Student Workload in the Preclinical Curriculum

Authorizing Body:

Curriculum Committee


Robert Noiva, Ph.D.

Date Issued:

March 1, 2018

Last Update:

August 19, 2020


A medical school must monitor overall student academic workload, which includes the amount of time medical students spend in required educational activities (i.e. the sum of “in-class” and “out-of-class” educational activity hours) to allow for sufficient learning time and to support the general health and wellness of its students.

The sum of weekly required “in-class” and “out-of-class” preclinical hours will be annually reviewed by the M1/M2 Curriculum Subcommittee and the Curriculum Committee to ensure compliance with a total weekly average of 30 hours: 24 hours per week for in-class time and 6 hours per week for out-of-class time.

Scope and Applicability:

All OUWB School of Medicine students enrolled in the M1 and M2 years.

Standard Practice Guideline:


  1. Scheduled contact hours will not exceed 7 hours per day.
  2. Scheduled contact hours will not exceed an average 24 hours per week over the course of the semester.
  3. The average sum of weekly required in-class and out-of-class hours will not exceed an average of 30 hours per week. 
  4. The typical daily schedule will include time for a midday one-to-two hour break.
  5. Instruction will not commence before 8 a.m. or continue past 6 p.m.
  6. Scheduling will provide a minimum of one unscheduled afternoon per 5-day week.

Any exception to these guidelines must be approved by M1/M2 Curriculum Subcommittee and/or the Associate Dean for Preclinical Education.

Scheduled Contact Hours: Learning activities that take place as part of face-to-face or remote instruction and assessment time; i.e. contact time.

Out-of-Class Hours: Learning activities that are assigned to be completed by students outside of scheduled classroom time. Examples may include: textbook reading, online quizzes, writing assignments, flipped classroom preparation, and team-based learning preparation.

Workload Hours: Hours calculated to reflect the amount of time students spend on scheduled and out-of-class required hours. Workload hours do not include time for regular study or review.

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