Academic Programs Catalog

College of Osteopathic Medicine

Professional Program in Osteopathic Medicine

The College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University (MSUCOM) offers a four-year curriculum leading to the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).  The program is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

Since its inception in 1970, MSUCOM’ s mission has been to prepare physicians in the science of medicine, the art of caring and the power of touch with a world-view open to all people.  This emphasis is reflected in a strong foundation in the basic and clinical sciences that is complemented by supervised patient contact within MSUCOM’s Statewide Campus System, a network of hospitals, clinics, and providers throughout Michigan.

Throughout the curriculum, students develop clinical skills within a framework of osteopathic principles.  These are manifested in helping students to: (1) understand how physical, psychosocial, and lifestyle factors influence health and disease; (2) recognize the interrelationship of body systems in holistic ways; (3) apply biomechanical concepts and treatments to improve function and quality of life; and (4) develop strategies to promote their own personal well-being as future physicians.


The science and practice of osteopathic medicine require an understanding of the relationships among the physical, biological, psychological, cultural, and environmental aspects of human behavior. Thus osteopathic education requires preparation in the natural, social, and behavioral sciences and the humanities. Candidates are expected to demonstrate their ability to work and think independently and in a scholarly manner. The mean grade-point average of students who are admitted to the program is 3.5 to 3.6.

Applicants for admission to the first–year class in the college must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Completion of at least 90 semester credits in a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting commission of higher education.
  2. Completion of 8 semester credits of biology with no grade below 2.0, including both course work and laboratory work in general biology or general zoology.
  3. Completion of 16 semester credits of chemistry, including three semester credits of biochemistry, with no grade below 2.0.
  4. Completion of 6 semester credits of English—including both oral and written English, with no grade below 2.0.
  5. The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) must be taken by the end of September of the year application is being made. Scores cannot be more than 3 years old.
  6. Suggested science course electives include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, histology, and statistics at the upper level.
  7. Suggested medical humanities and ethics electives include course work in philosophy, history of medicine and medical ethics. 
An application must be completed and all official transcripts submitted to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). It is highly recommended that the application be submitted no later than June 1 of the application year for students who wish to begin classes the following spring. The Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine forwards to all applicants a secondary application. Early application is essential because the college admits its students on a rolling basis. Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine classes begin in June. Most Admissions Committee reviews are conducted between September and March. Selection of students for the class and for the waiting list is generally completed by early April.


The curriculum leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree includes six semesters of classroom and laboratory courses, one semester of classroom to clinic transitional course, and five semesters of community-based clinical courses.  It is designed to meet the following educational objectives:
  1. To assist students in the integration of basic science, behavioral science, and clinical science concepts related to the tenets of osteopathic philosophy.
  2. To provide the student with comprehensive medical knowledge and skills which will serve as a foundation for a lifetime of learning. 
  3. To produce osteopathic physicians with the skills necessary to enable them to enter graduate medical education in a primary care medical or surgery specialty program. 
The curriculum is divided into two components: the preclerkship curriculum, presented in the first two years; and the clinical clerkship curriculum, scheduled in the third and fourth years.

Preclerkship Curriculum

Course focus in the first two semesters is on introductory basic sciences: anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, pathophysiology, cell biology, microbiology, immunology, and pharmacology.  Courses in the following four semesters are focused on the body systems: neuromusculoskeletal, genitourinary, endocrine, reproductive, gastrointestinal, integumentary, pediatrics, hematopoietic, cardiovascular, respiratory and geriatrics with instructional input provided by basic science, behavioral science and clinical faculty.

Clinical skills developed through osteopathic patient care, preceptor and osteopathic manipulative medicine courses are offered in semesters two through six.  In addition, the curriculum offers ethics, professionalism and law.

Clerkship Curriculum

The clinical clerkship curriculum includes 84 weeks of clinical training in community hospitals, clinics, and private practice offices affiliated with the college from across the State of Michigan.
The third year curriculum consists of 48 weeks, including ambulatory family medicine, ambulatory internal medicine, ambulatory or in-patient pediatrics, in-patient internal medicine, neurology, psychiatry, obstetrics/gynecology, general surgery, and emergency medicine each in 4-week blocks.  In addition, anesthesia and radiology each in 2-week blocks.

The fourth year curriculum consists of 36 weeks.  Of those 36 weeks, 16 are required to be completed within our Statewide Campus System hospitals.  The remaining 20 weeks are required to be completed within either the Statewide Campus System or any institution approved by the College of Osteopathic Medicine with advanced planning and scheduling on the part of the student. Within the 36 weeks, students will be required to complete 8 weeks in a surgical field and 12 weeks in a medicine related field. A list of possible rotations for each field is available from the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Requirements for Graduation

To graduate from Michigan State University with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree, a student must satisfactorily complete all required courses, pass COMLEX-USA Level 1, Level 2CE and Level 2PE examinations of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.

In addition, each student must complete four years of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training and receive the endorsement of the Committee on Student Evaluation (COSE) and an affirmative vote from the faculty of the College. The Policy for Promotion, Retention and Graduation is available to each student online upon admission to the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Transfer Credits

For a student who is pursuing a full-time M.B.A. degree from MSU jointly with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree from Michigan State University - College of Osteopathic Medicine, a maximum of 12 credits from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine may be transferred to the full-time M.B.A. degree program.