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SMU Medical Student reviewing a series of x-rays

Technical Standards

Essential Abilities and Characteristics

The goal of St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine is to prepare our medical graduates to be competent, caring physicians who have the skills of lifelong learning necessary to incorporate new knowledge and methods into their practice as either a generalist or a specialist and to a changing professional environment.

Essential abilities and characteristics required for completion of the MD degree consist of certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability to assure that candidates for admission, promotion, and graduation are able to successfully complete the entire course of study, participate fully in all aspects of medical training and meet such other requirements of the program as may be established or changed from time to time.

The school intends for its graduates to become physicians who are capable of pursuing and completing graduate medical education, passing licensing exams, and obtaining and maintaining medical licensure. The avowed intention of an individual student to practice only a narrow part of clinical medicine, or to pursue a non-clinical career, does not alter the requirement that all medical students take and achieve competence in the complete program of medicine required by the school.

For purposes of this document and unless otherwise defined, the term “candidate” means candidates for admission to the MD Program as well as enrolled medical students who are candidates for promotion and graduation.

The school also has an ethical responsibility for the safety of patients with whom students and graduates will come in contact. Although students learn and work under the supervision of the faculty, students interact with patients throughout their medical school education. Patient safety and well-being are therefore major factors in establishing requirements involving the physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities of candidates for admission, promotion, and graduation. As a result, the medical education process, which focuses so largely on patients, differs markedly from postsecondary education in fields outside of the health sciences.

Technical Standards

The essential abilities and characteristics described herein are also referred to as “technical standards.” They are described below in several broad categories including: observation; communication; motor function; intellectual-conceptual (integrative and quantitative) abilities; and behavioral and social skills.

In addition to these, candidates must have the physical and emotional stamina to function in a competent and safe manner in settings that may involve heavy workloads, long hours, and stressful situations. All candidates should be aware that the academic and clinical responsibilities of medical students may, at times, require their presence during day and evening hours, any day of the week, at unpredictable times and for unpredictable durations of time.

Individuals who present a threat to the health and safety of others for any reason, including as a result of a physical, mental, or other condition, are not suitable candidates for admission, promotion or graduation.

Candidates must possess the capability to complete the entire program of medicine, achieve the degree Doctor of Medicine, and practice medicine with or without reasonable accommodations, taking into account the limited nature of accommodations available at St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine.  Candidates should note, in this regard, that the school is not subject to federal or state disability laws that might apply in the United States or other countries for that matter; the school is in a position to provide only a very limited range of accommodations for students with disabilities; and much of the housing and other infrastructure on the island is not readily accessible to persons with disabilities.

Technical Skills and Abilities


A candidate for the degree of Doctor of Medicine must have abilities and skills in the five broad areas of observation; communication; motor function; intellectual-conceptual; and behavioral and social skills.