Board Exam Requirements

Step 1

USMLE Step 1 must be taken by February 28 following the completion of the Major Clinical Year (MCY) and before beginning Differentiation and Integration (electives and scholarly project).

Exceptions:

  • Students in the MD/PhD program complete Fundamentals, up to 12 weeks of MCY, a 2 month Step 1 preparation period and then take Step 1.
  • Students in the PhD to MD program complete 4 MCY clerkships and a 1 month study period and then take Step 1.
  • Students who begin Columbia Business School immediately following MCY will be removed from their final clerkship to prepare for and take Step 1 before beginning Business School in early January following MCY.  They will take this deferred clerkship upon their return to P&S and before beginning Differentiation and Integration.
  • Students in the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery or Oral Pathology program must take Step 1 by late January following the completion of the Fundamentals curriculum, and before beginning clerkships with the second block of MCY.  Instead of taking the first block which will be the surgical subspecialties clerkship, they will take each of these subspecialties as a required elective during first year summer.

Passing Step 1 is a requirement to continue in the clinical curriculum and a requirement for graduation. Students who fail Step 1 will be removed from their academic work for one month to allow for study time to retake the exam. Step 1 must be retaken by 90 days after the first attempt.  Students who fail Step 1 a second time will be removed from the curriculum for 6 months to prepare to retake it a third and final time.

Step 2 Clinical Knowledge

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge must be taken by November 30 following the Major Clinical Year.

Exceptions:

  • Students beginning the dual degree MD/MBA program immediately after MCY must take CK by November 30 after returning in January to P&S from Business School. Students who begin Business School during Differentiation and Integration must take CK by November 30 before beginning Business School.
  • Students in the MD/PhD and PhD to MD programs must take CK by December 31 of the graduation year. 
  • Students who take a year off during Differentiation and Integration for research or other reasons are encouraged to take CK before beginning the research year, and must take CK by November 30 following the year off.
  • Students in the OMFS or Oral Pathology program must take CK by January 31 of the graduation year.

Passing Step 2 CK is a requirement for graduation from P&S. Students who fail CK must retake the exam by January 31 of the same academic year. Students who fail CK and are in the MD/PhD, or OMFS program must retake CK by April 1 of the graduation year.

Step 2 Clinical Skills

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills must be taken by December 31 of the Differentiation and Integration period, preceding May graduation.  This includes MD/PhD and PhD to MD students.

Exceptions:

  • Students taking a year off after the Major Clinical Year are encouraged to take Step 2 CS by June 30 following the MCY, and must take it by December 31 following their year off.
  • Students in OMFS must take Step 2 CS by January 31 of the graduation year.

Taking CS is a requirement for graduation from P&S. Students who fail CS must meet with the CS Remediation Faculty to review their preparation before retaking the CS exam.

Students may have a maximum of three attempts each on Step 1 and Step 2 CK. Failure of Step 1 or Step 2 CK after three attempts will result in termination of matriculation.

Students must pass Step 1 and both parts of Step 2 to be eligible for Step 3, which is taken during residency.