BSOM Technical Standards (revised May 2020)

The Brody School of Medicine requires that all candidates for the medical doctorate degree possess the intellectual, physical, and emotional capabilities necessary to undertake the required curriculum in an independent manner and that all students must be able to achieve the levels of competence required by the Executive Curriculum Committee to complete medical school and enter residency and clinical practice. The following technical standards describe the qualifications which the school considers essential for successful completion of the medical education program. These standards have been developed with consideration of various factors, including the minimum competencies expected of any physician, the demands of medical education and training, and the welfare of patients who will entrust their health and lives to medical school graduates. Individuals whose performance is impaired by abuse of alcohol or other substances are not suitable candidates for admission, promotion, or graduation.

All applicants to/students at the Brody School of Medicine will be evaluated according to the criteria outlined in these standards. Although these serve to delineate the necessary physical and mental abilities of all candidates, they are not intended to deter any candidate for whom reasonable accommodation would allow the fulfillment of the complete curriculum.


  1. Behavior

A medical student must possess the capacity to understand and abide by ethical principles as well as state and federal laws. They must be able to relate to colleagues, staff, and patients with honesty, integrity, inclusivity, and dedication. They must understand the power, privilege, and trust inherent in the physician-patient relationship and avoid misuse of this power. A medical student must possess the capacity to reason critically and deliberate effectively about social and ethical questions that arise in the practice of medicine. They must be able to participate collaboratively as a member of a professional team and be able to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism.  They must exhibit interpersonal skills, knowledge and attitudes to interact positively and sensitively with people from all parts of society, ethnic backgrounds, and belief systems.

  1. Intellect/Reasoning

A medical student must be able to master the broad and complex body of knowledge required in medical education. They must be able to synthesize information from a variety of sources, self-identify knowledge gaps, and seek assistance when necessary. They must be able to formulate a hypothesis, investigate the potential answers and outcomes, and formulate appropriate and accurate conclusions. Effective participation in learning modalities, such as individual, small group, and lecture formats, in both the classroom and the clinical setting, is required.

  1. Observation

A medical student must assimilate essential information presented through educational sessions. In addition, they must be able to accurately observe a patient and acquire relevant health and medical information, including written documents, images from the medical literature, slides, and/or videos. A medical student must interpret x-rays and other graphic images, along with digital or analog representations of physiologic data.

  1. Communication

A medical student must be able to ask questions, receive answers thoughtfully, record information about patients, and effectively educate patients. They must be able to comfortably interpret both verbal and non-verbal communication. A medical student must demonstrate proficiency in the English language such that they can communicate effectively and accurately in oral and written form with all members of the healthcare team.

  1. Stamina/Flexibility

A medical student must possess the stamina to maintain a high level of functioning during taxing workloads, stressful situations, and extended work hours.  They must tolerate the physical, mental, and emotional stress experienced during training and patient care and possess qualities of adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to function in the face of uncertainty.

  1. Physical/Emotional

A medical student must be of adequate emotional health to fully utilize their cognitive abilities, exercise good judgment, and complete patient care tasks promptly. They must relate to patients, families, peers, staff, and supervisors with courtesy, compassion, maturity, and respect despite stressful work, fatigue, and changing clinical environments. A medical student must possess the motor skills necessary to complete a physical exam of a patient. Such actions may require coordination of both gross and fine muscle movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch. Students must have the intellectual curiosity to navigate differences and the emotional intelligence to respond and not react to adversarial interactions.

A medical school applicant or student who has a disability and needs accommodations should initiate discussions with Associate Dean for Admissions (applicant) or Associate Dean for Student Affairs (student) who will serve as the liaison with the University’s Disability Support Services.

Should a medical student have or develop a medical condition or disability that would place patients, the student, or others at risk or that may affect their need for accommodation, medical evaluation may be necessary. The University will engage in an interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. An accommodation is not reasonable if it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the student/applicant and/or others, if making it requires a substantial modification to an essential element of the curriculum, if it lowers academic standards, or poses an undue administrative or financial burden. Except in rare circumstances, the use by the student of a third party to perform any of the functions described in the technical standards set forth above would constitute an unacceptable substantial modification. It is the responsibility of an applicant and/or student with a disability to request an accommodation and to provide sufficiently current information documenting the general nature and extent of his/her disability, and the functional limitations proposed to be accommodated. Evaluating and facilitating accommodations requests is a collaborative effort between the applicant/student, the Brody School of Medicine and ECU Disability Support Services.