Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

You offer two MD Pathways. How do I know which one to choose?2022-08-29T12:45:04-04:00

The Standard Pathway is for students who do not intend to practice in the United States. The USMLE Pathway is for students who do intend to practice in the United States.

The United States requires all physicians practicing in its country to pass a series of hurdle exams known as the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE). While other countries also have hurdle exams, USMLE Step 1 is especially focused on the basic sciences. To address this special need, OUM developed a separate pathway, which includes a USMLE Prep Program to help ensure student success. Passing USMLE Steps 1 and 2 is a graduation requirement for OUM students intending to practice in the US.

Will I have to travel to Samoa?2022-05-09T14:50:02-04:00

All OUM students are required to complete at least one four-week elective rotation in Samoa. Students should apply for the Samoa rotation at least six months in advance through their regional dean.

Will I have access to compete for residency positions in my Canadian province or territory?2022-08-12T20:54:48-04:00

Yes. Most provinces have dedicated residency positions for international medical graduates (IMGs). For example, Ontario currently has 200 dedicated IMG residency positions (as of August 2022). As you may know, Canada has a physician shortage – in particular in rural, remote, and other underserved areas. IMG residency positions are designed both to provide optimal training to the resident and to address the physician shortage.

OUM’s mission to improve the health of underserved communities in Oceania and beyond is very well aligned with Canada’s needs.

Will I be eligible to get into a residency program in the US?2022-05-09T14:52:06-04:00

Yes. OUM students who have successfully completed USMLE Steps 1 and 2 are eligible to apply for US residency programs through the National Residency Match Program. Certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is also a requirement, both to begin a residency and to obtain a medical license in many US states. That certification process begins when students first apply to take the USMLE Step 1 and finishes upon verification of OUM graduation. For more information, visit ECFMG’s website at www.ecfmg.org.

Will I be eligible for licensure in Canada (or the US, if I want to practice there)?2022-08-12T20:53:25-04:00

OUM is one of the acceptable medical schools as defined in the Model Standards for Medical Registration in Canada of the Medical Council of Canada.

OUM is a medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDMS), which includes the Canada Sponsor Notes. For Canadian students who may wish to practice in the US, OUM also has the ECFMG/USA Sponsor Note.

An MD degree from OUM is the first step towards licensure in Canada. After graduation, candidates will complete the remaining requirements to become a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) and become authorized through their provincial Medical Regulatory Authority (MCA).

Will I be eligible for a residency through Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS)?2022-08-12T20:54:08-04:00

As an OUM graduate, you will be eligible to participate in the first iteration of the R-1 Match as an international medical graduate (IMG). In addition to obtaining an MD degree from OUM, you will need to pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam (MCCQE) and the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Exam. The USMLE Step Exams are not required for residency match or licensure in Canada.

Will I be able to practice medicine after graduating from OUM?2022-05-09T14:52:48-04:00

Yes. As an accredited medical school, OUM provides the requisite credentials which graduates of international medical schools need to practice in most countries. Graduates who take and pass the required exams for licensure/registration and successfully complete an internship/residency in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, the United States, or other jurisdictions, are able to practice medicine there. All applicants should research the locations where they wish to practice in order to understand the licensing and registration requirements for international medical graduates in those regions. OUM Admissions Counselors are also knowledgeable on many of these requirements.

Who are the students who typically enroll in the program?2022-05-09T14:42:29-04:00

OUM’s flexible distance-learning program appeals to a wide variety of students — from recent university graduates to working professionals interested in changing careers. Pre-medical school careers have ranged from nurse practitioners, nurses, and chiropractors to physical therapists, physician assistants, pharmacists, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals. OUM also accepts students with non-science backgrounds such as business, accounting, education, information technology and more.

Where are OUM graduates practicing?2022-05-09T14:53:22-04:00

OUM graduates are currently completing residency training or practicing medicine in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Samoa, and the United States.

What is the purpose of the OUM Clinical Mentor Program?2023-02-08T14:45:13-05:00

Clinical Mentors offer clinical experience and advice relevant to the student’s coursework and help monitor the student’s progress as they acquire the knowledge, skills, and attributes necessary to practice good medicine and become lifelong learners. Mentors serve as a guide, professional coach, and role model, and they also aid in student assessment.  Click here to download and learn more about our Clinical Mentor Program.

What is the cost of OUM’s MD Program?2022-08-29T11:19:07-04:00

Detailed information regarding OUM’s tuition, fees, payment plans, and its refund policy are outlined in the Tuition and Fees section of the website.

What is Canada’s Return-of-Service agreement?2022-08-12T20:55:26-04:00

International medical graduates (IMGs) residents typically sign Return-of-Service agreements with their province/territory in Canada. These agreements refer to your commitment to serve in the geographic area of your residency for a defined period of time. Further information about Return-of-Service agreements may be found on provincial/territorial government/Ministry of Health websites.

What if I already have an advanced healthcare degree?2022-05-09T14:44:04-04:00

OUM does not offer advanced standing because spending a minimum of four years in medical school is a licensing requirement in many countries. Four years of study is also required to receive certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), which graduates of foreign medical schools must obtain in order to begin a residency or obtain a medical license in most US states. Some students who graduated from Caribbean medical schools that offered advanced standing were denied medical licensure in a number of US states.

What details can you provide regarding financial assistance in Canada?2022-08-12T20:52:30-04:00

Financial Assistance is available for eligible Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those eligible to become permanent residents. Please note that permanent resident status must be gained prior to applying for financial assistance.

Prospective OUM students are automatically assessed for Canada Student Grants and Loans in addition to provincial/territorial funding when they apply for student aid with their province or territory of residence. Student grants and loans are administered by provincial and territorial student aid offices, such as the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and StudentAid BC.

Underrepresented student groups have access to additional support options. Please consult Canada Student Grants and Loans or your provincial/territorial student aid office for further information.

In addition to grants and loans, Registered Education Savings Plan and/or the Lifelong Learning Plan funds may be used to cover medical school expenses.

What are the annual start dates for the MD program?2022-05-09T14:46:04-04:00

OUM welcomes two classes each year – in January and July. Application deadlines are September 1 for the January term and March 1 for the July term.

What are the admissions requirements?2022-05-09T14:43:28-04:00

Applicants need a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an appropriately accredited tertiary educational institution, with at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Standardized admissions tests such as MCAT or GAMSAT are not required. OUM selects students who it believes are capable of successfully completing the rigorous and demanding distance learning medical degree program. The admissions decision is based upon a candidate’s previous academic success, healthcare experience where applicable, letters of recommendation, and his or her admissions interview.

OUM has a graduation requirement for each student to write and publish a Research project. May students work together on their Research project?2023-03-07T11:23:38-05:00

Yes. Students can work together on collaborative Research projects. These collaborative Research projects are usually large-scale studies and involve a larger sample size and a more in-depth statistical analysis. Therefore, these types of studies have the potential to be published at high-impact journals.

May I speak with current students?2022-05-09T14:44:47-04:00

Yes. Contact your Admissions Counselor who can connect you with a current student or graduate. OUM also sponsors “Meet the Student” and “Meet the Graduate” webinars where prospective students interact with students and graduates. Many of those sessions are recorded and your Admissions Counselor is able to provide you with a link to the recordings.

May I continue working while attending OUM?2022-05-09T14:48:07-04:00

Since OUM’s innovative online approach allows a certain amount of flexibility during the pre-clinical phase, many students elect to work reduced schedules during that portion of the curriculum. However, medical school requires a tremendous time commitment to absorb and digest a huge quantity of very complex information. Many students find it difficult to work and also devote enough time to their studies. OUM has no official policy against students working during pre-clinicals, but it is discouraged. During clinical rotations, OUM strongly advises against working and in many teaching hospitals it is, in fact, prohibited.

Is there additional academic support outside the classroom?2022-08-29T12:42:58-04:00

Yes. Students receive plenty of support throughout the program. OUM provides both an Academic Advisor and a Research Advisor. Both key supports are available to all students at no cost. Academic Advisors remain with students throughout the degree program.

If I already have published research, may I use data/statistics from that previous work to help with the OUM research project?2023-03-07T11:29:22-05:00

You may use previously collected data to generate new results/statistics that can go into your OUM research project. Any prior published results/statistics may be part of your introduction and discussion of the manuscript.

How old is OUM?2022-05-09T14:41:47-04:00

The University was founded in 2002 to aid the South Pacific island of Samoa in addressing its shortage of doctors. Since the school was established in close collaboration with the Government of Samoa, its future is secure. The program began small, making sure that the computer-assisted curriculum worked well before opening it to a larger number of students.

How much time do I need to dedicate to my studies?2023-02-08T14:47:56-05:00

Each pre-clinical unit requires mastery of extensive information during a relatively short period. Students should anticipate spending a minimum of 40 hours per week for successful completion. In a recent survey, OUM students reported spending on average 44 hours per week on their pre-clinical studies, essentially becoming a second full-time job for those who continue to work at the beginning of medical school. Between hands-on rotations and clinical curriculum assignments, students spend 60+ hours per week completing each clinical rotation.

How many students are currently enrolled?2022-07-08T09:36:59-04:00

As of July 2022 over 300 students are enrolled worldwide. OUM is selective about the students it accepts, making certain they have the self-motivation and discipline necessary to complete the hybrid curriculum.

How long does it take to complete OUM’s MD program?2022-07-21T17:15:59-04:00

Standard Pathway students typically complete the MD Program in 4 to 4.5 years, and USMLE Pathway students typically complete the program in 4.5 to 5 years.

How does OUM’s curriculum compare to those of traditional medical schools? Is it shorter?2022-05-09T14:46:49-04:00

OUM is not an abbreviated program. The OUM MD program is a complete and rigorous medical school curriculum based mainly on US and Australian medical education models. The difference is OUM’s virtual interactive delivery of its pre-clinical curriculum, which offers two pathways of study based upon where a student intends to practice in the future. Our hybrid approach enables students to complete the pre-clinical modules in live real-time electronic classrooms while remaining in their home communities. As with traditional medical schools, once OUM students complete their pre-clinical modules, clinical rotations occur on site at select teaching hospitals and clinics.

How do OUM students perform on standardized licensing exams?2022-05-09T14:51:20-04:00

Students who score well on OUM’s final Pre-Clinical Exam (PCE) and Final Clinical Exam (FCE) score well on the Australian Medical Council exams (AMC), the New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREZ), or the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). As the USMLE is more focused on the basic sciences, OUM offers the USMLE Prep Program to prepare students who intend to practice in the US for their USMLE Step 1 and 2 exam.

How are Gross Anatomy and other lab courses taught online?2022-05-09T14:48:41-04:00

When the COVID 19 pandemic forced medical schools to transition to remote learning, many schools learned what OUM has known for some time, that the didactic portion of a medical school curriculum can effectively be taught online. Even before COVID, traditional medical schools were moving towards high-quality electronic teaching material as an alternative to traditional Gross Anatomy labs. Certain laboratory skills and analysis of data and testing results are also gained through simulated lab assignments instead of live labs.

How are clinical rotations handled? May I get one near my home?2022-05-09T14:49:23-04:00

While most students complete clinical rotations at accredited teaching hospitals formally affiliated with OUM, the University will also work with students to seek clinical rotations at an accredited hospital that is geographically convenient. In Australia, regional clinical coordinators help students secure their placements. This portion of the curriculum also involves case assignments and other learning activities that support and enhance the clinical rotation. Students are required to keep detailed logbooks and complete a set number of case studies and an End-of-Rotation multiple choice question examination which are all factored into the student’s grade for that clinical module. In many countries, OUM students work and study side-by-side with students from other medical schools.

How are classes conducted at OUM?2023-02-08T14:49:18-05:00

Students take their courses in live, instructor-led, interactive virtual classrooms for two hours, three days each week, delivered via Zoom. All live lectures are also recorded, allowing for study review.

How and when do I take exams at OUM?2022-08-29T12:46:06-04:00

Exams are delivered online and exam integrity is assured by monitoring software installed on your computer. OUM students must all have a functioning webcam and microphone that remain on during the entirety of an exam and are required to perform a video room scan of their test-taking environment immediately prior. To accommodate schedules and time zone differences, exams are held during designated windows of 24-48 hours, generally on weekends.

Does OUM have the necessary accreditation for International Medical Graduates to practice after graduation?2022-05-09T14:50:48-04:00

Yes. OUM was first accredited in 2010 by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities and its re-accreditations now take it through to 2025. It was the South Pacific’s first internationally accredited medical school, providing the requisite credentials which graduates of international medical schools need in order to practice in most countries.

Do I ever actually meet other students, faculty, and administration? Do OUM students form study groups?2022-08-29T12:43:52-04:00

Yes. There are numerous opportunities for students to meet informally online, in online study groups, and to meet each other and members of the faculty and administration, face-to-face, at regular student conferences. Every OUM student has access to an OUM Zoom account, including the ability to schedule meetings and invite others, inside and outside OUM. Students also may join the Oceania University of Medicine Student Association (OUMSA) and graduates may join the Oceania University of Medicine Alumni Association (OUMAA).

Are OUM students eligible for US federal loans and grants?2022-07-20T07:22:59-04:00

Not at this time. OUM is internationally accredited, which is the first step towards gaining loan eligibility for its students, and is in the process of meeting additional eligibility requirements. Students are encouraged to check with banks and other lenders as potential funding sources.

Am I eligible to practice medicine in Samoa after graduation?2022-05-09T14:53:55-04:00

Yes. In fact, OUM’s Samoan scholarship recipients are required to serve the country’s health system for five years following their medical training. Citizens from other countries wishing to practice medicine in Samoa must meet the country’s immigration requirements and successfully apply to the Samoan Ministry of Health. Being eligible to practice in a foreign medical school’s home country helps to meet US licensing requirements in some states. Students and prospective students are advised to check with their respective state licensing boards for specific information.

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