Part 1: Introduction
Joining the ranks of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and Western University of Health Sciences, the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine is a great option for students who want to become doctors of osteopathic medicine. It’s also one of the best medical schools in Texas.
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine differ from Doctors of Medicine in their approaches to treatment. So, we recommend learning the differences between these approaches before deciding what kind of school you want to attend.
Among the colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States, the University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM) is among the best. UNTHSC/TCOM sets itself apart from other medical schools in Texas through its emphasis on primary care and rural medicine. Indeed, over half of UNTHSC/TCOM graduates practice primary care throughout their medical careers.
For its mission, the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine believes in forging solutions to improve community health. This goal is accomplished by teaching medical students to center their care around the patient and by continually improving teaching and learning approaches.
So, what programs does the University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine offer? How much does it cost to attend? How many secondary essays are there to write? And what is the interview process like?
We’ll be answering all those questions and more in today’s definitive guide for getting into medical school. It’s all part of our pre-med advising services. Keep reading to learn all about the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Part 2: Osteopathic Medical Programs at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
These are the programs offered at the University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine:
- Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
- Joint Admissions Medical Program
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine / Ph.D. Program
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine / Master of Public Health Program
The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine offers the DO program on its own, as well as dual-degree options.
The school’s website does not provide very much information about the individual programs offered. It focuses on admissions requirements and prerequisites. The information provided below is everything we could gather about these programs.
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is intended as a post-baccalaureate option for students who want to earn master’s degrees or Ph.D. in one of the following areas.
Specialized Master’s Degrees
Traditional Master’s and Doctoral Programs
- Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
- Cell Biology, Immunology and Microbiology
- Integrative Physiology
- Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacotherapy
- Pharmacology and Neuroscience
- Structural Anatomy and Rehabilitation Sciences
- Visual Sciences
If you are interested in applying to one of these programs, click the link. It will take you to the respective page for that degree.
Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP)
The Texas Legislature created JAMP to help students who are more than qualified for medical school but have significant disadvantages that greatly hinder their ability to apply to medical school. If you want to attend medical school but don’t have the means to do so, see if you’re eligible.
The program assists students by providing internship opportunities, scholarships, stipends, MCAT prep programs, mentorship and guaranteed admission to a Texas medical school if students meet each and every program criteria.
The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine proudly partners with JAMP to admit these students.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree offered at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine has similar curricular offerings as Lake Erie or Western University. Their focal point is what differs. Students first learn the fundamentals of health and how to approach medical treatment through a whole-body approach. The Fundamentals of Disease and Treatment follows. Where students first learned how the body works, they now learn how things can go wrong.
After completing the first two years of education in the DO program, students finish their education through affiliated hospitals and clinics. They go through the following rotations:
- Family Medicine
- Internal Medicine
- Manipulative Medicine
- Emergency Medicine
Upon successful completion of the program and passing scores on all exams, students will become residents.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine / Ph.D.
Because this program awards a Ph.D. in addition to the DO degree, students are expected to take six to seven years to complete the program. The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine has partnered with the Graduate School of Biomedical Admissions to make the Ph.D. portion of this degree possible. Students who complete this program are prepared to spend time in clinics with patients and in laboratory settings where research is conducted.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine / Master of Public Health
This dual degree is designed to be completed in five years. Four years are dedicated to the osteopathic medicine part, and one year is dedicated to the MPH. Students in this dual-degree program are trained to consider how cultural, social, psychological and biomedical factors can impact medicine and patient lives.
Part 3: Cost of Attendance
Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine provides a tuition calculator for all students–current and future. The calculator is school-wide, so it can be used for any college. It breaks down tuition by Texas residents and non-Texas residents. Because the state of Texas funds the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the college is required to admit 90% Texas residents and 10% non-Texas residents each year. The college must fill all open seats.
Here’s the breakdown of tuition costs for each year.
- $9,922.00 for Texas residents
- $17,766.00 for non-Texas residents
- $9,401.00 for Texas residents
- $17,245.00 for non-Texas residents
- $9,415.50 for Texas residents
- $17,259.50 for non-Texas residents
- $9,563.50 for Texas residents
- $17,407.50 for non-Texas residents
Keep in mind that this only covers tuition costs. Other expenses, like textbooks, food, housing and transportation should also be considered.
Go here if you have any additional questions about tuition.
Part 4: Admissions Requirements
Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine requires the following courses to be taken. Without taking these courses, you won’t be considered for admissions into the college.
The following science courses are required.
- Biology/Zoology, 14 credit hours
- Organic Chemistry, 8 credit hours
- Inorganic Chemistry, 8 credit hours
- Physics, 8 credit hours
The following science courses aren’t required, but they are recommended.
Finally, these non-science courses are required.
- College English, 6 credit hours
- Math/Statistics, 3 credit hours
In addition to these courses, the MCAT is required. Applicants must also submit a packet from their advisory committee. If you do not have an advisory committee, you may submit three individual letters of evaluation/recommendation.
Part 5: Applying to Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
Have you decided that UNTHSC/TCOM is the school for you? To apply, adhere to the following guidelines.
First, fill out your primary application. The college’s website indicates that students should fill out the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service for their primary application. This application can be accessed at www.tmdsas.com.
After you’ve filled out the TMDSAS, you’ll move on to the secondary application. This application will be sent directly to the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. Part of the application includes answering essay prompts. These prompts will help the admissions committee get to know you better.
We’ll take a look at the questions, break down how to answer them and provide you with samples. If at any point you feel stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. We provide medical school admissions consulting to any prospective student who needs it. Reviewing secondary application essays is part of what we do in our admissions consulting. We’d be happy to help you as you prepare to become an MD candidate.
Please share the experiences/relationships in your life that have contributed to your desire to study osteopathic medicine. Why do you want to pursue osteopathic medicine for your career? (2,000 characters)
A career in osteopathic medicine will lead down a slightly different path than that of an MD program. While MDs primarily focus on treating symptoms (like pain or fatigue), DOs focus on the root issues. (What’s causing the pain or fatigue?)
The admissions committee wants to make sure that you understand this. They also want to know why you want to practice osteopathic medicine. Like we talk about in our Show v. Tell article, admissions committees care far more about why you’re doing what you’re doing than what it is you are doing.
Here’s an example.
Growing up, my mother suffered from severe migraines. Her headaches were so bad that she would have to lie down with her eyes closed in complete darkness to have any hope of feeling better. Her best chance at kicking a migraine was simply not getting up in the mornings when she felt one coming on. If she stayed in bed all day, she could usually escape the worst of it.
But there were three of us at home and Mom was a stay-at-home mother. Our father was a firefighter, so his hands were tied when he was on a 24-hour shift. Because Mom had primary responsibility for us, there were some days when she couldn’t just stay in bed. Those days wrecked her.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand what was wrong. I just knew that “Mommy’s head hurt.” But as I grew older and could understand, I started looking up treatments online. Mom told me not to worry about it. She wanted me to focus on school and hanging out with my friends. But seeing her in so much pain worried me, and researching potential causes and treatments helped me to not worry as much.
Of course, Google isn’t a doctor, so I found a lot of misinformation. But what I found saved Mom’s quality of life. Dr. Leroy Gibson was a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine who specializes in treating migraines. He didn’t just prescribe pills to mask the pain like Mom’s MD did. Instead, he did tests on Mom and was able to get down to the root cause. Mom went through treatment for her migraines under Dr. Gibson’s care, and today she has a migraine maybe once or twice a month. That’s a huge difference from the migraines she would have multiple times a week!
My interest in becoming a doctor was definitely starting to form when I researched Mom’s migraines. And I can tell you without any doubt that Dr. Gibson’s treatment is what inspired me to study osteopathic medicine. I want to help people get better instead of helping them temporarily feel better.
This essay just barely makes the cut at 1,913 characters. It’s a great essay because it thoroughly explains this patient’s understanding of osteopathic medicine and why they want to study it in medical school.
If you’ve transferred more than two times, please explain why. Community college doesn’t count. (1,000 characters)
Here at International Medical Aid, we highly recommend writing essays in response to all of the prompts. However, some essays only require an answer if you’ve done something specific. This is the case here. If you’ve only transferred once or twice, there’s no need to answer this question. It doesn’t apply to you. However, if you’ve transferred more than two times, you’ll need to explain why.
Transferring multiple times doesn’t make you a bad student, but it can set you back. Not all of your credits will transfer with you, so you’ll have to repeat some courses.
But many students have good reasons for transferring. If this is you, just explain your reasons. There’s no need to be embarrassed about it.
Here’s an example.
I began my education at Weber State University in Utah. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study yet, but I was from Lehi, so it made sense to go there when I was accepted. I could visit home for the holidays but be far enough away to live my own life. I didn’t like Weber State University at all. So, I transferred to Utah State University.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I became interested in medicine. The more I learned in my Science electives, the more I knew that I had found my passion. I quickly decided that I wanted to be a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. While Utah State had a medical program, it was for MDs, not DOs.
I transferred to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I met my wife, Sara, at church. While we were engaged, she was accepted into the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. My wife and I are currently living apart while we are both in medical school. I am applying so that I can study medicine and live with my wife.
This is your opportunity to share anything that’s not up-to-date on your TMDSAS application. If you’ve completed any additional coursework, plan to change your coursework or graduation date, have completed more extracurricular activities, etc., please explain. (1,000 characters)
The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine wants to give you the opportunity to fill in any gaps. Things change, but you can’t always make changes to your documentation. This question is as straightforward as it gets. If you don’t have any changes to report, even after careful review, just say so.
Do you consider yourself financially disadvantaged?
Do you consider yourself educationally disadvantaged?
If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you’ll need to write a response.
Here’s an example.
I consider myself to be financially disadvantaged. I have four siblings, so money has always been tight. But my father passed away in 2016, which made things very difficult. My mom has worked a full-time day job and a part-time night and weekend job since my father passed away. It pays all the bills and covers any emergencies that come up. But my mother doesn’t have any funds to help put me through school. I am entirely dependent on my own income, scholarships, grants and loans to get through medical school.
This answer is simply stated and clearly explained. There’s no question that this applicant is financially disadvantaged.
In this final, optional essay, please share one of the following:
- A time when you lead a group project that involved interaction with people outside of your organization
- A time when you developed a plan that enabled you to work through a specific situation that challenged your ethics or moral code
- A time when you had the ability to improve through developing and executing a plan to succeed in a previously unsuccessful endeavor.
Like we said before, we highly recommend answering this essay prompt, even though it’s “optional.” This is your final opportunity to make yourself stand out from the crowd in the best way possible. We recommend choosing the prompt for which you have a great story to tell.
For the first prompt, a group project is likely to have taken place at school or work. But for the second and third prompts, it could happen anywhere. So, when you think of experiences to write about, think about all your extracurricular activities and things you participate in during your free time.
If you find yourself struggling to write this essay, remember our pre-med advising services. We’re more than happy to help you brainstorm ideas.
Part 6: Your Interview Experience
Congratulations! You’ve been invited to interview at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. This is a big deal. It means that you impressed the admissions committee enough to get to know you better. They want to see if you’re a good fit for the school.
Of course, with COVID-19 still being a problem, interviews are taking place virtually. But this doesn’t diminish how important your interview is. It’s still just as big of a deal.
The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine uses the Multiple Mini Interview format. This means that instead of having two interviews that each last 30 minutes, you’ll have 6-10 mini interviews.
This interview process is different from the traditional interview for two reasons. First, you get a break between questions. It’s only for a couple of minutes, but it’s still a break. Having a moment to breathe during a medical school interview is something to be thankful for! Second, you’ll know each question beforehand. You aren’t given all the questions at the beginning, but you are given each question before that mini interview begins. You’ll have time to think through the question before the interviewer hops on the video.
You can expect the MMI to last for about 45-50 minutes. If you have more questions, visit this page on the school’s website.
After interviewing applicants, the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine uses the following criteria to evaluate applicants and decide whom to admit.
- High school grades
- Undergraduate grades
- Graduate school grades
- MCAT scores
- Interview scores
- Geographic diversity
- Socioeconomic background
- Dedication to becoming a medical professional
- Community involvement
- Whether osteopathic doctors were part of the applicant’s life during elementary school
- First-generation college student
- Letters of evaluation
If you’re looking at medical schools in Texas or osteopathic medical programs, you’ve found the jackpot. The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine provides wonderful opportunities for its students.
We encourage you to learn about the different medical schools and programs that are offered. We recommend applying to multiple schools. Your list of schools should include your dream school, schools you can feasibly get to, and schools for which you’re qualified. This will greatly increase your chances of being accepted.
- 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
- Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- Brown Medical School
Should you need any help with your applications, remember that International Medical Aid is here to help! Our medical school admissions consulting is designed to help you prepare. Pre-med advising is a useful tool for any student. We’re a click away. Simply visit our website to schedule a time to meet with us. One of our experts will gladly assist you.