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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Phases 2 and 3 Attendance Policy and Procedure

The Feinberg curriculum is predicated upon the active participation and engagement of students and faculty members who have a shared interest in cultivating a respectful and productive learning climate. Professionalism dictates punctuality, preparedness and respectful participation in learning as well as patient care environments.


Students are expected to be present and available for all required clerkship activities in compliance with the Feinberg Duty Hours Policy. Students must be present during clerkship orientation. Students may only miss up to two days in a 4 or 6 week clerkship and up to 3 days in an 8 week clerkship.  Students may be asked to make up any missed days.  Absences in excess of these amounts may result in a need to repeat a portion or all of a clerkship.

Students must notify a clerkship director 6 weeks in advance of an anticipated absence. Permissible anticipated absences include significant family events, attendance at a professional conference where the student is representing Feinberg or presenting original research or residency interviews.  Students should make every attempt to avoid scheduling required clerkships during times when they know they will be away.  Flex time should ideally be used for these events.

 In an unanticipated absence like a personal illness, serious illness of a spouse or dependent, or other family emergency, the clerkship director, coordinator and relevant clinical team members should be notified as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Addendum:

A clerkship may in some cases consist of a virtual and a clinical component.  These should be considered together even if separated in time when considering total days off. 

The 6-week advance notification requirement will be waived for students whose Step 1 exam has been rescheduled to occur during an assigned clerkship. Students need to discuss schedule modifications with the clerkship director. In general, students will be given one day off to take an in-state exam and 2-3 days off for an exam scheduled at an out-of-state location.



Students may request up to three days off from a 4-week elective to participate in interviews for the residency match only.  Students missing more than 3 days in a 4-week elective for reasons of illness, family emergency or residency interviewing may not receive credit for the elective.

All medical students have the right to be excused from course work and clinical work to attend their own health care appointments. Faculty and staff will support this right without adverse effect on the student’s course performance evaluation and course grades.


Related LCME Standards
3.5: Learning Environment/Professionalism
9.9: Student Advancement and Appeal Process

Last Updated: 7/27/2020