Third Year FAQ

How much time do I receive to prepare for Step 1?

August 21st until September 17th has been set aside for study (4 weeks) prior to starting Third Year. Our policy is that we would like to optimize study time for Board examination. To protect students' study time, there is a 4 week study period (August 21st to September 17th) that may be taken prior to the dedicated research period.  The dedicated research period is for 10 months.  If a student opts not to take the 4 week study period, or feels that additional time is needed, at the mentor's discretion up to 4 weeks may be taken within the dedicated research period. Again, this is assuming that there is agreement that it does not disrupt the research experience, and must be discussed with the mentor ahead of time (prior to registration). If the student feels that more than 4 weeks of study is necessary during the dedicated research experience, this must be independently approved, and will extend the end date of the scholarly experience correspondingly. However, if you receive financial aid this leave cannot exceed 6 weeks per new federal guidelines.

How many weeks of vacation do I receive?

Students must accomplish at least 10 months of research. There is a 2 week Winter break; students may wish to take one additional week in the spring but this is at the discretion of the mentor. Any time outside these parameters must be approved in advance by Study Program Director, Mentor and Advisory Dean.

Must I take Clinical Skills Continuity Clinic in third year?

  • Yes, every Year 3 research student must have approval from their research mentor to take Clinical Skills Continuity (INTERDIS 305C). Those not having approval from their mentor are exempt from taking the clinic in Year 3.  Mentors’ agreement is via the Registration Form signature. Additionally, students doing research out of state, those in another professional degree (Dual Degree) and those with scholarships which prohibit elective course enrollment and MD/PhD (MSTP) students are not required to take it in Year 3 are students
  • A Year 3 research student who is not exempted and not completing Continuity Clinic in Year 3, will be required to take a 4 credits qualifying elective in addition to their (28) Year 4 credits.
  • Approval must be in place prior to starting clinic or no credit will be assigned for the course via the Preceptor Approval Form (due September 1st). You must begin clinic in the first term of your official Scholarly Experience and enroll in one more consecutive term. Since you start in Fall you will enroll in Fall and Spring; a "Z" grade will be entered in the first term and final grade is posted after the last term.

May I be compensated by my lab or mentor?

NO. Duke’s stated policy for Compensation during the Scholarly Experience:

“Payment for Student Work in a Laboratory: During the third year, students who are obtaining academic credit for their research are not permitted to accept money for their efforts unless they are the recipients of a scholarship.”   In general, students cannot receive compensation and academic credit simultaneously to avoid violation of Duke’s Conflict of Interest Policy. All scholarship funds are directed through the Financial Aid Office to defray tuition expenses. 

Where do I find all the requisite forms?

Forms are updated regularly and the latest versions can be found on Canvas.

Why do I need so many signatures on forms?

Signatures confirm you are receiving proper oversight for your work and project. The process is easier now that we have DocuSign in place since all is required are electronic signatures.

Do I have deadlines and grading periods?

YES. The deadlines must be strictly adhered to since it is essential to the 3rd year process. These deadlines vary according to your official start date and can be found on Canvas and from the third year office. Failure to meet deadlines will result in notification to the student’s Advisory Dean and conceivably to the Promotions Committee. Ultimately, non-compliance with deadlines may jeopardize promotion to 4th year, and subsequent graduation timelines. Please review your Duke email daily, and be proactive if there are any concerns regarding meeting academic obligations during the 3rd year.

What is the name of the course replacing the former Medical Statistics course and do I have to take it?

YES. Quantitative Medicine and Decision Making II (QMDM II). Everyone must take this course UNLESS you have taken a graduate level statistics course and have a formal waiver from the Course Director, your current program has a statistical component or your scholarship program disallows additional coursework. Important, you cannot be waived from the EBM section of the course. This course is in-class but away students will need to take it online.