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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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 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

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 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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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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