University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine

Essential Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine (Technical Standards)

Because of our obligation to ensure that patients receive highly effective medical care , certain abilities are required of our students.  All students of medicine must possess those intellectual, emotional, social and physical capabilities necessary to participate fully in the curriculum and which are essential to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty.  Students must be able to meet the standards described below, with or without accommodation, for successful completion.


Candidates for the medical degree must be able to make accurate observations and competently observe and perform a variety of procedures.  Candidates must be able to observe and evaluate a patient accurately, at a distance and close at hand, in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. They must be able to obtain a medical history and perform a complete physical examination and to develop an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan.


Candidates must be able to relate and communicate effectively, sensitively, and efficiently with patients, their families and members of the health care team to convey information essential for safe and effective care.  They must be able to interpret and respond effectively to non-verbal aspects of communication. They must be able to read and record information accurately and clearly. 


Candidates must be able to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers.  They must be able to respond to emergency situations in a timely manner and provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.  They must adhere to universal precaution measures and meet safety standards applicable to inpatient and outpatient settings and other clinical activities. 

Problem solving is a critical cognitive skill demanded of physicians and it requires the intellectual abilities of measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis.  In addition to these skills, candidates must possess the high moral and ethical standards demanded of physicians and the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients.


Candidates must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, and to display flexibility and adaptability to changing environments. They must be able to contribute to collaborative, constructive learning and working environments; accept constructive feedback from others; and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes. It is expected that minimum accommodation will be requested with regards to this set of standards.


Candidates with disabilities:  Admitted candidates with disabilities’ requests for accommodation will be reviewed individually, on a case-by-case basis, with a complete and careful consideration of the skills, attitudes and attributes of the candidate.  An accommodation will be deemed unreasonable if: it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of self and/or others; providing it requires a substantial modification in an essential element of the curriculum; it lowers academic standards; or poses an undue administrative or financial burden.  Except in very rare instances, the use of surrogates to perform any of the functions described above will be considered an unacceptable method of accommodation.  




Admitted candidates who have a disability and wish to request accommodations should contact the Disability Center as soon as the offer of admission is received and accepted.  It is the responsibility of the candidate with a disability to provide the information necessary to document the nature and extent of the disability and functional limitations.  Evaluating and facilitating accommodation requests is a collaborative process among the candidate, the School of Medicine and the Disability Center. 

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