Curriculum

Emphasizing academic excellence, compassion, and comprehensive patient care, the four-year Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) curriculum is divided into two phases into which key osteopathic principles and techniques are interwoven. Throughout COMP's curriculum, you will learn the problem-solving skills that will enable you to effectively care for the whole patient using state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment modalities.

Pre-Clerkship Phase: The first portion of this phase (Semester 1) of the curriculum lays the basic science foundation, and teaches the key osteopathic principles that you will need to commence to the clerkship phase of the curriculum. The later part of this phase (Semesters 2 – 4) incorporates basic and clinical sciences into the in-depth study of ten human organ systems. This approach emphasizes the relevance of basic science to clinical practice. Osteopathic Principles and Manipulative Medicine (OMM) continue as the foundation of this study.

Clerkship Phase: During this phase (Semesters 5-8), you will complete 20 rotations comprised of the major medical disciplines and electives which provide you with the opportunity to further develop your medical knowledge and clinical skills.

 Courtney Martin “I have been thrilled with the grant coordination and encouragement WesternU provides for students to do and invent research projects. I have been supported endlessly by Dr. Mackintosh, Dr. Thrush and Matt Katz.”
- Courtney Martin, DO Class of 2011

Selected students also have the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty on various research projects. For example, Courtney Martin, DO 2011, started her own research project for Parental Attitudes towards the HPV vaccinations. Learn about research at WesternU.

Review the Course Listing in our Catalog
For more detail regarding the curriculum, please review the course descriptions (PDF) in our University catalog.

Academic Outcomes
Students are required to take and pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) Levels 1, 2CE, and 2PE before graduation. During residency training COMP graduates are required to take and pass the COMLEX Level 3 Exam for state licensure. Our students have historically done exceptionally well on these exams. COMLEX first time pass rates and postgraduate residency placement rates can be found on the COMP Academic Outcomes page.

Early Clinical Experience
During the pre-clerkship phase, you will receive early clinical exposure through courses including Osteopathic Principles and Practices, Essentials of Clinical Medicine, Physician and Society, and Service Learning. Our students also refine their clinical skills by working with standardized patients in our Clinical Skills Lab and through participation in WesternU's service-oriented clubs and organizations. By the end of your second year, you will be well prepared to commence your third and fourth year rotations.

Learn Alongside Students in the Other Health Professions
WesternU's interprofessional curriculum provides a forum for you to collaborate and learn from students in eight other health-care programs. This curriculum provides an opportunity for early networking with other health professionals and ultimately prepares you to better serve patients through interprofessional collaboration and referrals.

Academic Support
Dedicated clinical and basic science faculty, with many years of teaching experience, are committed to working closely with you to help you succeed in our rigorous academic program. Each student has a faculty advisor who serves as a mentor throughout a student's academic career by providing advice, referral, letters of recommendation, and other support as needed.

 Seth Criner“My favorite thing about WesternU is the people that are involved in it. It’s very much a family atmosphere. My classmates are supportive and I’ve been able to get to know the faculty, staff and administration.”
- Seth Criner, DO Class of 2010

Additionally, you can draw on the expertise of the Learning Enhancement & Academic Development Office (LEAD). LEAD staff arrange for individual and group peer-tutoring sessions, one-on-one stress relief sessions, and workshops on topics such as time management, test-taking skills, and learning styles.

Support for COMLEX and USMLE board exam preparation is also provided though both the College faculty and the LEAD office.


Facilities and Technology
The preclinical classrooms support your learning using state-of-the-art technology including Ethernet ports at every seat, a built-in multi-media podium, and four large projection screens used to display PowerPoints, outlines, videos, and photos related to lectures.

Classrooms are also equipped with the Apreso system that digitally records lectures for online access and review as needed. The system allows students to review select portions of a lecture or even the entire lecture as needed.

As a WesternU osteopathic medical student, you will learn in a variety of settings including the classroom, anatomy lab, OMM lab, clinical skills lab, clinics, medical offices, and hospitals.

You will also make use of the Harriet K. and Philip Pumerantz Library, a four-story 34,000-square-foot building renovated in 2001. The library features hard-wire and wireless capabilities for laptop use in any room; group study rooms and numerous study carrels; and two computer labs. The library's collection is extensive with over 27,000 volumes and journal subscriptions to over 500 print journals and access to more than 9,000 electronic journals. Electronic databases are available both on-campus and off-campus through the Library's e-resources page.

Outstanding Facilities
Western University is a thriving academic health center spread out over 22 acres in Pomona, CA. The main campus currently includes 19 major buildings and construction is complete on two new building projects totaling an investment of more than $100 million.  These buildings are shared by students in osteopathic medicine, optometry, dentistry, and podiatric medicine. The design fosters interprofessional education and patient care.

Health Education Center (HEC)

Patient Care Center (PCC)

  • Four-story, 180,000 square feet
  • Wireless equipped 
  • Six auditoriums
  • Research labs and faculty offices
  • More than 50 small-group meeting rooms
  • Pre-clinical space that mirrors clinical space
  • Three-story, 68,500 square feet
  • Interprofessional Diagnostic Suite with three large examination rooms designed for a collaborative health care team
  • Adaptive equipment for the treatment of people with disabilities

Patient Care Center
In addition, a new seven-story, 600-space parking structure was built to serve the new buildings.

Join us for an information session where you can tour the facilities, chat with faculty and students,
and learn more about WesternU's DO curriculum and admission requirements.