Scholarly Year Guidelines for Students

The Scholarly Year program at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is available to students who have completed their second or third year and choose to devote a year to conducting research or working on another type of scholarly project. This endeavor, which may be conducted either at the School or another site, offers students a more intensive research experience than otherwise possible.

You must receive written approval of your application in order to pursue a Scholarly Year. Until that time, you will be considered in the appropriate MD class. Students who have not been approved for a Scholarly Year at the end of the academic year and who have not registered for rotations or clerkships will automatically be placed on administrative leave. This may impact your student privileges, including eligibility for housing. Those who have registered for rotations or clerkships will be expected to carry out all assigned duties at their clinical sites.

Below is a list of the steps each student must complete before his/her Scholarly Year can be approved. Additional details are provided in the Student Handbook.

All Students

1. Students are strongly advised to meet at least once with the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research or with the Associate Director of the Medical Student Research Office to discuss their plans before requesting permission to do a Scholarly Year. It is recommended that students review the available fellowship opportunities prior to this initial meeting. Appointments can be scheduled through MARC on Blackboard.

2. Most programs request a Dean's Reference Letter. The Dean's Reference letter is written by the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research or the Associate Director of the Medical Student Research Office. When asked by the program to whom the request for the Dean's Reference Letter should go, please provide the name of whomever you met with to discuss your SY plans, i.e. Drs. Karen Zier or Christina Wyatt. Please request the template and questions used to prepared this from Grace Oluoch well ahead of the application due date.

3. Students are entitled to the Year 3 and 4 winter break, as on the School of Medicine academic calendar.

4. Requests for leave of absence are made directly to and at the discretion of the Registrar. Students should turn in all forms by May 15 of the year they intend to go on Scholarly Year.

  • All students going on Scholarly Year must submit the following:
    • Request for Leave of Absence/Scholarly Year form
    • Academic Requirements form
  • If you are doing an independent project, you must submit:
    • Mentor's letter of support
    • Research proposal
    • Source of Funding form, with notarized signatures
  • If you are doing an externally funded research program, you must submit:
    • Letter of acceptance to an externally funded research program
  • If you are doing a degree granting program, you must submit:
    • Letter of acceptance
    • Financial support arrangements

5. All students on Scholarly Year must have a source of financial support. Students conducting a Scholarly Year are not eligible for Icahn School of Medicine institutional scholarships, federally subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford loans. Your full-time student status allows you to defer any existing loans as long as you remain enrolled. If you have any financial aid questions, please contact Dale Fuller in the Office of Student Financial Services.

6. If you are not receiving a stipend or scholarship from your program, someone must sign and notarize the Source of Funding form that they are providing you with financial support for the year, which must be a minimum of $20,000.

7. To qualify for Scholarly Year, you are expected to work full-time on your project/degree. You are not permitted to have other major commitments or responsibilities or to hold an outside job during normal working hours, e.g., 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. If you violate these terms, you will be put on administrative leave which will impact your student privileges, including eligibility for housing and loan deferment.

8. Students on a Scholarly Year may not take electives or clerkships for credit towards their MD degree Credit towards a graduate degree may be earned only if this is an approved part of the Scholarly Year.

9. A maintenance of matriculation fee of $100 allows you to retain student status and benefits. Students on a Scholarly Year are eligible for housing. Contact Angela Moura to file the appropriate paperwork. You may remain in School housing at your own expense or you are allowed to terminate your lease with 30 days notice. Terms and conditions are outlined in the Student Handbook.

10. Health Insurance is required for Scholarly Year students. Students attending another institution can remain with Icahn School of Medicine student health insurance or, if the student decides to accept other insurance, they must cancel Icahn School of Medicine health insurance within 30 days of start date. Students will be eligible to re-enroll at the beginning of the next academic cycle. For more information, contact Leonara Dasu.

11. Students on Scholarly Year are covered by Mount Sinai malpractice insurance whether you stay at the School or go away.

12. If any of the requirements detailed here are not met, you may be obliged to re-enter school or to take an administrative leave.

If you are currently a second-year student, before starting the Scholarly Year, you will be required to:

  • Complete all requirements for the second year of medical school
  • Take and pass COMPASS I on the date assigned to you
  • Take and pass the Step 1 examination. In the unlikely event that you do not pass Step 1, you will have to interrupt the Scholarly Year to study and retake Step 1. You may not rejoin the third year class until a passing score has been recorded.

If you are currently a third-year student you will be required to:

  • Complete all requirements of the third year curriculum or seek approval for a minor exception
  • Take and pass COMPASS II on the date assigned to you
  • Take the Board Review elective or self-study during Block 1 of the fourth year (if you take the review course for elective credit, your Scholarly Year will begin as of Block 2)
  • Take Step 2ck examination prior to beginning the Scholarly Year
  • Take Step 2cs by the date required for your original entering class
  • In the unlikely event that you do not pass Step 2ck or cs, you will have to interrupt the Scholarly Year to study and retake Step 2ck or cs. You may not rejoin the fourth year class until a passing score in both exams has been recorded.
  • Maintain responsibilities for competency when you return. Please consult the Request to Return from Scholarly Year instructions to be certain you are up-to-date on what is required, since guidelines change.
  • Take a clinical refresher before your sub-I's. A refresher may be the Emergency Medicine rotation or a rigorous clinical elective approved by your Advisor.

If you are currently a fourth-year student, you must:

  • Reserve 2 weeks of elective time to complete after the Scholarly Year in order to maintain your student status during the Scholarly Year
  • Reserve 1 week for checkout

For Students Pursuing a Degree-Granting Program:

  • Please submit a copy of your letter of acceptance and source of funding for the year to obtain approval for the Scholarly Year.

Return from Scholarly Year Requirements:

1. Students must complete a Return from Scholarly Year form with their intended date of return or request for an extension by March 14th of their Scholarly Year. The form is available at:

2. A scholarly product is due April 30th for all students, except students returning from a degree program. The scholarly product may be a 3-5 page final report on your project, a manuscript you are preparing for publication, a manuscript you have submitted for publication or a first author abstract you have submitted to a national meeting. Please submit to: Failure to do so will result in you being put on administrative leave and your inability to return to clerkships.

Student Clearance Requirements:

All students returning to clinical rotations or electives must complete clinical requirements. A separate form will be sent once you have completed the Return from Scholarly Year form.