by the Student Standards Committee (SSC).

The first year of medical school counts as 10.5 months of SAP, with each subsequent year counting as 12 months. Students who take a leave of absence or short-term break, according to the Leaves of Absence Policy, are able to “pause” their SAP time. Students who remain enrolled full time, no matter the type of matriculation, continue to log time toward SAP.

Good Standing

A student in good standing is meeting, or has met, the academic and professionalism requirements of PSOM. A student must be in good standing to advance into the next module of the curriculum, to be eligible for away electives and opportunities external to PSOM (i.e., a summer research internship).

Students in the “watch” and “warning” categories of Academic Monitoring are still considered in good standing, despite facing additional scrutiny about their academic and professional performance by the Student Standards Committee. Students in the “probation” category of Academic Monitoring are not in good standing. See the Academic Monitoring Policy or the Academic Watch/Warning & Probation FAQ.

When considering a student’s standing, the following criteria may be applied:


  • Progression to next the Core
  • Making satisfactory progress towards degree completion
  • USMLE Step 1 and 2, or CSI exam results 
  • Established academic competencies and/or graduation requirements


Professionalism may be part of the criteria for good standing. 

  • Professional competencies as outlined in the Medical Education Program Objectives 1C.b, 2B.ii, 2C.iv, 3A.i-viii, 3B.i-iv, 3C.iii-iv, 4B.ii
  • Adherence to published professionalism standards, ethical standards, policies/rules, etc. 
  • Adherence to behavioral and/or ethical standards of the medical profession