Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program (SOMA)
The SOMA curriculum is aligned with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Seven Osteopathic Core Competencies for Medical Students. Under each of these competency domains, there are measurable curricular goals which, upon student attainment and completion, indicate competence in the domain. These curricular goals broadly shape and define the courses and clerkships (clinical rotations) within the four-year SOMA curriculum. For each curricular goal, there are accompanying learning activities, whose purpose is to help students achieve the goal and learn course content. Each learning activity is guided by a set of specific, measurable learning objectives that state what the student will accomplish during the activity.
- Osteopathic Principles & Practices
“Graduates must demonstrate knowledge of osteopathic principles and practice (OPP), and they must exhibit and apply knowledge of somatic dysfunction diagnosis and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in clinical settings.”
- Demonstrate and communicate knowledge of osteopathic principles and osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) including the scientific basis and physical findings of somatic dysfunction as well as the mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, and basic application of OMT.
- Perform and document a complete and appropriately focused osteopathic structural examination in a respectful, logical, and organized manner.
- Apply osteopathic principles and OMT consistently and appropriately into specific patient care plans.
- Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to integrate osteopathic principles and practice into all aspects of whole person healthcare.
- Clinical Skills & Osteopathic Patient Care
“Graduates must demonstrate effective use of motor and cognitive skills in diagnosis, management and prevention of common health problems encountered in patient care within a variety of clinical settings and across the lifespan.”
- Elicit a comprehensive and appropriately focused history and generate a list of a patient’s concerns in a respectful, rationale and organized manner.
- Perform a complete and appropriately focused physical examination in a respectful, rationale and organized manner; and correlate abnormal findings to clinical presentations and disease processes.
- Perform basic clinical procedures essential for general osteopathic medical practice.
- Utilize clinical reasoning strategies to accurately diagnose medical conditions originating from common clinical presentations.
- Determine and implement evidence-based clinical intervention plans and management strategies, while monitoring their effectiveness and adjusting appropriately.
- Incorporate health education counseling, preventive medicine approaches, and health promotion strategies during patient encounters.
- Medical Knowledge
“Graduates must demonstrate knowledge and application of osteopathic, biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, biomechanical, social and behavioral sciences in the context of patient-centered care.”
- Recognize and explain normal structure and function across the lifespan.
- Identify and explain the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms that support normal structure and function.
- Distinguish between the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, describe their impact on the body, and relate them to patient signs and symptoms.
- Explain and apply principles of contemporary therapeutics, including osteopathic, surgical, pharmacologic, molecular, biologic, behavioral and contemporary/alternative.
- Interpret diagnostic studies and correlate abnormal findings to disease states.
- Describe the epidemiology of common disease states within a defined population, and the systematic approaches useful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of those disease states.
“Graduates must demonstrate through knowledge, behavior and attitudes, a commitment to the highest standards of competence, ethics, integrity, and accountability to patients, society and the osteopathic profession.”
- Demonstrate respect, altruism, compassion, interest, integrity, honesty, accountability and trustworthiness in all interactions with patients, their families, faculty, staff, peers and colleagues.
- Apply ethical decision making in all aspects of professional practice.
- Demonstrate awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness to culture, socio-economic status, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and mental/physical disabilities of patients, their families, faculty, staff, peers and colleagues.
- Demonstrate professional work behaviors such as punctuality, appropriate appearance, accepting responsibility for errors, and maintaining professional boundaries.
- Demonstrate a commitment to continuous professional development, learning, and internal & external assessment.
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills
“Graduates must demonstrate the knowledge, behaviors and attitudes that facilitate accurate and efficient information gathering, empathetic rapport building, and effective information giving in interactions with patients, their families and colleagues of the inter-professional health care team.”
- Document and record patient information in an accurate, organized, and confidential manner appropriate to the clinical situation and present relevant aspects of a patient’s case in a logical, articulate fashion both orally and in writing.
- Work effectively and collaboratively with patients, their families and colleagues of the inter-professional healthcare team in providing whole person healthcare.
- Demonstrate effective and appropriate active listening, verbal, non-verbal, and written and electronic communication skills when dealing with patients, their families, faculty, staff, peers and colleagues of the inter-professional health care team.
- Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
“Graduates must demonstrate the ability to apply scientific theory and methodology and exhibit the critical thinking skills essential for integrating evidence-based principles and practice into patient care.”
- Apply fundamental biostatistical and epidemiologic concepts to practice-based learning and improvement.
- Conduct a systematic review of literature on basic and clinical science research and critically synthesize the results for relevance and validity.
- Describe the clinical significance of and apply strategies for integrating best medical evidence into clinical practice.
- Identify, describe and apply systematic methods relating to continuous evaluation of osteopathic clinical practice patterns, practice-base improvements, and the reduction of medical errors.
- Integrate technology into the practice of medicine and the delivery of healthcare services.
- Systems-Based Practice
“Graduates must demonstrate awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and systems of health care, and effectively identify system resources to advocate for and maximize the health of the individual and the community or population at large.”
- Demonstrate knowledge of health delivery systems that affect the practice of an osteopathic physician and how delivery systems influence the utilization of resources and access to health care.
- Demonstrate knowledge of how patient care and professional practices affect other health care professionals, health care organizations, and society.
- Demonstrate the ability to work effectively in a variety of health care systems (with an emphasis on community health care) and provide quality patient care while advocating for the best interests of patients.
- Demonstrate the ability to implement safe, effective, timely, patient-centered and equitable systems of care in a team-oriented environment.
Several important pedagogical modalities are used to bring basic science into a clinical context. These modalities include: clinical presentation “schemes,” small group learning discussions, hands-on laboratories, demonstrations, and simulation activities.
Community Health Center (CHC) Learning Partnerships
A unique feature of SOMA’s education program is its emphasis on contextual learning in community healthcare settings. Beginning in the second year (OMS II year), students are stationed at one of the Community Health Centers (CHCs) listed below. Each of these locations has dedicated classroom space for didactic instruction, OPP training, and clinical skills application and practice. These classrooms are equipped with internet connectivity and video conferencing capabilities so that academic interaction can occur with the Mesa campus faculty and with the other CHC sites. SOMA’s CHC partnerships include:
- Adelante Healthcare: Mesa, Arizona
- Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services: Ridgeland, South Carolina
- El-Rio Community Health Center: Tucson, Arizona
- Family Healthcare Network: Visalia, California
- HealthPoint: Renton, Washington
- HealthSource: Mt. Oreb, Ohio
- Near North Health Service Corporation: Chicago, Illinois
- North Country Healthcare: Flagstaff, Arizona
- Northwest Regional Primary Care Association: Portland, Oregon
- Sunset Park Family Health Center: Brooklyn, New York
- Unity Health Care: Washington, DC
- Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center: Waianae, Hawaii
Length of Program
The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program can be completed in four years. The curriculum is comprised of a minimum of 403.5 semester credit hours.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition is due twice a year at ATSU. It is due at the beginning of the first and second semesters. Each payment is half the cost for the entire year. Tuition may be paid any time during the week that it is due. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1.5% per month, which is 18% per year.
||Educational Supply Fee
||Medical Equipment Fee
|Class of 2021, year 1
|Class of 2020, year 2
|Class of 2019, year 3
|Class of 2018, year 4
SOMA uses the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). AACOMAS provides centralized services including data collection, analysis, and distribution of the online primary application to osteopathic medical schools the applicant designates. Please visit www.aacom.org or contact AACOMAS at 5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 310, Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7231, phone: 301.968.4100.
The deadline for submission of the AACOMAS application is March 1; however due to SOMA’s rolling admissions process and early admission decisions, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.
Upon review of the AACOMAS application, SOMA will send qualified applicants a secondary (supplemental) application. A non-refundable application fee, at least one letter of recommendation (LOR) from a science faculty member (or from the pre-medical committee), and at least one LOR from a physician (strong preference for a letter from a D.O.) must be submitted with the secondary application.
The deadline for submission of the secondary (supplemental) application is April 1. Due to SOMA’s rolling admissions process and early admission decisions, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.
Applicants for admission to the first-year DO class must meet the following requirements prior to matriculation.
- The applicant must have achieved a minimum 2.8 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) and a minimum 2.8 science GPA on a 4.0 scale.
- Applicants must have completed a bachelor of arts or science from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university or equally accredited Canadian institution
- Applicants must have successfully completed one full academic year (or equivalent) with a grade (or equivalent) of “C-” or better in each of the following courses prior to matriculation:
- Biology/Zoology (with laboratory)
- Inorganic/General Chemistry (with laboratory)
- Physics (with laboratory)
- Organic Chemistry (with laboratory)
- Additionally, SOMA recommends the following elective courses:
- Behavioral Science
- Molecular Biology
- Multicultural Studies
- Public Health/Epidemiology
- Applicants are required to submit scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) that have been taken within three years of application.
- Matriculants are required to submit complete official transcripts from each school attended by the date of matriculation.
- SOMA and many of its clinical affiliations require criminal background checks on matriculants and students to ensure the safety of patients and employees. The checks are conducted by a vendor selected by ATSU. The student will pay the cost of the criminal background check directly to the vendor. Failure to comply with this mandate will result in denial to matriculate. A matriculant with a positive criminal background screen will be reviewed.
- Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Applicants must be fluent in the oral and written use of English
- Applicants must have basic computer literacy.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Public Health Dual Degree
With ATSU’s dual Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Public Health program, students earn their Master of Public Health (MPH) through ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS) while completing their DO degree at SOMA. Students trained in ATSU-SOMA’s innovative community campus model will be well prepared for a medical career in public health venues. The MPH requires additional courses completed online via ATSU-CGHS. Applications to the MPH program are accepted toward the end of the students’ first year at ATSU-SOMA.
After earning their DO and MPH degrees students will be able to do the following and more:
- Analyze issues of access, quality, and cost for populations, communities, and individuals
- Evaluate social determinants of health and health disparities at your community health center and beyond
- Hypothesize reasons for observed disparities
- Create interventions to address health disparities
- Design research studies to address health disparities
- Compare and contrast research methodologies
- Critically appraise public health and medical literature
- Define health literacy and apply its concepts to health promotion and disease prevention programs
- Apply knowledge and skills acquired from the curriculum and complete an academic paper suitable for publication
- Present research findings at national meetings
- Evaluate health promotion and disease prevention programs from a variety of perspectives
Students must meet the following criteria to apply for the DO/MPH dual degree:
- Must have attended the introductory presentation by the Program Director or have had a meeting with the Program Director to ensure they are informed of the rigor of a dual degree program.
- Must be in good academic standing
- Must have no course failures during the OMS I year
- Must not be identified as At Risk according to the SOMA catalog description
Once these criteria have been met, a letter of support must be obtained for the student from the SOMA Dean. The student may then apply online via the ATSU website. There is no admission fee for potential DO/MPH students.
Hometown Scholars Program
The National Association of Community Health Centers has a hometown scholar program that identifies potential applicants who match the mission and values of SOMA. Please visit www.atsu.edu/hometown-scholars for more details on the Hometown Scholars Program.
Transfer Student Admission
The curriculum model and structure of SOMA does not allow for transfer student admission.
The curriculum model and structure of SOMA does not allow for the awarding of course credit.
Advanced Standing Admission
The curriculum model and structure of SOMA does not allow for the awarding of advanced standing into the School.
International Student Admission
All SOMA applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Selection of Applicants
The SOMA Admissions Committee seeks individuals who will be a good match to SOMA’s mission and are capable of meeting SOMA’s academic and professionalism standards. Applicants are screened for academic achievement, clinical involvement, interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, service, perseverance, maturity, motivation, and knowledge of the osteopathic profession. Applicants who pass this screening will be invited for an interview. The interview day is designed to be a two-way process to help the SOMA Admissions Committee determine if the applicant is a good fit for SOMA while enabling the applicant to determine if SOMA is a good fit for the applicant. Attendance at an interview day is mandatory for admission.
Following the interview day, the Admissions Committee will review the applicant’s entire packet and determine the disposition of the application. The Admissions Committee will accept (with or without contingencies), reject, or place candidates on an alternate list. Applicants are notified of the Committee’s decision as soon as possible (usually within two weeks of the interview day).
An offer of acceptance is accompanied by assignment to a specific Community Health Center Contextual Learning Site (informally known as “community campus”). Successful applicants are granted a specified time period to notify the Office of Admissions of their intention to enroll. This letter of intent must be accompanied by payment of a non-refundable acceptance fee.
Admission after acceptance is subject to the satisfactory completion of all academic requirements. Admission to SOMA may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of University standards.
The following are required prior to attendance on the first day of class at SOMA. Failure to comply with any of the listed requirements may lead to withdrawal of acceptance and will prevent a student from initially enrolling or remaining enrolled at SOMA.
- Successful completion of a Bachelor of Arts or Science (B.A., B.S.) degree and all SOMA prerequisite courses from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university or equally accredited Canadian institution: This must be verified with submission of all final official transcripts to the ATSU Admission Office.
- Attendance at all SOMA osteopathic medical student, year 1 (OMS I) orientation activities: These activities occur during the week prior to the first day of class.
- Background Check: SOMA requires that entering students submit to and provide the results of background check prior to enrollment. Recognize that this is a minimum standard and that some clinical facilitates may have additional requirements that students must meet prior to beginning clerkships (clinical rotations) at those sites. These requirements may include (but not be limited to) additional background checks and drug screening.
- Required Immunizations: SOMA requires all entering students to provide proof of their immunizations in order to enroll in courses. Please see the Academic Standards, Guidelines, and Requirements section for the specific immunization requirements.
- Proof of Health Insurance: ATSU requires that all students maintain personal hospitalization/health insurance coverage. Proof of adequate coverage as defined by ATSU must be presented to the Registrar’s Office. Coverage must be maintained throughout the duration of enrollment. Non-compliance at any time during a student’s enrollment could result in suspension and/or dismissal. For coverage details, see the University Student Handbook.
- Proof of Disability Insurance: All students enrolled in the residential programs at ATSU are required to carry disability insurance coverage. For Arizona, the University has contracted with Northwestern Mutual to provide group coverage. Students will be enrolled in the group policy with the option of opting-out provided they can provide verification that they have a current, comparable disability policy.Graduate school is an expensive investment and ATSU is dedicated to helping students protect their financial well- Disability insurance helps protect students from financial hardships if their education is disrupted. Students will be enrolled in the group policy during orientation and coverage will continue through graduation. Students who withdraw from ATSU will be un-enrolled from the policy on the date of withdrawal but can continue the coverage privately by contacting the provider. Graduates will have the option of continuing the disability insurance coverage after graduation on an individual basis. Non-compliance at any time during a student’s enrollment will result in suspension and/or dismissal.The fees for the disability insurance policy are part of the university student fee structure and financial aid budget and are charged to all residential students (see below for fee structure).
- Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification: SOMA requires that all students obtain and maintain BLS certification throughout the entire duration of enrollment. Proof of certification must be on file by the end of OMS I orientation. It is the student’s responsibility to renew certification prior to the expiration date. Proof of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification must be obtained prior to reporting for clerkship duty in the OMS III year. These requirements may only be met using an online course if it is a certification renewal. First-time certification must be completed via a live course. Non-compliance at any time during a student’s enrollment will result in suspension and/or dismissal.
SOMA students are evaluated by a number of methodologies to insure they are meeting curricular goals and competencies. The following are examples of methods that may be used to provide either formative or summative evaluation of student performance.
- Examinations (either written or computer based), quizzes and assignments
- Observation of Head-To-Toe Physical Exam
- Observation of Problem-Specific Physical Exams
- Performance of Clinical Procedures
- Performance at Clinical Experiences
- Discussion with Preceptors at Clinical Sites
- Behavioral Performance Evaluation
- Comprehensive End-of-Year Examinations
- Faculty Advisory Reviews
- Evaluation of Medical Documentation
- Observation of Patient Presentations
- Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)
- Clinical Examination Exercise (Mini-Cex)
Final pre-clinical course and system grades are reported as Honors (HON 90% and above), Pass (PASS 70-89%), or Fail (FAIL <70%). In addition to earning a cumulative grade above 70%, individual courses may also specify further requirements in order to successfully pass. A failed class that is remediated is reported as a Remediated Pass (RPASS). GPA is calculated using the final actual percentage score a student achieved in a course or system, weighted in proportion to the units of the course or system. Class rank is determined by ordering the GPA’s of the members of the class from highest to lowest. While GPA and class rank are not reported on the official transcript, SOMA can provide this information in an official letter at the student’s request.
Grades for rotations and courses for students in OMS III & IV are reported on the transcript as Honors (HON), High Pass (HPass), Pass (Pass), Low Pass (LPass) or Fail (Fail). For OMS IV course Selective II- Academic Study Option, grades are reported as Pass/Fail only, and do not factor into a student’s rank. A failed rotation that is successfully remediated is designated as a Remediated Pass (RPASS) on the transcript. The following criteria are used to determine OMS III & IV grades:
For non-core rotations, scores are based on the Clinical Performance Evaluation (CPE). See individual course syllabi for additional requirements.
Grade is based on the CPE scale:
||< or equal to 2.0
||4.0 – 4.75
||2.1 – 2.9
||3.0 – 3.9
For core rotations, scores are based on the Clinical Performance Evaluation (40%), end-of-rotation exam (40%), and weekly assignments (20%). See individual course syllabi for additional requirements.
Each component of the core rotation grade has its own scale:
||Exam (40%) “mean” refers to national mean
||Weekly Assignment (20%)
||4.0 – 4.75
||4.0 – 4.75
||4.0 – 4.75
||3.0 – 3.9
||3.0 – 3.9
||3.0 – 3.9
||2.1 – 2.9
||2.1 – 2.9
||2.1 – 2.9
||84 or lower
*Failure of the CPE will result in failure of the course and a repeat of the clinical rotation.
The three components (CPE, end-of-rotation exam scores, weekly assignments) are combined to determine the final grade based on the following scale:
||< or equal to 2.0
||4.0 – 4.75
||2.1 – 2.9
||3.0 – 3.9
Should a student fail a post-rotation examination, a limit of two (2) retakes (for a total of three attempts) will be allowed. Any retake requires approval by the Director of Clinical Education, Assessment, and Outcomes. A failure of the rotation will occur if the student does not successfully pass on the third attempt.
For Family Medicine and Internal Medicine, the COMAT is taken at the end of the second rotation. Due to these courses being a total of 8 weeks each (two four-week experiences for Family Medicine and two four-week experiences for Internal Medicine), the COMAT is factored into both rotation grades (Family Medicine I and II for the Family Medicine COMAT, and Internal Medicine I and II for the Internal Medicine COMAT), even if the rotations are taken in different semesters.
Scores for Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) in the OMS III year- first semester & OMS IV year are converted to a pass designation using the following criteria:
Scores for OPP in the OMS III year- second semester are converted to a pass designation using the following chart:
|OPP Score¯ COMAT®
|69 or below
If the COMAT-OPP is failed on the first attempt, the student receives an INCOMPLETE, and the COMAT-OPP must be retaken to remove the INCOMPLETE. The maximum course grade would then be a Pass.
A grade of I (incomplete) indicates that course requirements have not been completed. A grade of IP (in progress) indicates the course spans more than one semester. Grades of I or IP are not replaced on the official transcript until all course requirements are met. Failure to complete course requirements may result in grades of I or IP being replaced with a failing grade.
The individual professional and graduate programs of ATSU, through their faculty and established school procedures, retain principal responsibility for assessing student performance. Disputes concerning unsatisfactory progress evaluations should be reconciled through the processes and procedures described under the DO program. Additional guidelines regarding academic appeals, including grade appeals, promotion, and/or dismissal appeals will be found within the ATSU Policies section, Academic Appeals policy .
Student Performance Committee
Responsibilities and Membership
SOMA’s Student Performance Committee (SPC) is a standing committee that evaluates the academic and professional performance and development of all SOMA students and, when appropriate, forwards recommendations to the Dean as described below. The SPC ensures that all students meet the standards to advance through each year of the SOMA curriculum and that each student has completed all graduation requirements. The voting members of the SPC include clinical and basic medical science faculty appointed by the Dean. The Chair of the SPC is appointed annually by the Dean.
An individual with a concern about a student’s academic or professional performance will refer the issue to the appropriate Assistant or Associate Dean(s), who then may refer the matter to the SPC. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
- Failure of a course, rotation, COMLEX exam, or other required activity
- Overall poor performance in the academic program
- Violation of professionalism standards
- Inability to meet SOMA technical standards
- Failure to abide by SOMA Catalog policies and procedures
Attendance and Notification
The student may be required to attend the SPC meeting (either in person or by videoconference) when the student’s academic status is presented for discussion. Each student is reviewed individually by the SPC, taking into account the student’s overall performance. The student will be notified of the requirement to attend at least two business days (Monday-Friday, excluding holidays) before the meeting. The student’s required dress code for meetings with the SPC is business attire.
The following sanctions may be imposed by the SPC:
- Consultation – Consultations may include but are not limited to the following:
- Mandated meetings with the Learning Advisors in Student Affairs;
- Mandated meetings with the student’s academic advisor or RDME;
- Mandated counseling sessions with the University’s Mental Health Wellness Counselor or a mental health counselor of the student’s choice (at the student’s expense);
- Educational psychology testing to evaluate the student’s cognitive ability to progress in medical school;
- Evaluation by a physician, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist to determine the student’s ability to meet the technical standards of the program;
- Evaluation and/or treatment by a physician for addictive behaviors.
- Academic Warning
- Academic Warning is issued to a student who fails to meet SOMA’s academic or professionalism standards. This may include a course failure, rotation failure, or first failure of COMLEX Level 1, COMLEX Level 2 CE, or COMLEX Level 2 PE.
- The purpose of the Academic Warning is to alert the student, faculty, and administration that the student has experienced difficulty, and that special consideration may be given for consultation, referral, counseling, academic assistance, or other activities to help the student resolve academic or professionalism deficiencies.
- Students holding an officer position may be asked to resign at the discretion of the SPC.
- Once the deficiencies have been remediated by the student, the warning shall be removed by written notification from the chair of the SPC.
- The successful remediation of an academic course will be identified by a notation (70R) on the student’s transcript.
- Academic Probation
- Academic Probation may be imposed on any student who has violated SOMA’s professionalism standards or who has multiple course, rotation, COMLEX Level 1, COMLEX Level 2 CE, or COMLEX Level 2 PE failures.
- The purpose of probation is to alert the student, faculty, and administration to the fact that the student has experienced academic difficulty.
- This is a status change that will be documented in the student’s official record.
- Students holding an officer position will be required to resign but may still participate in club activities.
- Students on probation may not be excused from curricular activities for professional development, or attend conferences or events sponsored by the school, without explicit permission from the assistant or associate dean. These measures are employed to assist the student in concentrating on improvement in his or her academic progress.
- Once the deficiencies have been remediated by the student, the probation shall be removed by written notification from chair of the SPC.
- The successful remediation of an academic course will be identified by a notation (70R) on the student’s transcript.
The Student Progress Committee can recommend the following sanctions to the Dean for review and consideration:
- Suspension – Suspension is defined by ATSU as a temporary and immediate separation from the institution. The SPC and Dean will determine if the student will be eligible for reinstatement, the terms of the reinstatement, or if the student is to be dismissed from SOMA. Students may be dismissed for various causes including but not limited to:
- Posing an immediate threat to the university community and/or to themselves
- Engaging in illegal activities
- Failure to comply with sanctions imposed by the school or the university
- Dismissal – Dismissal is a permanent separation from the institution. Students may be dismissed for various causes including but not limited to:
- Poor academic performance including multiple failures
- Professionalism violations
Following a Student Performance Committee meeting, the student will be notified of the outcome by the SPC Chair in writing within seven business days. Decisions by the SPC may be appealed to the Dean in writing, within seven business days of notification by the SPC Chair. See the appeal process below.
In the event of a SPC recommendation for dismissal, suspension, or extension of the academic program affecting the student’s graduation, the final decision and notification to the student will come directly from the Dean of SOMA.
Right of Appeal
A notification to the student by the SPC regarding the decision concerning the student’s status may be appealed, in writing, to the Dean of SOMA. A student’s appeal must be received no later than seven calendar days following receipt of the SPC letter. The appeal must include a statement of the reason(s) the action is unwarranted. The written appeal must be dated and signed by the student. Upon receiving the written appeal, the Dean may choose to meet with the student. The Dean will notify the student in writing of their decision concerning the appeal no later than seven calendar days following receipt of the student’s appeal.
The highest level of appeal within the school is the Dean or Dean’s designee. Students who wish to appeal a Dean’s decision regarding promotion or dismissal should review the Academic Appeals Policy: Promotion and/or Dismissal Decisions .
Remediation examinations for course failures in OMS I and OMS II begin two weeks following the conclusion of the final course in the academic year (excluding the Integrative II course in OMS II) and must be successfully completed before a student can be advanced to the next stage of the curriculum. This minimum two-week period allows for students to focus their attention on remediation examination preparation.
For students needing to remediate course failures in the year 1 curriculum, an individualized remediation examination schedule will be developed by the Assistant Dean of Curriculum Integration. Remediation examinations may occur at the main Arizona campus or at the student’s community campus location with the approval of the Assistant Dean of Curriculum Integration.
For students needing to remediate course failures in the year 2 curriculum, an individualized remediation examination schedule will be developed by the Assistant Dean of Curriculum Integration, in consultation with the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Services (or designee) and the appropriate Regional Director of Medical Education (RDME). It may be necessary to delay the start of 3rd year clinical rotations and/or sitting for COMLEX Level 1 in order to successfully complete the remediation process. Remediation examinations will occur at the student’s community campus location.
For students wishing to take a remediation examination at one week following the conclusion of the final course in the academic year, a petition can be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Curriculum Integration outlining the reason(s) for the request. If permission is granted to take an earlier remediation examination, the student will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging the potential risk of remediation failure with less preparation time than being advised.
All OMS I and II remediation examinations must be proctored by an ATSU-SOMA employee or designee as approved by the Assistant Dean of Curriculum Integration. A student who fails a course remediation examination will be referred to the Student Performance Committee and is subject to dismissal.
Failed clinical rotations (OMS III and IV) must be repeated and successfully completed. The course and preceptor must be approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Services.
Passing Level 1 and Level 2 of the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) from the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) is a graduation requirement. These examinations are:
- COMLEX Level 1 (COMLEX 1)
- COMLEX Level 2 CE (COMLEX 2CE)
- COMLEX Level 2PE (COMLEX 2PE)
More information on the requirements set by SOMA for all students may be found on the SOMA COMLEX Policies page.
GPA is calculated using the final actual percentage score a student achieved in a course, weighted in proportion to the units of the course. Class ranks are calculated at the end of the student’s second year and are determined by ordering the GPAs of the members of the class from highest to lowest. While scores in years three and four are not used to determine GPA or class rank, they are used as part of the calculations for determining clinical and professionalism scores reported on the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE). Estimated class ranks or GPAs may be requested through the SOMA’s Dean’s Office at any time.
In order to graduate from ATSU-SOMA, a student must:
- Have been a student in an accredited osteopathic medical school or equivalent for at least four academic years.
- Have been enrolled in SOMA for at least his or her final two academic years.
- Successfully complete all academic, administrative, and professional requirements for promotion.
- Take and pass the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. (NBOME) Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) Level 1, the COMLEX Level 2 Cognitive Evaluation (CE), and the COMLEX Level 2 Performance Exam (PE).
- Have been approved by the faculty to receive his or her diploma.
- Have discharged all financial obligations to ATSU-
- Attend the commencement program at which time the degree is conferred.
Completion of Degree
A student is expected to complete all DO degree requirements within SOMA’s usual four-year plan of study. However, a student may have his or her plan of study altered beyond the usual four-year timeframe due to academic or personal issues. Regardless of the circumstances, all DO degree requirements must be completed within six years of the original date of matriculation. Failure to complete all DO degree requirements within the specified time period will result in an administrative withdrawal from SOMA.
Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Practice
Interprofessional education (IPE) and Interprofessional Practice (IPP) are integrated within the ATSU-SOMA curriculum as a series of classroom workshops and clinical activities designed to foster a team approach to patient care, with an emphasis on the triple aim. The following SOMA courses practice IPE skills:
- OMS I: Basic Science Foundations, Medical Skills, Neuro-musculoskeletal (NMSK)
- OMS II: Epidemiology-Biostatistics, Medical Skills
- OMS III: Pediatrics Clerkship, Family Medicine Clerkship
- OMS IV: Emergency Medicine Clerkship, Cardiology Clerkship
Students are promoted to each level of the curriculum (e.g., OMS I to OMS II) by meeting the requirements for progression (unless an exception is made by the Dean). Listed below are brief overviews of the structure of the didactic and clinical training along with the requirements that must be met to formally progress through the curriculum.
Year 1 (OMS I)
The OMS I curriculum is conducted primarily on the Mesa, Arizona campus. Learning activities are usually scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Occasionally, there may be required off-site activities or required activities that begin at 7:00 a.m., end after 5:00 p.m., or occur on a weekend. The online OMS I master academic calendar contains information concerning holidays and examinations. Each course syllabus contains course requirements and due dates for course assignments.
Requirements for progression to OMS II
- Pass all OMS I coursework and maintain good academic standing.
- Comply with all professionalism standards of behavior and SOMA technical standards.
- Maintain health insurance, disability insurance, BLS certification and current immunization standards.
Year 2 (OMS II)
The OMS II curriculum is conducted primarily at a student’s assigned CHC community campus. OMS II coursework consists of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities that include a combination of didactic, clinical, and patient care experiences which reinforce and enhance the knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired during the OMS I year. Learning activities are usually scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Occasionally, there may be required off-site activities or required activities that begin at 7:00 a.m., end after 5:00 p.m., or occur on a weekend. The online OMS II master academic calendar contains information concerning holidays, synchronous activities across all community campuses, and examinations. Each course syllabus contains course requirements and due dates for course assignments. Additionally, each community campus provides a weekly schedule of clinical experiences, medical skills, small group, OPP, and other assigned activities.
Clinical Assignments and Responsibilities
On occasion, students will be given the opportunity to perform clinical procedures. Students are authorized to perform procedures for which they have been trained, with the proviso that they are properly supervised. In all cases, the safety and comfort of the patient must come first. Should you have questions about your participation in any clinical procedure or activity, contact the local RDME or Clinical Education Department prior to proceeding.
The student will realize the importance of punctuality and fulfilling responsibility in completing clinical assignments given by the supervisor. It is recommended that students assure they are familiar with the location, personnel, practices and expectations of the sites they are assigned to. Punctuality and professional conduct are expected at all times. Should you have concerns that you are working too few or too many hours, contact your RDME as soon as possible.
Requirements for progression to OMS III
Students are classified as OMS III upon completion of the following the requirements:
- Pass all OMS II coursework and maintain good academic standing
- Comply with all professionalism standards of behavior and SOMA technical standards
- Maintain health insurance, disability insurance, BLS certification and current immunization standards
- Obtain ACLS certification
Students are not permitted to begin OMS III required coursework until COMLEX Level 1 has been taken.
Year 3 (OMS III)
Rotations are scheduled in four-week blocks, with the exception of the Elective II, which is a two-week experience. All rotations are required. In the OMS III year, eight are Core rotations. The remaining are a Primary Care Selective, Maternal and Child Health Selective (the selective may be distributed to either Obstetrics and Gynecology or Pediatrics or Maternal and Child Health as per the Clinical Education Manual), a four-week Elective and a two-week Elective. The student works directly with the RDME and the Mesa-based regional Clinical Education Coordinator in all matters related to the clerkship years. This is the student’s opportunity to explore their interest in clinical medicine and hone their skills in preparation of the OMS IV year. In addition to the study materials and expectations of the individual clerkship attending or preceptor, each Core rotation has a SOMA clerkship director who develops and oversees the clerkship didactic materials and academic objectives. The SOMA Clerkship Director posts and maintains all SOMA clerkship materials on the learning management system. The Clinical Education Department oversees the OMS III clerkship year.
International rotations are Elective rotations defined as rotations occurring in any location outside the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. US territories will be considered international rotations and will require special approval by the university and completion of an application for international rotation. International rotations may not be used as Core or Selective rotations. International rotations are typically only approved for OMS IV year students. However, an international rotation may be approved for an OMS III student if all Core and Selective rotations have been successfully completed. International rotations must be a minimum of four weeks and a maximum of eight weeks total. To schedule an international rotation, students must follow the procedures outlined in the Clinical Education Manual and SOMA International Rotation Packet.
Requirements for progression to OMS IV
- Pass all OMS III coursework and maintain good academic standing.
- Comply with all professionalism standards of behavior and SOMA technical standards.
- Maintain health insurance, disability insurance, BLS and ACLS certification, and current immunization standards.
Year 4 (OMS IV)
Rotations are scheduled in four-week blocks, except for Neurology, which is a two-week rotation. This is the academic year where the student has four Core rotations, four Selectives and three Electives. This is the year to experience an International rotation, schedule audition rotations or spend more time in one area of practice. A maximum combination of four Electives/Selectives in one discipline may be taken in OMS IV. In addition to the study materials and expectations of the individual clerkship attending or preceptor, each Core rotation has a SOMA Clerkship Director who develops and oversees the clerkship didactic materials and academic objectives. The SOMA Clerkship Director posts and maintains all SOMA clerkship materials on the learning management system. Students work directly with their RDME and the regional Clinical Education Coordinator in scheduling and maintaining their academic schedule. The Clinical Education Department oversees the OMS IV clerkship year.