John Sealy School of Medicine

Technical Standards and Essential Functions Required for Admissions, Continuation, and Graduation from the MD Program


The practice of medicine requires the assimilation of knowledge, the discipline of life-long learning, the acquisition of skills, and the development of critical judgment in preparation for independent and appropriate decisions required in medical practice. The abilities and attributes listed below reflect the critical activities a candidate must be able to perform to complete a generalist medical school curriculum. These include but are not necessarily limited to observation, communication, psychomotor skills, intellectual and cognitive abilities, professional and social attributes, and application of legal and ethical standards. The Essential Functions listed below, in conjunction with academic standards established by the faculty, are requirements for admission, promotion and graduation. Delineation of these functions is required for the accreditation of U.S. medical schools by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

For purposes of this document and unless otherwise defined, the term “candidate” means candidates for admission to the MD program as well as enrolled medical students who are candidates for promotion and graduation.

Candidates should be able to perform the essential functions listed below with or without reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended 2008.  Candidates who have questions about accommodations should contact the Institutional ADA Officer (  Information on the University’s Services for Students with Disabilities may be found online at

Essential Functions

  1. Observation/Sensory Modalities:   Candidates must be able to make accurate observations close at hand and at a distance; ­ using the senses of vision, hearing, and touch. These observations are applicable to classroom, laboratory, and patient care activities.
  2. Communication: Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently, both verbally and in writing, with peers, faculty, staff, members of a healthcare team as well as patients and their families. This would include stressful or demanding situations, with situation-specific requirements regarding appropriate phrasing, clarity, tone, and level of detail. The candidate must be able to respond to questions, formulate problems, and ask pertinent questions in a one-on-one, small group or large group format. Candidates must demonstrate appropriate non-verbal communication elements such as body language, facial expression, and eye contact. Candidates must be able to read and comprehend written material in English.
  3. Psychomotor Skills: Candidates must have sufficient motor capacities and mobility to attend class. The candidate must possess adequate strength, mobility, and dexterity to obtain all the important information and safely perform reasonable procedures in the care of patients. Candidates must have the psychomotor skills to provide general and emergency treatment that is reasonably required of physicians in clinical activities for extended periods of time.
  4. Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities: Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, integrate, and apply information. Candidates must be able to apply information from a variety of sources, such as knowledge obtained in the classroom setting, interaction with other healthcare professionals, and written or electronic materials such as textbooks or literature searches. Problem solving, a clinical skill required of physicians, requires all these intellectual abilities. Candidates must be able to apply logic and scientific reasoning to solving problems, as well as consider diverse and competing perspectives to address bias. Candidates must be able to perform these functions not only during times of quiet reflection but must also during stressful situations and in a rapid manner, such as might occur in a medical emergency. In addition, candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates will be subject to assessment exercises to evaluate these abilities (e.g., standardized patient exams, and direct observations of a candidate’s performance between the candidate and a patient).
  5. Professional, Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates must exercise good judgment, promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, as well as the administrative responsibilities required of health care personnel. Candidates must possess the ability to develop mature, sensitive, respectful, and effective professional relationships with peers, faculty, staff, members of a healthcare team as well as patients and their families. Candidates must be able to function effectively under stress and long hours while displaying flexibility and adaptability to changing environments. They must be able to pay attention to detail while performing their learning activities and be able to contribute to collaborative constructive learning environments, accept constructive feedback from others, and take personal responsibility and accountability for their actions.
  6. Legal and Ethical Standards: Candidates must demonstrate professional attitudes and behaviors and must perform in an ethical manner in all dealings with peers, faculty, staff, members of a healthcare team as well as patients and their families. Candidates must treat all patients equally without regard to race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, or veteran status. They must demonstrate honestly, integrity, and reliability, and adhere to the standards that reflect the values and functions of the healthcare profession.

Enrollment Services Contact Information

All Contacts:


Mailing Address:

Office of Enrollment Services
The University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-1305

All other:

Phone: 409-772-1215
Fax: 409-772-5056
Email Addresses:

Campus Map