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MS1: PDO procedural information and FAQs


The new Professional Development Opportunity online form is now available.

An update was sent to Phase 1 students in December when this addendum was added to the Schedule Conflicts, Absences, and Vacations policy by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee. Please see below for frequently asked questions. If there are further questions, please contact Dr. Richardson, assistant dean for Phase 1, at

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why did the Curriculum Council Steering Committee add the PDO addendum to the Schedule Conflicts, Absences, and Vacations Policy?
IU School of Medicine encourages students to gain research experience and to pursue opportunities to present their research at local, national and international meetings. These absences have traditionally been excused. IU School of Medicine also recognizes that other types of professional development can be equally important. This led to the development of the PDO addendum.

What is a Professional Development Opportunity (PDO)?
Common examples of PDOs include presentations, attendance at meetings and attendance at professional advocacy days.

How many days are available for a PDO?
A total of three days, including travel time, of excused absences for PDOs are available in Phase 1, year 1 and again in Phase 1, year 2.  The three days can be used for one PDO or split across three PDOs.

Can anyone attend a PDO?
Students in good academic standing who submit the PDO form before the deadline are eligible.

What is the deadline for filling out the PDO form?
For fall semester of Phase 1, year 1, the PDO request form must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the PDO.

For all other terms, the PDO request form must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the start of the course in which the PDO will occur. (For absences in FCP, the submission deadline is two weeks prior to the start of the concurrent course in which the PDO will occur). PDO forms submitted after these deadlines will not be considered.

Does a student need to fill out the PDO for both FCP and any concurrent courses?
The PDO form includes a designated space to fill in the courses  impacted by the absence.

Is it the student’s decision whether to miss class?
Yes – and no.  Students are required to speak with the course site leader(s) for each impacted course regarding the impact of the absence on coursework prior to submitting the form.  On rare occasions, a course activity may preclude PDO attendance, and a student may be denied an excused absence.

How will missed work be made up?
It is your responsibility to obtain the content from missed sessions and reschedule any missed preceptor visits.  Rescheduling  preceptor visits should be discussed with the FCP site leader prior to submitting the form.

How will missed assessments be made up?
If assessments are missed, the site leader will determine  appropriate action. Exams must be made up during the Independent Learning Time closest to the absence either before the PDO or upon return, depending on the decision of the site leader. Exams missed due to PDOs may not be made up after the course ends.

Do I need to do anything after I submit the form?
You will receive confirmation of successful submission.  It is important that you send this to the site leader(s) and remind them of the PDO so that you do not receive an unexcused absence.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Sara Buckallew

Communications Coordinator

Sara Buckallew works in the Dean's Office of Strategic Communications. As a communications coordinator, Sara supports internal and external communication needs for the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic...