Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center

Technical Standards

The purpose of this document is to specify the technical standards that the faculty deems necessary for a student to matriculate, remain in good standing and ultimately to achieve all the competencies necessary for graduation with the MPO degree. The Feinberg School of Medicine requires applicants to confirm their ability to comply with these standards, with or without accommodation, as a condition of admission to the MPO program.


Students must be able to observe and interpret custom fabrication demonstrations in the manufacturing laboratory. They must have sufficient visual and auditory acuity to accurately determine and interpret physical findings in patients; and to evaluate the quality of the fitting of a prosthetic-orthotic device to the affected portion of the body. The student must also have adequate touch perception to be able to palpate during physical examinations.


Students must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with patients, families and colleagues to elicit information in both verbal and non-verbal forms. The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing in English.

Motor Skills

A student must be able to demonstrate the required motor movements to safely perform basic prosthetic-orthotic fabrication tasks and conduct physical examinations, including but not limited to palpation and obtaining accurate measurements and impressions of the affected portions of the body that are to be treated. This requires both gross and fine muscular movements, as well as coordination. The student must be able to adhere to universal precautions while performing these activities.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

Students must be able to calculate, measure, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, which is the most critical skill required of prosthetist-orthotists, demands all of these abilities. Students must be able to participate and learn through a variety of modalities including but not limited to classroom instruction, small groups, team and collaborative activities.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must possess the stable emotional health required for the exercise of good judgment, the timely completion of responsibilities related to the evaluation and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and colleagues. Students must be able to work collaboratively in a health care team and function in stressful work environments such as hospitals and clinics. They must be able to demonstrate reasonable flexibility in adapting to changing work situations.


The Feinberg School encourages application by qualified students with disabilities who meet these technical standards either with or without accommodations. Information regarding disability accommodations may be obtained through ACCESSIBLENU ( Use of an intermediary may be permissible in performing some physical maneuvers or data gathering, but must not substitute for the student’s interpretation and judgment.

Policy of Nondiscrimination

Northwestern University does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship, or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or
activities it operates.