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School of Medicine Greenville

Technical Standards


The USC School of Medicine Greenville has adopted the following technical standards: Technical Standards for Admission, Retention and Graduation. The curriculum of the USC School of Medicine Greenville is designed to provide a general professional education leading to the medical doctor (M.D.) degree and to prepare students to enter graduate medical training in a wide variety of medical specialties and sub-specialties.

All candidates for admission to, and all current students at the School of Medicine Greenville (herein after designated as candidates for the M.D. degree) should possess sufficient intellectual capacity, physical ability, emotional and psychological stability, interpersonal sensitivity, and communication skills to acquire the scientific knowledge, interpersonal and technical competencies, professional attitudes, and clinical abilities required to pursue any pathway of graduate medical education and to enter the independent practice of medicine.

All candidates should be aware that the academic and clinical responsibilities of medical students will, at times, require their presence during day, evening and overnight hours, seven days per week. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. 

Although these standards outline the necessary physical and mental abilities of all candidates, they are not intended to deter any candidate for whom reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of all curricular requirements. A “qualified person with a disability” is an individual with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission to, retention in and graduation from the educational program at USC School of Medicine Greenville, with or without accommodations

While the USC School of Medicine Greenville fully endorses the spirit and intent of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, it also acknowledges that certain minimum technical standards must be present in candidates for admission, retention and graduation. Patient safety and well-being play a major role in establishing requirements involving the physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities of candidates for admission, promotion, and graduation. 

Those individuals who would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of themselves or others are not considered suitable candidates for admission or retention in medical school. Therefore, the USC School of Medicine Greenville has established the following technical standards for admission to, retention in, and graduation from, the M.D. program.

Technical Standards

  1. All candidates for admission must fulfill the minimum academic requirements for admission to the USC School of Medicine Greenville.
  2. All candidates for the M.D. degree must complete all required courses, clerkships, and rotations at USC School of Medicine Greenville.
  3. All candidates for admission and all candidates for the M.D. degree must possess sufficient physical, intellectual, interpersonal, social, emotional, psychological and communication abilities to:

    a. establish appropriate relationships with a wide range of faculty members, professional colleagues, and patients. Candidates should possess the personal qualities of integrity, empathy, concern for the welfare of others, commitment to life-long learning, and motivation. They must possess the emotional and psychological health required for the full use of their intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of all responsibilities associated with the diagnosis and care of patients; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, patients’ families, and professional colleagues. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to be flexible, and to function in the face of ambiguities inherent in any clinical situation. 

    Candidates must be able to speak, to hear, to read, to write, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, to describe changes in mood, activity, posture, and behavior, and to perceive nonverbal communications. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in the English language in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. Candidates must be mobile and able to function independently within the clinical environment.

    b. obtain a medical history and perform physical and mental examinations with a wide variety of patients. Candidates must be able to observe patients accurately both close at hand and at a distance. Observation requires the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities and is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell. Candidates must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain, and temperature), proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory), and motor function to carry out the requirements of the physical examination. Candidates must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic operations. They must be able to use effectively and in a coordinated manner those standard instruments necessary for a physical examination (e.g., stethoscope, otoscope, sphygmomanometer, ophthalmoscope, and reflex hammer). 

    Candidates must be able to execute motor movements required to provide general and emergency treatment to patients, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, intubation, suturing of simple wounds, and performance of obstetrical maneuvers; all such actions require coordination of both fine and gross muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

    c. conduct tests and perform laboratory work. Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations, collect data, and participate in dissection of cadavers; examination of specimens in anatomy, pathology and neuroanatomy laboratories; and microscopic study of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. They must be able to understand and interpret basic laboratory studies, draw arterial and venous blood, and carry out diagnostic procedures (e.g., NG tube placement; lumbar puncture; thoracentesis paracentesis).

    d. ultimately make logical diagnostic and therapeutic judgments. Candidates must be able to make measurements, calculate, and reason; to analyze, integrate, and synthesize data; and to problem-solve. Candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must be able to integrate rapidly, consistently, and accurately all data received by whatever sense(s) employed.

In evaluating candidates for admission and candidates for the M.D. degree, it is essential that the integrity of the curriculum be maintained, that those elements deemed necessary for the education of a physician be preserved, and that the health and safety of patients be maintained. While compensation, modification and accommodation can be made for some disabilities on the part of candidates, candidates must be able to perform the duties of a student and of a physician in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary would compromise a candidate’s judgment by another person’s powers of selection and observation. Therefore, the use of trained intermediaries to assist students in meeting the technical standards for admission, retention or graduation is not permitted.


The USC School of Medicine Greenville will consider for admission any candidate who has the ability to perform or to learn to perform the skills and abilities specified in these technical standards. Candidates for the M.D. degree will be assessed at regular intervals not only on the basis of their academic abilities, but also on the basis of their non-academic (physical, interpersonal, communication, psychological, and emotional) abilities to meet the requirements of the curriculum and to graduate as skilled and effective medical practitioners.

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

Admitted candidates who have a disability and require accommodations should contact the Manager of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions as soon as the offer of admission is accepted. Evaluating and facilitating accommodation requests is a collaborative effort between the candidate, USC School of Medicine Greenville and the USC Student Disability Resource Center.

It is the responsibility of a candidate with a disability to provide sufficiently current information documenting the nature and extent of his/her disability, any previous accommodation(s) received and the functional limitations proposed to be accommodated. USC School of Medicine Greenville reserves the right to request new or additional information.

Should an accepted candidate or student develop a condition that would place him/her, patients or others at risk or that may require a need for accommodation, an evaluation with USC School of Medicine Greenville and the USC Student Disability Resource Center may be necessary. As in initial assessments, a complete and careful reconsideration of all the skills, attitudes and attributes of each accepted candidate or student will be performed. This includes an assessment of his/her willingness, desire and ability to complete the medical curriculum, and will be informed by the fact that students with varied types of disabilities have the ability to become successful medical professionals.


Reviewed and approved by Curriculum Committee on 10/8/2020

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