Technical Standards for Admission and Retention

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Full Policy Contents

Policy Statement
Reason for Policy

Additional Contacts
Related Information

Effective: Immediately
Last Updated: 02/03/2017

Responsible University Office:
Office of Admissions, Medical Student Education

Responsible University Administrator
Senior associate dean for medical student education

Policy Contact:

ACCOUNTABLE Medical Student Education
SUPPORT Office of Admissions
CONSULT General Counsel
INFORM Curriculum Council Steering Committee

LCME Standards

10.5 Technical Standards


This policy applies to students.

Policy Statement

The Indiana University School of Medicine will consider for admission any candidate who demonstrates the ability to perform the skills and demonstrate the aptitudes specified in these technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Applicants to IUSM will be assessed regularly according to IUSM’s academic and technical standards on their abilities to meet the requirements of the curriculum.

Reason for Policy

In order to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills, medical students must possess certain sensory and motor functions to permit them to carry out educational activities.


Approved by Curriculum Council Steering Committee 2/21/2017.


The medical school faculty has specified the following non-academic criteria (“Technical Standards”) that all applicants/medical students are expected to meet to participate in the medical education program and the practice of medicine.


The applicant/medical student must be able to participate actively in all demonstrations and laboratory exercises in the basic medical sciences and to assess and comprehend the condition of all patients assigned to him or her for examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Such observation and information acquisition usually requires the functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation.


The applicant/medical student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in order to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; assess non-verbal communications; and effectively and efficiently transmit information to patients, fellow students, faculty, staff, and all members of the health care team. Communication skills include speaking, reading, and writing, as well as the observation skills described above.


The applicant/medical student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers; be able to perform basic laboratory tests; possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures; and be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.

Intellectual-conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities:

The applicant/medical student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the applicant/medical student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. The applicant/medical student must have the capacity to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion.

Behavioral and social attributes:

The applicant/medical student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his/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 and others.

Applicants/medical students also must be able to tolerate taxing workloads; function effectively under stress; adapt to a changing environment; display flexibility; and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.  Compassion, integrity, concern for others, commitment, and motivation are personal qualities that each applicant/medical student should possess.

The IUSM is committed to helping students with disabilities succeed academically. M.D. students in need of disability accommodations must apply to the IUSM Disabilities Accommodations Committee. See the Disabilities Accommodation Policy.

If a faculty or staff member has concerns that a student no longer meets the technical standards but has not reported a change in status, the faculty or staff member should report the information to the senior associate dean of medical student education or his designee or should follow the procedure outlined in the Areas of Concern Policy


Compliance: Prior to matriculation, all accepted students must attest in writing that they are able to meet these defined program technical standards.

Technical standards: The minimum standards for medical students. The admissions process seeks to discern whether applicants meet these standards.


Admission and promotion at IU School of Medicine is conditional on the candidate’s having the willingness and ability to satisfy the technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation.

Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email
Director of admissions Karen Smartt (317) 278-3772
Assistant dean of advising Abby Klemsz (317) 948-1010
General Counsel Tom Gannon (317) 274-7460


Disabilities Accommodations Documentation Guidelines and Request Form

Related Information

Disabilities Accommodations Policy


Adopted from the Special Advisory Panel on Technical Standards for Medical School Admissions convened by the AAMC 1/31/1979.
Implemented 5/1/1982.
Reviewed by general counsel 2/7/2017.
Reviewed by Office of Admissions 2/6/2017.
Endorsed by the Curriculum Council Steering Committee 2/21/2017.