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Residents In This Section

Medical Licensing (USMLE/COMLEX) Policy

I. Purpose of Policy

To ensure that residents complete all three (3) steps of the USMLE or COMLEX examination series in a timely fashion following entry into a Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) training program. Completion of the USMLE or COMLEX examination series will satisfy one of the key requirements for achieving board eligibility.

II. Policy Scope

The policy applies to all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited residency and fellowship training programs.

III. Definitions

Resident: Any physician in an accredited graduate medical education program, including interns, residents, and fellows.


USMLE: United States Medical Licensing Examination


COMLEX: Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination


IV. Policy Statement

  • Residents are strongly encouraged to take and pass USMLE Step 3 or COMLEX Level 3 during their first year of training at D-H.

  • All residents must take and pass USMLE Step 3 or COMLEX Level 3 within 18 months of their initial start date in a D-H residency program.

  • Failure to take and pass USMLE Step 3 or COMLEX Level 3 on or before the third attempt within 18 months of the resident’s initial start date in a D-H residency program will result in the resident’s automatic resignation from the program effective at the conclusion of the academic year in which the timeframe for passing the examination has expired. Automatic resignation in these circumstances is deemed an administrative action under the GME Disciplinary Action Policy, of which there is no review opportunity pursuant to the GME Appeal of Disciplinary Action Policy.

  • Program Responsibilities
    • Programs will be responsible for monitoring satisfactory completion of this requirement for each of their residents. Programs must provide written notification regarding non-renewal of the Resident Agreement of Appointment for the following academic year to any resident who fails to meet the policy-defined deadline. Consistent with ACGME Institutional Requirements, this written notification must be supplied no later than 120 days prior to the end of the agreement, programs must provide the resident with as much written notice of the intent not to renew as circumstances reasonably allow, prior to the end of the current agreement.


D-H Policy ID: 11320

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