Student Policies

Student Conduct

Students are required to adhere to the expectations of both TCU and UNTHSC as well as the School of Medicine Honor Code.

TCU Code of Conduct

Learning Environment

The school of medicine is committed to ensuring that the learning environment promotes the development of respectful and appropriate professional attitudes, behaviors, and values in medical students, and that these behaviors are consistently demonstrated by all faculty, students and staff. The school of medicine has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for any form of mistreatment, discrimination, or harassment against students within the learning environment.  

For more information, see Learning Environment & Student Mistreatment Policy.

Or contact:

Lisa McBride, PhD

Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and School of Medicine Deputy Title IX Coordinator

IREB, Suite 400

3404 Camp Bowie Blvd.

Fort Worth, Texas 76107

Assessment and Promotion Conflict of Interest

The School of Medicine supports a fair approach to assessment and evaluation. Any students or faculty are expected to disclose any conflicts of interest that may impact the teacher/learner paradigm.

For more information, please refer to the Assessment & Promotion Conflict of Interest Policy.

Attendance – In Progress

All school of medicine students are expected to attend all mandatory sessions and clinical experiences as outlined in the course syllabi. In specific situations, school of medicine students may request an absence from any required activity.

For more information, see Draft of Attendance Policy. 

View Phase 1 Excused Absence Request Form.

Clinical Duty Hours

All faculty will be committed to and responsible for promoting patient safety and medical student well-being by providing a safe and supportive educational environment. Faculty will ensure that students are adequately supervised in patient care activities and that students are given the appropriate amount of time away from clinical and educational responsibilities. Similar to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) definition, the SOM will define duty hours as all clinical and academic activities related to the curriculum; i.e., patient care (both inpatient and outpatient), administrative duties relative to patient care, the provision for transfer of patient care, time spent in the patient care setting during call activities, and scheduled activities, such as group learning sessions and lectures. Duty hours do not include reading and preparation time spent away from the duty site.

  • Duty periods of medical students must not exceed 24 hours in duration.
  • Students must have at least 14 hours free of clinical work and education after 24 hours of in-house call.
  • Students should have 10 hours, and must have eight hours, free of duty between other scheduled duty periods.
  • Clinical and educational work hours must be limited to no more than 80 hours per week, averaged over a four-week period, inclusive of all in-house call clinical and educational activities, and clinical work done from home.
  • Students must be scheduled for a minimum of one day in seven free of duty including all clinical work and required educational activities (when averaged over four weeks).

Clinical Responsibilities

All SOM students are expected to complete their required clinical encounters and skills. Students must use the curriculum management system to log the completion of required clinical encounters and skills, their level of participation, and document the use of alternative experiences.

Competency Assessment

Student progress toward meeting the Educational Program Objectives (EPO) will be assessed on a regular basis. Relevant objectives may be assessed in any course and clerkship and may be included as part of any individual course or clerkship rubric, requirement, and grade. Objectives will also be assessed to determine achievement of minimum competency expectations prior to progression to the next phase.

For more information, see the Competency Assessment Policy.

Criminal Background Check – In Progress

The school of medicine adopts the Association of American Medical College’s (AAMC) recommendation to ascertain the ability of students to eventually become licensed physicians in the future, enhance the safety and well-being of patients, and to ensure the public’s continuing trust in the medical profession through criminal background checks. For more information, visit Criminal Background Check Policy.

Dress Code

Dress should be appropriate to the setting and demonstrate respect for other learners, patients, and other persons.

When on campus, students must wear TCU and UNTHSC ID badges above the waist visibly, at all times. In addition, other identification may be required by clinical sites.

In clinical environments:

Students must maintain an appearance that demonstrates respect and meets professional standards. This includes simulated clinical learning activities. Students must meet the standard for the setting and activity, as specified by the workplace site and/or course leadership and staff. You will receive feedback about your grooming and attire from standardized patients, faculty, course/clerkship directors, and peers when your appearance does not meet expectations for the workplace or clinical environments.

Unless specified otherwise, student dress in real or simulated clinical learning environments must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • White coats should be worn.
  • All clothing must be professional, neat and clean. Some examples of unacceptable attire include sheer and/or revealing garments, items designed to be worn as undergarments, oversized or baggy garments, garments such as leggings and spandex pants designed to be worn as athletic wear, soiled, torn or frayed garments, blue jeans, and apparel with words or pictures unrelated to the professional environment.
  • Shoes must be safe, clean, in good repair, closed-toe, and appropriate for the clinical setting. Sandals and bare feet are unacceptable.
  • Moderation in jewelry, cosmetics, fragrances, and other accessories is encouraged.
  • Headgear, except required by religious belief or health-related reasons, and headphones are not acceptable.
  • Good personal hygiene is expected. Body odor, smoke, etc. should not be detectable.
  • Fingernails are to be kept neatly cut and short and not to extend past the tip of the finger. Artificial nail enhancements are not allowed.
  • Hair and facial hair must be clean, dry, controlled and trimmed so as not to interfere with patient contact. For example, students with long hair may wish to tie hair back so it does not fall onto or brush against patients during physical exams.
  • Jeans and tennis shoes are generally not considered appropriate.

In non-clinical learning environments:

Students are expected to maintain a neat and clean appearance that is respectful of others. Casual clothing is acceptable in non-clinical learning environments. Clothing must fit properly, be clean, pressed and modest looking. Torn, faded, frayed, or ripped clothing; tight, sheer or revealing clothing are not permitted.

Drug Testing – In Progress 

The School of Medicine adopts the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) recommendation to ascertain the ability of student to eventually become licensed physicians in the future, enhance the safety and well-being of patients, and to ensure the public’s continuing trust in the medical profession through substance abuse reviews and/or treatment.

Electives

The School of Medicine has designed multiple opportunities for students to explore and experience various electives to develop their interests and strengthen their clinical skill set.

For more information, see Electives Policy.

Equal Opportunity

Texas Christian University does not discriminate on the basis of personal status or individual characteristics of group affiliation, including, but not limited to, classes protected under federal and state law.

Exposure and Prevention

The school of medicine requires annual training for students in the prevention of needlestick and bodily fluid exposures, as well as training in required follow up for student needlestick or other bodily fluid exposures. Students are expected to follow the school of medicine exposure and treatment protocols.

For more information, see Needlestick and Bodily Fluid Exposure policy.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

Students may set FERPA by logging on to my.tcu.edu and going to their Student Center. Under Personal Information you will see a drop down. Select Privacy Setting and click the arrow. On the FERPA Restrictions page when you choose either the FERPA ON or FERPA OFF (it will automatically save).

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, is a federal law that states (a) that a written institutional policy must be established and (b) that a statement of adopted procedures covering the privacy rights of students be made available. The law provides that the institution will maintain the confidentiality of student education records. Texas Christian University accords all the rights under the law to students who are declared independent.

Institutional Policy and Statement of Procedure

  1. No one outside the institution shall have access to nor will the institution disclose any information from students’ education records without the written consent of students with the following exception permitted under the act:
    • personnel within the institution*
    • officials of other institutions in which students seek to enroll
    • persons or organizations providing student financial aid
    • accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function
    • persons in compliance with a judicial order
    • persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons

    *Within the Texas Christian University community, only those members, individually or collectively, acting in the students’ educational interest are allowed access to student education records. These members include all Texas Christian University personnel including University Police, faculty, advisors, administrative staff, clerical staff and student employees within the limitations of their need to know.At its discretion, the institution may provide directory information in accordance with the provisions of the acts to include the following:

    • name
    • home address
    • home telephone number
    • major field(s) of study
    • dates of attendance
    • degrees and awards received (including Dean’s List)
    • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • weight and height of members of athletic teams

    Under the regulations defined by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, you can choose to restrict the following information from release. Please note that unless otherwise indicated, this information will not be made available to any oral or written request nor will it appear in any school-produced publications for special ceremonies (i.e. White Coat Ceremony, Match Day, and Convocation/Commencement). You can elect this option on my.tcu.edu by taking the following steps:

    • Log in to my.tcu.edu
    • Click on the Profile tile
    • Click on Privacy Restrictions
    • To restrict release of personal information, click “On”
    • Click the green Save button in the right-hand corner
  2. The law provides students with the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records. The Registrar at Texas Christian University has been designated by the institution to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student education records, which include
    • Admission application received from the AAMC’s Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)
    • Official transcript(s) for course work completed prior to entering medical school
    • Official transcript for all coursework completed during medical school
    • Enrollment data (matriculation date, start and end of each academic year, dates of leaves of absence, withdrawal, dismissal and/or graduate date)
    • Enrollment verifications and letters of good standing
    • United States Medical Licensing (USMLE) score(s), exam date(s), and notation of pass/fail
    • Formative Course/Clerkship Assessments (notating final grade earned)
    • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), including appendices
    • Documentation of grade change
    • Documentation of grade appeals
    • Change of status forms and letters related to leaves of absence, extended academic schedule, academic remediation, name change, as well as documentation of dismissal or withdrawal
    • Final disposition of disciplinary action records (with or without sanctions)
    • Credentialing documents/attestations signed by the student (i.e. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-HIPAA-compliance, universal precautions training, basic life support, MSPE release waiver)
    • Technical standard document/attestation signed by the student
    • Medical student personal identifying information (i.e. headshot photograph, signature)
    • Copy of medical school diploma

    Medical students wishing to review their education records must make written requests to the Registrar listing the item or items of interest. Only records covered by the act will be made available within forty-five (45) days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions (e.g. a copy of the academic record for which a financial “hold” exists, or a transcript of an original, or source document which exists elsewhere). These copies would be made at the students’ expense at prevailing rates.

  1. Education records do not include records of instructional, administrative, and educational personnel, which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute, records of the law enforcement unit, student health records, employment records or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by physicians of the students’ choosing. Medical students may not inspect and review the following as outlined by the act.
    • American with Disabilities Act (ADA) documents and accommodation statements
    • Copies of class grade sheets held by departmental offices, copies of student’s clinical clerkship performance evaluations written by faculty members, and narrative summaries held by clinical clerkship departmental offices
    • Criminal background checks or toxicology screening conducted at admissions and/or during periods of matriculation
    • Disciplinary action records and notes (with or without sanctions)
    • Financial Aid records
    • Letters of recommendation (LOR) for admission for medical school, residency application letters of application and other types of letters of recommendations
    • Minutes and other documentation from Student Performance and Promotion Committee (SPPC) meetings
    • Notes from Deans, Admissions Officers, Minority Affairs Officers, ADA Officers, Faculty Advisor
    • Notice of awards, research abstracts, publications, curriculum vitae (CV) letters of appreciation from patients, commendations letters from faculty, ect.
    • Student health and immunization records
  1. Prior to a final grade and/or competency narrative being received and filed in the student’s academic file, maintained by the School of Medicine Registrar, that is used to produce the Medical Student Performance Evaluation, medical students must follow the procedure and timeline as outlined in the School of Medicine Grade and/or Competency Appeal Policy. The procedure below refers to data contained in the academic record, subject to FERPA review and challenge.

    Students who believe that their education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights, may discuss their problems informally with the registrar, to have a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory, and to submit explanatory statements for inclusion in their files if the decisions of the hearing panels are unacceptable.”

    If the decisions are in agreement with the students’ requests, the appropriate records will be amended. If not, the student will be notified within a reasonable period of time that the records will not be amended, and they will be informed by the Registrar of their right to a formal hearing. Student requests for a formal hearing must be made in writing to the Office of the Registrar who, within a reasonable period of time after receiving such requests, will inform students of the date, place and time of the hearings. Students may present evidence relevant to the issues raised and may be assisted or represented at the hearings by one or more persons of their choice, including attorneys, at the students’ expense.

    Decisions of the hearings will be final, will be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and will consist of written statements summarizing the evidence and stating the reasons for the decisions, and will be delivered to all parties concerned. The education records will be corrected or amended in accordance with the decisions of the hearings, if the decisions are in favor of the students. If the decisions are unsatisfactory to the student, the student may place with the education records statements commenting on the information in the records, or statements setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decisions of the hearings. The statements will be placed in the education records, maintained as part of the students’ records, and released whenever the records in question are disclosed.

  1. Students who believe that the adjudication of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the act may request, in writing, assistance from the Chancellor of the institution or his designee and have the right to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education. Complaints should be sent directly to the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20202-4605

Revisions and clarifications will be published as experience with the law and institution’s policy warrants.

Grading

Course and clerkship directors award a final grade for each student at the conclusion of each course or clerkship. The final grade is based on the successful completion of individual components as outlined in the course or clerkship syllabus.

For more information, see the Grading Policy.

Grade Appeals 

Students have the right to appeal final course grades if they can demonstrate that the grade assigned is not an accurate reflection of their work.

For more information, see the Grade Appeal Policy.

Immunizations and Credentialing

The School of Medicine requires proof of immunity or inoculation to certain diseases for the safety of patients and others.  This proof is required at admission and through graduation and must remain up-to-date and compliant in order to be cleared for medical education training.

Incomplete Coursework/Incomplete Coursework Policy

An Incomplete, or “I” grade, may be awarded when a student has not completed all of the academic requirements at the conclusion of an academic course of study (course, clerkship, elective). The “I” grade is temporary grade designation, and will be replaced with a final grade. A student shall not progress to the next academic phase with an “I” in place of a final grade.

For more information, see Incomplete Coursework Policy.

Interactions with Industry and TCU and UNTHSC SOM

Interactions with industry occur in a variety of contexts, including marketing of new pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and hospital and research equipment and supplies on-site, on-site training of newly purchased devices, the development of new devices, educational support of medical students and trainees, and continuing medical education. Faculty and trainees also participate in interactions with industry off campus and in scholarly publications in a variety of circumstances including consulting activities of various sorts. Many aspects of these interactions are very positive and important for promoting the educational, clinical and research missions of the TCU AND UNTHSC Medical School of Medicine and for translating knowledge and expertise from the faculty to society. However, these interactions must be ethical and cannot create conflicts of interest (COI) that could endanger patient safety, data integrity, the integrity of our education and training programs, or the reputation of either the faculty member or the institution.

For more information, see Interactions with Industry and TCU and UNTHSC SOM Policy.

Laptop Requirements

Laptops used by students for SOM academic activities must

  1. Be no more than one year old at the start of the fall semester.
  2. Be running at least Windows 10 or Mac OS 10.14.
  3. Have a fully solid-state hard drive with at least 100GB of free storage.
  4. Have an Intel i5 or i7 processor. Due to compatibility and performance, we do not recommend AMD Processors or lessor Intel processors (i3, Core M, Celeron).
  5. Have a minimum 13-inch screen size (this limits Apple laptops to the MacBook Pro line).
  6. Have a minimum of 8GB RAM.
  7. Have the ability to interface with an HDMI display (via adaptor or dongle is acceptable)

Further Recommendations:

  1. 16GB of RAM is recommended.
  2. A total hard drive capacity of 512GB is recommended.
  3. To minimize future repair cost and downtime, the purchase of a 3-4 year extended warranty/insurance is advised. (Apple Care, HP Care Pack with Accidental Damage Protection, Dell Accidental Damage Service, etc.)
  4. Use of a security suite or antivirus software is highly recommend.
  5. Physical protection from a case or backpack should be considered.
  6. Chromebooks and tablets should not be considered as options for your primary laptop. They can be used to compliment your experience, but should not serve as your primary device.
  7. Microsoft Office is available to enrolled students by download at office.tcu.edu.

Leave of Absence and Withdrawal 

Medical students are expected to proceed through the medical school curriculum in a continuous, uninterrupted fashion. In the event of extenuating circumstances which necessitate a temporary period of non-enrollment, students may request and/or be placed on a leave of absence. Students must adhere to timelines, procedures and required documentation for leaves of absence.

For more information, see Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Policy.

Network and Computer Usage

The School of Medicine complies with TCU Policies regarding network and computer usage. For more information, see TCU Network & Computer Usage Policy.

Notice of Nondiscrimination and Contact Information for Title IX Coordinator

TCU is committed to providing a positive learning and working environment free from discrimination and harassment. TCU prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and sexual violence), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ethnic origin, disability, genetic information, covered veteran status and any other basis protected by law, in the University’s programs and activities as required by Title IX, Title VII, The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other applicable laws and regulations.

Inquiries about TCU’s policies and compliance with Title IX and nondiscrimination policies or inquiries on how to file a complaint of discrimination should be directed to:

Dr. Darron Turner
Chief Inclusion Officer & Title IX Coordinator
TCU Box 297090
Jarvis Hall 228
Fort Worth, TX 76129
817-257-8228
d.turner@tcu.edu

For more information, visit TCU Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Conduct.

Obligation for Payment

TCU has a monthly billing cycle. Payment of a minimum 20 percent of total basic charges (tuition, fees, room, meal plan, and student health insurance less approved financial aid) is required by the due date of the month that classes begin (August for the first half of the semester and January for the second. The remaining net basic charges must be paid in full by the due date of the following month (September 1 for the first half of the year and February 1 for the second half of the semester) to avoid the payment plan and the associated fee. Students who do not pay the net basic charges in full by the September due date for the first half of the semester and by the February due date for the second half will be automatically enrolled in the payment plan.

Students in the payment plan will be billed for the remaining net basic charges in three monthly installments over the remainder of the semester. A payment plan enrollment fee will be assessed on the September bill for the first half of the semester and on the February bill for the second half of the semester. To avoid automatic enrollment in the payment plan and the resulting enrollment fee ($100 maximum per half semester), net basic charges must be paid in full by the September due date for the first half of the semester and by the February due date for the second half of the semester.

The payment plan is an extension of credit by TCU. Each payment plan will not exceed three months. Students enrolled in the payment plan receive a disclosure statement as required by the federal Truth in Lending Act. Disclosure statements are provided in September for the first half of the semester and in February for the second half of the semester. The disclosure statement shows the amount included in the payment plan and the enrollment fee required for participation in the plan, which will be added to the other charges due on the student’s account.

Students should review the disclosure statement upon receipt and may cancel the payment plan within 10 days by submitting written notice to TCU Student Financial Services if not satisfied with the proposed terms. If the payment plan is canceled during the cancellation period, the student’s account will be credited for the enrollment fee, but full payment of the unpaid basic charges for the semester will be due immediately. If the payment plan is canceled after the cancellation period has passed the student’s account will not be credited for the enrollment fee and full payment of the unpaid basic charges for the semester will be due immediately.

If the payment plan is not canceled, the student is committed to pay the total on the disclosure statement according to the payment schedule shown. (Since the disclosure statement only includes basic charges, payments should include all charges on the actual monthly billing statements – i.e. balance due can be determined from the billing statement, not the disclosure statement.)

Cancellation of the payment plan will not release the student from financial obligation to TCU. If the payment plan is canceled either within the cancellation period or after the cancellation period, payment in full of the unpaid basic charges for the semester will be due immediately.

More detailed information about the payment plan is available from TCU Student Financial Services.

Late fees will be assessed on the unpaid minimum amount due for payments not received within 10 days of the stated due date.

Students receiving financial aid may participate in the payment plan option. The amount due on the billing statement should be the total semester amount due less any financial aid awarded.

Payment deadlines must be met or the student may be denied advance or current registration. The ability to register in subsequent semesters may be denied if the student account is in arrears. Transcripts will not be released nor will a degree be awarded unless the student has satisfied all financial obligations to the University, including loans made through the University.

Student accounts must be current to be eligible to make charges to student accounts using the student’s University identification card.

Progression, Dismissal and Appeal 

The SOM requires students to meet academic and behavioral standards in order to progress through and graduate from the medical education program. Students who fail to meet the expectations for progress may be dismissed from the program. Students have the right to appeal a dismissal decision.

For more information, see Progression, Dismissal, & Appeal Policy.

Remediation

In certain circumstances, students may be permitted to complete an approved remediation plan in order to obtain a passing grade in a course or clerkship.

For more information, see Remediation Policy.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students are expected to make continuous and successful academic progress toward graduation in order to receive federal financial aid.

For more information, see Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Social Media Policy 

All members of the School of Medicine (including students, staff and faculty) must be aware of how their digital interactions represent the organization.

For more information, see Social Media Policy. 

Student Feedback

Students are required to evaluate all courses and clerkships and the individual faculty, residents and others who teach and supervise them at the School of Medicine.

Students must complete all assigned evaluations by the Office of Assessment and Evaluation about themselves, faculty, residents, sites, and overall course or clerkship performance.

Supervision of Medical Students

Medical students in clinical learning situations involving patient care must be appropriately supervised at all times in order to ensure patient and student safety, that the level of student responsibility delegated to the student is appropriate to his or her level of training and that the activities supervised are within the scope of practice of the supervising health professional during the entirety of a student’s undergraduate medical education training. For more information, please visit the Supervision of Medical Students Policy.

Teacher Learner Compact

As physicians and educators, we are dedicated to creating an environment safe for learning for all participants. The school of medicine values mutual respect, compassion, professionalism and integrity. Faculty and staff have a duty to teach others in an environment that fosters learning and collaboration. Students have a duty to be receptive to learning and share responsibility for their education. Both Teachers and Learners pledge to commit to upholding these principles and dedicate their efforts to the training of the physicians of tomorrow:

The Teachers pledge to:

  1. Treat students with respect and recognize these individuals as future colleagues.
  2. Maintain the highest of professional and ethical standards in all aspects of their work.
  3. Recognize each individual as an essential component of the health care team.
  4. Set clear guidelines for learners as to expectations and standards.
  5. Provide meaningful and timely feedback to others.
  6. Encourage feedback and student reporting of lapses in ethical and professional behavior of colleagues.
  7. Abide by the school of medicine Honor Code; school of medicine faculty handbook; and the university faculty and staff handbook.

The Learners agree to:

  1. Value the commitment of those who have agreed to be part of their education.
  2. Treat teachers and colleagues with the utmost respect and empathy.
  3. Maintain professional standards befitting a physician in training.
  4. Provide valuable and timely feedback to their educators.
  5. Recognize their limitations and ask for help if needed.
  6. Report suboptimal professional behavior so that it can be addressed and remedied for themselves and others.
  7. Recognize that teacher feedback is given in the spirit of student development and growth.
  8. Abide by the Texas Christian University (TCU) Student Code of Conduct; school of medicine Honor Code; and the school of medicine student handbook.

Technical Standards – In Progress

Abilities and characteristics, defined as technical standards, in conjunction with the educational program objectives (EPOs) established by the faculty, are requirements for admission, promotion and graduation. Requests for University-provided accommodations will be provided if the requests are reasonable, do not cause a fundamental alteration of the medical education program, do not cause an undue hardship on the University, are consistent with the standards of the medical profession, and are recommended by the Texas Christian University’s (TCU) Center for Academic Services.

For details, see Technical Standards Policy.

Time Limit for Degree Completion Policy

The University requirements for graduation specified in the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine Student Handbook in effect at the time the student first enrolls at TCU as a degree seeking student will be those required for graduation for a period of time not to exceed six years. A year is defined as the 12-month period following the date of initial enrollment.

Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol and Drug Policy