Minimum Technical Standards Policy for Admissions and Matriculation

The Marquette University School of Dentistry is committed to the principle of diversity in all areas. In that spirit, admission to the School is open to all qualified individuals and complies with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1993).

The Marquette University School of Dentistry recognizes the award of a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree carries with it the full authority of the institution and communicates to those who might seek the services of the bearer that he or she is competent to practice dentistry. The D.D.S. degree is unique in that the graduate is prepared and, upon licensure, is allowed to practice all disciplines of the dental profession. This requires that the student acquire didactic knowledge as well as learning skills and attitudes essential to the profession and agreed upon by the faculty as requisite for the practice of dentistry. The student requires both cognitive and technical skills to negotiate the curriculum.

The Marquette University School of Dentistry is aware of the unique nature of the dental curriculum. Applicants must possess the skills and abilities that will allow them to successfully complete the course of study and receive the full benefit of the education. In the process the student is required to manage or perform treatment on the patients of the School. The School has the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of patients. This includes the completion of treatment safely and within an acceptable amount of time. With this in mind, the student must be able to meet the following technical standards with or without accommodation.


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Motor Skills

General: Candidates and students must have sufficient motor functions to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and treatment to patients within an acceptable amount of time.

Specific: A candidate must possess the motor skills necessary to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic maneuvers, basic laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures. Such actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional uses of the senses of touch and vision.

Specific: A candidate must be able to perform basic life support (including CPR), transfer and position disabled patients, physically restrain adults who lack motor control, and position and reposition self around patients. A candidate must be able to operate controls utilizing fine movements, operate high or low speed dental instruments within less than one millimeter, and utilize hand instruments (including scalpels for surgical procedures).


General: A candidate must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic and dental sciences.

Specific: This includes, but is not limited to, information conveyed through physiologic and pharmacological demonstrations in animals; and microbiological cultures and microscopic images of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. A candidate must be able to acquire information from written documents and to visualize information presented in images from paper, films, slides, video and computer. A candidate must be able to interpret unannotated radiographs (X-rays) and other graphic images, with or without the use of assistive devices. A candidate must have functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of sensory modalities.

General: A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance and close at hand, and observe and appreciate auditory and non-verbal communications when performing dental operations or administering medications.

Specific: A candidate must be able to perform visual and tactile dental examinations and treatment, including use of visual acuity, accommodation, and vision to discern the differences and variations in color, shape and general appearance between normal and abnormal, soft and hard tissues. Use of tactile senses may be by direct palpation or indirect through instrumentation. A candidate must also possess the visual acuity to read charts, records, small print and handwritten notation, and distinguish variations in colors intra and extra orally. A candidate must be able to sense and distinguish sounds for patient safety, both verbal and non-verbal including, but not limited to, a verbal request for help, non-verbal sounds of distress such as choking, and sounds of equipment problems or failure.


General: A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and/or guardian; convey or exchange information at a level allowing development of a health history; identify problems presented; explain alternative solutions; and give directions during treatment and post-treatment. For effective patient treatment, the candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with all members of the health care team, orally and in writing.

Specific: A candidate must have sufficient facility with English to retrieve information from literature, computerized data bases and lectures, to communicate concepts on written exams and patient charts; elicit patient backgrounds; describe patient changes in moods, activity and posture; and coordinate patient care with all members of the health care team.


General: A candidate must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize.

Specific: A candidate must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of a dentist, requires all of these intellectual abilities. A candidate must be able to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion for effective patient treatment.


General: A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, maintenance of patient confidentiality, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients.

Specific: A candidate recognizes the curriculum is physically, mentally and emotionally taxing. He/she must be able to tolerate demanding workloads, to include functioning effectively under stress, adapting to changing environments, displaying flexibility and learning to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes. A candidate must also be able to manage apprehensive patients with a range of moods and behaviors in a tactful, congenial, personal manner so as not to alienate or antagonize them. A candidate must reasonably be expected to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.

The School will consider for admission any applicant capable of acquiring the necessary knowledge and having the ability to perform, or learn to perform, the skill specified in these standards. The School has determined that these skills are essential to the program of instruction.

Although the School may not inquire whether an applicant has a disability prior to making a decision on admission, an applicant may disclose during the admissions process a disability for which he or she wishes accommodation during the admissions process or upon admission. If this occurs, the School will request the applicant to provide documentation of the disability to the Director of Admissions. The Admissions Committee will consider the applicant based on the published criteria for admission of all applicants. The Admissions Committee will make a determination as to whether the applicant can perform the essential functions of the educational program, taking into account the accommodations that the applicant has requested or alternative reasonable accommodations that the institution can offer.

After admission, a student who discloses a disability and requests accommodation may be asked to provide documentation of his or her disability for the purpose of determining appropriate accommodations, including modification to the program. The School will provide reasonable accommodations, but is not required to make modifications that would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or provide auxiliary aids that present an undue burden to the School. The student must be able to perform all of the technical standards with or without accommodation to matriculate or continue in the curriculum. Costs of reasonable accommodations will be borne by the School unless otherwise funded. Requests for accommodation should be initiated with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

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