Dec 04, 2023  
2021-2022 University Catalog & Student Handbook 
2021-2022 University Catalog & Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

Return to: College of Osteopathic Medicine  

Competencies & Student Outcomes

The COM curriculum was designed to ensure graduates are able to demonstrate specific skills. The University has identified select educational objectives that serve as the foundation of the curriculum. At a minimum, a graduate must be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of osteopathic philosophy and practice and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMM).
  • Demonstrate medical knowledge through one or more of the following: passing of course tests; standardized tests of the NBOME; post-core clerkship tests; research activities; presentations; participation in directed reading programs or journal clubs; or other evidence-based medical activities.
  • Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills with patients and other health care professionals.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of professional, ethical and legal practice management and public health issues applicable to medical practice.
  • Demonstrate basic support skills as assessed by nationally standardized evaluations.

In addition, the COM curriculum prepares students for graduate medical education. Graduates meet the following minimum competencies:

Competency 1: Osteopathic Philosophy and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine

Graduates are expected to demonstrate and apply knowledge of accepted standards in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT). The education goal is to train a skilled and competent osteopathic practitioner who remains dedicated to lifelong learning and to practice habits consistent with osteopathic principles and practices.

Competency 2: Medical Knowledge

Graduates are expected to demonstrate and apply knowledge of accepted standards of clinical medicine in their respective specialty area, remain current with new developments in medicine, and participate in lifelong learning activities, including research.

Competency 3: Patient Care

Graduates must demonstrate the ability to effectively treat patients, provide medical care that incorporates osteopathic principles and practices, empathy, awareness of behavioral issues, preventive medicine and health promotion.

Competency 4: Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Graduates are expected to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that enable them to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, families and other members of health care teams.

Competency 5: Professionalism

Graduates are expected to uphold the Osteopathic Oath in the conduct of their professional activities that promote advocacy of patient welfare, adherence to ethical principles, collaboration with health professionals, lifelong learning, and sensitivity to diverse patient populations. Graduates should be cognizant of their own physical and mental health in order to effectively care for patients.

Competency 6: Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Graduates must demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate their methods of clinical practice, integrate evidence-based medicine into patient care, show an understanding of research methods, and improve patient care practices.

Competency 7: Systems-Based Practice

Graduates are expected to demonstrate an understanding of health care delivery systems, provide effective and qualitative patient care with the system, and practice cost-effective medicine.

Teaching Methods

A variety of teaching and learning methods are incorporated during the first two years. These methods include classroom lectures, laboratory exercises, small-group discussions, clinical integration sessions, computer-assisted instruction, designated student assignments, specialized workshops and the use of standardized patients and human patient simulators.

COM Academic Policies & Procedures

Responsibility of the Student

Students are required to become familiar with the academic policies, curriculum requirements and associated deadlines as posted to this catalog and handbook. Student Services will aid students in understanding the academic program requirements, if necessary. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to know and comply with all University policies and procedures and to meet all stated requirements for the degree. It is also the student’s responsibility to monitor daily their campus email, Canvas account, the University website and KCU’s intranet.


Unlike traditional undergraduate and graduate institutions where students individually register for courses, KCU engages in block registration for each student cohort. The student’s respective department sends enrollment information to the Office of the Registrar every term. Students are responsible for reviewing their enrollment on KCU 360 prior to each semester to ensure they are enrolled correctly.

The last day to add a class is seven business days after the published first day of classes in the Academic Calendar . The first day of classes varies by class year. This policy does not apply to clerkships or intersession courses.

COM students are required to report on the orientation or registration date as specified in the Academic Calendar . First-year COM students who fail to appear at the stated check-in time for orientation risk losing their seat unless other arrangements have been made.

Third- and fourth-year COM students must complete registration materials, including financial aid arrangements, by July 1, prior to participating in clerkships. Third- and fourth-year COM students are not required to be physically present on campus for registration.

All outstanding financial obligations to the University or University-affiliated clerkship sites must be cleared in order for a student to register. Students who are not in University compliance may not attend classes or participate in clerkships.

Academic Advising

The academic advising program promotes student learning, development, and personal growth to encourage self-sufficiency.  COM students are assigned to an advising team comprised of basic science faculty and clinicians. Advising placements are made by the assistant vice provost for Student Services and the director of Advising & Learning Enhancement.

Academic Load

Full-time 6 or more semester credits
Half-time 3-5.5 semester credits

Less than 3 semester credits

Course Drops & Withdrawals

Students who wish to drop/withdraw from a single or multiple courses, but not withdraw completely from the University, must adhere to the following procedures.

The deadline to drop a course is end of business the day of the first class meeting. For night classes, the deadline to drop is end of business the next day following the first class meeting. For intersession courses, the deadline to drop the courses is prior to the first class meeting. Students who wish to drop a course must officially communicate their request to their department and/or the Office of the Registrar within the prescribed time. A student who drops a course within the prescribed time will have no record of the course on their transcript.

Students may withdraw from certain courses with the permission of the campus dean of COM after the drop deadline and up to the withdrawal date. The withdrawal date for fall is the Friday before Thanksgiving. The withdrawal date for spring is the last Friday in April. Course withdrawals are recorded as a W on the student’s academic transcript. Students may not withdraw from a course with a W after the withdrawal date. Students who withdraw from courses after the withdrawal date will receive a failing grade. Students are not eligible to withdraw from a course after the course has ended.

Course withdrawal may have financial aid implications. Students are advised to talk with Financial Aid prior to withdrawing from a course.

Exceptions to this policy may be granted based on extenuating circumstances only. Appeals to the withdrawal deadline are only granted following submission of a written petition, with the approval of both the course director and the campus dean of COM.

Academic Standing

Students are considered to be in good academic standing when they meet the minimum criteria for continued enrollment. Refer to the Eligibility for Continued Enrollment section for additional details.

Academic Probation

Academic probation is an official status from the University, stating that the student is under the most sensitive academic monitoring and improvement plan, which becomes a part of the student’s academic record for the period of time they are on probation. This status is typically applied when one of more of the following occur:

  • One or more course failures
  • Failure of a national board examination
  • Overall percentage grade is less than 70 percent

Students placed on academic probation will have their status monitored by a University faculty or staff member. In addition students on academic probation must attend all classes. Students on academic probation are suspended from participating in a dual-degree program and will be administratively withdrawn. Academic probation may include the suspension of the student’s normal rights to participate in extracurricular, co-curricular, and other nonacademic activities, including but not limited to the student not being allowed to hold a leadership position in a student organization. Academic probation may also result in suspension or termination of the student’s employment with the University.

Typically, students who are placed on academic probation cannot fail any other course, section, clerkship, shelf exam and/or national examination. The typical length of the academic probation is one year, unless otherwise specified, from the time the student is formally notified of being placed on this status.

Academic probation status is not tied to a student’s SAP, as defined by Title IV. It is wholly separate and unrelated to SAP.

Academic Warning

Academic warning is a state of warning from KCU to the student indicating that the University is concerned about the student’s academic performance. This status is typically applied when one of more of the following occur:

  • Multiple course exam failures
  • Overall percentage grade is less than 77 percent
  • Behavioral cues by the student which may indicate academic or personal distress.

Students placed on academic warning may be required to take actions deemed necessary to help improve academic performance. These actions may include but are not limited to: regular meetings with Learning Enhancement staff, sessions with KCU psychologists, required course attendance, meetings with tutors and/or faculty members, temporary loss of student leadership privileges, and providing frequent status updates to key faculty/administrators.

Academic warning is not tied to a student’s SAP, as defined by Title IV. It is wholly separate and unrelated to SAP.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), formerly the Dean’s Letter, is an important document designed to assist students in obtaining admission to postgraduate programs, specifically internships and residencies. Data utilized in the creation of the MSPE include academic progress, assessment of professionalism, COMLEX scores, faculty recommendations, clerkship evaluations and comments from preceptors. Information regarding volunteer service, leadership opportunities, research and/or membership in service organizations is noted. Clinical Education personnel solicit information from students during their third year of study by having them submit a composite resume, vita and/or portfolio for inclusion in the MSPE.

Professionalism & the MSPE

The national residency match process requires documentation within the MSPE of any adverse action(s) imposed on a student by KCU, as well as information about the student’s professional attributes. This includes documentation of demonstrations of a lack of professionalism. Clinical Education personnel, in consultation with the dean and vice provost, will determine what is written in the MSPE regarding a professionalism-related issue.

Extracurricular Clinical Experiences & Physician Shadowing Policy

KCU receives multiple requests each year from first- and second-year students requesting to be approved to shadow a physician outside of the curriculum. Once a student has matriculated into KCU-COM, the University assumes the legal liability of all clinical experiences. These risks include OSHA and HIPAA law requirements and medical malpractice coverage.

Therefore, KCU students are only allowed to shadow a KCU clinical faculty member at a pre-approved clinical site. Additionally, students are only allowed to wear their KCU white coats at a pre-approved KCU sponsored clinical event (e.g., Score 1 screening, KCU classroom presentation), at an event which requires white coats, or while on clinical clerkship rotations.

Attendance Policy


Attendance for COM curricular events may be required and will be communicated through the appropriate venue (e.g., Canvas, student calendar, syllabi, etc.). The method of taking attendance may vary and include sign-in sheets or electronic identification. In certain circumstances, a student may be required to attend a curricular event at the direction of the associate dean of Curriculum & Integrated Learning, phase directors, course directors, COM-SPC, or the campus deans of COM.

An excused absence request form and supporting documentation must be submitted via Canvas in a minimum of half-day increments. These requests are reviewed by the appropriate phase director and decisions rendered through this process are final. There are no exceptions to this policy and failure to follow the request process will result in an unexcused absence. The academic coordinator will notify the student via email within two business days when a decision has been reached. Requested absences are not and should not be considered approved until confirmation has been received from the academic coordinator.

Discretionary Days

Students will be allowed five discretionary days per academic year.

  • Discretionary days must be submitted at least 14 calendar days prior to the first day of absence.
  • Students may combine no more than two consecutive days at a time.
  • Students are expected to complete all curricular activities (including scheduled make-ups or remediations) prior to using discretionary days before the start of any academic break. Additionally, students may not use discretionary days on the first day following an academic break.
  • Under no circumstances will discretionary days be approved for the day prior or day of a secure assessment.
Sick Days

Students will be allowed four sick days per academic year.

  • Students must submit an excused absence request form on their first day of absence and provide supporting medical documentation upon their return.
  • Documentation from a telemedicine appointment will not be accepted and the absence will be unexcused.
  • Sick days may also be used to accommodate for occurrences of family member and pet ailments with appropriate supporting medical documentation.
Unforeseen Events

Students may be allowed additional days off on a case-by-case basis.

  • In cases of emergency, students must submit an excused absence request form as soon as possible.
  • Due to the variability of circumstances (e.g., time off needed for family emergencies, death of a family member, etc.), these requests will be reviewed by Curriculum & Integrated Learning and documentation may be required.
Research and scholarly activity/professioanl development

Students will be allowed four days per academic year.

  • Students must submit an excused absence request form at least 30 calendar days prior to the first day of absence.
  • Attendance at conferences or events for professional development and/or presentation of research will require supporting documentation.
Other Curricular Activities

Time off for events related to programs outside of the COM core curriculum (e.g., track activities, dual degrees)

  • Students must submit an excused absence request form at least 30 calendar days prior to the first day of absence.
Civic Responsibilities
  • Students who are required to be physically present at citizenship hearings, court hearings or jury duty will be granted an excused absence.
  • Students are required to submit an excused absence request form in advance and provide supporting documentation.

Failure to adhere to the attendance policy will result in an unexcused absence and/or referral to Curriculum & Integrated Learning. For questions related to this policy, please contact Curriculum & Integrated Learning.


Attendance at all clerkship related activities is mandatory; therefore, any absence requires an excuse and documentation. Failure to notify Clinical Education and/or the clerkship site/preceptor of any absence from a clerkship, regardless of the reason or number of hours absent, may result in a meeting with the Associate Dean of Clinical Education regarding lack of professionalism and could result in a failing grade of the clerkship. More information is available under OMS-III & OMS-IV Specific Academic Policies & Procedures .

Electronic Recording Policy

Electronic recording of learning activities is the responsibility of KCU IT Department staff who adhere to University guidelines for obtaining appropriate permissions from those involved. “Learning activities” at KCU involve all scheduled curricular activities including lectures, labs, small groups, presentations, reviews, demonstrations, and any activity in which faculty members, patients, or off-campus visitors are participating.

Due to technical issues, privacy, intellectual property rights, and/or the decision of the faculty member, the recording of any class, lecture, etc. is not guaranteed. Recordings are intended to supplement the education of the student, not to replace attendance at the presentation.

Recording any of these events using video recorders, cameras, camera devices, digital recorders in any form including cell phones or any type of mobile device, is not allowed without the express written consent of all persons involved and KCU’s administration. Posting of any material for “personal use” to any website also requires written consent in advance. A request form is available from the Office of Testing Services and should be completed with signatures prior to any activity. The signed form should be returned to Testing Services.

Students who initiate electronic recording of faculty, staff, visitors, or a curriculum activity without permission will be asked to discontinue the activity immediately. Additional action may involve referral to the University administration for unprofessional conduct.

Grades & Assessment Policies


The academic grade system for COM students at KCU is as follows:

Grade Definition
P Pass (70% or higher)
F Fail (<70%)
H Honors (Top 10%)
F/P Pass upon remediation
IP In-Progress
I Incomplete
W Withdrawal
AW Administrative Withdrawal
AD Administrative Drop

The record of each student will be reviewed each year to evaluate the student’s potential for continuance. At the end of the academic year, the COM-SPC may recommend promotion to the following year, makeup examinations, summer remediation or dismissal.

KCU graduates students who meet and surpass the minimum expectations of the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). At a minimum, a graduate must be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of osteopathic philosophy and practice and osteopathic manipulative treatment.
  • Demonstrate medical knowledge through one or more of the following: passing course tests, standardized tests of NBOME and end-of-clerkship tests; research activities, presentations, and participation in directed reading programs and/or journal clubs; and/or other evidence-based medical activities.
  • Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills with patients and other health care professionals.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of profession, ethical, legal, practice management and public health issues applicable to medical practice.
  • Demonstrate basic support skills as assessed by nationally standardized evaluations.

To demonstrate these expectations have been met in an objective manner, each student must demonstrate minimum knowledge in each discipline prior to graduation. This includes the basic science disciplines (anatomy, biochemistry, behavioral science, bioethics, embryology, genetics, histology, immunology, microbiology, neuroscience, pathology, pharmacology and physiology) and clinical sciences (osteopathic clinical skills, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and emergency medicine).

Overall Percentage Score

The grading for the DO program is pass/fail. However, students retain the percentage score earned within courses required for the OMS-I & OMS-II Curriculum . The final percent score used to determine course P/F is used to calculate the student’s cumulative overall percentage score (weighted by course credits).  Any course that awards P/F based on the completion of required activities within the course will not be included in the student’s cumulative overall percentage score.

The overall percentage score is used to determine class rank.  Additionally, this score is used to determine eligibility for dual-degree programs, honors tracks, student government, and club leadership.  Elective, fellowship, and honors track courses are not included in a student’s overall percentage score calculation.

Testing Policy

Students who are authorized for special accommodations will report to the Office of Testing Services on exam day. Accommodation conditions, as appropriate, may include alteration of length of exam time, testing location (room number) or other accommodations. Students in need of special accommodations for testing are to contact the vice provost for Enrollment and Student Services at 816.654.7182 for an application and instructions.

All quizzes and exams will start and end on time. Students are not permitted to begin writing on any materials until the start of the exam. No students are allowed to leave the room until 15 minutes have elapsed from the scheduled start of a written exam. If a student arrives after the start of testing, he/she will not be allowed in the exam room. The student must report to the Office of Curriculum & Integrated Learning for an excused absence to take the exam at a date and time to be determined by the appropriate, campus-specific phase director and associate dean of Curriculm & Integrated Learning or the associate dean of Clinical Education. A student with an unexcused absence will not be permitted to make-up the quiz/exam and will receive a zero unless authorized by the appropriate campus phase director or the associate dean of Curriculum & Integrated Learning.

While taking exams students should have in their possession only items that are necessary for the exam. No food is allowed during testing. All purses, backpacks, iPods, hats, sunglasses, unnecessary clothing items, pagers, headphones, CD players, calculators, cell phones, wristwear of any kind, etc., must be left outside the testing area. Recording or communication devices of any type are not allowed at any time in the testing environment. Any exceptions to these items (e.g., medical bracelet, equipment) may be requested as an accommodation as outlined in the Student Academic Services & Policies . Academic integrity, honesty, and personal conduct guidelines will be strictly enforced.

Any student found in possession of any type of electronic device capable of accessing the internet in any testing environment (iPad, PC, or Laptop used for testing are the sole exceptions) will be awarded an automatic failure of the exam in question.  KCU is unable to ascertain intent behind possession of any electronic device in a testing situation and, any student found in possession will be considered academically dishonest. Students will be referred to the Vice Provost for Enrollment and Student Services for breach of professional conduct.

Any student flagged or otherwise found to be engaged in any suspicious or unusual behavior in any testing environment, including but not limited to leaving the view of the camera and/or the testing area, making efforts to avoid the camera, engaging in side conversations, accessing textbooks or previously prepared notes, will be referred to the appropriate phase director for review.  KCU is unable to ascertain intent behind a student’s suspicious behavior in a testing situation and may be considered to be academically dishonest. Students will be referred to the vice provost for Enrollment & Student Services for breach of professional conduct.

Review of Examinations

Students who wish to review past exams must request permission from Testing Services. Exams will be reviewed under the supervision of a learning enhancement specialist, curriculum coordinator, or course director. Exams cannot be viewed until final grades for that exam have been posted. Students are not permitted to have any electronic devices, book bags, purses, etc., in the same room while the exam is being reviewed. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in a zero (0) score for that exam.

Grades & Assessment Policy for the DO/MA in Bioethics Dual-Degree Program

Courses are typically three credit hours (37.5 to 45 contact hours) and offered during the fall and spring. In each course, faculty may employ a variety of assessment methods, including:

  • Quizzes and examinations, including a final exam
  • Class participation
  • Small-group discussions
  • Group projects
  • Research papers
  • Class presentations
  • Online assignments
  • Experiential learning projects.

A percentage of the total point score possible for the course will be calculated based on the points earned.

Following the completion of each semester, the student can review his/her grades on KCU 360.

Incomplete Grades

A phase director or course director may assign a grade of Incomplete (I) if he/she believes that a student has been unable to complete the course/section on time because of extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control. In the case an incomplete grade is assigned, the phase director, in collaboration with the course director, will complete an Incomplete Grade Contract that details the requirements for completion of the course/section.

The student’s signature is required for the incomplete grade contract to be valid. In the event an I grade is being assigned, the associate dean of Curriculum & Integrated Learning must be approve the change before the contract is presented to the student. The student will have three business days to decline the incomplete grade and receive the current earned grade with all missing assignments calculated as a zero.

Any student receiving a grade of I must coordinate with the course director/assistant dean to satisfy all outstanding coursework for the course/section. Once outstanding requirements for the course are satisfied, the course director will process a change of grade form converting the I to a letter grade. The grade change must be submitted prior to the first day of classes of the next academic year. Once this deadline has passed, the I becomes an F.

Should a student decide to withdraw or if he/she is otherwise separated from the University prior to completing coursework for an incomplete grade, the grade will be updated to reflect a failure (F).

A degree cannot be awarded to a student with an incomplete grade on his/her record.

Note: In-Progress (IP) grades are reserved only for those instances when students are unable to complete a course by the established deadline due to an instructor or administrative challenge (e.g., instructor is hospitalized and several class meetings must be rescheduled, University closes during finals week due to inclement weather).

Grade Changes/Corrections

If an error occurred in computing or recording a grade, or a section/course has been successfully remediated, the course director must complete a Grade Change form. The course director must then obtain a signature of authorization from the associate dean of Curriculum & Integrated Learning and submit to the Office of the Registrar for processing.

Section/Course Grade Appeal Process

Students who have concerns that their final grade may have been miscalculated, may have been documented incorrectly, or may have been determined in an incorrect manner can appeal to have their final course grade reviewed and verified.  Within 10 business days of grade determination, a student may request that their final course grade be reviewed. The student should send a written appeal to the Associate Dean of Curriculum and Integrated Learning, while including the Course Director associated with the final course grade, requesting that their points and final grade be reviewed.  Student cannot use the appeals process for non-final course grades.

If the student feels an error remains, a final request to review the final section grade may be made to a three person grade review panel, which include both campus deans for Joplin and Kansas City, as well as the Vice Provost for Student and Enrollment Services. This three person panel will review the student’s request and make a final judgment on the grade determination. 

Academic Assessment, Status & Promotion

Eligibility for Continued Enrollment

At the end of the academic year and as needed, the COM-SPC evaluates student performance. Students are considered for promotion one academic year at a time. At any time, the University, by recommendation of the COM-SPC and/or the action of the administrative officers, reserves the right to place on conditional or stipulated status, suspend or dismiss a student who has failed to:

  • Maintain acceptable standards of academic performance based on the totality of their academic record.
  • Maintain acceptable ethical, moral, personal and professional conduct.
  • Abide by the University’s policies, rules and regulations.
  • Fulfill legal or financial obligations to the University.
  • Show professional promise including mental and emotional fitness commensurate with the expected degree.

Promotion to OMS-II & OMS-III

  1. Satisfactory completion (passing grades) of:
    1. All courses.
    2. Clinical Skills Assessment Examination.
    3. Osteopathic Skills (OS) Competency Performance Assessments.
  2. Completion of all early clinical experience activities.
  3. Successful completion of all pre-clinical training requirements such as immunizations, orientations, proof of insurance, and others as specified.
  4. Successful completion of COMLEX Level 1 (prior to participation in clerkship experiences).
  5. Recommendation for promotion by the COM-SPC to the Faculty Senate. All records are reviewed to determine whether the student has fulfilled all academic requirements; has maintained the standards of ethical, moral, personal and professional conduct required for the continued study of osteopathic medicine; and is mentally and emotionally fit to become a physician.

Promotion to OMS-IV

  1. Satisfactory completion (passing grades) of all required third-year clerkships.
  2. Satisfactory completion of all required shelf exams.
  3. Completion of course and instructor evaluations for each third-year clerkship.
  4. Satisfactory completion of Standardized Patient encounters/OSCE’s scheduled during the third year.
  5. Completion of COMLEX Level 2-CE.

Clerkship Assessment

To pass each clerkship, students must demonstrate progress on evaluation by their preceptor and pass the applicable End of Clerkship Exam. All components listed below are required before a final grade is assigned by KCU:

  • End of Clerkship Exam (when applicable),
  • End of Clerkship Reflection,
  • Preceptor Evaluation of Student Performance.

The complete Clerkship Assessment policy is located under Assessment.

Assessment of Professionalism

Professionalism is one of the pillars of students’ training as future physicians and its presence is critically important as student doctors develop their knowledge and skills. KCU expects all COM graduates to demonstrate professionalism in all aspects of their training, as well as when they are outside of the classroom/lab.

Students within the COM will be assessed upon their level of professionalism at the end of each term. Students who demonstrate unprofessionalism will be expected to remediate and improve those behaviors. This professionalism assessment is designed to provide students with a clear understanding of their progress towards meeting professionalism standards, acknowledged nationally as those that student physicians need to meet in order to transition successfully on to residency. Students’ professionalism assessment will also be considered as part of the MSPE process, when students have their dean’s letter produced for residency applications. All KCU students must exceed all minimum professionalism expectations in order to graduate from the COM. Details about the assessment of student professionalism will be discussed with each COM class annually.

NBOME Academic Requirements

Successful completion of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) examinations is required for osteopathic medical students to graduate and become licensed. The NBOME examinations are composed of four sequential segments: COMLEX Level 1, COMLEX Level 2-CE, COMLEX Level 2-PE and COMLEX Level 3. All KCU students must pass COMLEX Level 1 in order to progress to the third year of studies. COMLEX Level 2-CE and COMLEX Level 2-PE are required to qualify for graduation from the University.

The NBOME examination sequence follows exacting timelines and has restrictions on numbers of retakes in cases of initial failures. The medical school policy for a failed COMLEX examination is that a student is required to appear before the COM-SPC. The COM-SPC may recommend remediation of a failed COMLEX exam. This is true for each individual failure. Should a student be allowed to take the failed COMLEX exam more than two times, a failure of the third attempt will result in dismissal from the medical school.

KCU Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS)/Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

COM students are required to complete both the American Heart Association’s Healthcare Provider Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS/CPR) and the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) courses offered on campus.

BCLS is completed during the second year of medical school. It is provided free of charge and must be taken at KCU. This course includes lecture and hands-on techniques in adult, child, and infant basic life support and obstructive airway techniques. Successful completion is required for advancement to second-year studies.

ACLS is completed during the second year of medical school following BCLS certification and prior to clinical clerkships. It is also provided without cost to KCU students and must be taken on campus.

BCLS and ACLS are taught according to the guidelines and standards set by the American Heart Association. Students are awarded BCLS and ACLS cards/certificates after the successful completion of each course. The cards are neither indicative of, nor do they confer, the right to practice medicine.

Students are required to be BCLS and ACLS certified prior to beginning the third year. The certifications are valid for two years and must be recertified after that period. Students should consult with residency programs regarding recertification after graduation.

Class Rank

Class rank is calculated based on the student’s cumulative overall percentage grade at the end of each semester during the first two years of coursework. Class rank for graduation is based on the student’s cumulative overall percentage grade at the conclusion of the second year.

Clinical Class Rank

Clinical Class Rank (CCR) is based on individual student scores for first-time attempts on each of the six core shelf exams. No other exams are used in the CCR calculation. Although a student may have repeated a shelf exam, the first-time score is used in the CCR calculation.

The CCR is only displayed on the student’s MSPE letter if the student is ranked in the top 100 students. It is never displayed on the academic transcript. Students may choose to exclude the CCR from the MSPE if they prefer.

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List is comprised of the top 10 percent of each first- and second-year class each semester and the top 10 percent of the third-year class for the totality of the third year. The calculations are based on the average of percentages earned in each course, and is weighted by credit hour. The Dean’s List distinction is recognized on the official transcripts:

  • OMS-I: Fall and spring.
  • OMS-II: Fall and spring.
  • OMS-III: End of third year.

Individual Course/Clerkship Failure & Remediation Policy

There is no automatic or guaranteed remediation for students who fail a section, course, clerkship, or NBOME COMLEX-USA examination. Failure of any course(s) at KCU may be grounds for dismissal from the program. Students who fail a section, course or clerkship will engage with the COM-SPC as defined in the KCU Catalog & Student Handbook.

Students who are provided with the opportunity to remediate a first- or second-year course may do so at the end of winter break, spring break, or during the summer.  Specific remediation dates and times are determined on an annual basis and provided to students who are remediating.  Students are only permitted to remediate two courses per academic year, while in the first or second year of the program.  Failure of any remediation exam is the equivalent of an additional course failure.  Students who are provided with the opportunity to remediate a failed clerkship or NBOME COMLEX-USA examination will do so at the discretion of Clinical Education and/or the COM-SPC.

It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of his/her academic status at all times and to be in attendance at all scheduled remediations, when applicable. Failure to attend a scheduled remediation exam will result in a failing grade for that remediation and potential dismissal from the University. All remediations must be completed prior to the first day of classes of the next academic year.

In the case of a remediated course in the COM program, the student’s most recent grade earned is used in the calculation of the student’s overall percentage grade. If a pass/fail course or clerkship is successfully remediated, the student will receive a grade of F/P. If a student fails the remediation of a course or clerkship, the student will receive a final grade of F.

Program Repeat Policy

Should a student fail to academically progress while enrolled in the medical school, and based on the totality of the student’s academic performance while enrolled, the COM-SPC may recommend that a student repeat an academic year in order to establish a firm foundation to assist the student in his/her studies of the previously attempted subjects. Students approved for reinstatement after a period of suspension or an approved leave of absence may also be required to repeat previously attempted courses. A COM student may remediate by repeating an academic year in full upon recommendation of the COM-SPC and approval of the campus dean. The student must retake and pass all courses regardless of previous performance. The student is allowed no more than two attempts to successfully complete a COM year (e.g., first-year, second-year).  If a student is unable to successfully complete the entire repeat year, the student will be dismissed from the University. 

All course enrollments and earned grades will remain on the student’s academic transcript. For repeated coursework in the COM program, the student’s most recent grade earned is used in the calculation of the student’s overall percentage grade. Grades for repeated courses are recorded in brackets on the academic transcript. Students may only repeat a course once. The opportunity to repeat is not available if the course is subsequently inactivated.

Students who repeat an academic year must still complete their degree within six years of matriculation.

Grade Assessments for Reinstated Students

Reinstated students are held accountable to all previously earned grades and they remain part of the permanent student record. If, upon returning, a student is required to retake a previously failed section, the retake will replace the entire remediation process for that section and will supersede the remediation process described for academic failures of continuously matriculated students. If the returning student fails the section a second time, the consequences will be identical to those described for failing the remediation process for a continuously matriculated student.

Dismissal from the Master of Arts in Bioethics Program

A student may be dismissed from the bioethics program for any of the following reasons:

  • Failing a course.
  • Being placed on Academic Probation in the DO program.
  • Not maintaining the standards of ethical, moral, personal, and professional conduct required of KCU students.
  • Not completing all required course work within six years of matriculation date.

Graduation Requirements

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

A student who has fulfilled all the academic requirements may be granted the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree provided the student:

  • Has been in residence at an AOA-accredited college of osteopathic medicine, the last two years of which must have been at KCU;
  • Has complied with all the curricular, legal and financial requirements of KCU;
  • Attends, in person, the ceremony at which time the degree is conferred (unless excused by the campus dean of COM);
  • Has passed Levels 1, 2-CE and 2-PE of the COMLEX examination administered by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners;
  • Has demonstrated the ethical, personal and professional qualities deemed necessary for the successful and continued study and practice of osteopathic medicine;
  • Has demonstrated suitability for the practice of osteopathic medicine as evidenced by the assumption of responsibility for patient care and integrity in the clinical activities;
  • Has received formal approval for graduation from the Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees.

COM students must graduate within six years of the date of matriculation. Exceptions to the six-year policy will be considered by the campus dean of COM on an individual basis, taking into account only extenuating circumstances. Entrance and completion of medical school does not guarantee further career opportunities up to and including matching and/or placement in a residency training program.

Master of Arts in Bioethics

A student who has fulfilled all the academic requirements may be granted the Master of Arts in Bioethics:

  • Satisfactory completion (passing grades) of all required and elective courses, totaling 30 hours.
  • Completion of bioethics coursework within six years of matriculation.

After completion of 27 credit hours of the MA in Bioethics, three credit hours of Bioethics earned for the DO degree will be transferred to the MA degree and the three required credit hours for the DO degree will be waived. This will complete the requirement of 30 credit hours for the MA in Bioethics.

All records are reviewed to determine whether the student has fulfilled all academic requirements, has maintained the standards of ethical, moral, personal and professional conduct required of a recipient of masters of arts degree in bioethics.

Latin Honors

The criteria for graduating from COM with Latin honors are as follows:

  • Summa cum laude: Top 2 percent of class.
  • Magna cum laude: Next 5 percent of class (3 -7 percent).
  • Cum laude: Next 5 percent of class (8-12 percent).

Commencement Ceremony

Participation in the commencement ceremony is mandatory for all students who have fulfilled their degree requirements.

Return to: College of Osteopathic Medicine