Technical Standards for Admission and Retention

The Admissions Committee for the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine admits students who have a genuine interest in the study and practice of medicine; show a desire and commitment to serve the public in matters of health; and who have the intellectual and conceptual skills to manage the changing scientific and technological information required by a competent physician in today's world.  

Personal qualities considered by the Admissions Committee include high moral character, independent thinking, the ability to communicate and interact with others in a sensitive and caring way, the ability to maintain professionalism in stressful situations, and dedication to the idea of service.

Understanding the importance of the educational benefits resulting from a diverse student population and the interest by the medical profession in serving the health care needs of a changing American population, the Admissions Committee values each applicant's unique strengths, experiences and background.

The Carver College of Medicine has three inextricably linked missions:  education, research, and clinical service.  The college aspires to be responsive to the needs of society through the excellence of its educational programs in the health professions and biomedical sciences, by the outstanding quality of its research, and through the provision of innovative and comprehensive health care and other services.

To achieve this goal, the following principles and technical standards will be applied to candidates for admission and continuing students.


Applicants for admissions to the Carver College of Medicine and continuing students must possess the capability to complete the entire medical curriculum (basic and clinical sciences, as well as professional skills) and achieve the degree.  To this end, all courses in the curriculum must be completed successfully.  In order to acquire the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care, candidates for the M.D. degree must have abilities and skills in the following five Technical Standards categories:  Observation; Communication; Motor skills; Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities; and Behavioral and Social Attributes.

On occasion, reasonable accommodations may be required by otherwise-qualified individual candidates to meet the technical standards specified below.  Request for University of Iowa-provided accommodations will be granted if the requests are reasonable, do not cause a fundamental alteration of the medical education program, do not cause an undue hardship on the Carver College of Medicine or the University of Iowa, are consistent with the standards of the medical profession, and are recommended by the University's Disability Accommodations Committee. Please refer to the Disabilities and Reasonable Accommodations website for information.

Technical Standards:

  1. Observation
    Students must have the functional ability to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences and must have sufficient use of the senses necessary to perform history taking and a physical examination.  Students or candidates must be able to acquire and evaluate relevant information in multiple formats; spoken, written, electronic and imaging data.  If a candidate is not able to observe or acquire information through the senses, candidate must demonstrate abilities to acquire the necessary information through satisfactory alternate means.
  2. Communication
    Students must be able to establish sensitive and, professional relationships with patients, colleagues and staff. They are expected to communicate the results of the history and physical examination to the patient and to their colleagues with accuracy, clarity and efficiency.  In any instances where students' ability to communicate is compromised, students must demonstrate comparable alternative means or abilities to communicate.
  3. Motor skills
    Students are expected to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures. In any instances where students' ability to acquire information and perform physical examination is compromised, students must demonstrate satisfactory alternative means or abilities to acquire information and perform physical examination.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
    Students must be able to learn to analyze and, synthesize available information, solve problems, and reach reasonable diagnostic and therapeutic determinations. Students are expected to be able to display sound judgment in the assessment and treatment of patients. Students must be able to respond appropriately to changes in patient condition and available data and information. Students must be able to learn to respond with prompt and appropriate action in emergency situations.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes
    Students are expected to be able to accept constructive criticism and respond with appropriate modification of their behavior. Students are also expected to possess the perseverance, diligence, and consistency necessary to complete the medical school curriculum and enter the independent practice of medicine within a reasonable timeframe. They must demonstrate professional demeanor and ethical behavior in all dealings with peers, faculty, staff and patients.
  6. Cultural Competency
    Medical students must be able to communicate with and care for persons whose race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age or sexual preference are different from their own. They must be able to perform a complete history and physical exam on any patient regardless of the student's and patient's race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age or sexual preference. Similarly, students must be able to interact professionally with colleagues and other healthcare professionals without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age or sexual preference.

Applicants with any additional questions about these standards are encouraged to email the Medical School Admissions Office or call 319-335-8052.