Technical Standards for Admissions and Retention

The educational objective of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program at the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy is to prepare students for the practice of pharmacy. Students admitted to, as well as those continuing in the PharmD program, must have the intellectual, emotional, and physical abilities, with reasonable accommodations provided to those with disabilities, to acquire the knowledge, behaviors, clinical and technical skills to successfully complete the curriculum in preparation for licensure as a practicing pharmacist. Further, the safety of the patient, on whom the professional education process is primarily focused, must be ensured as the final and ultimate consideration. Therefore, it is essential for competent patient care to require students to meet minimum technical standards in their pharmacy education.

The technical standards outlined below specify those attributes the faculty considers necessary for initiating, continuing, or completing a high quality pharmacy education program, thus enabling each graduate to enter practice. The awarding of the PharmD degree signifies that the holder is prepared to enter into the practice of pharmacy. The faculty has the responsibility to monitor the maintenance of these standards. Students must be able to independently perform all of the described functions. In addition, any conditions that pose a current or potential risk to the safety and well being of patients or colleagues must be formally disclosed prior to enrollment in the College of Pharmacy. Such disclosure will not result in automatic exclusion from the program but must be considered in the interest of patient safety.

The five standards listed below describe the essential functions students must demonstrate in order to fulfill the requirements of a pharmacy education, and thus, are prerequisites for entrance to, continuation in, and graduation from the College of Pharmacy. The College of Pharmacy will consider for admission any applicant who demonstrates the ability to perform or to learn to perform the skills listed in this document. A candidate for the PharmD degree must meet or exceed the required aptitude, abilities, and skills, in the following areas:


Students must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments, including but not limited to, the basic and pharmaceutical sciences and medical illustrations and models. They must be able to directly and accurately observe a patient's physical condition, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals. The student must be able to obtain a history and perform appropriate physical assessments and to correctly integrate the information obtained from these observations to develop an accurate therapeutic plan. They must be able to prepare medications for dispensing to patients and observe the activities of technical staff operating under their supervision. This observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision, hearing, and other sensory modalities.


The student must be able to communicate in oral and written English with patients, the patient's family members or caretaker, and other health care practitioners. Students must be able to communicate quickly, effectively, and efficiently with the faculty and all members of the healthcare team when the time available is limited in order that decisions based upon these communications can be made rapidly.

Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function

A student must have sufficient motor function and skills to perform basic tasks in the practice of pharmacy. These tasks include, but are not limited to, motor function sufficient to monitor drug responses, accurately compound and prepare sterile and non-sterile dosage forms, elicit information from patients using basic patient assessment skills such as palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers, provide general care and emergency treatment to patients (e.g., first aid treatments, cardiopulmonary resuscitation), perform basic laboratory tests (e.g., blood glucose concentrations), and administer immunizations.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

A student must possess sufficient intellectual, conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities to complete a rigorous and intense didactic and experiential curriculum. They must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small group activities, individual study, preparation and presentation of reports, and use of computer technology. A student must be able to memorize, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and apply complex information. They must also be able to comprehend spatial relationships and three-dimensional models.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must possess the emotional and mental health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to didactic and experiential education, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and healthcare professionals of differing cultures and backgrounds. Compassion, integrity, kindness, patience, interpersonal skills, and motivation are required of all students.

Students must be of sufficient emotional health to be able to tolerate physically, intellectually, and emotionally taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress or with distractions thus enabling them to adapt to circumstances and situations that may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways.


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