Orientation for MHPE Students

Soon after or before beginning the program, students should make an appointment with Dr. Rachel Yudkowsky, the Interim Director of Graduate Studies, to plan a course of study. The meeting can be done either in person or by e-mail. Contact her by e-mail at rachely@uic.edu to plan initial courses. Review the following information before the meeting.

Program Content

All MHPE students are required to take 5 nonsequential core courses (18 credit hours total):

1) Scholarship in Health Professions Education; 2) Instruction and Assessment in Health Professions Education; 3) Curriculum and Program Evaluation in Health Professions Education; 4) Leadership in Health Professions Education; and 5) Introduction to Health Professions Education: Leadership, Scholarship, and Current Issues. Additional hours are accumulated via elective courses at UIC or at home institutions, independent study, and thesis work.

The program requires 32 credit hours to complete. The program should be completed within four years and must be completed within five years; the usual period is 3 to 3½ years. Up to 8 credit hours may be transferred from another institution. Students take 6-8 credit hours in thesis research.

Independent Study

Independent studies should be planned carefully with a faculty member, using an Independent Study Contract [this document requires Adobe Acrobat Reader] to define the objectives, method of inquiry, credit hours, meeting arrangement, and evaluation requirements. This contract should be submitted to the faculty member for approval, then sent to the program coordinator with signatures of both student and faculty.

Transfer Credits

Students wishing to transfer credits must receive approval from Rachel Yudkowsky, the Interim Director of Graduate Studies. It is best to obtain approval before taking the course, if possible. Send to Dr. Yudkowsky the catalog description and syllabus for each course. Once the course is completed, a Graduate Petition for Transfer Credit Toward an Advanced Degree (available from the program coordinator) should be completed for the approved courses. The student will also need to request the following documents: 1) an official transcript showing grades and 2) a letter from the registrar or college dean stating that the courses were graduate level and not used toward fulfillment of the requirements for a degree. These documents should be sent directly from the institution to the program coordinator.

Incomplete Grades

If a student receives an incomplete grade, all assignments must be finished and a grade assigned by the end of the next semester or within twelve months at the discretion of the course director. A student who allows an incomplete grade to lapse beyond these deadlines will have a permanent incomplete and will need to repeat the course for credit.


All MHPE students register by contacting the program coordinator with their registration choices. Registration typically opens in November for the spring (January) semester and in early April for the summer (May) and fall (August) semesters. If course registration exceeds class limits, registrations will be honored in the order that students contact the coordinator.

All students are asked to declare a program format preference (that is, on-campus intensive courses or online courses). Registration preference will be given to those students who have declared the format in which the course is offered. Students declaring a preference for the online format may be allowed to register for an on-campus course, if space permits, in the order in which they contact the coordinator. These guidelines will also be applied to students preferring the on-campus format who wish to attend an online course.

Leave of Absence

A student who must take off both the spring and fall semesters must petition the Graduate College for a Leave of Absence (available from the program coordinator). Failure to apply for a leave of absence will result in dismissal from the University. Students may choose not to register for either the fall or spring semester (not both) plus the summer semester without penalty. A leave of absence can be taken for a maximum of one year. Leaves of absence are only granted to students with sufficient reason for not registering.

Departmental Resources

The DME has faculty members who are expert resources in the major areas of health professions education. Visit our links to the brief faculty biographies for more information about faculty members’ research interests.

Thesis Preparation

Students should discuss their initial plans for thesis with Dr. Rachel Yudkowsky. All MHPE students are required to file an approved thesis proposal during the semester following the semester during which they take their last core course. Each student is encouraged to independently seek a thesis committee chair. If desired, Dr. Yudkowsky can suggest possible advisors to serve as the student’s committee chair. The chair can advise the student regarding additional committee members to contact. The thesis committee must have three members. Two must be DME faculty members. The third committee member may be a faculty member from another institution holding a professorial position. Students are encouraged to invite a qualified advisor from their home institutions to serve as the third committee member.

Students then develop a thesis proposal in consultation with the advisor. The final proposal must be approved by the full committee.  Please refer to the Thesis Guidelines for more information.

Any studies involving human subjects or their records must be reviewed by the DME and College of Medicine’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) committees. Students must complete all appropriate IRB forms and send them to the program coordinator for distribution to the IRB committee members. Following recommendation by the departmental committee, the forms are forwarded to the College IRB for approval. Data collection must not be done before obtaining IRB approval. The approval number must be submitted with the completed thesis.

Thesis drafts should be submitted to the committee for review and comments. The final draft should be formatted according to conventions described in the Thesis Manual and sent to the program coordinator for format review.

The defense of the completed thesis must be scheduled with all of the committee members. The format of the defense will be determined in consultation with the committee chair. It is typical for some revisions to be recommended at the defense. These revisions should be completed before the Graduate College’s approval deadlines. Contact the program coordinator to learn the deadline for each semester.

Thesis Requirements

The MHPE thesis is intended to be a capstone for the program, providing students the opportunity to synthesize, extend, and apply the knowledge and competencies they have developed during the program. All students must complete a thesis, defined as a work of scholarship, following Boyer’s (1990) and Glassick’s (1997) conceptions of the nature and standards for scholarship. These three types of scholarship, applicable to all disciplines and reflecting the actual work of faculty are: the scholarship of discovery (“original research”), of integration (searching for connections among discoveries obtained by different approaches or disciplines), and of application (application of knowledge to consequential problems). The standards for excellence, applicable to all types of scholarship, are: clear and important goals, adequate preparation in the pertinent literature and scholarship methodologies, appropriate methods used appropriately, significant results, effective presentation, and reflective critique.

Please see the current thesis guidelines.


Several forms need to be completed to facilitate graduation. A Graduation Request Form must be completed and filed at the Graduate College before the middle of the semester in which the student plans to graduate. A Committee Request Form (available from the program coordinator) must be filed at the Graduate College at least 3 weeks before the scheduled thesis defense. An IRB approval number is necessary for this form. Note that any thesis title change or change in thesis committee membership necessitates filing a new Committee Request Form.

Be sure to keep the program coordinator informed of your plans for graduation.

Program Evaluation

Following a successful defense, the program coordinator will send to the graduate a questionnaire regarding the effectiveness of the MHPE program and schedule a follow-up exit interview.

Contact Information

Rachel Yudkowsky, MD, MHPE
Professor and Interim Director of Graduate Studies
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Medical Education (MC 591)
College of Medicine
808 South Wood Street
Chicago, IL 60612-7309
tel: 312-996-3598
fax: 312-413-2048
e-mail: rachely@uic.edu

Janet Settle
Coordinator, Educational & International Programs
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Medical Education (MC 591)
College of Medicine
808 South Wood Street
Chicago, IL 60612-7309
tel: 312-996-4666
fax: 312-413-2048
e-mail: jsettle@uic.edu