Skip to Main Content

Technical Standards

Connect with CMS

Technical Standards for the MD Program

To assure that candidates for admission, promotion, and graduation are able to complete the entire course of study and participate fully in all aspects of medical training, essential abilities and characteristics are required.  These include certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability.  Any intention of the student to practice only a narrow part of the curriculum upon graduation does not alter the requirement that all students perform satisfactorily in the full curriculum and meet all graduation requirements.  For purposes of this document and unless otherwise defined, the term "candidates" means candidates for admission to medical school as well as Chicago Medical School students who are candidates for retention, promotion or graduation.

Chicago Medical School has a societal responsibility to train competent healthcare providers who demonstrate critical judgment, extensive knowledge and well-honed technical skills. The essential skills, 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 social and behavioral skills. These standards must be met throughout medical school in order for students to make satisfactory progress and graduate.  Candidates and current students who have questions regarding the technical standards or who believe they may need to request reasonable accommodation(s) in order to meet the standards are encouraged to contact Services for Students with Disabilities.

I. Observation

Candidates must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic sciences, including but not limited to such things as dissection of cadavers; examination of specimens in anatomy, pathology, and neuroanatomy laboratories; and microscopic study of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. Candidates must be able to accurately acquire information from patients and assess findings. They must be able to perform a complete physical examination in order to integrate findings based on this information and to develop an appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan. These skills require the use of vision, hearing, and touch or the functional equivalent.

II. Communication

Candidates must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently, and sensitively with patients, families, other healthcare providers, faculty, staff, and peers.  They must be able to obtain a medical history; describe changes in mood, activity, posture and behavior; interpret non-verbal aspects of communication, document and transmit information accurately and clearly, and establish therapeutic relationships with patients.

III. Motor

Candidates must be able, with appropriate training, to perform a complete physical exam and basic clinical procedures.  The candidates must be able to respond promptly to general and emergency clinical situations.  These skills require a degree of physical mobility and neuromuscular coordination.

IV. Intellectual-Conceptual (Integrative and Quantitative) Abilities

Candidates must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction; small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; simulations and use of computer technology.  The candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize.  In addition, they must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. They must also be able to formulate and test hypotheses that enable effective and timely problem-solving in diagnosis and treatment of patients in a variety of clinical settings and health care systems.

V. Behavioral and Social Attributes

Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of 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. They must display characteristics of integrity, honesty, attendance and conscientiousness, empathy, a sense of altruism, and a spirit of cooperation and teamwork. The candidates for the MD degree must accept responsibility for learning and must exercise good judgment. They must be able to contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments; accept constructive feedback from others; and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes. The candidates must have the physical and emotional stamina and resilience to be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function in a competent and professional manner under highly stressful situations.  Candidates must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in July of 1990, protects any individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits that person in some major life activity and any individual who has a history of, or is regarded as having, such an impairment. Under the ADA, as with Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, universities and colleges are prohibited from discriminating against an otherwise qualified person with a disability in all aspects of academic life. Schools must make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental disabilities of otherwise qualified individuals. The University need not make an accommodation that would cause an undue burden. The philosophical basis of the ADA, that judging persons on their abilities and achievements rather than their potential disabilities, runs parallel to the traditional philosophy of this University.

CMS has developed the above list of Technical Standards of behavior in order to define the "essential requirements" of its medical curriculum. In decisions on admission, evaluation, promotion, and graduation of any person, and especially an applicant or student with a disability, it is the obligation of the student to meet these minimum technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation.

For further information on these Technical Standards and the procedures for their implementation, interested persons are encouraged to contact the ADA Coordinator at 847-578-8482 or