AAMC Competency Based Learning Objectives

Competency E1: Apply quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate quantitative numeracy and facility with the language of mathematics.
  2. Interpret data sets and communicate those interpretations using visual and other appropriate tools.
  3. Make statistical inferences from data sets.
  4. Extract relevant information from large data sets.
  5. Make inferences about natural phenomena using mathematical models.
  6. Apply algorithmic approaches and principles of logic (including the distinction between cause/effect and association) to problem solving.
  7. Quantify and interpret changes in dynamical systems.

Competency E2: Demonstrate understanding of the process of scientific inquiry, and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Develop observational and interpretive skills through hands-on laboratory or field experiences.
  2. Demonstrate ability to measure with precision, accuracy, and safety.
  3. Be able to operate basic laboratory instrumentation for scientific measurement.
  4. Be able to articulate (in guided inquiry or in project-based research) scientific questions and hypotheses, design experiments, acquire data, perform data analysis, and present results.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to search effectively, to evaluate critically, and to communicate and analyze the scientific literature.

Competency E3: Demonstrate knowledge of basic physical principles and their applications to the understanding of living systems.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of mechanics as applied to human and diagnostic systems.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of electricity and magnetism (e.g., charge, current flow, resistance, capacitance, electrical potential, and magnetic fields).
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of wave generation and propagation to the production and transmission of radiation.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of thermodynamics and fluid motion.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of principles of quantum mechanics, such as atomic and molecular energy levels, spin, and ionizing radiation.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of principles of systems behavior, including input–output relationships and positive and negative feedback.

Competency E4: Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of chemistry and some of their applications to the understanding of living systems.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of atomic structure.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of molecular structure.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of molecular interactions.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of thermodynamic criteria for spontaneity of physical processes and chemical reactions and the relationship of thermodynamics to chemical equilibrium.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of principles of chemical reactivity to explain chemical kinetics and derive possible reaction mechanisms.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the chemistry of carbon-containing com- pounds relevant to their behavior in an aqueous environment.

Competency E5: Demonstrate knowledge of how biomolecules contribute to the structure and function of cells.
Learning Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the structure, biosynthesis, and degradation of biological macromolecules.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics that drive biological processes in the context of space (i.e., compartmentation) and time: enzyme-catalyzed reactions and metabolic pathways, regulation, integration, and the chemical logic of sequential reaction steps.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the biochemical processes that carry out transfer of biological information from DNA, and how these processes are regulated.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of genetics and epigenetics to explain heritable traits in a variety of organisms.

Competency E6: Apply understanding of principles of how molecular and cell assemblies, organs, and organisms develop structure and carry out function.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Employ knowledge of the general components of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, such as molecular, microscopic, macroscopic, and three-dimensional structure, to explain how different components contribute to cellular and organismal function.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of how cell–cell junctions and the extracellular matrix interact to form tissues with specialized function.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the mechanisms governing cell division and development of embryos.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of biomechanics and explain structural and functional properties of tissues and organisms.

Competency E7: Explain how organisms sense and control their internal environment and how they respond to external change.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain maintenance of homeostasis in living organisms by using principles of mass transport, heat transfer, energy balance, and feedback and control systems.
  2. Explain physical and chemical mechanisms used for transduction and information processing in the sensing and integration of internal and environmental signals.
  3. Explain how living organisms use internal and external defense and avoidance mechanisms to protect themselves from threats, spanning the spectrum from behavioral to structural and immunologic responses.

Competency E8: Demonstrate an understanding of how the organizing principle of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of life on earth.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain how genomic variability and mutation contribute to the success of populations.
  2. Explain how evolutionary mechanisms contribute to change in gene frequencies in populations and to reproductive isolation.
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