Academic Requirements

An overview of grades, promotions and degree requirements.


Students are evaluated on the basis of objective, comprehensive examinations taken during the semester, at the end of the semester, or at the end of the school year; and on the basis of their performance in the laboratory, on the wards, in the clinics, or on special assignments. Grades in the College of Medicine are reported for medical students as H (Honors), S (Satisfactory) and U (Unsatisfactory). A report of grades is given to each student at the end of each examination period, at the end of each unit and at the end of each term.


The Committee on Promotions and Graduation meets periodically throughout the year to review the academic status of each student and to make recommendations. The Committee may also require the withdrawal of, or may drop, students who (1) have been certified by the University Student Health Center as having an illness which prevents effective study, (2) grossly neglect their academic or clinical duties, or (3) display a pattern of unprofessional conduct unsuitable for continuation in the study of medicine.

For promotions and graduation, satisfactory performance is required in both elective and required courses. Every student must take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 as a prerequisite for promotion from the sophomore to the junior class.

A statement of the policy governing student promotions will be made available to each student at the beginning of the year.

Degree Requirements

The faculty of the College recommends for graduation only those students who have met the academic requirements, including successful completion all aspects of the curriculum and of the USMLE medical examinations (Step 1and Step 2 – CK & CS), and who have exhibited the personal qualities essential for an ethical, legal, and honorable practice in the health fields. Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine must exhibit maturity and must be of good moral character. They must have completed satisfactorily, and for credit, all of the subjects included in the regular medical curriculum. The last four semesters must have been spent as a student in the Howard University College of Medicine. In addition to the requirements above, the ultimate decision for graduation rests with the judgment of the University's Board of Trustees.