OUM CURRICULUM (Basic Science Track)

The Basic Science MD curriculum may be completed in a minimum of five years.  The preclinical phase of the Basic Science Track, conducted online, lasts 114 weeks and is preceded by a 12-week medical school prep course, for a total of  126 weeks of course work through OUM’s online classroom. The majority of OUM students continue to work during this portion of the program although some opt for a reduced work schedule. During the clinical phase, students spend 72 weeks completing clinical rotations at affiliated teaching hospitals and institutions.

The Basic Science Track is recommended for students who intend to practice in the United States and must pass the USMLE Step 1, which is heavily focused on the basic sciences. Students in the Basic Science Track will spend a total of 54 weeks on the basic sciences, with nine modules lasting six weeks each. After students complete the nine e-Foundation 100-series modules covering the basic science disciplines, they begin nine system-based modules, and a module focused on Trends and Topics in Medicine. Students begin building clinical skills on the first day of medical school with the Day-One Clinical Skills Course spanning the entire preclinical curriculum. Preclinical students enroll in the Research Methodology course and must complete their research prospectus before commencing clinical rotations.

12-week Introduction to Medical School

Students entering in January 2021 will be required to complete the new non-credit 12-week Introduction to Medical School before commencing the basic sciences.  Although the prep course, which begins after new student orientation, does not appear on transcripts, students will be required to take pre- and post- exams. Students must meet a threshold of  a 70% score on the post-exam to continue in the medical curriculum.  The pre- and post-exams measure medical school readiness and  should help students identify strengths and weaknesses, learning styles, etc.


Live interactive sessions online

Throughout the preclinical phase, students attend live interactive sessions with an instructor four days a week. Lectures are offered live via the Zoom virtual classroom and recorded for students who have a scheduling conflict or who wish to listen to the lecture a second time. Live sessions are held Monday – Thursday, 8 pm to 10 pm Eastern Time (USA), and in Australia/New Zealand  Tuesday – Friday, late mornings to midday.

“I like the flexibility that OUM offers: the autonomy of having your own career, continuing to work, and still being able to fulfill your dream of becoming a doctor. ”

Firas H., Chiropractor, Class of 2019


Modules 1 through 9

Students begin the basic science modules after completing the 12-week Introduction to Medicine prep course with a post-exam score >70%. The nine e-Foundation Science 100-seriesoffers an intensive look at basic science disciplines.

Each six-week block covers one or more of the following:

Classic and molecular biochemistry, including structure, function, and biosynthesis of macromolecules, metabolic interrelations and control mechanisms, and biochemical genetics. Application of recent advances in knowledge of molecular bases for cellular function to disease states (diagnosis, prevention, and treatment).

The study of the structure and function of the genetic material, including DNA structure, DNA replication and recombination, regulation of gene expression, and protein synthesis. Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems are examined, including contemporary recombinant DNA technology and applications of molecular cloning procedures.

Introduction to statistical methods used by medical researchers, including descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, regression, and correlation.

Functional features of the major organ systems in the human body. Emphasis on homeostasis and the interactions of organ systems in health and disease.

The various classes of drugs that are used in medicine, particularly those used in specific or symptomatic treatment of disease states, are covered. Drugs of abuse are also covered. Emphasis is on the mechanisms of action of drugs at the organ and system level and on their use in medicine.

An introduction to human genetics. Topics include human gene organization and expression, chromosome structure, karyotyping, chromosomal aberrations, sex determination and sex chromosome abnormalities, patterns of single gene inheritance, linkage analysis, human gene mapping, inborn errors in metabolism, human population genetics, polymorphic cell surface antigens, multifactorial inheritance genetics of cancer, prenatal diagnosis, and uses of recombinant DNA in medical genetics.

Microanatomy is designed to provide students with knowledge of the major features of the structural organization of cells, tissues, and organs, and how that organization is related to function. Cell biology involves an analysis of the basic structure and function of human cells, with an emphasis on the regulation of cellular processes. The basic features of membranes, cellular compartmentalization, protein trafficking, vesicular transport, cytoskeleton, adhesion, signal transduction, and cell cycle are covered.

A systems approach to the analysis of human structure. Molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and organ system levels of structure and organization are integrated throughout.

How neuroscience uses tools of many disciplines, from imaging to behavior, to develop and test hypotheses about functions of specific parts of the brain. Basic organization of nerve cells and the human nervous system, methods of visualizing nerve cells, neural connections, and neural activity patterns are covered.

Embryologic development from ovulation through birth is covered and is organized by organ systems. Topics are integrated with human anatomy to facilitate understanding of anatomic relationships, selected birth defects, and anatomic variants.

Comparative metabolism of small molecules and cell structure and relationship to microbial classification are covered, including macromolecule synthesis and regulation, cell division, growth, and effects of antibiotics.

A study of humoral and cellular immunology. Topics include lymphoid systems, cells, antigens, antibodies, antibody formation, cellular immunity, and tumor and transplantation immunology. Diseases and altered immune states associated with each topic are discussed in detail.

Lectures in normal human development and psychopathology. The class focuses on biological, psychological, and social substrates of normal and pathological human behavior, including major the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

An overview of the molecular mechanisms of human diseases, including neurologic, hematologic, neoplastic, and infectious diseases.

Problem-Based Learning

After completion of the basic science blocks, students proceed to the system-based modules, using problem-based learning to demonstrate  the practical application of the basic sciences through case-based study. Each case begins with a virtual patient presentation (or scenario) and follows patient progression through the following stages:

  • Patient presentation
  • History & physical examination
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Laboratory tests & diagnostic imaging
  • Provisional diagnosis
  • Short-term management
  • Long-term management

Modules 10 through 18: System-Based Preclinical Study

Each system-based modules is six weeks in length and combines the basic and clinical sciences in a case format. During each week of the module, several cases  are accessed online through Moodle and fully examined as the basis for classroom discussion.  Students will also participate in interactive lectures covering additional key concepts, and engage in directed independent study. As students progress through each module, they develop and improve the clinical reasoning skills  which are essential to success during clinical rotations.

The system-based modules include:

The cardiovascular cases include chest pain, arterial hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, arrhythmia, infective endocarditis, and congenital heart disease.

The endocrinology cases include thyroid disease, parathyroid disease, pituitary disease, adrenal disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The gastrointestinal cases include esophageal disorders, gastric and duodenal disorders, intestinal disorders, hepatic disorders, cirrhosis, and pancreatic and biliary disorders.

The hemic-immune system cases include immunodeficiency disorders, systemic lupus erythematosus, leukemia, lymphoma, anemia, and hemostasis.

The musculoskeletal cases include rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, osteogenesis imperfecta, gout, osteoporosis, and osteosarcoma.

The neurology and neuroscience cases include multiple sclerosis, bacterial meningitis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.

The renal module focuses on glomerulonephritis, nephrotic syndrome, acute and chronic renal failure, fluids and electrolytes, acid-base balance, and nephrolithiasis via written case vignettes with a strong emphasis on the underlying basic science principles.

The reproduction cases include sexual development, amenorrhea, prolactinoma, cervical cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

The respiratory cases include asthma, tuberculosis, pneumonia, HIV, lung cancer, and COPD.

Module 19: Trends & Topics in Medicine

Students are required to take three additional modules to round out their preclinical experience and prepare for the clinical rotations. Trends & Topics is a stand-alone six week course and Clinical Skills and Research Methodology may be taken concurrently with other preclinical modules. The Day-One Clinical Skills Course introduces foundational clinical skills on the first day of medical school. Along with Research Methodology, the clinical skills module spans the entire preclinical curriculum.

  • Trends & Topics in Medicine: Trends & Topics in Medicine includes case studies in behavioral medicine, legal medicine, ethics, and integrative medicine, nutrition, and preventive medicine to offer the student a well-rounded exposure to current issues facing medicine.
  • Research Methodology: Students learn the language and methods of research as they prepare their research project, working directly with a research adviser who will help them choose a research topic, design and conduct the study, and prepare the manuscript. Students may not commence clinical rotations until their research prospectus is approved by the Director of Research.
  • Clinical Skills: Throughout the preclinical curriculum, students will build upon their clinical skills, especially in history taking and physical examination. As students prepare to enter clinical rotations, they complete an in-person, on-site assessment of  a “patient”.

Throughout the preclinical modules, each student meets regularly with an academic adviser who will help direct their studies as well as assess his/her  progress. Before the system-based modules, students will be asked to select a physician mentor. Mentors do not teach case content or biomedical theory, but offer clinical experience and advice relevant to the student’s current system-based module. Learn more about Student Support.

Journal Club

Students are required to participate in Journal Club (JC) upon enrolling in the system-based preclinical modules, though all students and faculty are invited to attend JC sessions. Each student must present at least one article while enrolled in the system-based modules and once during the clinical phase.

Research Requirement

Prior to graduation, all students are required to complete an original research project and to publish the results in Medical Student International, the student research journal created by OUM faculty, or a peer-reviewed journal. Students will need to identify a faculty member who is willing to oversee their research project and manuscript preparation. The research course provides 20 hours of faculty time to work with the student on the research project. Students may not commence clinical rotations until their research prospectus is approved by the Director of Research.

USMLE Step 1

The preclinical modules are benchmarked to cover much of the content required by USMLE Step 1. After completing the twelfth and final preclinical module, MD students must pass the USMLE Step 1 to be eligible to proceed into the clinical phase of study.

Prior to taking Step 1, the student must pass OUM’s In-House Exam that uses USMLE-style questions to help assess the student’s readiness to take the exam.  Offered on the last Saturday of each month, the In-House Exam is recommended to students to take throughout the preclinical curriculum in order to help gauge their progress toward readiness for Step 1.

OUM has resources to help students prepare for USMLE Step 1, including a USMLE Personal Trainer course and personal guidance from faculty and academic advisors.


Upon completing the preclinical modules and passing USMLE Step 1, OUM students become eligible to begin 72 weeks of clinical rotations at OUM-affiliated teaching hospitals throughout the United States. The core clinical rotations cover 56 weeks, followed by 16 additional weeks of advanced electives. Students are required to begin clinical rotations within six months of passing USMLE Step 1.

Clinical students will have an opportunity to train in both ambulatory and in-patient hospital settings. During core rotations, students are assigned to the clinical supervisor at the teaching facility to complete clerkship training. Together with the hands-on work, students complete PBL cases, directed learning activities, and supportive lectures associated with the clerkship. Students are required to view clinical lectures and take a written final examination for each core clerkship.

The core clinical modules in OUM’s MD program and their durations are:

Internal Medicine 12 Weeks
Surgery 12 Weeks
Pediatrics 8 Weeks
Obstetrics & Gynecology 8 Weeks
Psychiatry 4 Weeks
Emergency Medicine 4 Weeks
Community Medicine 8 Weeks

In addition to the core clinical rotations, MD students will take 16 weeks of university-approved elective rotations in order to complete the 72-week requirement. The electives may expand further study into core subjects or introduce students to new areas to help them with career decisions. They may focus on patient management problems, exposure to the specialties, and the acquisition of additional procedural skills prior to beginning a supervised internship/residency program.

Full-Time or Part-Time?

OUM’s flexible program allows full-time students to complete the program in as few as four years, while part-time students—working healthcare professionals who have been out of college for a while—may need to take the full complement of basic sciences and complete the degree within five years.

Many OUM students continue to work and earn an income during the two years of preclinical years.  During this time, students will study an average of 40-50 hours per week on their studies. OUM essentially becomes a second full-time job. Some students seek flexible work schedules during this time.

For full-time students, OUM’s MD program may be completed in as few as four years, as the student is able to study the requisite 80-100 hours per week that successful students in a traditional medical school need to fully absorb the material.

Flexibility allows OUM’s students to progress through the curriculum at their own pace.  One of the keys to success at OUM is self-discipline and time management. OUM provides the necessary resources and support, but the student needs to secure the study time necessary to learn the material. Learn more about Student Support.