Academic Policies and Technical Standards

All students enrolled in the University are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the scholastic regulations, the general and specific requirements of the academic program, and the operational policies that govern the program of study.


Medical education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of specific skills and professional attitudes and behavior. Medical school faculties have a responsibility to society to train and graduate the best possible physicians who are competent for safe practice appropriate to their level of training, and thus admission to medical school has been offered to those who present the highest qualifications for the study and practice of medicine. Successful completion of all required courses in the curriculum is necessary in order to develop the essential skills required to become a competent physician and to enter residency.

The essential technical standards presented in this document are pre-requisites for matriculation, subsequent promotion from year to year, and ultimately graduation from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. These standards pertain to all students enrolled in UNE COM.

The faculty is committed to fostering relationships with its students that encourage human and professional growth. Its policies and procedures attempt to reflect this commitment to proactive and supportive communication. At the same time, it is imperative that all students recognize that the primary responsibility for a successful medical school education, both in and outside the classroom, rests with the individual student.

The college’s obligation and mission is to produce effective and competent osteopathic primary care physicians and to seek candidates and graduate physicians who will be best able to serve the needs of society. Therefore, all applicants will be held to the same admission standards, and all enrolled students will be held to the same academic standards.

All students must be able to demonstrate competency for patient safety appropriate to the learner’s level of training. Demonstration of fluency of skills and knowledge appropriate to the level of training is a requirement for progression through the curriculum. Most assessments are designed to simulate activities in the clinical training and clinical practice settings and are tied to the learner’s demonstration of competency for patient safety. These assessments may be performed in a timed and structured environment and are designed to evaluate the learner’s ability to demonstrate appropriate fluency of skills and knowledge under specific conditions.

All students, including students with disabilities, must have the capacity to manage their lives and anticipate their own needs.


  1. No otherwise qualified individual will be denied admission to UNE COM based solely upon a disabling condition.
  2. Enrollment in UNE COM assumes that admitted students will possess certain levels of cognitive, emotional, and technical skill. All osteopathic medical students are held to the same fundamental standards. Academic and clinical requirements that are essential to graduation from UNE COM or directly related to licensing requirements will not be eliminated for any student. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to assist the student in learning, performing and satisfying the fundamental standards, so long as the student applies properly for the accommodation/s and they are approved. 
  3. The college is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations that are necessary to afford students with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in the UNE COM program. Accommodations are not reasonable if they would fundamentally alter the program or the assessment, impose an undue burden to the college, or pose a direct health or safety risk to any other individual, including patients.

Abilities and Skills

A candidate for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree must have abilities and skills of five varieties: (1) observation skills; (2) communication skills; (3) fine and gross motor skills; (4) conceptual, integrative and quantitative, cognitive skills and (5) behavioral and social/emotional skills.

  1. Observation Skills
    The student must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic sciences, including, but not limited to, information conveyed through physiologic and pharmacological demonstrations in animals, dissection of cadavers, examination of specimens in anatomy, pathology, and neuroanatomy laboratories, microbiologic cultures, microscopic study of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. Furthermore, a candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance, and close at hand, acquire information from written documents, and visualize information as presented in images from paper, films, radiographs, computer screens, slides, or video. The student must be capable of using instruments such as, but not limited to, a stethoscope, an ophthalmoscope, a microscope, an otoscope, and a sphygmomanometer. Such observation and information acquisition necessitate the functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities. An intact sense of smell is necessary to assist in the clinical setting. 
    In any case where a candidate’s ability to observe or acquire information through these sensory modalities is compromised, (i.e. physical disabilities or chemical sensitivities/allergies) the student must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information without reliance upon another person’s interpretation of the information.
  2. Communication Skills
    The student must be able to effectively, efficiently, and respectfully communicate in English using verbal, written, and reading skills, in a manner that demonstrates sensitivity to patients, their families, and all members of the health care team.
    A student must be able to accurately elicit information, describe a patient’s change in mood, thought, activity and posture. Students must demonstrate established communication skills using traditional or alternative reasonable means that do not fundamentally modify this standard. Assistive devices may be used, if appropriate under these standards
  3. Motor Skills
    The student must be able to, with or without the use of assistive devices, but without reliance on another person, interpret x-ray and other graphic images and digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomenon (such as EKGs).
    The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures, including but not limited to palpation, percussion, and auscultation is required. Students must have sufficient motor function to safely execute movements required to provide osteopathic manipulative medical care to patients. Students must be able to negotiate patient care environments and must be able to maneuver between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing, and moving are required in classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.
    It is also essential for a student to be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency diagnosis, osteopathic manipulative care, and medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and suturing of wounds. At all times the ability to administer care to patients in a safe manner is paramount.
  4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Skills
    The student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize information in a timely fashion. In addition, the student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structure. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. These problem-solving skills must be able to be performed in the precisely limited time demanded by each specific clinical setting.
  5. Behavioral and Social/Emotional Skills
    Every student must behave in a manner exhibiting high moral and behavioral standards reflecting the position and status of an osteopathic physician.  Students need to show respect for individuals and groups without regard for age, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, including gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, or veteran status. Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, 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.
    Students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. They must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize information effectively in a precisely limited time demanded by each specific clinical setting, while under stress, and in an environment in which other distractions may be present. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes.
  6. Students demonstrate their ability to meet these technical standards via their participation in mandatory curricular activities.

Participation in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Clinical Skills Laboratories 

Active participation in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Clinical Skills Laboratories is an admission, matriculation, and graduation requirement. The development of manipulative medicine palpatory skills is taught in all four years of the curriculum. This learning requires active participation in all laboratory sessions. During the first two years, each student will palpate, in the laboratory setting, a variety of people representing both genders and individuals with different body types to simulate the diversity of patients expected in a practice setting. Being palpated by other students and faculty helps the student appreciate how palpation feels from the patients’ perspective, and enables students to provide feedback to their laboratory partners, thus, enhancing their palpatory skills. Reading and observation, although helpful, do not develop the skills required to perform palpatory diagnosis and manipulative treatment. Each student is required to actively participate as both an active learner and recipient in all skills development laboratory sessions.

General Health

The student must have sufficient physical stamina to perform strenuous workloads for long periods. They should be free of chronic or reoccurring debilitating diseases that would interfere with or require a fundamental alteration of the program or preclude successful completion of the curriculum.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

As part of its review, the UNE COM Committee on Admissions evaluates each applicant in the areas of personal and academic integrity and personal values. An invitation to join the UNE COM community indicates that the institution believes that the applicant has a well-developed set of values and a high level of integrity. The faculty and administration are committed to fostering this integrity and to developing students' increasing awareness of the multifaceted demands of professionalism ­as student physicians who are ultimately responsible for their own learning, as people who need to reflect and reappraise themselves consistently and honestly, and as future physicians who must learn to cope with an ever-­evolving set of demands.

Student physicians are expected to behave professionally and ethically with respect and integrity, to face new situations and people with open minds, to maintain their intellectual and personal curiosity, and to meet their obligations. These expectations form the basis of student responsibilities.

Likewise, student rights are based on the premise of reciprocity. Students should expect to be met with the same sense of integrity, respect, and openness.

Standards for Professional Behavior and Conduct

In order to evaluate acceptable demonstration of professional behavior and conduct for graduation, the UNE COM faculty has adopted the following standards.

Each student enrolled in the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine is expected to:

  1. Behave in a responsible, reliable and dependable manner (e.g., manage time well; be on time for assignments, meetings, and appointments; plan ahead and follow through with commitments; cooperate with person(s) in charge of programs; and take responsibility for absences or missed assignments).
  2. Demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and self-discipline (e.g., be consistent and truthful, to show appropriate personal control; take on tasks that he/she can manage; be honest in reports and self-evaluations).
  3. Project a professional image in manner, dress, grooming, speech, and interpersonal relationships that is consistent with the medical profession's accepted contemporary community standards (e.g., maintain awareness of personal hygiene; wear a white coat and name tag, if expected; notify preceptor or other leader in case of emergency absence or calls; apologize if unable to notify in advance; be respectful of other students and patients when performing or practicing physical diagnosis or treatment).
  4. Recognize his/her personal limitations and biases, whether they are intellectual, physical or emotional and to strive to correct them (e.g., overcome negative behaviors such as procrastination; learn to be a team member; adapt to new situations; and avoid discriminatory conduct or speech).
  5. Demonstrate the professional and emotional maturity to manage tensions and conflicts which occur among professional, personal, and family responsibilities, seeking professional help if necessary (e.g., meet with supposed antagonists to resolve misunderstandings; get needed help from faculty advisors, tutors, counselors, learning assistance professionals and other qualified persons; show ability to prioritize appropriately one’s personal, professional, and academic expectations and activities).
  6. Demonstrate the ability to exercise sound judgment and to function under pressure (e.g., request help when needed and avoid endangering others); respect the difference between physician and physician-­in-­training (i.e., doctor and student doctor); remain focused on the task at hand; remember that as a student doctor he/she represents UNE COM and the osteopathic profession to the greater community at large.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to learn from mistakes and failures and to heed admonitions and warnings from officers of UNE COM and of clinical supervisors (e.g., be responsive to feedback and constructive criticism regarding professional behavior and attitude, and understand the seriousness of academic and disciplinary warnings).
  8. Demonstrate compassion and respect toward others (e.g., work cooperatively with differences and diversity in personalities and in cultural backgrounds as well as with differences in social and economic status); and respect the privacy and individual choice of others.
  9. Demonstrate consistent respect for administrators, faculty, staff, and fellow students of the University.

These standards are taken very seriously and evaluated regularly. Failure to abide by these standards may result in academic warning, probation, or dismissal.


The University conducts an annual registration for students during the start of each academic year. The Office of the University Registrar handles registration for students in Years 1 and 2 with information regarding student status and courses from the COM Office of Academic Affairs. The Office of the University Registrar enrolls medical students in Years 3 and 4 using information on student status from the Office of Clinical Education. Students are required to confirm their enrollments as classes/educational activities begin through U-­Online. The Registrar sends directions for this process to all students as each semester begins.

During the registration process, students must finalize payment of tuition and related fees, as delineated in the section entitled Tuition and Fees, including filing appropriate documents with Registration Services, Financial Aid, Business Affairs, and the Office of Recruitment, Student and Alumni Services. In addition, all new incoming students are required to undergo a complete physical examination, meet UNE COM immunization requirements, and complete the medical questionnaire provided by the University, plus complete a satisfactory background check as a prerequisite to enrollment. Failure to comply with meeting immunization requirements may result in the inability to register for courses, receive course grades or proceed with clinical assignments.

Academic Records

Complete records and related documents are maintained in Registration Services, Decary Hall. Under the terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students have the right to review and inspect all education records pertaining to their academic enrollment. However, letters of recommendation submitted on the basis of a pledge of confidentiality prior to January 1, 1975 need not be shown to students, and a student may be allowed but not required to waive his/her right of access to letters of recommendation received after that date. FERPA requires post-­secondary institutions to provide students not only access to official records directly related to them, but also an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. It is the right of students to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by an educational agency or institution to comply with Section 438 of the Act that guarantees such rights.

University students wishing to review their records may do so by providing a written request to Registration Services.

Student Access and Annual Notification

FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records, specifically the right to:

  1. Inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. The student should submit to Registration Services a written request that identifies the records s/he wishes to inspect. The office will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. Request the University to amend the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. The student should write to the University Registrar, clearly identifying the part of the record s/he wishes to be changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If it is determined not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding hearing procedures will accompany this notification.
  3. Consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff) ; a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as attorney, auditor, or collection agent) ; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her task; or the Veterans Administration for students registered for various GI Bill programs. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  4. File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failure(s) by the University of New England to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
    • Family Policy Compliance Office
      U.S. Department of Education
      600 Independence Avenue, SW
      Washington, DC 20202­4605

FERPA permits the University to disclose "directory information" without a student's consent. Directory information is defined as: name, address, e­mail address, telephone listing, photograph, date and place of birth, level of education, academic major, degrees, honors and awards received, and educational institutions in which a student was enrolled.

Active students who wish to have directory information withheld from release must do so in writing on a ‘per­-academic­-year’ basis. Request forms are available in Registration Services or Office of Recruitment, Student, and Alumni Services. Requests must be submitted prior to September 30 (if first-time enrollment for academic year is fall semester) or January 30 (if first-time enrollment for academic year is spring semester) to affect a "withhold" status.

Student Enrollment Status

The University of New England classifies student credit load status for the purposes of financial aid loan deferments. See enrollment classifications.

Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examinations

The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examinations (COMLEX-­USA) are administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) and are divided into three levels. Levels 1 and 2 (which consists of 2 parts) are completed during the predoctoral years and Level 3 is given to qualified graduates during their first year of postgraduate (residency) training. The Level 2 examination consists of two independent components — a Cognitive Evaluation (Level 2-­CE) and a Performance Evaluation (Level 2-­PE). The former predominantly tests a student’s knowledge base and the latter predominantly his/her clinical skills.

Details of student eligibility for the Level 1 examination is described in the COM Student Handbook Supplement. Students must be in good academic standing and achieve a minimum score of 500 in a UNE COM administered, proctored, and timed COMSAE Phase 1 exam. Students become eligible for the Level 2 examinations after successfully passing COMLEX Level 1, achieving a minimum COMSAE Phase 2 score of 500, having advanced to Year 3, and after approval from the COM. Students must have a passing score on COMLEX-USA Level 1 in order to begin rotations at clinical campus sites. Students must take and pass both components of the Level 2 examination as a condition of graduation.

Students are allowed a maximum of three attempts to pass COMLEX-­USA Level 1 and each component of COMLEX­-USA Level 2. Any student who fails to pass any individual component of the COMLEX-USA examination series after three attempts will be recommended for dismissal from the college.

Students are allowed a maximum of six years to complete all of the College of Osteopathic Medicine curriculum, including passage of COMLEX-USA Level 1, and Level 2 PE and CE. At the conclusion of six years, students who have not met all requirements will be recommended for dismissal from the College.

Note: Registration and scheduling of the exams is the responsibility of the student. Students should also plan to register and take the COMLEX-­USA Level 1 and 2 (PE and CE) with sufficient time allowed to receive exam results and be able to comply with any deadlines for clinical rotations or graduation. Students applying for residency should have registered for and taken COMLEX –USA Level 2 PE and CE prior to the start of residency interviews.  Students should plan on taking COMLEX-USA Level 2 PE no later than May 31st of their third year and COMLEX-USA Level 2 CE no later than July 31 of their fourth year. This timing should allow sufficient time to receive scores for residency interviews and allow time to meet graduation requirements. Students are responsible for being current in their knowledge of residency application guidelines and graduation requirements and take steps to ensure they meet all requirements in a timely manner. This may require registration and scheduling with NBOME up to 12 months in advance. It is recommended that these exams be taken early enough in order to ensure that the exams are passed with sufficient time to allow for any necessary retesting.

Laptop Requirement

The College has instituted a mandatory laptop computer requirement. Specifics regarding the minimum configuration are updated and made available annually.

Course Grade Reporting

The process of determining grades and the criteria for passing a course are described explicitly in each course syllabus ratified by the Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC) and posted prior to the beginning of the course.

A final course grade is determined by the course director and must comply with the standards and principles endorsed by the Curriculum Advisory Committee.