Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

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Catalog & Curriculum : D.O. Facts : Graduate Placement : Tuition & Expenses :
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Catalog & Curriculum

Download the KCOM catalog & curriculum guide Adobe PDF

Medical Education

The osteopathic curriculum involves four years of academic study. Reflecting the osteopathic philosophy, the curriculum emphasizes preventive medicine and holistic patient care. Medical students learn to use osteopathic principles and techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The curriculum at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine is discipline-based, and multiple innovative learning models have been adopted throughout its evolution. Each course, while discipline-based, has numerous presentation styles including problem-based sessions, case-based presentations, web-based instruction, and smallgroup labs, workshops and other activities in the first and second years. Clinical integration occurs in most basic science courses. Osteopathic theory and methods are taught throughout the first two years, integrated through an interdependent alignment with basic science and clinical courses. Courses in the first two years prepare the student for the curriculum expected during the clinical rotation experience. Clinical curriculum, including didactics, labs, workshops and osteopathic manipulative medicine, is delivered to students in regional sites during the third and fourth years. Entering students will be enrolled in Gross Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Osteopathic Theory and Methods, Biochemistry and The Complete DOctor. Credited hours, measured as contact hours, include all test hours.

Third and fourth year students have the option of completing their clinical rotations in one of KCOM’s National Rotation Regions. These regions currently include Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

Postgraduate Medical Education

After completing osteopathic medical college, D.O.s serve a one-year internship, gaining hands-on experience in internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, general practice, pediatrics, and surgery. This experience ensures that osteopathic physicians are first trained as primary care physicians even if they plan to pursue a specialty. The internship provides every D.O. with the opportunity to see and treat every patient as a whole person.

After the one-year internship, D.O.s enroll in a residency program of their choice. A residency typically requires from two to six years of additional training, depending on their chosen area of medicine.

To see where the KCOM graduates received internships and residencies, visit the Graduate Placement link.


All physicians (both D.O.s and M.D.s) must pass a national medical board examination in order to obtain a license. D.O.s are eligible to take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) and the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). There are three parts to each examination which are taken throughout the medical education experience. Additionally, all physicians must pass a state licensing exam. Each state board sets its own requirements and then issues the license for the physician to practice in that state.

Continuing Medical Education

Continuing Osteopathic Medical Education is a lifelong commitment to learning by osteopathic physicians in full recognition of the fact that the study of medicine does not end with graduation from medical school. The American Osteopathic Association requires its members to complete a specified number of continuing medical education credits during each three-year period in order to maintain membership.