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Technical Standards for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine


Because the MD degree awarded to a senior medical student signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the practice of medicine within postgraduate training programs, it follows that graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Successful students should not only demonstrate honesty, integrity, reliability and responsibility, but also clear respect for others and cultural sensitivity.  

Students are expected to excel in a rigorous academic environment and clearly demonstrate academic and personal achievement and a commitment to self-improvement and professional behavior. A graduate from the College of Medicine is expected to have a strong sense of commitment to serving his or her community, adhere to high ethical standards, and to be sensitive to individual, cultural, and ethnic differences that exist in society. Students must be able to meet these technical standards with or without reasonable academic accommodations.


The medical student must be able to observe and participate in demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including, but not limited to, physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations in animals, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states, and anatomical specimens. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.  Observation necessitates the functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, and somatic sensation.  It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.


The candidate must be able to demonstrate and use (in English) the knowledge acquired during the medical education process to elicit, convey, clarify and transmit information (both in oral and written form) effectively, accurately, efficiently and sensitively to patients, their families and other members of the health care team. 

Candidates must be able to communicate with patients in order to elicit information regarding mood, activity and posture and perceive nonverbal communication. Communication and transmission of information includes reading, writing, hearing and speech. For example, candidates must be able to present legible, accurate and skillful information in oral and written form to a preceptor, professor, teammate, patient, patient’s family, and other members of the health care team. Candidates must also be able to effectively and efficiently participate in fast paced, small group discussions/interactions and in patient care settings where clinical decisions may depend on rapid communication.

Motor coordination and sensory skills

Sufficient motor function, tactile ability and sensory abilities are required to attend and participate effectively in all classroom, laboratories, conferences, clinical settings, and activities that are part of the curriculum. Medical students must have somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, and equilibrium. They must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain and temperature), sufficient proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis and vibratory) and sufficient motor function to perform the activities described in the sections that follow. Students must also be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) and have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data, and the appropriate behavioral and social skills for patient interaction.

Students should have sufficient motor function to obtain information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers; to do basic laboratory tests; to carry out diagnostic procedures; to read electrocardiograms and radiographs; and to conduct anatomical dissections in the basic sciences and clinical years.  A student should be able to execute the motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency care to patients.  Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, opening of obstructed airways, suturing of simple wounds and performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. General care would include, but not limited to neurological, gynecological, prostate, pediatric, obstetric examinations (with appropriate instruments), wound repair and the application of pressure to stop bleeding. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities

A student must demonstrate the ability to integrate, assimilate and memorize large amounts of detailed and complex information and to process that information. Additional abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the student must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.  

Behavioral and social attributes

The medical education process is both demanding and challenging. A student must possess the emotional health required to fully use his or her intellectual abilities; to exercise good judgment; to promptly complete the responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients; and to develop mature, sensitive and appropriate relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress; independently and competently. They must be flexible and able to adapt to changing environments, and capable of functioning in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. 

The possession of interpersonal skills is equally important. The candidate should demonstrate compassion, empathy, a caring attitude, tolerance, an acceptance of differences, personal generosity toward others, thoughtfulness and a general concern and respect for other individuals.

All students are expected to act as professionals and to be responsible for themselves and their own behavior and actions. Professional behavior would include such things as completing promptly all assignments and responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, showing up for all required experiences on time and prepared, and completing all assignments on time. Candidates will continually demonstrate integrity, honesty, caring, fairness, respect for others and self, empathy, maturity, dedication and the ability to distinguish and practice confidentiality. Working with others in an effective, mature and sensitive manner with all members of the medical community, health care teams and medical school community is required. Candidates are expected to make an effort to understand prejudices and preconceptions that might affect the patient, medical community or collegial relationships, especially in the areas of race and ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, and religious differences.