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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Marian University?

At Marian University, our vision is to provide an education that profoundly transforms lives, society, and the world. We welcome students of all faiths who seek an educational experience framed within the context of our Catholic and Franciscan values of dignity of the individual, peace and justice, reconciliation, and responsible stewardship. The institution grew out of the dedication and vision of the Sisters of St. Francis. The university was founded in Oldenburg, Indiana in 1936 and moved to Indianapolis in 1937. On July 1, 2009, Marian College became Marian University. Over 2,300 full- and part-time students from 31 states and 8 countries now attend Marian University.

Marian University is located in the heart of Indianapolis, Indiana--one of America's largest and most vibrant metropolitan areas. Although only 10 minutes from downtown, the safe, beautiful campus is also perfect for people who enjoy peace and tranquility.

What is a college of osteopathic medicine?

The United States Department of Education recognizes two schools of medicine to train physicians to provide health care to the public – colleges of osteopathic medicine leading to a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (DO) and colleges of medicine leading to Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.). Both types of schools develop completely-trained physicians by offering four years of undergraduate medical training followed by three to seven years of postdoctoral medical education (residency and fellowship training). Both DOs and M.D.s must pass examinations that qualify them for unrestricted licenses to practice all the specialties of medicine. 

Why does Indiana need a college of osteopathic medicine?

There is a projected overall national shortage of 160,000 physicians by 2020. Indiana remains one of the ten most physician-deficient states in the country, predicted to be short by 5,000 doctors. Also, there is a critical lack of primary-care physicians, with our nation needing forty percent more by 2020. By then, Indiana will be short 2,000 primary-care physicians.

“Over the past three years, Indiana University’s medical school has increased its class size to 330 from 280. Plans originally called for the class to grow by 40 more students, but cutbacks in state funds have forced the school to consider scaling back plans,” Dean D. Craig Brater said. “We agonize every year that we have to say no to a number of students that we know will make good doctors. This means that there are going to be more opportunities for more of our kids to get into medical school.” 2

1      “Indiana’s Health Professions Workforce Shortages & Maldistribution,” McKeag, et. al., Indiana University Healthcare Reform Study Group, October 2007.

2      “Marian will add medical school,” article by staff reporter Shari Rudavsky, published on front page of the Indianapolis Star, January 15, 2010.

Why did Marian University decide to open a college of osteopathic medicine (COM)?

The Indiana Osteopathic Association (IOA) has planned to support the start up of a College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) for several years. In the summer 2009, Marian University responded to IOA’s call for proposals to help bring their plans to reality. The IOA selected Marian University as a partner to create a business plan that was submitted to the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) for approval to move forward with plans to open a new COM. The Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) also offers some unique advantages. It is the only osteopathic medical school in Indiana and is the only DO school sponsored by a Catholic University in the United States.

What is the timetable for opening the new COM?

In April 2012, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation granted MU-COM permission to recruit students and, under the Provisional Accreditation status, to accept students into our new COM starting July 1, 2012. MU-COM will begin delivering instruction to the entering class of first-year students in August 2013.

Where will the new COM be located Marian University will construct a new building for the COM and the existing School of Nursing on its campus at 30th Street and Cold Spring Road. The 140,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences is currently under construction. Visit for more information.

This location was chosen because (1) It supports the future growth and enhancement of Marian University’s academic programs, including planned graduate programs in nursing and science; (2) It will be a catalyst for future growth in this area of Indianapolis and the state; and (3) It will complement the bioscience corridor being developed along 16th Street.

What is the cost of opening a new COM?

Marian University estimates the cost of the COM and overall campus infrastructure needs at $175 million. Specifically, roughly $75 million will be allocated to MU-COM and the School of Nursing, including $48 million to build the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences facility and $25 million in unencumbered funds in an escrow account required by the COCA until the MU-COM graduates its first students. The university previously announced a gift of $48 million from Michael A. Evans, Ph.D. dedicated to MU-COM. University President Daniel J. Elsener is actively involved in obtaining additional major gifts from individual donors, healthcare institutions, and community foundations that want to become partners in this project.

How many students will be enrolled in the MU-COM?

MU-COM will matriculate 150 osteopathic medical students in the first class that will enter in the fall 2013. Marian University will recruit students from Indiana and surrounding states whose philosophies and values are consistent with the COM’s mission.

Who are Marian University’s current clinical partners?

The Indiana Osteopathic Association selected Marian University as its partner in creating a new COM in Indiana. Other partners include major local hospitals/systems – St. Vincent Health, Community Health Network, Franciscan St. Francis Health, and Suburban Health Organization (SHO) 3 – all will collaborate with the COM in training osteopathic medical students and residents. Other hospitals investing in MU-COM include Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Indiana; Margaret Mary Hospital in Batesville, Indiana; and Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In addition to their flagship facilities in Indianapolis, these hospital systems have satellite institutions throughout central Indiana, and will also participate in clinical education. The MU-COM also has signed affiliation agreements with hospitals in communities throughout Indiana that will widely expand clinical clerkship opportunities for our students: Batesville, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Franklin, Greenfield, Lebanon, New Castle, Rushville, Terre Haute, and Vincennes.

3      SHO institutional members include Hancock Regional Hospital, Hendricks Regional Health, Henry County Hospital, Johnson Memorial Hospital, Major Hospital, Riverview Hospital, Rush Memorial Hospital, St. Vincent Health, Community Westview Hospital and Witham Health Services.

When will MU-COM hire faculty and staff?

The university hired Paul Evans, DO, FAAFP, FACOFP as vice president and founding dean of MU-COM, effective September 1, 2010. Dr. Evans has spent twelve years in osteopathic medical education, with the last six as the founding dean of Georgia Campus, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, GA.  He has over 30 years of medical education experience.

Joining Dr. Evans are Charles Henley, DO, MPH, FAAFP, FACOFP as associate dean of clinical affairs and Bryan Larsen, Ph.D. as the associate dean for biomedical sciences.

Dr. Henley served as Inaugural Endowed Chair of Research in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine - Tulsa in addition to Oklahoma University’s Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Family Medicine. He also served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. From 1981 until his retirement from the United States Army in 1997, he held several senior leadership positions in military medical education.

Prior to joining MU-COM, Dr. Larsen most recently served as Dean for University Research and Biomedical Graduate Studies at Des Moines University and Executive Director of the Iowa Center for Translational and Clinical Research. He held DMU-College of Osteopathic Medicine appointments as Professor of Microbiology, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Professor of Humanities.

Dr. Evans, Dr. Henley and Dr. Larsen will bring ten lead faculty members to MU-COM in fall of 2012 to complete the curriculum prior to students arriving in the fall of 2013. Dr. Evans also will hire a variety of administrative staff in the summer 2012 to support the faculty and manage the admissions process.

What opportunities will be available to Indiana DOs?

No COM can exist without contributions from practicing physicians (DOs and M.D.s) in the communities served by the medical school. Initially Indiana physicians will be involved in interviewing prospective students. Eventually, some might serve as adjunct faculty to teach in their specialties. The associate dean for clinical affairs will approach virtually all Indiana DOs to serve as preceptors for osteopathic medical students on their rotations.

The COM will communicate frequently with physicians – by electronic communications, direct mail, and through partnership with the Indiana Osteopathic Association – to advise all DOs of opportunities for service to the COM.

Admissions Questions

Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine accepts applications only through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). For more information about AACOMAS visit This centralized applications service opened in May 2012 for students who wish to apply for the August 2013 entering class. We have received American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) permission to recruit students and, under Provisional status to start July 1, 2012. We will be able to accept students into our new COM at that time.

Prospective students can download up-to-date information about MU-COM in the online edition of the Supplement 2013 Osteopathic College Information Book (CIB). Students will find answers to most of their questions in the CIB, including the admissions process, pre-requisites, tuition, etc.

What does Provisional Accreditation mean?

The United States Department of Education granted authority to the COCA to accredit all colleges of osteopathic medicine. COCA awards “provisional accreditation” to all COMs that meet the standards for initial accreditation for a maximum of five years. This recognition enables the COMs to recruit students and begin to offer instruction.

COCA reviews provisional accreditation status annually until the year in which the COM intends to graduate its first class and award the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Only at that time can COCA award “full accreditation” status to any COM.

Students attending a COM that holds provisional accreditation are eligible for the full range of federally subsidized loan programs, the same as students in fully-accredited COMs.

What is the estimated date when you will be accepting students into your program?

The admissions committee will begin receiving applications from AACOMAS in July 2012. The admissions committee will solicit supplementary applications from qualified prospective students, and then offer interviews to a portion of those who submit supplementary materials. On-campus interviews will begin in October 2012 and continue through April 2013. MU-COM will use a rolling admissions cycle, with students accepted as early as October 15, 2012 until the class of 150 students is filled.

Is there an Early Decision Program (EDP) available for applicants?

No. At this time MU-COM does not have an early decision program for notifying candidates on early admission.

Would the admissions Committee accept a letter from one of my professors in lieu of an evaluation from a premedical advisor/committee?

In the absence of a letter from a pre-med advisor or committee, we will consider the faculty letters. However, it is strongly recommended that you consider offering a biology professor’s evaluation as part of the packet. Since biology is the most relevant of the sciences to medicine, assessment from a biology professor regarding your ability to handle medical school level work would be of great value.

Additionally, make sure that your application explains the absence of a pre-med advisor recommendation.

Must an applicant submit a letter of recommendation from a DO?

If you are selected to file a supplementary application, you will be required to submit three letters of recommendation: one from a pre-medical advisor or committee, one from a science faculty member, one from a physician (DO or MD), and the “Minimum Technical Standards Certification” form. 

While MU-COM will accept a letter of recommendation from either a DO or MD physician, we strongly recommend that applicants spend time with an osteopathic physician to increase awareness of the osteopathic philosophy and practice. Submitting a letter from a DO is a way of demonstrating the applicant’s understanding of and commitment to the osteopathic medical profession.

What is the expected average GPA of the DO class entering 2013?

Since MU-COM has not yet enrolled any students, we cannot provide any profile data for our college of osteopathic medicine.

However, the national profile of the 2011 entering class for all osteopathic medical school reveals an overall mean GPA of 3.48. For this group, the mean GPA in science is 3.36 and non-science 3.58. We anticipate similar numbers for our entering class in 2013. If your GPA is below 3.3, then this would deserve attention, recommend improving it to become more competitive. Graduate work with demonstrated high success in biomedical science would positively influence the admissions committee.

What is the expected average MCAT score of the DO class entering 2013?

Since MU-COM has not yet enrolled any students, we cannot provide any profile data for our college of osteopathic medicine.

However, the national profile of the 2011 entering class for all osteopathic medical schools reports a mean Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score of 26.51, calculated from a total of 8.66 verbal, 9.33 biological science, and 8.52 physical science. If your MCAT score is below 25, then this would deserve attention, recommend improving it to become more competitive.

What is the expected percentage of out-of-state matriculants of the DO class entering 2013?

While the admissions committee has just begun work on screening applicants, soliciting supplementary applications, and interviewing prospective students, our goal is to have a majority of our students with ties to Indiana. Since we are a private university, there are no quotas for in-state student admissions.

What is your policy regarding international, non-permanent residents?

Undergraduate coursework taken at a foreign institution must be evaluated for United States institution equivalence. Foreign coursework must be evaluated by any one of several services designated by AACOMAS for this purpose. Applicants holding or who will require either an F-1 or J-1 Visa must contact the MU-COM Office of Admissions for requirements at the time of application. Information is also available online at:

The requirements, at a minimum, will include official first-source transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended. Scores from standardized tests may be required, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), etc.

MU-COM will not accept transfer students from international schools.

What should an applicant expect in the interview process?

MU-COM uses a rolling admissions cycle and schedules applicant interviews October through April of the application year. Applicants are invited to campus for a half-day of interviews. The schedule includes multiple mini-interviews with basic science faculty, clinical faculty, admistrators, and/or community physicians. Prospective students receive information about the curriculum, financial aid resources and procedures, research opportunities, clinical rotation sites, and residency programs affiliated with MU-COM. Applications will also recieve a tour of campus.

What are the prerequisites for the DO Program?

Science coursework is as follows:

- 8 semester hours with lab                                                                                                     

Biochemistry - Recommended
Molecular Biology 
- Recommended

- Recommended

Inorganic Chemistry - 8 semester hours with lab
Organic Chemistry 
- 8 semester hours with lab

Physics - 8 semester hours with lab

Non-science coursework is as follows:       

College English - 6 semester hours                                                                                                                                   
Behavioral Science - Recommended
Humanities - Recommended  
Mathematics/Statistics - Recommended

For additional details, visit the AACOM website at, where all premedical requirements for MU-COM are published as part of the AACOM College Information Book, along with our admission requirements.