California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the best (and only) DO schools in California. The school is located near Fresno and exists to address the healthcare gap in Central California. The school focuses on treating the whole body instead of a single issue. CHSU COM currently offers students a virtual tour of the campus, so they can safely see what their future school looks like during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic by going virtual hasn’t slowed the school down. Both in-person and online courses are currently available to students. CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine has a lot to offer its students. For example, nutrition courses are part of the core curriculum because what we eat affects our overall health. And instead of traditional lab settings with cadavers and dissections, CHSU COM uses the HoloLens software, which augments reality and enables students to learn more quickly.
Do we have your interest piqued? California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine is a great school to attend if you want to become a DO. The state-of-the-art technology makes it hard to pass this school up. Keep reading to learn all about:
- The programs that CHSU COM offers
- The cost of attendance
- Acceptance rates
- Prerequisites, GPA and test score requirements
- The essays you’ll need to write (with samples)
- The interview you’ll need to pass to get accepted
Programs Offered at CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
- College of Pharmacy
- Graduate Medical Education
Doctor of Pharmacy
On its own, the College of Pharmacy education doesn’t result in becoming a medical doctor. But it’s a great idea if you want to become a pharmacist. Both prescribing medications and filling them can be very rewarding careers. Doctors of Pharmacy are able to fill prescription orders, answer questions about prescriptions and drug interactions, and administer vaccinations, among other things.
The College of Pharmacy offers a three-year program for prospective students. Upon completion of the degree requirements, students will be awarded a PharmD degree. As a Doctor of Pharmacy, you’ll be able to work in a number of settings, including hospitals, communities and clinics. Some pharmacists go into specialty fields, like compounding pharmacy, drug information pharmacy and industry-based pharmacy.
To practice as a pharmacist, you’ll need to first pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination, also known as NAPLEX. You’ll also need to pass qualifying exams in your state.
Graduate Medical Education/Residency Matching
The Graduate Medical Education department focuses on matching students to residency programs.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine has a unique approach to teaching students osteopathic medicine. Instead of reading about treatment techniques, you’ll learn about them with hands-on experience. Here are some examples of the innovation that CHSU COM incorporates into its curriculum:
- Hands-on learning of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment techniques
- Nutrition and Culinary Medicine
- Simulation Center
- HoloLens Virtual Anatomy
The curriculum for CHSU COM is as follows:
- Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms
- Musculoskeletal System
- Host Defense Mechanisms
- Cardiopulmonary System
- Renal System
- Endocrine and Reproductive System
- Gastrointestinal System
- Neurological System
- Mechanisms of Disease
You’ll also take Interprofessional Education, Osteopathic Principles and Practices, Physician’s Role in Health Systems and Medical Spanish. These courses run throughout Year 1.
- Mechanisms of Disease II
- Musculoskeletal Medicine
- Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine
- Hematology and Oncology
- Behavioral Health and Psychology
Interprofessional Education, Osteopathic Principles and Practice, The Practicing Physician, Physician’s Role in Health System and Advanced Medical Spanish are the courses you’ll take that last all year.
This is when your clerkships will begin. Your clerkships will take place at regional hospitals, clinics and health care facilities. Your clerkships will be in the following subjects:
- Family Medicine
- Internal Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Behavioral Medicine
During your fourth year, the following clerkships are required:
- Emergency Medicine
- Community Health Center
- Primary Care
- Specialty Medicine
By the time you’ve finished your fourth year, you’ll have completed all the coursework and clerkships necessary to graduate from medical school. Typically, MD candidates will need to pass USMLE Step 1 before clerkships and USMLE Step 2 CK before residency. But for DO candidates, the USMLE exams aren’t required. Instead, you’ll be expected to pass COMLEX-USA exams. DO candidates who successfully complete the curriculum and the COMLEX exams will go on to residency and ultimately become doctors of osteopathic medicine. You’ll have graduated from one of the best DO schools in California.
Cost of Attendance
- 2021-22 annual resident tuition: $54,500
- 2021-22 annual non-resident tuition: $54,500
- 2021-22 annual resident fees: $5,445
- 2021-22 annual non-resident fees: $5,445
- 2021-22 annual health insurance fee: $2,896
- Estimated annual room, board, books and living costs: $23,587
One full year of school at CHSU COM will cost $86,428. Four years will cost $345,712.
CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Acceptance Rate
From a pool of 4,000 applicants, only 79 students matriculated into CHSU COM’s inaugural class. That’s a one percent matriculation rate. Here are more facts about the Class of 2024.
- 34% from Central Valley
- 81% from California
- 27 languages spoken
- Over 30% speak Spanish
- 21 to 42 age range
- 41 male students
- 38 female students
- 18 have master’s degrees
- 3 have doctoral degrees
- 505.5 MCAT score
- 3.4 average undergrad GPA
Even though CHSU COM is a newer DO school, it’s already highly competitive. It will take a strong application to be considered for admission.
The Admissions Process
To attend CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, you’ll need to submit your application through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. This is the osteopathic equivalent to the allopathic AMCAS application. But before you submit this application, make sure you meet all of the minimum requirements. CHSU COM’s website states that any student who doesn’t meet the minimum criteria will not be considered for admission.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited, four-year institution
- 3.0/4.0 minimum GPA (average is 3.4/4.0)
- 498+ MCAT score (average is 505.5)
- 3 Letters of Recommendation
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or DACA recipient
- Behavioral Sciences (3 credit hours)
- Biology (8 credit hours)
- Inorganic or General Chemistry (4 credit hours)
- Organic Chemistry (8 credit hours)
- Physics (8 credit hours)
- English (6 credit hours)
- Biochemistry (recommended)
- Anatomy (recommended)
- Physiology (recommended)
- Genetics (recommended)
- Immunology (recommended)
For a prerequisite to be accepted, the following criteria must be met:
- Courses must be taken at an accredited college or university.
- Courses must be taken by the deadline.
- You must earn a “C” or higher grade.
- Online courses from March 2020 to now will be accepted.
- Online lab courses are accepted.
- Courses cannot be more than 10 years old.
In addition to the required prerequisites, CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine emphasizes the importance of getting hands-on experience and being involved in your community. International Medical Aid offers volunteer healthcare internships for pre-med students. Our volunteer healthcare internships include pre-med internships abroad to countries in East Africa, South America and the Caribbean. This will undoubtedly give you the kind of experience that will impress CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Visit our website for more information.
Letters of Recommendation
To be considered for admissions, you must submit three different Letters of Recommendation. The requirements are as follows:
- One letter from an MD or DO describing your clinical experience and exposure to patients
- One letter from one of your science class professors
- One letter from someone who has witnessed your ability to become an osteopathic physician; a doctor, professor or work supervisor could write this letter.
In addition to the letters being from those specific people, the following elements must be included in the letter:
- Must be written on the recommender’s official letterhead
- Must include the recommender’s academic credentials
- Must include the recommender’s signature
- Must include the date the letter was written
- No letters from family, friends or the family physician
CHSU COM accepts letters of recommendation through AACOMAS and Interfolio.
Submitting Your Application
After submitting your Choose DO / AACOMAS application, CHSU COM will review your application. If they like what they see, they’ll invite you to fill out their supplemental application. You’ll need to write two 250-word essays, take the CASPer exam and pay the supplemental fee. This fee is required unless AACOMAS waives it for you. For the class of 2026, you must submit your application by March 1, 2022.
At this point, the admissions committee will decide whether to invite you to participate in a virtual interview. No information is available regarding what kind of interview you’ll have. But your interview will likely be a traditional or MMI interview. We’ve covered both types comprehensively, so you can feel prepared for your interview. We also offer mock interview prep through our medical school admissions consulting. You can schedule an appointment with us to get started.
Supplemental Essay Questions
“CHSU-COM values a diverse student body that reflects our region and our world. Please explain how you personally would contribute to diversity at CHSU-COM.”
Diversity is of paramount importance in medicine. You’ll treat patients from all walks of life. You’ll want to relate to your patients and provide them with excellent healthcare. Specifically, you’ll want to understand the health care concerns that are prominent in the Central Valley.
Here’s an example:
Hailing from Fresno itself, I’ve wanted to practice osteopathic medicine for as long as I can remember. My grandfather was an osteopathic physician who treated my mother when she was a little girl. She was diagnosed with leukemia, and he oversaw every part of her care that he could. I grew up hearing the stories of how much he helped her fight. To this day, she still talks about the courage and bravery he helped her have.
My mom is from South Korea, and my father is from Japan. They met at UC San Diego and relocated to Fresno for my father’s job when my mom was pregnant with me. They’re both California natives. Their parents emigrated to the United States many years ago. Growing up with two different cultures has provided me with a rich heritage that I treasure. Every year, my family celebrates every holiday from both of their cultures. Sports Day is one of my favorite holidays!
I will contribute to the diversity at CHSU COM by continually learning more about different cultures. I believe that, as a person and a future doctor, I should never stop broadening my horizons so that I can be the best me possible.
This essay comes in at just over 200 words, so it’s within the 250-word limit. This applicant successfully answers the question by showing how her life has been filled with diversity, and how she wants to continue to expand her horizons to become as diverse as possible. As a future doctor, she’ll be able to relate to many of her patients.
“Describe some common healthcare disparities that may be found in a resource-limited area, such as the California Central Valley. How might the presence of CHSU-COM help to alleviate those disparities?”
CHSU COM was founded to address the issues that Fresno and the surrounding areas face. Having a knowledge of the healthcare disparities in the area shows that you care about the Central Valley. If you don’t know about the issues facing this area, we recommend researching them so you can answer this essay prompt knowledgeably.
Here’s an example:
Preventative healthcare is crucial for catching things before they become a problem. For areas like the California Central Valley, there are higher rates of disease, disability, death, and pain and suffering. People who live far away from a doctor don’t always have the resources they need. The cost of travel and inflexible work schedules can keep someone from getting to the nearest doctor, especially if that doctor is far away in a bigger city.
The biggest issue with a remote area is the lack of subspecialties. For example, what if your child requires a cardiothoracic surgeon? That kind of subspecialist will likely work at a larger hospital where they can treat more patients. When getting treatment for your child, you have to factor transportation and lodging into your medical expenses.
CHSU COM can help fill this gap by graduating diverse students who are committed to practicing medicine in the Central Valley. The more doctors there are, the fewer disparities there will be. Patients won’t have to travel as far, which will make healthcare easier to access. And subspecialists will be closer, which will drastically reduce medical costs for sick individuals.
I want to practice medicine in the Central Valley. So, if you accept me into your next incoming class, you’ll have one more doctor in an underserved area. I’m not sure what I want my subspecialty to be, but I know I want to help as many people as possible.
This response comes in at 240 words, so it makes the cut.
CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the best DO schools in California. Being accepted would be the start of a wonderful career for you in osteopathic medicine. However, CHSU COM isn’t your only option. Here at International Medical Aid, we recommend applying to several colleges. The more colleges you apply to, the higher your chances of getting in. And we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of all the schools in our definitive series to getting into medical school. We invite you to check out some of the schools on our list. We add to it all the time, too.
- UC Davis School of Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
- UC Riverside School of Medicine
- USC Keck School of Medicine
- UT Southwestern Medical School
- Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio
- University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine
- UT Austin’s Dell Medical School
- UTMB School of Medicine
- McGovern Medical School at UT Health
- Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- McGovern Medical School at UT Health
- The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
- UNT Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
- University of Houston College of Medicine
- Texas A&M College of Medicine
- Johns Hopkins Medical School
- Baylor College of Medicine
- George Washington University School of Medicine
- Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
- St. George’s University School of Medicine
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (in Pennsylvania)
- Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
- Wake Forest University School of Medicine
- Western University of Health Sciences (in California)
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago
- Georgetown University School of Medicine
- Yale School of Medicine
- Perelman School of Medicine
- UCLA Medical School
- NYU Medical School
- Washington University School of Medicine
- Brown Medical School
We wish you the best of luck in your journey towards becoming an osteopathic physician. Osteopathic doctors do a world of good, and we know you’ll be one of the best.