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Student Handbook

Learning Communities

For description of the learning communities, please click here.


The initial process for placement at the clinical campuses is conducted within the Office of Admissions, Student Affairs, and Inclusion. During the interview day, each Associate Dean for Clinical Education (ADCE) presents their respective campus information. At the time of acceptance, the admit packet contains a form for each applicant to rank the four learning communities, divided based on the geographical location of the clinical campus in order of preference. On this form, accepted applicants can provide a narrative explanation of factors they would like considered in the decision. Once received, these rankings are placed into a matrix with the goal of placements equally divided among the four locations. Three extenuating circumstances drive initial placements:

  1. Applicants with children
  2. Applicants with partners
  3. Applicants who serve in a caretaker role to a family member in some capacity

Applicants without these extenuating circumstances are placed in the learning community of their first choice whenever possible.

A first draft of the learning community placements is provided in the spring before the April 30th national deadline to narrow MD acceptances to one. Subsequent drafts are released as follows:

  • Following additional shifting of the class composition, a second draft is provided in May. Any new applicants offered a seat submit their learning community ranking form and justifications and are incorporated into the placement draft.
  • A preliminary final draft of the placements is provided in June which includes a waiting list for different locations. To maintain confidentiality of incoming students who want to move locations, a de-identified waitlist is released to indicate the number of individuals interested in moving to a particular location. If movement in the class composition occurs and a move can be made to accommodate a higher-ranked campus, those changes will be made.
  • On or prior to July 15, final learning communities placements are released. Applicants accepted after this date are placed in spots vacated by a withdrawn applicant.


Once the academic year begins and accepted applicants have matriculated, students may submit a written request for a change of placement to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. In the request, the student must explain the rationale for the change related to these criteria:

  • Family circumstances (location of spouse/partner/dependents)
  • Health
  • Hardship

A committee chaired by the Vice Dean for Academic and Community Partnerships, and which includes the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Senior Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, Associate Dean for Curriculum, Associate Dean for Accreditation, Assessment, and Evaluation, and the Associate Deans for Clinical Education reviews the request and makes a decision. The Vice Dean for Academic and Community Partnerships communicates the decision in writing to the student. The student may appeal the decision to the Dean who makes a final decision.