Minimal Technical Standards and Requirements

Samuel Merritt University affirms the established policy to conduct its educational program without discrimination by reason of sex, age, race, color, ethnic or national origin, disability or handicap, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a veteran in the administration of employment, admission, financial aid, or educational programs.  Nondiscrimination is consonant with the principles and practices of the University and is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as Amended in 2008, and by various other federal, state, and local statutes and regulations. 

The mission of the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University is to train physicians who have the comprehensive clinical and didactic training necessary to provide highly skilled, competent health care in a variety of medical and surgical settings. Potential podiatrists are expected to complete all academic and clinical requirements of the professional program before they can sit for national board exams and state licensure exams and practice. Each candidate for the DPM degree must be able to consistently, quickly and accurately integrate all information received, perform in a reasonably independent manner, and must have the ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize applicable data.  The purpose of this document is to delineate the skills deemed essential to the completion of this program and to perform as a competent provider in the practice of podiatric medicine. 

The University successfully works with a number of students who need accommodations because of a disability.  Therefore, any student who believes that they may require accommodations in the educational program because of a disability is encouraged to contact the Director of Disability Support Services at 510-869-6616 or send an email to 
If a student cannot demonstrate the following skills and abilities, it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation. The University will provide reasonable accommodation as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the program offered and does not impose an undue hardship such as those that cause a significant expense, difficulty, or are unduly disruptive to the educational process.  Documentation will be required regarding the nature and extent of the disability and the functional limitations to be accommodated.    

1. Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments and laboratory exercises in the basic medical sciences, including computer assisted instruction. They must be able to view images via a microscope and to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.

2. Communication: Candidates and students should be able to speak, hear and observe in order to effectively be involved in the didactic learning process in the basic medical sciences and clinical science courses. Candidates and students must be able to elicit information, examine patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, perceive nonverbal communications, and be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Therefore, they must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form in order to be adequately evaluated in all courses and clinical rotation assignments.

3. Motor: Students must be able to perform maneuvers necessary to do a proper physical examination and to perform fine motor skill tasks with proficient use of instruments such as scissors, clamps, scalpel or drill. Candidates and students should possess sufficient motor function to execute the necessary movements to participate in the laboratory portion of the basic science courses, and to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways and the suturing of simple wounds. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

4. Sensory: Since podiatric medical candidates and students need enhanced ability in their sensory skills, it would be necessary to thoroughly evaluate for candidacy individuals who are otherwise qualified but who have significant tactile sensory or proprioceptive disabilities. This would include individuals with significant previous burns, sensory motor deficits, cicatrix formation and many malformations of the upper extremities.

5. Strength and Mobility: Podiatric medical treatment often requires sufficient upper extremity and body strength. Therefore, individuals with significant limitations in these areas would be unlikely to succeed. Mobility to attend to emergency codes and to perform such maneuvers as CPR is also required.

6. Visual Integration: Consistent with the ability to assess asymmetry, range of motion tissue texture changes, it is necessary to have adequate visual capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration.

7. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving and critical thinking are necessary skills for the podiatric medical student. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

8. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and evidence mature and sensitive relationships with faculty, staff, and patients. They must be able to promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. Candidates and students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Candidates and students are expected to possess and be able to demonstrate the highest level of ethical and professional behavior. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are also personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes.