The purpose of this document is to specify the technical standards the University deems necessary for a student to matriculate, remain in good standing and ultimately achieve all the competencies necessary for graduation within their program. The University, therefore, requires candidates to confirm their ability to comply with these standards, with or without accommodation, as a condition of admission and on an annual basis thereafter.

Fulfilment of the technical standards for graduation does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific residency program or employment setting.

A candidate seeking a PhD in Biomedical Sciences degree at Des Moines University must be capable of completing core educational requirements and achieving the competencies in the basic and applied sciences. DMU seeks to develop candidates who have a deep and robust medical knowledge base, with the ability to appropriately apply it, effectively interpret information, and contribute to decisions across a broad spectrum of laboratory situations in all settings. The critical skills required to be successful are outlined below, and include the ability to observe, communicate, perform motor functions, as well as to understand, integrate core knowledge and skills, and to behave appropriately in varied educational and professional situations. 

Reasonable accommodations may be required by otherwise qualified individual candidates to meet the technical standards specified below. Requests for University-provided accommodations will be granted if the requests are reasonable, do not cause a fundamental alteration of the medical education program, do not cause an undue hardship, are consistent with the standards of the profession, and are recommended by the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist.

  1. Observation: Candidates and students must be able to acquire required information and timely interpret demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences. 
  2. Communication: Candidates and students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language such that they can communicate effectively in oral and written form with all members of the classroom and laboratory team. Candidates and students must be able to communicate with peers and advisors in order to elicit and share information. They must have the capacity for comfortable verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills to enable effective collaboration within a multidisciplinary team. In any case where a candidate’s ability to communicate is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to communicate with teams.
  3. Motor and Sensory: Candidates and students must have sufficient motor and tactile function to execute movements reasonably required to perform basic laboratory tests. Such actions may require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch. In any case where a candidate’s ability to complete and interpret laboratory findings using motor skills is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to retrieve these physical findings. 
  4. Strength and Mobility: Candidates and students must demonstrate strength, including lower extremity and body strength, and mobility to complete laboratory dissections or experiments.
  5. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: Candidates and students must have the ability to accurately measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, problem solve, and think critically. They must also have the ability to participate and learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small groups, team and collaborative activities. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates and students must be able to concentrate, timely analyze and interpret data and make decisions within areas in which there is a reasonable amount of visual and auditory distraction.
  6. Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills, and Professional Expectation: Candidates and students must be able to effectively utilize their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, timely complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and colleagues. Candidates and students must be able to professionally manage heavy workloads, prioritize conflicting demands, and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments; to display flexibility, to learn to function in the face of their own possible biases and uncertainties inherent in the process of research, and to not engage in substance abuse. Candidates and students must be able to understand and determine the impact of the social determinants of health and other systemic issues which impact the care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other protected status. Professionalism, compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all qualities that are required throughout the educational process.


Des Moines University welcomes qualified candidates and students with disabilities who meet the technical standards of the program, with or without reasonable accommodations. Students with a disability who may need accommodations during their educational career at DMU will be asked to reaffirm their need for accommodations when acknowledging the ability to meet technical standards annually.  The student is responsible for requesting accommodations through the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist in the Center for Educational Enhancement. Please reach out in person, by email (, or by calling 515-271-1516. The Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist reviews all requests for accommodations through an individualized, interactive process.

The use of an intermediary may be a reasonable accommodation while performing some non-essential physical maneuvers or non-technical data gathering. However, an intermediary cannot substitute for the candidates’ or student’s interpretation and judgement. Intermediaries may not perform essential skills on behalf of the candidate or student, nor can they replace technical skills related to selection and observation.


Candidates are required to attest at the time they accept an offer to matriculate that they meet the applicable technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, and annually confirm they continue to meet these standards. These standards are not intended to deter any candidate or student who might be able to complete the requirements of the curriculum with reasonable accommodations.

The University will provide reasonable accommodations as may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

A student whose behavior or performance raises questions concerning his or her ability to fulfill these technical standards may be required to obtain evaluation or testing by a health care provider designated by the University, and to provide the results to the Center for Educational Enhancement to be considered as part of the interactive process to determine possible reasonable accommodations.

Technological compensation can be made with respect to certain technical standards, but candidates and students should be able to perform these standards in a reasonably independent manner.


In addition to the technical standards set forth, candidates and students must possess the general physical health necessary for performing the duties of a student in the health sciences and a health professional in training without endangering the lives of patients and/or colleagues with whom they might have contact. 


BIOC 1112Biochemistry/Molecular Genetics4.5
PHYPM 1116Medical PhysiologyPHYPM 1116=6 credit hours; MICR 1103=5 credit hours
or MICR 1103 Microbiology & Immunology
Students taking PHYPM 1116 (6.0 credits) are required to complete 3.0 credits of PHDBS 3B01; students taking MICR 1103 (5.0 credits) are required to complete 4.0 credits of PHDBS 3B01
PHYPM 2115Medical Pharmacology5.5
MBS 1B03Responsible Conduct Biomedical Research1
MBS 1B12Frontiers in Biomedical Research2.5
MBS 1B14Research Compliance & Laboratory Safety0.5
MBS 1B06Intro to Biostatistics and Data Analysis2
MBS 2B05Scientific Communications1.5
PHDBS 2B01Molecule to Medicine I3
PHDBS 2B02Molecule to Medicine II3
PHDBS 2B12Dissertation Proposal2
PHDBS 2B21Sem in Biomed Sci I: Presentation Skills1
PHDBS 2B22Sem in Biomed Sci II: Presentat Design1
PHDBS 2B23Teaching the Biomedical Sciences1
PHDBS 2B31Grant Writing Skills I1
PHDBS 2B32Grant Writing Skills II2
PHDBS 2B40Data Analysis for Clinical Research2
PHDBS 3B01Critical Analysis of Biomedical Research (Students complete 3-4 credits total)3-4
PHDBS 1B01Research40
PHDBS 4B10Dissertation I1
PHDBS 4B20Dissertation II1
PHDBS 4B30Dissertation III2
Total Required Credits: 86.5

The University awards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences (PhD) upon recommendation of the faculty. The Academic Progress Committee reports annually to the college faculty the names of students that have met requirements for the Doctoral degree. To graduate, a student must:

  • Exhibit high standards of professional behavior and receive the graduate faculty’s recommendation for graduation.
  • Successfully complete all required courses and attain a final cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Successfully complete and defend their doctoral dissertation.
  • Satisfactorily discharge all financial obligations to the University.
  • Make continual research project progress commensurate with successful dissertation completion.
  • Complete all graduation requirements, including the graduation clearance process and a Petition to Graduate form.  The Petition to Graduate form can be found on the website.