Religious Observation Scheduling


Implement a policy regarding promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, including observance of religious holidays.


UCSF is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Observance of religious holidays and daily practices such as prayer may impact a student's schedule of clinical rotations and assessments. To be respectful of all religious cultures, the UCSF School of Medicine policy is to support in their religious practices, including students who wish to observe religious holidays that are not also official university holidays. This policy is designed to support students’ religious practices while minimizing disruption to the delivery of patient care.


A. Clinical rotations

Students on clinical rotations may request an absence to observe a religious holiday from their clerkship director. Details of the absence will be worked out directly between the student and the clerkship director on an individual basis. Modifications to schedules (including breaks for prayer), will be supported as long as these requests do not alter the fundamental requirements of the clinical rotation, require substantial program modification, or pose safety risks to patients. Allotted non-work days may need to be used to allow for schedule adjustments or to make up missed time that results from religious holidays or other religious-related absences. Students should make such requests of the clinical rotations director as soon as possible after the student’s clinical rotation schedule is known or, at the latest, at the beginning of a course or clerkship.

B. Assessment Schedule

  1. In accordance with California State Education Code section 92640, it is the policy of the UCSF School of Medicine that a course or clerkship director will make a reasonable attempt to accommodate student needs in the case of serious incompatibility between a student's religious creed and a scheduled assessment activity.
  2. Arrangements for an alternative assessment date will be worked out directly and on an individual basis between the student and the involved course or clerkship director. It may not be possible to reschedule some assessments, such as laboratory practical examinations and standardized patient exams.
  3. Students should make such requests of the course/clerkship director as soon as possible after an involved examination date is announced or, at the latest, at the beginning of a course/clerkship.
  4. The clerkship director or site director is responsible for communicating the agreed-upon accommodation(s) to the relevant clinical attending/team, to ensure that the clinical attending/team understands the policy and that the student has done due diligence in working out the accommodation(s) with the course leadership.

C. Resource to Implement this Policy

Students or faculty with questions about resources to implement this policy may contact the School of Medicine Associate Dean for Students. If a mutually-agreeable testing solution or attendance in a clinical rotation cannot be worked out between the course or clerkship director, the student, and the Associate Dean, then the default position is that the student must take the assessment on the assigned date and/or participate in scheduled clinical activities.

Modified from the University of California, Irvine policy: is external)

Additional resources: UC Nondiscrimination policy statementUS EEOC Fact Sheet on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities

Approval Date and Governing Body: March 16, 2016, CCEP

Last Updated: March 16, 2016