Technical Standards

Technical Standards from the following departments/programs:

Technical Standards are those physical, personal skills and attributes academic departments with professional/graduate programs expect students to acquire and display; they are, by their nature not academic or met solely through the acquisition of academic knowledge, however some technical standards may be related to academic knowledge.

They are most widely applicable to professional/graduate programs as they are commonly associated with the ability to perform an occupational function or meet occupational expectations.

Expectations regarding Technical Standards can be applied at different phases of a student's professional/graduate program career i.e. at the application/admissions stage, when determining suitability for progression and at graduation. However, rightly, there may well be different levels of expectation as many programs will expect students to acquire or develop their Technical Standards skillset as a result of participation in the program. It would not be unreasonable for programs to establish a minimum level of competency in relation to Technical Standards as an indicator that the student will be sufficiently able to meet all of the standards at graduation. Indeed, a process of measuring an applicant's competencies in relation to the identified Technical Standards at the application/admissions stage can be effective in preventing problems later on. In addition, with particular reference to applicants with disabilities, such a process can help initiate an early consideration concerning the student's need for accommodations and status as otherwise or not-otherwise qualified.

Health and Human Performance

Kinesiology Student Handbook


Undergraduate Student Handbook
Graduate Student Handbook

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy Essential Functions

Accommodations and Technical Standards:

An academic department will intend for its students and graduates to become competent and compassionate practitioners in their field and meet the requirements of the intended occupation.

An academic department should not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities who apply for admission to the professional/graduate program. Otherwise qualified individuals shall not be excluded from admission or participation in a professional/graduate program solely by reason of their disability or medical condition. An academic program should provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is one that does not require substantial program modification or lower academic standards. Learning disabilities are included under this policy. Reasonable accommodations can be provided in relation to academic requirements and to technical standards. Academic departments offering professional/graduate programs should be clear that technical standards are of equal importance with academic requirements and that it is necessary to fully explore the use of reasonable accommodations with candidates in both areas.

Should a candidate have or develop a condition that places the student in the position of not being able to meet a technical standard and no reasonable accommodation can be identified and this is such that it would jeopardize his or her ability to complete the program and pursue professional practice and licensure, the candidate may be denied admission.

Should an admitted student have or develop a condition that places the student in the position of not being able to meet a technical standard and no reasonable accommodation can be identified and this is such that it would jeopardize his or her ability to complete the program and pursue professional practice and licensure, the student may be dismissed from the program.

Candidates for selection to a professional/graduate program should verify that they understand and can meet the technical standards laid down by a program or that they believe that, with certain reasonable accommodations, they can meet the standards.

It is the responsibility of a student with a disability (or a student who develops a disability) and who needs an accommodation to notify the Office of Student Support & Success (OSSS) of the disability, and to provide adequate documentation of the general nature and extent of the disability and the functional limitations to be accommodated. A student who has or develops any chronic disease or condition that may affect his or her ability to meet the technical standards will be expected to seek input and appropriate intervention from appropriate professionals.

History and Rationale for Technical Standards:

The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, P.L. 101-336 (“ADA” or “the Act”), enacted on July 26, 1990, provides comprehensive civil rights protections to qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA was modeled on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which marked the beginning of equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. As amended, Section 504 “prohibits all programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from discrimination against individuals with disabilities who are ‘otherwise qualified’ to participate in those programs.” With respect to post-secondary educational services, an “otherwise qualified” individual is a person with a disability “who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II and Title III are applicable to students with disabilities and their requests for accommodations. Title II covers state colleges and universities.

Title III pertains to private educational institutions; it prohibits discrimination based on disability in places of “public accommodation,” including undergraduate and postgraduate schools. Given the intent of Section 504 and the ADA, the development of standards of practice for a profession, and the establishment of essential requirements to the student's program of study, or directly related to licensing requirements, is allowable under these laws. In applying Section 504 regulations, which require individuals to meet the “academic and technical standards for admission,” the Supreme Court has stated that physical qualifications could lawfully be considered “technical standard(s) for admission.”

Institutions may not, however, exclude an “otherwise qualified” applicant or student merely because of a disability, if the institution can reasonably modify its program or facilities to accommodate the applicant or student with a disability. However, an institution need not provide accommodations or modify its program of study or facilities such that (a) would “fundamentally alter” and/or (b) place an “undue burden on” the educational program or academic requirements and technical standards which are essential to the program of study.

Please consult with your desired program of study or department to see if there is a technical standard. The OSSS can assist you in determining if accommodations are appropriate.

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