School of Medicine Policies

Academic Freedom

Freedom of inquiry and the free exchange of ideas are essential for the fulfillment of the university’s mission. Academic freedom is a right and responsibility of students as well as faculty.

Students who believe that their academic freedom has been abridged should submit a written complaint to the Vice Dean of Education. The Dean may enlist the faculty in establishing the merits or extent of the complaint by appointing a disinterested two-person subcommittee of the Clinical Sciences Faculty Council on Academic Affairs to provide advice. Cases not resolved by the Vice Dean may be brought to the attention of the provost. Students may also seek advice of the student ombudsperson in resolving a complaint.

Academic Standards

The faculty of the Duke University School of Medicine has the responsibility to define minimum acceptable standards for academic performance. In all courses, minimum passing standards are defined by the course director in collaboration with their department chairperson and faculty. These standards are communicated to the students at the beginning of each course. In clinical departments, acceptable professional standards of behavior and attitudes are included in performance evaluation.

Faculty have the responsibility of notifying students who are not meeting minimal standards for passing a course early enough for the student to be able to work toward achieving the minimal standard by the end of the course. In most cases, this is at the midterm of a course. Tutorial help or guidance in correcting deficiencies should be offered to any student so notified.

In addition to performance directly related to course requirements, all students must maintain a high standard of professional behavior. Examples include how a student communicates with course faculty and support staff, their manifestations of responsibility to the school, fellow students, and patients, as well as behavior off-campus that would be deemed unprofessional for students becoming medical professionals. Incidents reported to the Vice Dean’s office are investigated. The number of such reports, the severity of the transgression, and other aspects specific to the behavior in question can result in disciplinary action, including dismissal from medical school.


Graduation ceremonies are held once a year, in May, when degrees are conferred on, and diplomas are issued to, those who have successfully completed requirements by the end of the spring semester. Those who successfully complete degree requirements at the end of the summer or fall terms receive diplomas dated September 1 or December 30, respectively. There is a delay of about one month in the mailing of September and December diplomas because diplomas cannot be issued until they are approved by the Academic Council and the Board of Trustees. Degrees will not be conferred prior to the actual graduation date. Students that receive a degree during December or September are invited to participate in the May commencement program immediately following their actual graduation date.

Students are required to apply for graduation online through their DukeHub accounts. Students are sent email notifications from the SoM Registrar's Office or their program to advise of dates and times for the online apply for graduation periods. It is extremely important that students who wish to be graduated in absentia notify the SoM Office of Student Affairs ( at least a month prior to graduation.

Education Records/FERPA

In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students are granted certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  • The right to inspect their education records.

  • The right to amend the contents of the education record to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights.

  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning perceived failure on the part of the school to satisfy the requirements of FERPA.

FERPA also limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information to others without the student’s prior consent with the following exceptions:

Directory Information

Certain categories of information are considered to be directory information and do not require the student’s prior written consent to be disclosed. However, the medical school registrar’s office complies with a student’s request to withhold directory information if notice is submitted in writing during the first three weeks of each new academic year; such requests must be renewed annually. Students considering nondisclosure should be aware that negative repercussions may result when inquiries are made by prospective employers, educational institutions, or other interested parties. This is particularly important for graduating students whose final nondisclosure requests continue to be honored until rescinded by the student.

The following have been designated as directory information by the university: name, address, telephone listing, e-mail address, date and place of birth, photograph, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and most recent previous educational institution attended.

  • Education records include those records which contain information directly related to a student and are maintained as official working files by the university. They do not include records made by faculty and administrators for their own use and not shown to others; campus police records; employment records; records of physicians, psychologists, etc., made or used only for treatment purposes; and records containing information relating to a person’s activities after they graduate or withdraw from the university.

  • Although FERPA regulations do not require institutions to provide copies of the education records, unless to do so would effectively prohibit an individual from viewing her or his records, it is the policy of Duke University School of Medicine to make such copies available. However, the medical school may deny requests to release copies of the transcripts of those students in financial default. The medical school also does not release copies of other schools’ transcripts unless mandated by FERPA.

Legitimate Interests

The university discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using university employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing their tasks. A school official has legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities for the University. Prior consent is not required for disclosure of education records to school officials of Duke University who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests, appropriate parties in connection with an emergency, and in response to a court order or subpoena.

The complete university policy regarding FERPA is located on the website for the university registrar, at

Email, Official Means of Communication

Duke University School of Medicine uses email as an official means of communication with students. Deans, faculty, and administrators will generally employ the Duke e-mail address ( Students are expected to check their Duke email account on a regular basis and to respond in a timely fashion. Students who have their forwarded to a different email address are responsible for ensuring that important and time-sensitive communications are not lost. Failure to read and respond to official email in a timely fashion can have serious consequences.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, requires health care professionals to protect privacy and create standards for electronic transfers of health data. The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services will enforce the regulations and impose penalties on institutions that do not make a good-faith effort on privacy and security.

HIPAA came about because of the public’s concern about how health care information is used. HIPAA gives patients more control over their own health information. All Duke University School of Medicine students are required to complete online HIPAA Compliance Update training on an annual basis via an online training module. This module is located on the Occupational and Environmental Safety Office website at

For more information about HIPAA compliance training, visit

Immunization and Health Record

North Carolina state law and the Infection Control Committee at the medical center require all new students to provide, within thirty days of matriculation, evidence of immunity to certain vaccine-preventable illnesses. Upon acceptance, students receive the Student Health Immunization Form, which should be uploaded to, no later than June 15.

Duke University Medical Center and the School of Medicine hold the health and welfare of their students, patients, and faculty in the highest regard. Students’ failure to comply with North Carolina state immunization requirements and those of the School of Medicine will result in the student not being allowed to continue coursework or to take exams until all immunization requirements are met. For questions or concerns about immunization requirements, please contact the Student Health Department at or by phone at (919) 681-WELL.

All incoming Duke students are required to have certain immunizations to meet North Carolina and Duke University requirements. Students in a health professional program have additional requirements. Students are encouraged to review and update their records as soon as possible. Failure to meet requirements may result in course scheduling delays. Refer to for the most current detailed immunization information.

Payment Policy for Students Who Do Not Hold US Citizenship or US Permanent Resident Status

Each non-US citizen admitted for enrollment at Duke University School of Medicine is eligible to apply for need-based financial assistance at the time of admission. Financial Aid eligibility is determined at the time a student is admitted and the student is notified of their eligibility prior to accepting admission into the school. Funds accepted by the student will credit to the student account. The amount disbursed is dependent on the number of terms a student is enrolled. It is the student’s responsibility to pay all required tuition and fees on a semester/term basis.

For questions regarding this policy, please contact the Office of the Bursar at or the Duke University School of Medicine Office of Admissions at

Safety/Compliance Training

All students enrolled in Duke University School of Medicine are required to complete annual online compliance and safety training modules. Newly matriculated students will receive a list of required modules and where to access the modules using Canvas. Completion of the modules will be done on the Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) website at, the Learning Management System (LMS) website at, and the CITI website, Annual reminders to complete required modules, will be sent to returning students from OESO and LMS. Requirements are also tracked via the Compliance Canvas Portal. Requirements are subject to change based on OESO and LMS compliance requirements. Additional information can be found at

School of Medicine (SoM) Severe Weather Policy

The School of Medicine will handle the cancellation of classes in the following manner:

All School of Medicine students will follow the provost’s decision in regards to cancellation of classes. If classes are cancelled, students should not report for any medical school activities (classes, labs, clerkships, clinical assignments, etc.). Course directors, mentors, and faculty are aware of this policy so that individual decisions should not be made.

These decisions can be determined by calling (919) 684-INFO or the DukeAlert site,, or, or by visiting the School of Medicine, Office of the Registrar’s website, Severe weather policy information is automatically added to the top of the SoM and SoM registrar’s websites when conditions warrant.

Please note that (919) 684-INFO and are considered the official communication for inclement/severe weather announcements.

Social Media Policy

Duke School of Medicine adheres to Duke Health’s policy on social media:

Duke Health, which includes Duke University Health System (DUHS) and its subsidiaries, the Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing, understands the significance, and supports the use of social media to promote Duke Health and its educational, clinical and research activities. Duke Health recognizes and supports the professional use of social media and recognizes that Duke Health workforce participates in social media for personal use. This policy covers the use of social media and internet activities that associate Duke Health workforce with Duke Health through use of a Duke Health title, email address or other DUHS-identifying information.

Please review the Duke Health Social Media Policy here. The link requires that Shibboleth login with Duke NetID and password.

Transcripts & Diplomas

Transcripts of Academic Record

Current students may request copies of their academic transcripts online via their DukeHub accounts. Alumni students may obtain a copy of their academic transcripts by completing a request via a Parchment account. The link to Parchment is included on the SoM Registrar’s website, Students are charged a one-time transcript fee during their first year. Transcripts are released at no charge and only upon consent of the student. Students that elect to have their transcripts sent by a priority mail service are responsible for the mailing costs. Students who graduated during the year 2000 or later may request for the School of Medicine registrar’s office to send a secure online transcript via email. Current students and those who have graduated in the past year should make their requests through DukeHub.

Transcripts and records submitted from other schools, through the admissions process, cannot be duplicated and released from the registrar’s office. If you have additional questions, please contact or (919) 684-2304.

Replacement Diplomas

Duke University partners with Parchment Exchange to fulfill replacement diploma requests. The basic fee for a non-expedited order mailed to an address in the U.S. is $35 per diploma. For both U.S. and international destinations, expedited processing and delivery services are available for an additional fee as outlined within the Parchment order request. Expedited shipping does not mean expedited processing. Please allow up to 8 weeks for processing and shipping.

Replacement Certificates for Approved School of Medicine Certificate Programs (May 2000–present)

Duke University School of Medicine provides only one certificate to graduates from approved School of Medicine certificate programs, whether original or replacement. If a student has lost their certificate and wishes to have a replacement certificate made, they must fill out a Request for Replacement Certificate Form, certifying how their certificate was lost, misplaced, or damaged. The form must be notarized and must include the notary seal. The original signed form, not a copy, must be returned along with a $25 replacement fee, made payable to Duke University School of Medicine Registrar. In cases where the original certificate has been marred beyond legibility, the original certificate must be returned along with the Request for Replacement Certificate Form. Please allow eight weeks for processing. In accordance with university policy, a statement of replacement will be printed above the seal on the certificate. It does not mar the appearance nor detract from the value of the actual certificate. The format of the replacement certificate will be the format that was used in the year the student received their degree. To obtain a Request for Replacement Certificate Form, please contact the Office of the School of Medicine Registrar, 8 Searle Center Drive, DUMC Box 3878, Durham, NC 27701; (919) 684-2304 or by email at, providing an explanation for the need of a replacement certificate. Replacement certificates may only be provided for students that completed approved School of Medicine Certificate programs from May 2000 to present.