Medical Student Frequently Asked Questions

Classroom, Small Group and Clerkships

What is the small group attendance policy?

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes and examinations, either in person or online, and to participate fully in small group sessions, laboratory exercises, and service learning experiences. In accordance with the Attendance Requirements for Courses, Clerkships and Exams (pdf), attendance is required at the following Medical School educational activities unless the course director has otherwise exempted students with advance notification:

  • All course and clerkship quizzes and examinations
  • All clinical activities, including orientation, as specified by each course/clerkship
  • Small group and laboratory sessions

Academic Performance and Grades

How are grades determined during years 1 and 2?

Refer to the policy for Course Grades, Years 1 and 2 (pdf).

Who can I contact if I would like to improve my academic performance or progress?

Scott Slattery, PhD, LP, Director of Learner Development, (612) 626-7196

We want to ensure that every student performs to their best potential throughout medical school. You should know that we have asked year one and two course directors to share examination results with Dr. Slattery in order to monitor students’ learning progress and to provide guidance to those students who may be performing at a level below expectation. Dr. Slattery also provides group sessions throughout the year as a resource for all students to be able to do their best during medical school. We invite all students to contact Dr. Slattery if you have any concerns or questions.

Why do I have to complete my course/clerkship evaluations?

We ask that all students complete all course and clerkship evaluations as part of their professional responsibility for improving the medical school. The information from the evaluations is a critical component in reviewing and revising the courses and clerkships each year. The data provided is used to make recommendations both by and to the Course Directors. In 2011-2012 students who do not complete evaluations will be designated as non-respondents and will be contacted one time once their name is added to the list to inform them they have not complied with the expected professional obligation.

What do you do with the aggregated course/clerkship evaluation data?

We expect students to comply with their professional responsibility by completing all course and clerkship evaluations.

Examples of improvements that came directly from student feedback:

  • Courses are incorporating more self-assessment tools, e.g. clickers, quizzes, etc.
  • Faculty have improved course content, delivery, and formatting based on students' recommendations.
  • We implemented an exam week where courses may assess students, but may not deliver new content.
  • We have made changes in every course since last year.

How can I see evaluations of me?

It's easy! We use two systems currently:

  • CoursEval – used for basic science education, mostly years one and two courses
  • E*Value – used for clinical education in years 3-4

How to access the systems:

Both systems can be accessed by students and faculty via a button on the MedEd Homepage.

  1. Click the "Evaluations" button CoursEval Login located in the left collumn of the the MedEd home page. Links to the Evaluation systems can also be found on the Student Resource page, and the Faculty Resource page, accessed by links in the left collumn of the Meded website.
  2. Select which system you need to access.
    Year 1 and 2 Year 3 and 4
    Courseval evalue
  3. Enter username and password information.
    • CoursEval system is authenticated with University x500 I.D.
    • E*Value system assigns you a username and password.
      (If you forget your login, there is a link on the page to help you reset your login information.)
  4. To view reports in CoursEval:
    • Click on Reports > Evaluation Reports
    • Set all the drop down menu options to "Set All" to view everything available.
  5. To view reports in E*Value:
    • Click on Reports > Evaluation Reports > Performance

Course Continuous Quality Improvement

How does the Medical School use my evaluations to improve educational quality?

The Medical School conducts ongoing evaluations of courses and clerkships via CoursEval for years one and two, and E*Value for clinical clerkships and electives. Since 2008, we have used classroom evaluation cards (paper and electronic formats) for ongoing feedback on year one and two courses. In addition, LEAD representatives provide information systematically and in real-time on each of the courses. Information gathered from all these and other sources are provided to course directors in a series of debrief meetings, are used to inform recommendations and commendations in each of the courses, are used in the course summaries that are presented to the appropriate committees, and are used to inform the ACE group (Assessment, Curriculum and Evaluation) for continuous quality improvement.

If you have concerns about the organization of, or expectations in, a course or clerkship, the first person to contact is the course or clerkship director.

What is a LEAD representative?

The LEADs (Liaison for Educational Advancement and Development) are selected from each of the faculty advisor groups and assigned to provide specifics on courses in order to improve the learning environment.

Documents for LEAD representatives:

What opportunities does the Medical School provide for me to learn using simulations?

  • All first and second year students on the TC campus work with Standardized Patients (SPs) to learn the foundations of interviewing in a highly-structured context. All SPs have been rigorously trained to respond to your inquiries and to provide invaluable feedback on students' performance. The initial interviews are recorded for review and feedback also. In addition, all medical students participate in a workshop on using ultrasonography for physical diagnosis.
  • The IERC provides simulated clinical environment for learning physical diagnosis with and without SPs. IERC is the single largest expense in the medical school curriculum budget!
  • The Duluth Campus has a simulations center, where students learn ultrasonography and other simulations.
  • SimPORTAL - Clerkships offer state of the art simulations training for all students with this "just-in-time" learning method. Studies show that adults learn best when the training in simulations is immediately proximal to the experiences in which they will be applying the skills and knowledge. Currently, all students experience these simulations (IV, intubation, suturing, sterile technique, ultrasonographic physical diagnosis, etc.) in required clerkships. Extra practice is available as determined by the department and instructors:
    • Surgery (SimPORTAL)
    • Emergency Medicine
    • Anesthesiology (SimPORTAL)
    • Student interest groups can arrange for workshops using patient simulators (SimMan, iStan, TraumaMan, etc.) or to practice other skills. Groups are charged for these activities based upon supply use and staff time.
    • Access to endoscopic/laparoscopic skills trainers is available on a 24/7 basis after students are oriented to the equipment.
    • Skills practice outside of defined curricula or interest group activities may be arranged with the SimPORTAL staff dependent upon previous instruction.

    For more information on the SimPORTAL, contact John Raymond (612) 626-5636, SimPORTAL Coordinator, A582 Mayo Memorial Building.

Flexible MD Program

Who can I talk to about the Flexible MD, Dual Degree program, or a Leave of Absence?

Scott Davenport:, (612) 626-5812

The Flexible MD program is designed to help students achieve educational goals as part of academic progress towards the MD degree through special projects, research, and other experiences that enrich learning outside of the standard curriculum and cause a delay in the graduation date. This includes all dual degrees except the MD/PhD program. Applications for the program are rolling and are reviewed four times per year. Visit the Flexible MD website for application instructions and further details. Please contact Scott Davenport to set up a meeting to discuss the Flexible MD program if you have a strong interest. Students who wish to request a "Personal Leave of Absence" are not eligible for the Flexible MD program; instead, please contact your Faculty Advisor.

Harassment and Mistreatment

What can I do if I think I am being mistreated or harassed in the classroom or in a clerkship or clinical environment?

First, talk to your course or clerkship director about your concerns—these faculty are committed to providing the highest quality teaching and learning environment for you. If you prefer to speak to someone else, contact Mary Tate, Director, Minority Affairs and Diversity,, 612-625-1494. If you feel that your concerns are not being effectively dealt with, you may contact the University of Minnesota OEOAA directly at View the Medical School Policy on Harassment and Mistreatment.

Report mistreatment/harassment incidents here:

For Graduating Seniors

What happens to my U of M e-mail when I graduate?

You will be able to keep your U of M email account forever.  As long as you check it every three months it will stay active.  If you forget to check it, it will be inactivated, but you can contact Information Technology and they will be able to activate it again.

Does my student health insurance (purchased through the U of M) cancel on its own once I graduate or do I have to contact someone to cancel it? Also, when does my coverage end?

Your insurance coverage will continue until August 15 even if you graduate in May at no additional cost. If you need coverage after you graduate you can enroll in the University of Minnesota Continuation Options.

If I want to receive my diploma but don't know where I will be living after graduation, what should I do?

Diplomas will not be forwarded, so you can have them mailed to your parents or another relative or friend. Diplomas will be mailed at the end of June, so if you have a permanent address, we can notify the diploma office and have it sent there. It's always a good idea to keep you address up-to-date, this can be done by going to OneStop Student Services, and following the link for "Personal information" under "Student records tools" in the right-hand collumn.

What is the process for changing my name?

Complete the "Name Change Request" form available on the OneStop forms page. You will also need to make a copy of your Social Security card or passport/visa. Turn both documents into the Academic Support Resources address listed on the Name Change Request form. Once the request has been approved, that information will be reported to the Medical School.

Where can I get an "unofficial transcript"?

The Medical School can provide this for you, or you can print or view your unofficial transcript via OneStop, but many agencies will not accept this. Requests for an Official Transcript can also be made via the OneStop site.

Student Health and Well Being

Where can I go for help with managing stress?

In order to care for others, we must care for ourselves too. There are all kinds of resources available to students—from well-being groups to confidential and fast access to professional counselors. Here are some key resources for you when you need them:

Financial Aid

With all the news that student loans are becoming harder to find, should we be worried about finding the funding to complete our medical education?

NO! The University of Minnesota participates in a federal loan program called Direct Lending. We go directly to the Department of Education to get the money to fund your education with Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. This program is not going away so you need not worry about finding federal loans to fund your education.

The other federal student loan program is a bank-based guaranteed program. Schools/students using the bank-based guaranteed student loan program receive funding from a bank rather than the Department of Education. Due to the major credit problems of the past year, many of banks no longer offer student loans. If you have read about hardship getting student loans, it is the bank-based student loan program that has lost many lenders in the past year. Last fall some students had to scramble to find a bank lender but the Direct Lender Program is and always will be the lender of last resort. So if a student can not find a bank lender, the Direct Lending program is always available. There has been quite a bit of talk about disbanding the bank-based student loan program and requiring all schools/students to use the Direct Lending Program for all federal loans. So as long as you maintain good credit and satisfactory academic progress you will be able to get the funding needed to complete your education.

How can I get travel funds to attend a national meeting?

The Medical School has a small fund for student travel where the priority is given to students making scholarly presentations at a national meeting. Contact Christina Oseland, (612) 626-0163,, B-604 Mayo.

USMLE Step 1 and 2 Exams

How can I change the date of a USMLE examination?

Contact the Pro-Metric site to reschedule for the Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams; Step 2 CS exam dates must be changed at

How can I extend my USMLE eligibility period a second time?

Contact Christina Oseland,, (612) 626-0163, B-614 Mayo. NBME Accommodations forms and Exception letter requests can also be directed to Christina.

Letters of Recommendation and Academic Standing

How do I get a letter of recommendation for research and other learning experiences in medicine?

Contact Michael Kim, MD, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, (612) 625-5180,, B-611 Mayo.

How do I get a letter of academic standing during years 1 through 4?

Contact Christina Oseland,, (612) 626-0163, B-604 Mayo

How do I get a letter for an away rotation during years 3 or 4?

Contact Abbe Holmgren,, (612) 626-4281. Forms that need to be filled out by the U of MN Medical School can be dropped off in B-615 Mayo. 

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