Technical Standards for the M.D. Degree

Authorizing Body:

Curriculum Committee


Robert Noiva, Ph.D.

Date Issued:

August 1, 2011

Last Update:

February 21, 2018


The M.D. degree signifies that the holder is a physician prepared for entry into the practice of medicine. Candidates for the M.D. degree must possess the requisite knowledge and skills, and the physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities to function in a broad variety of clinical situations to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Therefore, the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has established the following essential requirements necessary for medical students to successfully complete the full curriculum and meet the core competencies to become a candidate for the M.D. degree.

Scope and Applicability:

All students enrolled in the OUWB School of Medicine.

Standard Practice Guideline:


Essential Skills and Abilities:

  • Observation: All candidates must demonstrate their ability to use vision, hearing, and somatic sensation to accurately observe instructional demonstrations, and patients at a distance and close at hand.
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills: All candidates must demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, comprehend written communications, assess non-verbal communications (such as mood, activity, and changes in posture) that are fundamental components of the patient interview and physical examination, and demonstrate communication skills that are essential for the formation of effective professional relationships with teachers and colleagues, and therapeutic relationships with patients. Candidates must also possess computer literacy, including keyboard skills.
  • Motor Coordination: All candidates must demonstrate their ability to use motor and sensory functions to perform components of the physical examination such as palpation, auscultation, and percussion, perform routine invasive procedures including the use of universal precautions to avoid posing risks to patients or themselves, perform basic laboratory techniques and evaluate routine diagnostic tools such as EKGs and imaging studies, respond and perform with precise, quick, and appropriate actions in emergency situations, and participate effectively in physically taxing duties over long hours, and complete timed demonstrations of skills. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch, vision and hearing. All candidates must possess the physical health and stamina necessary to independently perform the duties of a medical student and physician in training without endangering the lives of patients and colleagues with whom the medical student might have contact.
  • Cognitive: All candidates must demonstrate cognitive functions and effective learning techniques. Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, and analyze data, retrieve, organize, integrate and synthesize information and apply reasoning to reach conclusions based on evidence, comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures, draw inferences from the logical sequential relationships of events, understand the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine, be fully alert and attentive at all times in the educational and clinical settings, and solve problems effectively.
  • Professional: All candidates must demonstrate sound judgment and emotional stability, the perseverance, diligence and consistency required to successfully complete the rigorous curriculum of the School of Medicine, function effectively under stress, display flexibility and adaptability to changing and uncertain environments, demonstrate evidence of the personal attributes of honesty, altruism, empathy, and concern for others, contribute to the learning environment and receive and act upon constructive feedback from faculty members and peers. 

The OUWB Office of Student Affairs can assist medical students in understanding other University policies and practices, addressing personal and academic concerns, and supplying referrals to other University offices when appropriate.

Medical students who are unable to meet the Technical Standards for the M.D. Degree, may have their offer of admission withdrawn or be dismissed, after review by the OUWB Technical Standards Advisory Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee. The Technical Standards Advisory Subcommittee reviews medical students’ ability to meet the technical standards on a case-by-case basis, and then makes its recommendation to the OUWB Student Performance Review Committee (SPRC). The procedures for dismissal of a student are provided in the Student Performance Review Committee Guidelines.

Appeal of denial of enrollment or dismissal for failure to meet technical standards required for study:

The procedures for appealing an SPRC decision are provided in the Student Performance Review Committee Guidelines.

Medical students with disabilities:

The School of Medicine provides appropriate academic adjustments based on medical students’ disabilities and individual needs when necessary to avoid discrimination. In providing an academic adjustment, the School of Medicine will not eliminate or lower the foregoing essential requirements, or make modifications that would result in a fundamental alteration to the School of Medicine’s programs or activities or impose an undue burden on the University.

Admitted and enrolled medical students with disabilities have access to resources at the University. Disabled individuals with questions or who want to request an academic adjustment are encouraged to contact University Disability Support Services for an appointment. Disability Support Service Staff will explain what documentation is required in order to schedule an intake appointment. Pamphlets and materials are also available in the University Disability Support Services’ office that outline the University’s disability support services and provide guidelines on the specific information that is required to substantiate a disability, which are also available at Medical students can also contact the OUWB Office of Student Affairs, which can serve as a liaison to University Disability Support Services.

Review of Technical Standards:

The Technical Standards for the M.D. Degree are reviewed regularly, revised as needed, and reconfirmed by the Curriculum Committee with support from the SPRC. This review takes into account the School of Medicine’s M.D. program competencies, curriculum and clinical program standards, and changes in University policy and/or applicable federal and state law.

Related Policies and Guidelines:

Oakland University Disability Support Services