MD: Washington University School of Medicine Technical Standards for the Medical Program

Washington University welcomes diverse applicants, including those with physical, sensory, learning, psychological, and chronic disease–related disabilities. The School of Medicine is committed to advocating for its students with disabilities and to educating a medical workforce that mirrors the diversity of the national population. We aim to be leaders in accessibility and inclusion.

Individuals seeking to graduate from Washington University with a Doctor of Medicine degree are expected to gain broad competence in the skills that underlie the practice of medicine and surgery. With or without accommodations, they must have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to meet the School of Medicine’s educational program objectives and meet the Technical Standards outlined in this document.

All graduates must be able to take a patient’s history, perform an examination, and synthesize the findings into an assessment and plan in a reliable and effective manner, with or without reasonable accommodations. The abilities needed to meet these standards include the following:

  1. Observation Skills, including gaining information from instructional activities, taking a history, and recognizing and evaluating physical findings
  2. Communication Skills, including effective verbal and non-verbal communication with patients, caregivers, the health care team, and the education community
  3. Motor Function, including navigating the clinical environment and performing a physical examination
  4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities, including acquiring, synthesizing and applying foundational knowledge and clinical data
  5. Behavioral, Social and Professional Attributes, including functioning as a compassionate, respectful, effective, ethical member of the health care and education community; receiving and acting on feedback; possessing the emotional and mental health needed to provide patient care; and prioritizing patient care in the face of competing demands

Applicants to the MD program review and attest to their ability to meet these technical standards as part of their application to the School of Medicine, and students attest again on an annual basis.

We welcome students with disabilities to apply to our school, to disclose their disability, and to collaborate with us to develop accommodations so that they can thrive and do their best work. Individuals who anticipate needing accommodations are encouraged to contact the university’s Disability Resources office for a consultation. Disability Resources will engage in a confidential and interactive process with the student and other personnel as necessary to determine reasonable accommodations. As accommodations are not applied retroactively and may require time to be implemented, they should be requested in a timely manner. Decisions on admission, retention and graduation will not be affected by the need for accommodations.

The Washington University School of Medicine Technical Standards for the Medical Program was last approved by the Executive Faculty on May 5, 2021. All substantive edits to this policy require approval by the Executive Faculty.