Year 1 and 2 Policies and Procedures

These are policies that pertain to students in Years 1 and 2.

Student Work Hours Policy and Flextime in Years 1 and 2

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai limits the total amount of time allotted for required instructional time in the preclinical years to ensure that the volume of material is appropriate and to allow medical students sufficient time for independent study and reflection. The maximum number of instructional time per week is 27 hours during Year 1 and Year 2.

  • In Year 1, courses start at 10 am and end at 4 pm with an hour of protected lunch time each day.  The exception to this rule is the Structures course which may start at 9 am. 
  • In Year 2, courses start at 9 am and end at 4 pm, with an hour of protected lunch time each day. 
  • During Years 1 and 2, there are no course sessions scheduled on Tuesday afternoons from 1 pm to 4 pm which is protected Flex Time.  During the two InFocus weeks in Year 1 and Year 2 Flex Time is not observed.
  • Required assignments outside of scheduled course sessions are monitored by the Curriculum Co-Directors and Curriculum Manager.

Curriculum Co-Directors disseminate the work hours policy to Course Directors on an annual basis and during each course’s yearly preparatory meeting.  The policy also guides the course calendar development. The policy is also presented to students during fall and spring orientations.  Anonymous course evaluations allow students to share their experiences related to work hours and to report any violations. These course evaluation data are reviewed at the end of each course by the Curriculum Steering Committee.


ACCOUNTABLE DEAN OR DIRECTOR: Senir Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs


Nexus Learning and Experiences

First- and second-year students will not take courses or pursue activities for elective credit, but rather for their own professional development and learning.

Nexus Learning

Nexus Learning comprises a diverse range of courses geared towards first- and second-year medical students; the offerings build on the required curriculum and allow students to gain new insights, knowledge, and skills to enhance their practice of medicine. Students can explore topics in the humanities as well as courses in the sciences. While Nexus Learning courses are not for credit, students are strongly encouraged to take at least one of these courses. Nexus Learning is an opportunity to deepen knowledge in particular areas of interest or discover an entirely new discipline, as well as to engage with faculty and students with these shared interests.

Selecting and Registering for a Nexus Learning Course:

  • From the online elective catalog review the available Nexus Learning Courses, select the course you wish to take
  • Enroll in the course through EMPOWER and the course coordinator will contact you with more information

Students who have met the minimum requirements of the Nexus Learning course, which are set by the individual course directors, should track their participation in their student portfolio. The Nexus Learning courses are not formally graded but rather a voluntary experience in keeping with the Icahn School of Medicine's philosophy.


Students in Years 1 and 2 are encouraged to pursue the following types of activities and experiences outside of coursework: research, teaching/education, service, extra-curricular and school leadership positions, clinical shadowing, ethics and humanities, and global health. We encourage students to craft, pursue and then track these types of experiences on their own. This can be done via the student activity portfolio in the student information system. Students are encouraged to track their experiences throughout medical school by title, position, dates, and time spent and to keep them updated each semester. The student activity portfolio allows students export their information which can be used to prepare a student’s CV and to prepare their residency application in Year 4.

Every student is encouraged to become involved in a community service project of their choosing. This is not a formally graded requirement but rather a voluntary experience in keeping with Icahn School of Medicine's philosophy.