Technical Standards

The Colleges of Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, and Nursing of the SUNY Upstate Medical University strive to select students who possess the intelligence, integrity, and personal and emotional characteristics that are considered necessary to become effective health professionals or biomedical scientists.

Students admitted to the University should have the intellectual and physical abilities to acquire the knowledge, beyond skills taught in each program of study. The curricula are designed to provide the general education necessary for the students selected field.

Students will

  • learn the fundamental principles
  • develop critical judgement
  • apply principles and skills wisely in solving scientific and health related problems

Curricular goals and/or minimal graduation requirements have been developed to fulfill these objectives and to prepare graduates to pursue further education, if desired.

In addition to satisfactory academic performance in all course work, students are expected to fulfill the nonacademic essential functions of the curriculum in a reasonably independent manner. These functions are specified by the physical, cognitive, and behavioral standards (referred to collectively as technical standards) necessary for the completion of the program. Technical standards for each program in the College of Health Professions can be found by linking to each program.

SUNY Upstate Medical University will consider for admission and advancement any individual able to perform pursuant to the standards, which are used as guidelines. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to qualified individuals with a disability in accordance with applicable laws and policies, while maintaining the integrity of program standards. Requests for accommodations will be determined on a case by case basis.

Graduates are prepared for roles in patient care, research and other aspects of the profession, such as quality control, management and teaching.

Graduates specializing in medical biotechnology work with a team of individuals who conduct medical research in academic or industrial settings. In university laboratories, these individuals assist scientists by performing experiments that are part of a medical research study.

Graduates are prepared for roles in research and other aspects of the profession, such as quality control, management, and teaching. Students are expected to master the technical standards of their program.

Medical Biotechnology students are held accountable for the following technical standards:

Sensory and Observation Functions:

  • Students must have sufficient capacity to:
  • Visualize information presented in images from paper, slides, and in digital form.
  • Observe laboratory and/or lecture demonstrations.
  • Operate a clinical grade binocular microscope to discriminate among fine structural and color differences of microscopic specimens, to include hue, shading, and intensity.
  • Distinguish color in reading color changes associated with chemical/biochemical reactions.
  • Differentiate by touch, hotness/coldness, wetness/dryness, and hardness/softness for safety purposes.


  • Students should be able to speak intelligibly, hear sufficiently, elicit and transmit patient information in oral and written format to members of the healthcare team, and communicate effectively with instructors and other students.
  • They must possess demonstrated reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and follow laboratory procedures.
  • They must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills in the English language.

Motor Function:

  • Students must have functional sensory and motor skills to directly perform laboratory tests on body fluids, cells, and products.
  • They must have sufficient motor function to utilize laboratory instruments, and establish and perform preventative and corrective maintenance and repairs.
  • They must possess functional motor skills to demonstrate basic laboratory techniques.
  • They must possess functional motor skills to perform procedures for collecting and processing biological specimens for analysis, including phlebotomy.
  • They must comply with laboratory safety measures and regulations, and practice standard precautions against contamination with infectious pathogens (e.g. wearing personal protective equipment; working with sharp objects; and hazardous materials).


  • Critical thinking is a necessary skill for laboratory personnel. Students must have the intellectual capacity to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize information from various modalities to effectively perform laboratory tests.
  • They must be able to integrate and relate laboratory data while making judgments about possible discrepancies, confirm abnormal results, verify quality control procedures, and develop solutions to problems concerning the generation of laboratory data.
  • They must be able to accept and learn through a variety of teaching modalities including classroom lecture and discussion, cooperative learning, small group activities, laboratory exercises and demonstrations, individual and group presentations, and the use of technology assisted learning.

Behavioral and Social Attributes:

  • Students must at all times demonstrate the emotional stability to be able to exercise good judgment and promptly complete all responsibilities in the laboratory setting.
  • They must perform problem solving skills in a timely manner.
  • They must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads.
  • They must be able to function effectively under stress.
  • They must have the ability to display flexibility and adapt to changing environments.
  • They must treat all instructors, students, and other members of the healthcare team with dignity and respect.
  • They must demonstrate honesty, integrity, dedication, compassion, nondiscrimination and motivation.
  • They must be able to accept constructive criticism and respond appropriately with an acceptable modification of behavior.

SUNY Upstate Medical University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. All applicants and students are held to the same academic and technical standards of admissions and training. Reasonable accommodations will be made for qualified individuals with a disability. However, the student is expected to perform these functions in a reasonably independent manner.

Spend time with Medical Biotechnology students…

watch the program video
Sarah Goodman

Sarah Goodman, Medical Biotechnology Class of 2012, conducted research her senior year on genetic mutations linked to schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. “I like working on genetics, and with DNA,” Sarah said. “I’ve always been interested in genetics and neurodegenerative disorders. It’s like a puzzle, and the mystery is where the pieces should go.”

Read about Sarah Goodman and her summer research project in Paris.


Room 1215, Weiskotten Hall
Phone: 315 464-4570