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DO Program - Frequently Asked Questions

  General 

  • What is the difference between allopathic and osteopathic medicine?

    In the United States there are two kinds of practicing physicians: allopathic physicians (MDs) and osteopathic physicians (DOs). Both are fully licensed physicians, trained in diagnosing and treating illnesses and disorders, and in providing preventive care.  Osteopathic medicine provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury.  However, osteopathic medicine is a parallel branch of American medicine with a distinct philosophy and approach to patient care. 

    Philosophy: DOs are trained to look at the whole person and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds from their first days of medical school.  They get the opportunity to practice these skills in their classrooms and learning laboratories, frequently with standardized and simulated patients.  This holistic approach to patient care allows DOs to see each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased. 
     
    Approach: DOs receive training in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) that MDs do not receive.  In addition to studying all of the typical subjects student physicians are expected to master, osteopathic medical students take approximately 200 additional hours of training in the art of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM).  This system can bring an extra dimension to health care through the added benefit of hands-on techniques.  OMM helps alleviate pain, restores motion, supports the body’s natural functions and influences the body’s structure to help it function more efficiently.

    Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention.  Additionally, DOs learn how to integrate the patient into the health care process as a partner and fill critical needs in our healthcare system, particularly as primary care providers in rural and underserved areas.

    For more information, please visit www.aacom.org.

  • What is the deadline for applying?

    Admissions for the UIWSOM class of 2018 entry opens May 4, 2017 and closes March 15, 2018.  Prospective students are encouraged to apply early.  We are on a rolling admissions basis, meaning applications are reviewed as they are completed and students are accepted throughout the year until our 150 slots are filled.

  • How many applicants do you accept a year?

    The UIWSOM anticipates an inaugural class of 150 students for the class of fall 2017 entry. We anticipate 150 students for the class of fall 2018 entry.  Application and enrollment statistics will not be available until the first class matriculates.

  • Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree completed prior to applying?
    No.  Your application can be submitted while coursework is in-progress towards the minimum completion of 75% or more of the credits required for a bachelor’s degree to apply.  Completion of 75% or more of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university must be finalized prior to program entry (UIWSOM class of 2018 entry begins July 31, 2018).
  • Does UIWSOM recommend or prefer a specific major/area of study?

    UIWSOM does not have a preferred undergraduate major to be considered for admission.  Students who enter UIWSOM will have a wide variety of academic majors and degrees.  We encourage all applicants interested in pursuing osteopathic medicine to select a major/area of study they enjoy.  Overall GPA’s are often higher for students who have a true interest in their major.  In the event that a student chooses to not pursue osteopathic medicine, they will have a degree in a field they can still use.

    We do require certain UIWSOM prerequisites for admission consideration.  Please review our required UIWSOM prerequisites and suggested upper level science coursework for your planning purposes.

    Please note that UIWSOM requires minimally the completion of 75% or more of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university prior to program entry (UIWSOM class of 2018 entry begins July 31, 2018) for your application to be considered.

  • Can I apply as a non-traditional student?  
    Absolutely.  UIWSOM considers both qualified traditional and non-traditional students.  UIWSOM welcomes applicants who have diverse life experiences which can enhance and strengthen the medical school experience for everyone.  There is no required area of academic study and/or major, but you must have completed all of our UIWSOM admission requirements to be considered for admission.
  • Do you accept transfer applicants from other medical schools?

    Due to constraints on class size, we regret that we are unable to accept transfers for any reason.

  • How long is the UIWSOM program?

    The UIWSOM is four years (full-time) and the curriculum is divided into four phases and include six threads woven throughout the curriculum include:

    • Mental Health and Wellness
    • Spirituality
    • Social Accountability, Service and Scholarship
    • Student Success, Mentoring and Advising
    • Board Preparation
    • Evidence-based Medicine

    Visit UIWSOM Curriculum for additional information.        

  • As a newer program, what is UIWSOM's accreditation status?
    UIWSOM received pre-accreditation with permission to recruit immediately and provisional accreditation status effective July 1, 2016 from the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).  This phase of accreditation is granted when a school demonstrates the ability to initiate instruction by a specified date – which for UIWSOM is July 31, 2017.  Provisional accreditation status is reviewed annually to assess the academic progress of the first, second and third year classes through graduation.  Full accreditation is granted once a new school graduates its first class.
    This program has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • To be considered for the UIWSOM program, are students required to be Catholic to attend?
    Though the University of the Incarnate Word is the largest Catholic university in Texas, it is not required to be of Catholic faith. UIW is a faith-based Catholic institution that welcomes community persons of diverse backgrounds, in the belief that their respectful interaction advances the discovery of truth, mutual understanding, self-realization, and the common good.
  • Does UIW have a post-baccalaureate program to prepare students for medical school?

    Yes.  The University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine has a master’s degree, the Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS). This one-year program designed to enhance scientific knowledge and professional preparation to pursue a variety of careers in the health professions and bolster their competitiveness for DO/MD, Physician Assistant, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Physical Therapy, Veterinary Medicine and other health care careers. 

    For more information and admissions requirements, please visit our website at www.uiw.edu/mbs.

  • Who can I contact for additional admissions information?

    If you have program-specific questions for any of the UIWSOM admissions requirements, please see our website for full admission information at www.uiw.edu/som.  We also offer UIWSOM information sessions throughout the year.  Please see the website under admissions for information session options. 

    Do you still have questions after reviewing our website?  Please contact the UIWSOM Office of Admissions directly at DOdoc@uiwtx.edu or 210-283-6998 for assistance.

  Application

  • How do I apply to the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine?

    The University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) uses the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) for the admissions process.  We recommend that prospective students review the “Application Instructions and FAQs” section on AACOMAS prior to applying on AACOMAS.  Documents sent directly to UIW will not be reviewed.  To apply on ACCOMAS, please select “apply now” or click official AACOMAS application to begin your application.

  • Can I apply for a waiver of my application fee?

    Yes.  You may request an AACOMAS application fee waiver through the AACOMAS Fee Assistance Program.  If your AACOMAS application fee waiver request is granted and you are invited to complete a UIWSOM Supplemental Application, please email (forward) your official AACOMAS fee assistance approval to DOdoc@uiwtx.edu prior to your Supplemental Application submission. At that time, we will waive your $50 UIWSOM Supplemental Application fee.

    For full information on the AACOMAS application fee waiver process and instructions, visit the AACOMAS FAQsPlease note that fee waivers are limited and submitting a fee waiver request to AACOMAS does not guarantee that your request will be granted.

    The final decision for UIW to grant a UIWSOM Supplemental Application Fee waiver will be decided after your AACOMAS Fee Assistance Program application documentation is received and reviewed by AACOMAS.

  • Do I need to send my official transcripts directly to UIWSOM?

    No.  Official transcripts from each, individual college/university that you have attended must be sent directly to AACOMAS.  For instructions, please review the AACOMAS FAQs.

  • How many letters of recommendation do I need to submit?

    We require three letters of reference for your UIWSOM application.  Please note that after your AACOMAS application and official MCAT score submission, if you are invited to complete the UIWSOM Supplemental Application, your three letters of recommendation must be submitted at that time.  The three letters must be from:

    • One from a physician (preferably DO)
    • One from a premed advisor or health professions admissions committee (HPAC)
    • One from a science faculty member

    Non-traditional students can substitute one faculty or HPAC letter with a more recent reference (employer, volunteer/community service supervisor, etc.) It is important to provide your references with reasonable time to complete and submit the letters.

    To submit your letters of recommendation to UIWSOM, we accept submission via:

    • AACOMAS
    • Interfolio
    • VirtualEvals

    Please see the links below for additional instructions and support directions for submission.

    AACOMAS: For full instructions, please review the AACOMAS FAQs.

    Interfolio submitted through AACOMAS:

    Interfolio submitted directly to UIWSOM: option only if you wanted to send a specific letter of recommendation to UIWSOM and no other medical school(s) in AACOMAS.

    VirtualEvals: This service is used by some Pre-Health Professions Offices at your undergraduate institution.  Candidates: please note that you cannot sign yourself up to use this service.  Please contact your institutions Pre-Health Professions Office directly to inquire if they use VirtualEvals.  VirtualEvals cannot be sent directly to your AACOMAS application, they must be submitted directly to UIWSOM from your institution's Pre-Health Professions Office.

  • May I send additional letters of recommendation?
    You may submit additional letters of recommendation in AACOMAS, but keep in mind that the UIWSOM admissions committee may not be able to read an excessive amount of letters.  Please limit your additional letters to two.
  • What happens after my application is completed?

    The UIWSOM Office of Admissions will begin reviewing your verified AACOMAS application and official documents (official transcripts and MCAT scores) once they have been processed by AACOMAS.  After initial review, qualified applicants will be invited to complete and submit the UIWSOM Supplemental Application which includes essay questions specific to UIWSOM.

    Once your UIWSOM supplemental application and fee has been completed, your application will be forwarded to the UIWSOM Admissions Committee for further review.  The Admissions Committee will invite competitive applicants an interview.  Interviews are scheduled on a continuous basis beginning in September.  Highly competitive interviewed applicants will be considered for acceptance.

  • How can I ensure a successful application submission to UIWSOM?

    Plan early and accordingly for the AACOMAS and the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine listed application deadlines and document submissions.  Ensure enough delivery time for any mailed items before the deadline.  Account for non-business days, holidays and make sure you have the correct address for sending required items to AACOMAS. 

    For questions of how to submit your materials to AACOMAS, be sure to fully review the AACOMAS - Application Instructions and FAQ’s. You may check your status at any time within your logged-in application to ensure that you have completed the process to submit your full application to AACOMAS.

  • If/when I reapply, do I get additional consideration? If someone has reapplied, does the Admissions Committee give them credit?

    Although we appreciate an applicant's continued interest in UIWSOM, we evaluate each application on its own merits.  We do not give additional consideration or credit to those to reapply multiple times.  In completing your application, you have the opportunity to explain what you have done to strengthen your application.  The committee takes this information into consideration.

  • If I was on the waitlist last year, does this mean that I will be accepted this year?

    No.  We evaluate each application on its own merits.  Your current application is judged and evaluated exactly the same as those who are applying for the first time.

  MCAT & GPA

  • How do I submit my official MCAT scores?

    You must release your MCAT scores to AACOMAS electronically using the online MCAT Score Reporting System.  MCAT scores are sent to AACOMAS electronically from AAMCPAPER COPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTED.  Please do not submit them to UIWSOM.   To ensure your application is not delayed and your MCAT scores are received: include your AAMC ID# and self-report your MCAT score in the “standardized tests” section on this application. 

    Review the AACOMAS FAQs for full instructions. 

  • What are the average GPA and MCAT scores of entering students? Is there a minimum        that I need to be above for consideration?

    The School of Osteopathic Medicine looks at applicants holistically and reviews many aspects of an applicant’s file.  Although there is no required minimum grade point average or MCAT score for application submission, your grades and MCAT scores are an important part of the overall evaluation; academic excellence is expected.  Prospective students are encouraged to prepare for the MCAT exam well in advance so that the scores will accurately reflect the individual’s academic preparedness.  For full information regarding the MCAT exam or to register to take the exam, please visit the AAMC website.

    UIWSOM class of 2017 entry average GPA and MCAT data will be available upon class matriculation in fall 2017.

  • What is the oldest MCAT score that UIWSOM will accept?

    We will accept MCAT scores dated three years prior to program matriculation.  For example, if you are applying to the UIWSOM class of 2018 fall entry (begins July 31, 2018), you will need to submit MCAT scores taken no earlier than July 2015.

  • If I take the MCAT exam a second time, will my two sets of scores be averaged?
     No.  Each set of MCAT official scores will be assessed separately.
  • What is the UIWSOM minimum GPA for admission consideration?

    At this time, there is not a minimum GPA for your application to UIWSOM.  However, a competitive GPA, particularly in UIWSOM prerequisite courses makes for a stronger candidate.

  • Do repeated courses factor into my GPA?

    The Repeat Coursework Policy will change in the 2017-2018 cycle.  Effective May 1, 2017, AACOMAS will include all course attempts in the GPA calculation. This change applies to students matriculating into the 2018-2019 academic year. In the event of multiple attempts of the same course, AACOMAS will no longer drop initial course attempts from the GPA calculation. UIWSOM will adhere to the AACOMAS policy change. UIWSOM will not recalculate the GPA locally.  Please visit the AACOMAS Repeat Policy Change for additional information.

    For all required UIWSOM prerequisites, you must earn a “C” or higher for each course (2.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale) to be considered for admission. A grade of "C-" does not meet the minimum requirements.

    Visit the AACOMAS FAQs for additional information and instructions for:

    • How GPA’s are calculated, review “The Application Process - Verification: Grade Point Average (GPA) Calculations” section.
    • How to enter repeated coursework, review “Application Section: Academic History – Transcript Entry: How to Enter Coursework” section.

  Prerequisites

  • Must all prerequisite courses be completed prior to applying?

    No.  Your application can be submitted while prerequisite coursework is in-progress.  All UIWSOM prerequisites must be completed prior to program entry (UIWSOM class of 2018 entry begins July 31, 2018).  All prerequisites must be taken from a regionally accredited college/university and earn a “C” or higher for each course (2.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale) for your application to be considered. A grade of "C-" does not meet the minimum requirement.

  • Does UIWSOM have a time limit for prerequisite coursework?  
    No, we do not have a specified time frame and/or expiration date in which your coursework must be taken.  However, it is important to understand that admitted students are expected to retain the content knowledge covered in prerequisite coursework and are responsible for being prepared for the UIWSOM academic curriculum.
  • Do you accept CLEP or AP courses for prerequisites?
    We will accept this type of credit if your courses and credit are awarded on your official undergraduate transcript from a regionally accredited institution.  However, a solid background in the sciences is essential to do well on the MCAT.  It is highly recommended (not required) that if you have AP credit in any of these general science areas, that you might find it helpful to take additional science courses to sharpen/challenge your knowledge in the sciences.
  • Do you accept online coursework?
    Yes, the UIWSOM Admissions Committee will consider online coursework as long as it is from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university.
  • What if my prerequisite courses are in quarter hours?

    Semester credit hours and quarter hours are not the same equivalent credit hours. Refer to the quarter hour to semester hour equivalency chart below. If your quarter hours do not equate to the required semester credit hours, you will be missing the prerequisite requirement hours.  Please review also the AACOMAS Application Instructions and FAQ’s for additional information. 

    Quarter Hour to Semester Credit Hour Equivalency Chart

    Quarter Hours

    Semester Hours

    1

    0.67

    2

    1.33

    3

    2.0

    4

    2.67

    5

    3.33

    6

    4.0

    7

    4.67

    8

    5.33

    9

    6.0

    10

    6.67

  • Does my course meet the UIWSOM prerequisite requirement? 

    First, please review our full admission prerequisite requirements at UIWSOM Selection Factors.  Required science prerequisite courses listed must be for science majors (level) to be considered for admission. UIWSOM prerequisites are listed in semester credit hours. 

    If you have additional questions, contact the UIWSOM Office of Admissions via email at DOdoc@uiwtx.edu including the following information:  

    • Your full name
    • The UIWSOM prerequisite course you are concerned about
    • The name of the college/university where you will take or have taken the course
    • The course name, number, number of quarter/semester credit hours and a description or syllabus 
      (If you are unsure if your course is quarter or semester credit hours, review your college/university catalog or contact your college/university registrar’s office.)

  Admission Interviews

  International Students & Foreign Coursework

  Tuition & Financial Aid

  • What is the tuition and fees cost of the UIWSOM program?

    2017-2018 Tuition and Fees

    Resident tuition

    $52,600

    Supplemental Application Fee

       $50

    Resident fees

      $2,000

    Health Insurance

    $1,245
    Non-Resident tuition $52,600

    Estimated Room, Board, Books & Living Costs

    $21,243/yr.

    Non-Resident fees

      $2,000

       
  • How do I apply for financial aid?
     

    Admitted students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any other documentation required by the UIW Office of Financial Assistance by the appropriate deadline. Students are awarded and packaged financial aid for tuition, fees, books, room, board, transportation, and personal expenses.  

    Visit UIWSOM Tuition and Financial Aid for additional information. 

  Osteopathic Medicine Resources