Academic and Technical Standards

Academic and Technical Standards

Academic Program Standards:

Complete confidence in the honor and integrity of the health professions student and health care professional is essential. Such confidence depends entirely on the exemplary behavior of the individual health care provider in his/her relations with patients, faculty, and colleagues. Strict honesty as a personal way of life should be nurtured during the period of education for professional service. The dental student shall conduct all aspects of his/her life with honor and integrity. This includes accountability to oneself and to relationships with fellow students, future colleagues, faculty, and patients who come under the student’s care or contribute to his/her training and growth, as well as members of the general public. This applies to personal conduct that reflects on the student’s honesty and integrity in both academic and non-academic settings, whether or not involving a University sponsored activity. Upon accepting admission to the University, each student subscribes to and pledges complete observance to the University Conduct Policies as outlined in the University of New England Student Handbook program. A violation of these standards is an abuse of the trust placed in every student and could lead to suspension or dismissal.

Technical Standards – abilities and skills:

Candidates for the Doctor of Dental Medicine program must have the intellectual, emotional, and physical abilities, with or without accommodations, to acquire the knowledge, technical, and clinical skills needed to successfully complete the curriculum in order to pursue a career in dentistry. The essential academic standards presented in this document are pre-requisite for matriculation, subsequent promotion from year to year, and ultimately graduation from the University of New England, College of Dental Medicine. These standards pertain to all matriculated students. All required courses in the curriculum are necessary in order to develop essential skills required to become a competent Dentist. 

Students, including students with disabilities, must have the capacity to manage their lives and anticipate their own needs.  Students must be able to demonstrate the following abilities and skills with or without reasonable accommodation(s). 

  • Observation: A student must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance and close up, interpreting non-verbal communications while performing dental operations or administering medications. A student must be able to perform dental examinations and treatments that require the use of sight and touch. He or she must be able to see fine detail, focus at a variety of distances, and discern differences and variations in color, shape, and texture that are necessary to differentiate normal and abnormal soft and hard tissues. He or she must be able to use tactile senses to diagnose directly by palpation and indirectly by sensations transmitted through instruments. A student must also possess the visual acuity to read charts, records, radiographs, small print, and handwritten notation.
  • Communication: A student must be able to: communicate effectively and sensitively with patients; convey and exchange information at a level allowing development of a health history; identify problems; explain alternative solutions; and give directions during treatment and post-treatment. A student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with all members of the healthcare team. A student must have sufficient facility with English to: retrieve information from texts and lectures and 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. A student must be able to communicate in lay language so that patients and their families can understand the patient’s conditions and, thereby, be more likely to comply with treatment and preventative regimes.
  • Motor, Strength, and Mobility: A student must possess sufficient motor functioning to execute movements essential to providing oral health care to patients. A student must possess the motor skills to perform palpation, auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers; basic laboratory tests; and diagnostic and restorative procedures. Such actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional uses of the senses of touch and vision. A student must be able to perform basic life support including CPR, to transfer and position patients with disabilities, to physically restrain himself or herself around the patient and chair in a sitting or standing position. A student must promote and support the ability of coworkers to perform prompt care. A student must be able to operate controls, use high-speed or low-speed dental hand pieces for tooth preparation, and use hand instrumentation including scalpels for surgical procedures. A student must be able to maintain strength, posture and reach and manipulate equipment to all positions in order to control the operating environment.
  • Sensory: A student must be able to acquire a predetermined level of required information through demonstrations and experiences in basic and dental science courses. Such information includes, but is not limited to, information conveyed through: a) physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations, b) microscopic images of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states; and c) demonstration of techniques using dental models. A student must be able to acquire information from written documents, and to evaluate information presented as images from paper, films, slides, or video. A student must be able to benefit from electronic and other instrumentation that enhances visual, auditory, and somatic sensations needed for examination or treatment.
  • Cognitive: A student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize. A student must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Problem solving requires all of these intellectual abilities. A student must be able to perform these problem solving skills in a timely manner.
  • Behavioral and Social:  A student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual skills, the exercise of good judgment, 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. A student must be able to endure physically-taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. He or she must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interests, and motivations are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes. A student must 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 student must be able to interrelate among colleagues, staff, and patients with honesty, integrity, respect, and nondiscrimination.


Graduates of the DMD program must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical, administrative, and leadership situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care.
The University of New England, College of Dental Medicine acknowledges and complies with Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990, as amended, and requires minimum technical standards be present in students accepted into the Doctor of Dental Medicine program.  The college will engage in an interactive process with applicants with disabilities, but the College reserves the right not to matriculate any applicant who cannot meet the technical Standards set forth in this section, with reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but a student in the Doctor of Dental Medicine program must be able to perform in an independent manner.  Every applicant is considered without regard to disability.  Once accepted, students must complete all elements of the curriculum with or without reasonable accommodations.  In the case of a documented disability, the College must be fully satisfied that the applicant can make progress throughout the curriculum.

Throughout the DMD program, a student will be expected to maintain the technical standards and demonstrate them through their coursework, interaction with peers and faculty, and in their professional experiences.  Students who fail to demonstrate the technical standards while in the program will be evaluated and appropriate action (e.g., remediation, counseling, or dismissal) will be taken.  Because this expectation is separate from the academic achievement,  simply maintaining a passing status is not sufficient.  Additionally, individuals who would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of others are not considered suitable candidates for continued matriculation.

Applicants are not required to disclose the nature of their disability(ies), if any, to the Admissions Committee. However, any applicant with questions about these technical standards is strongly encouraged to discuss his/her specific issues(s) with the Student Access Center prior to the interview process.  If appropriate, and only upon the request of the applicant, reasonable accommodations will be provided.

When a letter of acceptance to the DMD program is mailed, a detailed copy of the Technical Standards for completion of the curriculum will be included. The applicant will be asked to respond in writing whether he/she can meet the standards with or without accommodation. The provision of or request for an accommodation for a disability is always voluntary for the student. An applicant should be able to evaluate him or herself for compliance with these Technical Standards.  In the event that accommodation is requested, the student must submit documentation of disability with the proposed accommodation from a certified specialist to UNE’s Student Access Center.  A continuing student who develops a disability should request accommodations based on the limitations of the disability through the Student Access Center.  Individuals unable to meet the Technical Standards for the DMD program may be unable to progress and/or complete the DMD program. 

The College’s Admissions Committee will consider the applicant based on the criteria for admission of all applicants.  An applicant who discloses a disability and requests accommodation in the admission process may be required to submit, in writing, the request for accommodation and pertinent supporting documentation.  The pertinent information may include a history of accommodations granted previously in other education programs.  Request for accommodation may be initiated with UNE’s Student Access Center.  

For more information on disabilities and accommodations, please contact the UNE Students Access Center.