Technical Standards

Approved by the Medical Education Council February 9, 2017


The WCMC faculty believes that our educational mission is to graduate physicians who are broadly capable and skilled in general medicine, and ready to start residency training.  This principle applies irrespective of any future plans for specialization or non-clinical careers.  To this end, graduates of WCMC must demonstrate certain essential abilities, attributes and characteristics in order to fulfill our overall program learning objectives.  As medical education differs from many other forms of higher education, in that graduates must be able to practice medicine and to care for patients, candidates for admission, retention, promotion and graduation must possess not only intellectual but also physical, emotional and interpersonal abilities.

For the purpose of this document, the term “candidate” applies both to applicants to medical school and to matriculated students who are under consideration for retention, promotion or graduation. The faculty has identified five essential domains in which candidates must demonstrate ability.  A student may receive reasonable accommodation to demonstrate these abilities.  However, the use of an intermediary, a person performing a task on the candidate’s behalf in a manner that compromises the candidate’s independent judgement, is not permitted.

Technical Standards

  1. Observation.  The candidate must be able to observe required demonstrations in the basic and clinical sciences.  The candidate must also be able to observe patients accurately and to perform a complete medical interview and physical examination.  These skills require the use or functional equivalent of vision, hearing, and touch.
  2. Communication.  The candidate must be able to communicate effectively with all persons, including faculty, staff, colleagues, patients, and families.  The candidate must be able to speak, listen, read and write effectively in English, and to interpret non-verbal communication.
  3. Motor Function.  The candidate must be able, after appropriate training, to perform anatomic dissection, a complete physical examination, and basic clinical procedures.  The candidate must be able to respond promptly to clinical situations.  These skills require a degree of physical mobility and neuromuscular coordination.
  4. Cognitive, Intellectual and Quantitative Abilities.  The candidate must be able to assimilate the vast knowledge required of physicians, to solve complex problems, and to analyze and integrate information.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes.  The candidate must demonstrate the maturity and emotional stability required for scientific learning, capable and compassionate patient care, and interaction with the healthcare team.  The candidate must be able to contribute to collaborative learning environments, to accept constructive feedback, and to take responsibility for learning and improvement.  The candidate must also be able to tolerate demanding workloads, to function effectively under stress, to display flexibility, and to adapt to changing environments.

The candidate must also possess the general physical and mental health necessary for performing the duties of a physician-in-training capably and safely.

All candidates must meet the goals and objectives of WCMC, with or without accommodations.

Ability to Meet Technical Standards

All candidates are informed of WCMC’s technical standards and policies. Before matriculation, every candidate must sign a document indicating that he or she has read the technical standards policy and meets WCMC’s technical standards. WCMC students must continue to meet the Medical College’s technical standards throughout their enrollment. All matriculated students must affirm annually that they continue to meet WCMC’s technical standards, with or without accommodations. 

Equal Access to the Educational Program

WCMC has a history of providing equal educational opportunities to qualified applicants and enrolled medical students with disabilities. WCMC is committed to complying with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and federal and state regulations, which require institutions such as WCMC to provide reasonable accommodations for students with diagnosed and documented disabilities. These acts cover applicants, students with disabilities, and students who develop disabilities throughout their education at WCMC.

Candidates with disabilities are reviewed individually, on a case-by-case basis in order to determine whether they satisfy the technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation.

Accommodation Process (see Disability Services section in the Student Handbook)

Admission and promotion at WCMC is conditional on the candidate’s willingness and ability to satisfy the technical standards, either with or without reasonable accommodation. Candidates are required to accept ongoing responsibilities for planning, managing, and expressing accommodation needs. They must immediately contact the Associate Dean (Student Affairs) if they wish to request accommodations.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to provide current documentation of the general nature and extent of the disability, and the specific functional limitations that are proposed to be accommodated. WCMC reserves the right to request new or additional information.

Once the Associate Dean (Student Affairs) gathers the appropriate documentation, he or she will work in consultation with Disability Services and the Promotions and Graduation Committee to determine whether the candidate meets WCMC’s technical standards, with or without accommodations.

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New York, NY 10021 (646) 962-4931

Office of Medical Education 1300 York Avenue, Room C-118 New York, NY 10065 (212) 746-1050