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How does the licensing process work?2021-07-19T09:29:42-04:00

Matriculation in OUM qualifies you to sit for the three-part United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). Students must pass these examinations in order to become a licensed physician. Step 1 is taken between the completion of pre-clinical courses and the start of clinical rotations to ensure that students have a working knowledge of the basic sciences before entering clinical training to begin working with patients. Most US teaching hospitals require students to have passed USMLE Step 1 before beginning clinical clerkships.

The two-part Step 2 examinations also feature a clinical skills assessment, usually taken upon completion of core rotations. Passage of these exams ensures that the student has the necessary clinical knowledge and patient care skills to begin an internship or residency program under the supervision of an attending physician. At OUM, passage of Step 1 and Step 2 are graduation requirements for students who plan to practice in the US.

To help its students excel on the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams, OUM academic advisors begin familiarizing students with valuable exam preparation early in their pre-clinical study. Advisors make available to students a variety of resources, including summaries that bring together elements from the first 12 modules, study aids, exam-taking strategies, and USMLE Step 1 practice questions. There are also many good outside review courses available and the school’s academic advisors work with interested students to identify the one most appropriate for their learning styles.

The Step 3 examination is given as students finish their first year of residency, to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills needed to practice medicine independently. For students of non-US medical schools, the ECFMG facilitates the USMLE Step 3 exam in a location and time arranged directly with the student. For more information about the USMLE, visit www.usmle.organd/or www.ecfmg.org.

Since each US state is responsible for licensing its own physicians, prospective students should check with their state medical board or other physician licensing authority to ensure that they will meet requirements. For more information, visit the Federation of State Medical Boards website at www.fsmb.org.

Is your program accredited in the US?2020-06-18T18:22:11-04:00

American accreditation authorities do not accredit non-US medical schools. OUM is accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association for Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), which is an international accrediting body recognized by the US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation. In 2020, PAASCU reaccredited OUM for five more years. Since the US government has established that PAASCU evaluates institutions in the manner in which US schools are reviewed, OUM is considered comparable to those accredited in the US.

How old is the school? How many students?2020-09-07T18:54:10-04:00

The school was founded in 2002, in close collaboration with the Samoan government, so its future is secure. The program began by making sure that the computer-assisted curriculum worked well before opening it to large numbers of students. The school deliberately started small and currently has 257 students enrolled worldwide. OUM is selective about the students it accepts, making certain they have the self-motivation and discipline necessary to complete the course.

Am I eligible to practice medicine in Samoa after graduation2016-11-17T01:43:12-05:00

Yes, in fact, OUM’s Samoan scholarship recipients are required to serve the country’s health system for four years. 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. In fact, being eligible to practice in a foreign medical school’s home country helps to meet US licensing requirements in some states. Again, students and prospective students are advised to check with their respective state licensing boards for specific information.

Will I have to travel to Samoa?2020-06-18T18:26:15-04:00

All students matriculating to OUM after 2011 are required to complete at least one four-week clinical rotation in Samoa or American Samoa.  Students should apply for the Samoa rotation at least six months in advance through their regional dean.  Other than the required rotation, it is not necessary for the student to attend class in Samoa, though additional clinical rotations may be arranged with advance notice.

May I speak with some current students?2016-11-17T01:41:04-05:00

OUM sponsors monthly “Meet the Student” and “Meet the Graduate” sessions for prospective students to interact live with current students and graduates.  Check the [SPECIAL EVENTS LINK] page for details on the next session.  Though our students are extremely busy with their studies, work and family demands, it may be possible to arrange a private conversation, depending on their availability, the best way to initiate conversation is through e-mail, and the two of you can arrange a telephone appointment, if you choose. If you provide your e-mail address to your OUM admissions counselor, s/he will try to arrange it.

Where are OUM’s graduates practicing?2020-11-15T17:05:48-05:00

OUM has produced 128 graduates. Those physicians are currently completing residency training or already practicing primarily in Australia, United States, New Zealand, and Samoa.

How have OUM students performed on USMLE and other standardized licensing exams?2020-09-07T19:06:17-04:00

OUM graduates have done well on the registration/licensure examinations for their respective countries. Students have passed either the USMLE Steps 1,2, and 3, the Australian Medical Council exams, or the New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREZ) depending  on where they plan to practice. With origins in 54 countries, the majority of OUM students intend to practice in their current countries of residence.

What types of students do you have enrolled in the program?2016-11-17T01:37:14-05:00

OUM’s flexible program appeals to a wide variety of students—from recent college graduates, to working professionals interested in changing careers. The distance-learning component is attractive to many nurse practitioners, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, physician assistants, pharmacists, paramedics, respiratory therapists, podiatrists, and other healthcare professionals. In addition, OUM has some students with non-science backgrounds such as business, accounting, art, and information technology.

Are OUM students eligible for US Federal loans and grants?2020-11-15T17:07:10-05:00

OUM has been accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association for Schools, Colleges and Universities, an agency recognized by the US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation. The University is now in the process of meeting requirements to gain approval for loan eligibility for its students. Students should check banks and other student lending sources, as accreditation is a major requirement for loans from those sources.

What kind of financial aid is available?2016-11-17T01:34:53-05:00

Because OUM has significantly reduced its tuition fees, scholarships and loans from the University are not available. The University will work with private scholarship and lending sources to assist students finding their own funding. To ease the burden of tuition payments, OUM has created payment plans. See the Financial Aid page for more detail

Do I have to take the MCAT?2021-03-07T08:19:39-05:00

The MCAT is not required, as OUM’s curriculum features all of the basic sciences needed for success in medical school. However, recent college graduates who enroll in OUM and have taken the MCAT within the past two years, may be able to opt out of the Introduction to Medicine prep course if they have a qualifying MCAT score.

What are the admissions requirements?2020-07-04T12:06:44-04:00

Applicants need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent at an appropriately accredited tertiary educational institution with at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The MCAT is not required, as OUM’s curriculum features the basic sciences needed for success in medical school.

OUM selects students that it believes will successfully complete the rigorous and demanding OUM medical degree. The admissions decision is based on academic success, test scores, healthcare experience where applicable, letters of recommendation, and the interview.

How are gross anatomy and other lab courses taught on-line?2016-11-17T01:31:31-05:00

Many medical schools are moving away from cadaver laboratory work toward high-quality electronic teaching material. Many medical school accrediting bodies now acknowledge that laboratory exercises may be “real or simulated.” There are several computer models today that accurately simulate the body, often with better views than you would see in an anatomy class. The US National Institutes of Health developed many of the most popular and accurate models that are used in online instruction.

In addition to gross anatomy, a good portion of laboratory work involves acquiring skills to collect and analyze raw data from graphs, blood work, and other pathological results. To develop these skills, OUM students receive simulated lab assignments during the course of each pre-clinical module that are completed and posted for online discussion with the instructor and classmates. While most assignments test physiological theory, others explore interpretation of clinical concepts in order to build and strengthen diagnostic skills.

I’ve been to medical school. Do I have to take the pre-clinical courses again?2016-11-17T01:30:36-05:00

OUM cannot offer advance standing, for several reasons: a) Our program is case-based so it would be impossible to isolate which courses you may have had and which you have not; b) If you have been out of school for 10-15 years, you are going to need the basic science review to pass USMLE; c) Some students who have attended Caribbean medical programs that offer advanced standing, after investing the time and money, have been denied medical licensure in certain states. If you’re looking for a school with this option, OUM is not for you. Be diligent about understanding your state’s requirements regarding advanced standing or credit for previous training. The advantage that your prior education will give you at OUM is that these past studies should make learning the material easier for you. Also check with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (www.ecfmg.org). In order to receive your certification upon graduation, which all graduates of foreign medical schools need to practice in the US, you need to spend four years in medical school. Please contact the OUM admissions office for details

How does the local mentor work? Do you find the mentor for me?2020-08-09T19:40:58-04:00

Your local physician mentor is your guide to the practice of medicine. You will meet with him or her for at least one hour each week to discuss your studies and other medical practice issues. You may even have an opportunity to tag along on rounds or to shadow the doctor, dependent upon patient approval. You are responsible for finding a mentor in your community and securing approval from OUM. Materials are provided for you to approach prospective mentors. Students may not begin their system-based modules without an approved mentor, so it is recommended that you secure your mentor early in your e-ITM course in order to allow sufficient time to process his/her credentials. OUM provides an honorarium and guidelines for the mentor relationship.

How do the clinical rotations work? Can I get one near my home?2020-11-15T17:19:30-05:00

Students have three options for clinical rotations: a) complete clinical rotations at a regional accredited teaching hospital formally affiliated with OUM; or b) OUM will work with students to seek clinical rotations at an accredited teaching hospital that is geographically convenient.

In order to qualify for a reputable residency-training program, students planning to practice in the US ideally should do rotations at a teaching hospital that has postgraduate training programs (residencies/fellowships) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). At the teaching hospital, students should work side-by-side with students from other medical schools on clinical activities established by the host hospital. During this portion of the curriculum, OUM will also provide students with case assignments and other relevant curriculum materials that support and enhance the clinical rotation. OUM cannot guarantee that a student will find clinical rotations near his/her home, but rotations are available at regional centers throughout the United States.

Can I practice in my state?2020-08-09T19:43:12-04:00

Most likely. In addition to being accredited, Oceania University of Medicine is listed in the World Health Organization’s World Directory of Medical Schools and the International Medical Education Directory and is recognized by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. Students and graduates of schools noted by these authorities, who have passed the necessary USMLE, are eligible to apply for licensure in many US states. OUM has surveyed all 50 US states, and though each state has its own regulations for licensing physicians, many have already indicated that OUM meets their requirements. Some states are reserving judgment until more graduates apply for their licenses, saying that if the graduate has passed the USMLE and has met other residency requirements, licensure should not be a problem. Recalling correspondence schools of long ago, some states do not yet recognize distance-learning in medical education. Since many of the world’s leading medical schools now have computer-assisted instruction and distance-learning courses in their curricula, the University is confident that its accreditation, together with the success its students are experiencing in the USMLE and residencies, means more states will look favorably upon a distance-learning curriculum. Regardless of the institution one attends, medical school graduation does not assure that a medical license will be issued. That action is ultimately a regulatory matter decided upon by states.

We recommend that all applicants check with their state licensing authorities before enrolling at OUM or any other international medical school. Students and applicants can access the website of each state’s medical licensing board through the Federation of State Medical Boards at www.fsmb.org.

Can I get into residency program in the US or Canada?2020-11-15T17:20:32-05:00

Yes, OUM has several alumni in post-graduate training programs. Our students are eligible to apply for US residency programs through the National Residency Match Program upon satisfactory completion of their USMLE Step 2. 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.

How long does it take to complete the MD program?2021-03-07T08:16:54-05:00

The OUM program is a full-scale, rigorous medical school curriculum, which is typically completed in four-and-a-half to five years. Because the OUM program is flexible, students may take longer if they choose to work during the pre-clinical phase, but a minimum of 24 weeks of instruction must be completed each year.  Many OUM students who are healthcare professionals work part-time or a reduced schedule during their first two and a half years of study.  Part-time students should be able to graduate within five to six years.

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.

May I continue my career while taking the OUM courses?2016-11-17T01:23:38-05:00

Yes, during the first half of the curriculum, but not during the final nine terms (clinical rotations). The opportunity for students to work a full schedule during the first two years (pre-clinical terms, 1-12) is one feature that sets OUM apart from a traditional medical school setting. For part-time students who continue working during the first 12 modules, a commitment of approximately 40-50 hours per week is required for research, study, class attendance, and meetings with one’s advisor and mentor. During these pre-clinical terms, students typically revise and reduce their work schedules to prepare for the last two years of clinical clerkship training. Once the clinical clerkships begin, the schedule of an OUM student is the same as that of any medical student — subject to the uncertainties of hospital and physician scheduling — and requiring 24/7 availability in order to complete clinical rotations and maximize the experience.

How does the program work?2021-03-07T09:43:21-05:00

The program is a full-scale, rigorous medical school curriculum, typically completed in four-and-a-half to five years. Because the OUM program is flexible, students may take longer if they need extended time for work or family matters, but a minimum of 24 weeks of instruction must be completed each year.

The curriculum is divided into two main phases: pre-clinical and clinical. The pre-clinical phase, offered online, is preceded by a 12-week Introduction to Medicine  prep course. The pre-clinical program begins with nine six-week intensive basic science blocks, nine six-week system-based modules, a research methodology module and a clinical skills course. All pre-clinical modules are taught with OUM’s virtual classroom technologies, enabling students to complete pre-clinical studies from their own communities. Preclinical modules are followed by 72 weeks of clinical training learning hands-on patient care in a teaching hospital, identical to traditional medical school settings.

Preclinical Studies

Designed and supervised by leading American and Australian medical professors, instruction is presented through problem-based case studies – even during pre-clinical courses – rather than lengthy lectures about physiology or biochemistry in a full auditorium with little chance for interaction.

Many US medical schools have adapted their curricula to problem-based learning. This method uses a detailed patient scenario to present medical issues and problems that students work through to diagnose and treat, while at the same time, learning about the basic medical sciences that are pertinent to the disease or medical condition. For example, an asthma case would take students through diagnosis and treatment, then the physiology of respiration, the chemistry of how various treatments interact with the body, the anatomy of the lungs, and such subjects.

Students utilize weekly cases and “meet” regularly with online instructors and classmates for lectures and discussion, to complete assignments, and work through key learning objectives. Part-time students independently research assignments, typically spending 40 hours or more per week, covering required case readings, preparing for/participating in small group discussions and virtual classroom sessions, and making summarized notes for exam preparation. Individual, real-time chat sessions may be arranged, as needed, with your instructor. Additionally, some students form study groups, both online and in-person when geographically feasible. OUM makes time available in its virtual classrooms for students to meet and interact.

Each student meets with an academic advisor on a weekly basis to monitor and assess student performance. The advisor ensures that the student understands the concepts in the learning material and offers advice such as extra reading assignments to enhance student performance.

A quiz is taken at the end of each weekly case, and a summative examination is given at the end of each module.

For a minimum of one hour each week, students are also required to meet face-to-face with a physician mentor in their community. The mentor does not teach but acts as a coach and role model, answering clinical questions and discussing non-academic issues associated with the practice of medicine, such as professionalism, motivation, and compassion. Each student is responsible for the selection of his/her own mentor, supported by OUM materials prepared for presentation to prospects. The Dean approves each prospective mentor.

Clinical Rotations

Halfway through the program, upon passing the USMLE Step 1, clinical rotations are arranged and taken at teaching hospitals, as they are in traditional medical schools. During the 56 weeks of core rotations, students are assigned to the clinical supervisor at an OUM affiliated teaching facility to complete clinical rotation training. Together with the on-site work, students complete PBL cases, directed learning activities, listen to lectures, and sit for an examination for each core clerkship. Students may explore their career options during the 16 weeks of elective rotations in every area from anesthesiology to urology. Clinical students will have an opportunity to train in both ambulatory and in-patient hospital settings. Students must pass USMLE Step 2 (Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills) before graduation.

MD students are required to publish a research paper in Medical Student International, the student research journal started by OUM faculty, or a peer-reviewed journal prior to graduation. The research methodology module provides the student with a research advisor to help guide them through the process.

The OUM curriculum is a demanding program, suited only to those who are self-motivated and disciplined to independently meet program requirements and deadlines.

What are the annual start dates for the program?2021-03-11T18:37:34-05:00

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