dcsimg Frequently Asked Questions

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. More than 2,500 full- and part-time students from the United States and eight other 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 began delivering instruction to the entering class of first-year students in August 2013. 

Marian University constructed 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 was completed in July 2013.

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: Anderson, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Franklin, Greenfield, Kokomo, Lebanon, Munster, New Castle, Noblesville, Richmond, Rushville, Seymour, 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.

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 are 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 www.aacom.org. This centralized applications service opens in May each year for students who wished to apply for the the class entering the following year..

Prospective students can access up-to-date information about MU-COM in AACOM's 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. To order, students can click on https://netforum.avectra.com/eweb/Shopping/Shopping.aspx?Cart=0&Site=AACOM.

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.

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

Yes, visit the Special Programs section to about the requirements. Primary applications must be submitted to AACOMAS by July 15.

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?

Since MU-COM has not yet enrolled any students, we cannot provide any profile data for our college of osteopathic medicine. However, 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, administrators, 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 receive a tour of campus.

What are the prerequisites for the DO Program?

Science coursework is as follows:

Anatomy - Recommended

Biology/Zoology - 8 semester hours with lab                                                                                                     

Biochemistry - Recommended
Molecular Biology - Recommended

Genetics - Recommended

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

Physics - 8 semester hours with lab

Biochemistry - 3 semester hours

Non-science coursework is as follows:       

College English - 6 semester hours          
Sociology - 3 semester hours
Psychology - 3 semester hours
Humanities - Recommended   
Mathematics/Statistics - Recommended

© 2012 Marian University
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Marian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age or disabilities in the recruiting and selection of students for admission.