Minimum Technical Standards

5D Dentist in Action

Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation

The University of Louisville ("School")  recognizes the award of a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BS) degree carries with it the full authority of the institution and communicates to those who might seek the services of the bearer that he/she/they are competent to practice dentistry. This requires that the student acquire didactic knowledge as well as learning skills and attitudes essential to the profession. The student requires both cognitive and technical skills to negotiate the curriculum.

The School is aware of the unique nature of the dental curriculum. Students must possess the skills and abilities that will allow them to successfully complete the demanding course of study and receive the full benefit of the education.  In the process the student is required to manage or perform supervised 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 reasonable accommodation.

Motor Skills

Students must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients through such diagnostic procedures as palpation, auscultation, and percussion. Students should be able to execute motor movements that are reasonably required to provide oral health care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of such emergency treatment are: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and uncomplicated oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.


Students must be able to perform visual and tactile dental examinations and treatment including use of visual acuity and color vision, to discern differences and variations in color, shape, and general appearance between normal and abnormal soft and hard tissues. Use of tactile senses may be either by direct palpation or indirect through instrumentation.


Students must have sufficient facility with the English language to:

  1. Retrieve information from texts and lectures and communicate concepts on written exams and patient charts;
  2. Communicate effectively with patients in order to develop a health history, identify problems presented, explain alternative solutions, and give directions during treatment and post-treatment; and
  3. Coordinate patient care with all members of the health care team. In any case where a student’s ability to communicate through these sensory modalities is compromised, the student must demonstrate alternative means and/or ability to acquire and communicate essential information.


Students must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of dentists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Students must be able to perform these problem solving skills in a timely fashion.


Students must be able to tolerate physically-taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process. Further, students 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. Students will be expected to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.


Compliance with the Immunization Requirements for all Health Sciences students is mandatory. Immunization requirements have been established to safeguard the health and wellbeing of patients, students, and all healthcare workers can be found at:     

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 skills specified in these standards. These skills are essential to the program of instruction.

Reasonable Accommodation 

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 that the applicant 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.

Requests for accommodation should be initiated with the Office of Student Affairs.