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Technical Standards

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Technical Standards

A candidate for admission, retention/promotion, or graduation to the program must be able to demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodation, the following academic and non-academic abilities and characteristics defined as “technical standards” in six core areas:

  • Observation – A candidate must be able to observe demonstrations in lectures and laboratories, microscopic studies of microorganisms, gross organs and tissues in normal and pathologic states. They must be able to observe a patient accurately and completely at a distance and close at hand. Such observation and information acquisition usually requires functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation.
  • Communication – A candidate must be able to speak, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. They must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and efficiently with patients, their families, and other members of the health care team through oral, written, and electronic forms.
  • Motor – A candidate must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers necessary to complete a full physical examination. They must have motor function sufficient to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and use of the senses of touch and vision.
  • Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities – A candidate must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom and laboratory instruction; small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; and the use of electronic technology. They must be able to memorize, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and transmit information across modalities. A candidate must recognize and draw conclusions about three-dimensional spatial relationships and logical sequential relationships among events. They must be able to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely manner with stressful distractors consistent with the medical environment.
  • Emotional, Behavioral and Social Attributes – A candidate must demonstrate the maturity and emotional stability required for full use of his/her intellectual abilities. A candidate must possess the emotional stability and health to exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities, and tolerate the physical, mental, and emotional stress often experienced during training and patient care. A candidate must be able to work effectively, respectfully, and professionally as part of the healthcare team, and to interact with patients, their families, and healthcare personnel in a courteous, professional, and respectful manner. A candidate must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and long work hours, to function effectively under stress, and to display flexibility and adaptability to changing environments. A candidate must be capable of regular, reliable, and punctual attendance for required class sessions and in regard to their clinical responsibilities. A candidate must accept responsibility for his/her learning; accept constructive feedback from others; and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes when necessary. A candidate must demonstrate sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems.
  • Ethical, Professional and Legal – A candidate must behave in an ethical, professional, and moral manner consistent with professional values and standards. A candidate must meet the legal standards to be licensed to practice medicine as a physician assistant in the State of Oklahoma. As such, candidates for admission must strictly comply with instructions on reporting criminal offenses or disciplinary action taken against them prior to matriculation. In addition, a candidate charged with any criminal offense while in PA school has an affirmative obligation to immediately notify the PA program director. Failure to disclose prior or new offenses can lead to disciplinary action that may include dismissal.


The technical standards are not intended to deter from participation any candidate for admission, promotion, or graduation for whom reasonable accommodation will allow fulfillment of the program requirements. The College of Medicine is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to request a reasonable accommodation from the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). The PA Program, in accordance with university policy, will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, but is not required to make modifications that would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program, service, or activity, cause undue hardship, or result in undue financial or administrative burden. Any requested accommodation that requires the Physician Assistant Program substantively alter i) the curriculum or, ii) the requirements related to its Educational Program Objectives will not be considered reasonable. The Physician Assistant Program will rely on the ADRC’s determination as to the reasonableness of any accommodation based on the published technical standards. A candidate may appeal the ADRC determination with the University Equal Opportunity Office in accordance with prevailing University grievance procedures.


  1.  Candidates for Admission

Any conditionally accepted applicant who cannot meet the technical standards as defined in Section II, with or without reasonable accommodation, will not be permitted to matriculate and will be notified in accordance with current policies on Admission to the Physician Assistant Program.

  1. Candidates for Retention, Promotion or Graduation

The skills and abilities required for admission are tied directly to those required for graduation. It is the responsibility of the student to immediately notify the PA program if they become unable to meet the Technical Standards at any point during enrollment as a PA student. Any candidate who cannot meet the technical standards as defined in Section II, with or without reasonable accommodation, will not be permitted to continue in the program and will be notified in accordance with current policies on Promotion within the Physician Assistant Program.