Competencies Required for Graduation

The University of Minnesota Medical School organizes its competencies into nine domains of knowledge, skills and attitudes. These domains and competencies are adapted from the AAMCs Physician Competency Reference Set and align with the core ACGME competencies. This alignment will promote continuity of learning and assessment from medical school to residency and beyond. Demonstration of proficiency in each of these competencies is a requirement of graduation.

The nine domains represent the highest, broadest tier of the hierarchical structure used to organize curricular priorities. Each step below the top domain level narrows in scope: 

I. Domains of competence
      A. Subject-related competencies
           1. Course goals 
                a. Session objectives 

The building blocks of our medical education programs are specific, measurable learning objectives. These objectives are categorized under the more broadly defined competencies. The competencies, in turn, roll up under the umbrella of the nine domains of competence. Collectively, these three tiers represent the building blocks of the competency-driven learning strategy.

The Nine Domains and Their Associated Competencies

Patient Care

Provide patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

  1. Gather essential and accurate information about patients and their conditions through history-taking, physical examination, and the use of laboratory data, imaging, and other tests (PC1).
  2. Interpret laboratory data, imaging studies, and other tests required for the area of practice (PC2).
  3. Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence, and clinical judgment (PC3).
  4. Organize and prioritize responsibilities to provide care that is safe, effective, and efficient (PC4).
  5. Counsel and educate patients and their families to empower them to participate in their care and enable shared decision making (PC5).
  6. Develop and carry out patient management plans (PC6).

Knowledge for Practice

Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care.

  1. Apply established and emerging evidence to diagnostic decision-making and clinical problem-solving (KP1).
  2. Demonstrate an investigatory, methodical, and analytic approach to clinical situations (KP2).
  3. Apply principles of social-behavioral sciences to provision of patient care, including assessment of the impact of psychosocial and cultural influences on health, disease, care-seeking, care compliance, and barriers to and attitudes toward care (KP3).

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate one’s care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and life-long learning.

  1. Identify strengths, deficiencies, and limits in one's knowledge and expertise (PBLI1).
  2. Set learning and improvement goals (PBLI2).
  3. Participate in the education of patients, families, students, trainees, peers and other health professionals (PBLI3).
  4. Continually identify, analyze, and implement new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, products, or services that have been demonstrated to improve outcomes (PBLI4).
  5. Incorporate feedback into daily practice (PBLI5).

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals.

  1. Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in difficult conversations, including those about death, end of life, adverse events, bad news, disclosure of errors, and other sensitive topics (ICS1).
  2. Demonstrate insight and understanding about emotions and human responses to emotions that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions (ICS2).
  3. Communicate effectively with and demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in gender, gender identity, age, culture, race, religion, disabilities, socioeconomic status, body habitus, and sexual orientation (ICS3).


Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles.

  1. Demonstrate compassion, integrity, and respect for others (P1).
  2. Demonstrate respect for patient privacy and autonomy (P2).
  3. Demonstrate accountability to patients, families, and the healthcare team (P3).
  4. Demonstrate a commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of care, confidentiality, informed consent, and business practices, including compliance with relevant laws, policies, and regulations (P4).
  5. Demonstrate trustworthiness that makes colleagues feel secure when one is responsible for the care of patients (P5).
  6. Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest (P6).
  7. Maintain comprehensive, timely, and legible medical records (P7).

Systems-Based Practice

Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.

  1. Provide health care services to patients, families, and communities aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health (SBP1).
  2. Identify and report system errors (SBP2).

Interprofessional Collaboration

Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care.

  1. Work effectively with others as a member of a health care team or other professional group, cultivating mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity, and trust (IPC1).
  2. Use the knowledge of one’s own role and the roles of other health professionals to appropriately assess and address the health care needs of the patients and populations served (IPC2).

Personal and Professional Development

Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth.

  1. Demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms to respond to stress (PPD1).
  2. Develop the ability to use self-awareness of knowledge, skills, and emotions to engage in appropriate help-seeking behaviors (PPD2).
  3. Manage conflict between personal and professional responsibilities (PPD3).
  4. Practice flexibility and maturity in adjusting to change with the capacity to alter one's behavior (PPD4).
  5. Recognize that ambiguity is part of clinical health care and respond by utilizing appropriate resources in dealing with uncertainty (PPD5).

Scientific and Clinical Inquiry

Demonstrate understanding of scientific theory and methodology and the critical thinking skills needed to interpret and apply research to improving patient care.

  1. Demonstrate the critical thinking skills needed for applying basic and clinical sciences to improving patient care in health care systems (SCI1).


Adapted from the AAMC's Physician Competencies Reference Set (PCRS)
Approved by the Education Council – July 2019