Student Spotlight

Emilie Mathura, OMS I

Class of 2023

  • Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Undergraduate Studies: Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology
  • Clubs and Activities: Student Government Association, OB/GYN Club, American Medical Women's Association, and Medical Students for Choice.

Why did you choose RVUCOM? The Urban Underserved Track and the sabbatical program which will allow me to complete my Master of Public Health...
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Faculty Spotlight

Cathy Ruff, MS, PA-C

Program Director and Chair of Physician Assistant Studies
Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies

  • Hometown: Dearborn, Michigan
  • Undergraduate Studies: Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular Biology
  • Graduate Studies: Master of Science degree in Cellular/Molecular Biology. Physician Assistant Training at the University of Colorado Health Science Center.

What class/classes do you teach? I teach professionalism topics, Physical Exam, and small group skills. Why did you choose...
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College of Osteopathic Medicine

The faculty and staff of Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) are committed to osteopathic philosophy and heritage, and to advancing the science and the art of the practice of osteopathic medicine. We feel that in doing so, we can best serve the needs of our students and the patients they will care for throughout their professional careers. The college is committed to producing not only competent but also professional, ethical and compassionate physicians who are holistic in scope and philosophy.

The College is dedicated to recruiting, supporting and providing an osteopathic medical education for students from the Mountain West region, yet welcomes students from across the country. RVUCOM strives to recruit and educate individuals committed to becoming community-based, primary care physicians who will assist in meeting the needs of the wide diversity of patients they will encounter during their careers, and who will be equipped to adapt to the demands of a changing health care system. It is RVUCOM’s goal that all of its graduates will be prepared and competitive to enter any discipline upon graduation while attempting to influence them to enter critically needed primary care specialties.

The principles of education that guide RVUCOM include early clinical integration and experience for its students; a supportive, active and interactive learning environment; and an integrated curriculum designed to provide the knowledge, skills and competencies required to prepare a student to enter graduate medical education and support life-long professional growth and learning.

RVUCOM has new, spacious and technically-sophisticated state-of-the-art facilities, along with an outstanding faculty, which together, provides the physical and intellectual resources required to deliver a quality medical education for its students in a positive, personal and educational environment.

RVUCOM’s extensive community partnerships ensures that the clinical sites and clinical faculty needed for the education of its students are available within the region, and that the student’s education will continue under the supervision and guidance of college appointed faculty. The COM is actively engaged in developing the graduate medical education opportunities that will be required and desired by graduates as well as other osteopathic and allopathic physicians within our community partners and at affiliated sites.

RVUCOM-CO at a Glance

– Programmatic accreditation by Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
– Admits approximately 3.4% of applicant pool
– Mean MCAT scores and GPAs exceed national mean of all COM students
– Board scores ranked at top of all COMs
– 100% placement into residency programs
– Among highest percentage of medical students on military scholarship of any civilian medical school
– Designated as Military Friendly School for five years
– First medical school to have a cut suit
– 2019 Residency Placement Rates: Military: 12%; AOA: 8.6%; NRMP: 79.3%

RVUCOM-CO’s Class of 2023:
– Mean MCAT score: 506
– Mean Cumulative GPA: 3.63
– Mean Science GPA: 3.58
– 51% men, 49% women
– Average age: 25
– Highest Degree Earned: 73% Bachelors; 27% Masters
– 15% are first-generation college students
– 14% immigrated to the US as children

RVUCOM Mission Statement

To educate and inspire students to become highly competent osteopathic physicians and lifelong learners prepared to meet the diverse healthcare needs of tomorrow through innovative education, relevant research, and compassionate service.


RVUCOM Vision Statement

RVUCOM promotes the incorporation of traditional osteopathic principles and philosophy with an emphasis on wellness, holistic care, and the integration of structure and function in all of its educational efforts.

RVUCOM promotes an educational model that provides an opportunity for success to its students and graduates by a) providing access to quality educators, clinicians, and researchers; b) the promotion of active learning by its students; and c) the encouragement of individual responsibility.

RVUCOM encourages life-long learning through its emphasis on developing educational skills and competency in its students along with the promotion of problem solving skills and an appreciation for scientific inquiry.

RVUCOM strives to graduate osteopathic physicians who are prepared to enter and succeed in all areas or disciplines of graduate medical education.

RVUCOM promotes the advancement and distribution of medical knowledge through its support of research and scholarly activity by its faculty, staff, and students.

RVUCOM strives to prepare physicians dedicated to improving access to quality, competent, and timely healthcare for all, with an emphasis on developing primary care physicians to improve medical access for at-risk and rural populations, provide public service and advance public health.

RVUCOM strives to provide a curriculum and learning environment that will integrate a strong foundation of medical knowledge with the professional, cultural, and ethical traits desired in its students and graduates.

RVUCOM strives for excellence in all its activities and is dedicated to being a leader in the osteopathic profession and in its community.

Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, Founder of Osteopathic Medicine

The philosophy of osteopathic medicine originated from the teachings of Virginian Andrew Taylor Still more than 100 years ago and is based on the belief that, given the optimum conditions, the human body has the amazing ability to heal, that the structure of the human body is directly related to the function, and that the health of the individual is related to the body, mind, and spirit.


What is Osteopathic Medicine?

DSC_0078Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) are one of the only two groups of physicians who are licensed and qualified for the unlimited practice of medicine and surgery in all 50 states. DOs, like their colleagues, MDs, or doctors of allopathic medicine, provide professional services to advance the health and well being of patients across this country and around the world.

Osteopathic physicians complete four years of medical school and three to seven years of resident training before entering practice. The practice of osteopathic medicine and the practice of individual osteopathic physicians is as diverse as the wide spectrum of professionals who chose the profession. D.O.’s practice as specialists in all medical disciplines, in educational institutions, in research facilities and public health institutions. Osteopathic physicians provide health care services in hospitals and clinics across the nation, utilizing the spectrum and all of the tools of modern medicine. In addition, osteopathic physicians believe that secondary to their training and philosophy, they provide additional benefits for their patients.

DOs place an emphasis on wellness and preventive medicine. Their training and philosophy also teaches them to place an emphasis on the interrelationship of structure and function. By utilizing a patient center style of practice, DOs work with their patients to foster healthy lifestyles that concentrate on preventing illness, not merely treating pathology. Utilizing Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), DOs support and augment the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

OMM_CadetOsteopathic medicine has a century-old tradition of caring for diverse groups of people, often in rural and underserved settings. It has a traditional emphasis on primary care, but the profession has grown and diversified at the same time the science and practice of medicine has grown to the point that today it is a scientifically based, outcome directed profession. The profession honors its history and heritage by maintaining emphasis on the total patient, on serving those in need, on the relationship between structure and function and by avoiding concentration on the disease rather than the patient.


What DOs Bring to Medicine

  • The osteopathic profession prepares students to practice in all disciplines of medicine, with an emphasis on primary care and community-based medicine.
  • DOs practice a “patient-centered” approach, which recognizes that the physician must address the patient’s sociological and psychological universe in order to improve the quality and duration of their life.
  • Osteopathic physicians concentrate on disease prevention and health promotion, believing that this approach is the basic path to wellness for their patients.
  • DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system–your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of your body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the way that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another.
  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is incorporated into the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose illne ss and injury and to encourage your body’s natural tendency toward good health. By combining all other available medical options with OMT, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)
American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
Colorado Society of Osteopathic Medicine (CSOM)

The RVUCOM Office of Admissions works closely with the Dean and the Admissions Committee to coordinate all aspects of the new student recruitment process including the recruitment, application, interview and matriculation process. The department is responsible for the marketing of the College to health advisors and students to support the matriculation of students who will advance the mission and vision of the College and University. We are here to assist you. Whether you are currently in college, just graduating, out in the workforce and contemplating a career change, or just thinking about the possibility of becoming an osteopathic physician, feel free to contact us. We will gladly provide campus tours, conduct transcript evaluations, and answer any questions you might have regarding the admission process. We can help walk you through the process if you are ready to apply and help you develop your game plan if you are in the early stages of your premed curriculum.


Requirements for Admission

The RVUCOM Office of Admissions processes thousands of applications for admission each year. The minimum requirements for admission include:

  • US citizen or permanent resident. RVU is currently awaiting approval for international students.
  • A bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university must be completed prior to matriculation (exceptions may be made and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. These exceptions may pertain to faith-based and/or strong international universities). In the event of coursework completed at foreign institutions, official detailed course-by-course evaluations must be completed by an approved agency. Please see the list of approved agencies in the RVU Student Handbook and Catalog.
  • Minimum prerequisite course work that must be completed prior to matriculation includes:

– Biology (12 semester hours including lab)
– General Chemistry (8 semester hours including lab)
– Organic Chemistry (8 semester hours including lab)
– Physics (8 semester hours including lab)
– English or Literature (6 semester hours)
– Social or Behavioral Sciences (6 semester hours)
– Biochemistry (3 semester hours)

No grade below a “C” will be considered to fulfill requirements. Additional upper-division coursework such as Human Anatomy, Physiology, Genetics, and Cellular Biology is highly recommended.

  • A minimum science and cumulative GPA of 3.0.
    Note: The chances for admission for a candidate with minimal grades are limited. Admission would require outstanding achievement on the part of the candidate during their career or unique individual circumstances. Preference will be given to candidates with a science and cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher. On average, candidates admitted to colleges of osteopathic medicine each of the past three years have GPAs greater than 3.4. The mean GPAs for the Class of 2022 were 3.50 (science) and 3.59 (overall).
  • All candidates are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) within three (3) years of matriculation. RVUCOM does not combine the highest scores in each section from multiple exams.
    Note: The mean MCAT score for the Class of 2022 was 505.06.
  • Students must provide official transcripts from all colleges attended where a degree was earned prior to matriculation. In the event of coursework completed at foreign institutions, the applicant must submit official detailed course-by-course evaluations completed by an approved agency. A list of these agencies is available in the University Handbook & Catalog.


Transfer of Credit

Each medical school’s curriculum is unique and based upon that school’s longitudinal timetable. The medical school curriculum at RVUCOM is a four- year longitudinal course of study in which the coursework builds upon previously learned precepts.  Therefore, requests for transfer are discouraged and will rarely be considered unless there are highly compelling circumstances. Circumstances may warrant that a student enrolled in a college of medicine seeks to transfer to another institution. Credits may be transferred from medical schools and colleges accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).  RVUCOM will not consider transfer requests from students enrolled at a foreign medical school or LCME accredited program.

  • Transfers from one college of osteopathic medicine to another shall require that at a minimum the last two years of instruction be completed within RVUCOM.
  • Transfers shall be accepted and transfer credits shall be given only if the student is in good standing and eligible for readmission to the previously attended college of osteopathic medicine.
  • Credit is only given for completed courses with grades of 70 percent (C) or greater.

RVUCOM transcripts will reflect the cumulative credit hours transferred in from the previous medical school.  Information regarding grades or class rank from the previous school will not be reflected on the RVU transcript. Students who transfer into RVUCOM will not receive a class rank. Anyone wishing to transfer to RVUCOM must:

  • Provide a written statement outlining reasons for the request for transfer. All information is to be sent to the Executive Director of Enrollment Management and External Relations. Decisions regarding transfer are made by the Dean and will be based on factors including academic record, circumstances leading to the transfer request, available space, and admission standards.
  • Provide a letter from the Dean of the transferring institution verifying that the student is in good standing and be eligible to continue.
  • Submit a copy of their AACOMAS application.
  • Meet all admission requirements to Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, which include submitting official transcripts of all college work where a degree was earned, transcripts from the medical school attended including the final transcript showing the successful completion of the first two years, MCAT scores; national board scores, and letters of evaluation.
  • Take USMLE Step 1 and pass COMLEX-USA Level 1 prior to starting externships.
  • Pass a background check and drug screen.
  • Submit required medical forms.


Application Process

RVUCOM participates in the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) for the receipt and processing of applications. Applications are submitted electronically through AACOMAS at There is a single designation for RVUCOM for both the Colorado and Utah campuses, and candidates will be considered for one campus only. Candidates will select their preference for the location they would like to attend on the supplemental application. AACOMAS processes applications within approximately 3-6 weeks. This timeframe may vary depending on the time it takes to receive an applicant’s transcripts and the volume of applications being processed. RVUCOM’s deadline for submitting an AACOMAS application is March 15, 2020. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis, therefore it is in an applicant’s best interest to apply early in the process. Once an applicant’s AACOMAS application is received, it is evaluated to determine if the minimum requirements have been met. These requirements include:

  • A minimum science and cumulative GPA of 3.00. Minimal requirements for consideration for admission have been established by the Board of Trustees as a science cumulative GPA of 3.0. It should be noted that the chances for admission for a candidate with minimal grades are limited.  Admission would require outstanding achievement on the part of the candidate during his or her college career or unique individual circumstances.  On average candidates admitted to colleges of osteopathic medicine during the last three years had GPAs of greater than 3.6.
  • MCAT scores within 3 years of matriculation.
  • CASPer Assessment: All candidates are required to take the CASPer and request to have official scores sent to RVUCOM.
  • Three Letters of Recommendations (submitted to AACOMAS). Required letters include a letter an academic reference (order of preference to include Pre-Med Advisor or Committee, Basic Science Faculty, or anyone who can speak to the candidate’s ability to successfully complete a rigorous medical school curriculum), a letter from a healthcare provider who has worked with the candidate (DO or MD preferred), and a final letter of the candidate’s choice. ***Because of the challenges of receiving letters due to the pandemic, RVU will also accept a letter from any health professional the candidate has worked with, regardless of whether or not they were directly supervised.*** Be aware that only the maximum number of letters submitted through AACOMAS will be considered. The Office of Admissions is not able to accept letters of recommendation sent directly to RVUCOM or from any other letter service, such as Interfolio or VirtualEvals.

Applicants meeting these minimum requirements will receive an email containing login information for the supplemental application. Candidates will select their campus of choice on the supplemental application, or can opt to have the admissions office make the designation for them. They are considered for one campus or the other, but not both.  Candidates who initially do not meet the minimum academic requirements are welcome to resubmit updated information through AACOMAS. Candidates resubmitting qualifying information will then be invited to proceed through the process upon verification that the minimum requirements have been met. The supplemental application is returned electronically along with the non-refundable $60 processing fee. Applicants awarded an AACOMAS fee waiver will be granted a fee waiver for RVUCOM’s supplemental application. Fee waivers will also be granted for active-duty military, veterans, as well as immediate family members.

For submission instructions on the fee waiver visit:

The deadline for submitting a supplemental application for the class matriculating in 2020 is April 15, 2021.  Please note that due to the rolling admission process, it is feasible that all interviews will be awarded prior to this date.

An applicant’s file is considered complete upon the receipt of the AACOMAS application, processing fee, letters of recommendation (letters submitted with applications from previous years will not be transferred), and results from the CASPer assessment. Be aware that we will only consider the maximum number of letters submitted through AACOMAS. We are not able to accept letters of recommendation sent directly to RVUCOM, or from any other letter service such as Interfolio, or VirtualEvals.

The Office of Admissions reviews all completed files and notifies applicants of their interview status. All applicants invited for an interview are given the choice of several interview dates.


Matriculation Process

After receiving the initial off of provisional admission to the COM, candidates must fulfill the conditions set forth in the matriculation agreement including:

  • Payment of three non-refundable deposits totaling $2,000 on or prior to the date designated in the matriculation agreement. RVUCOM follows the guidelines set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) relative to deposit due dates. Deposits will be applied to tuition.
  • Completion of all prerequisite coursework and documentation that a minimum of a bachelor’s degree has been earned from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university.
  • Successful passage of a drug screen and background check. Both services are to be scheduled and managed through PreCheck, and are to be completed by the dates specified on the matriculation agreement. An applicant who has a deficiency or abnormality discovered on either screening will be referred to a sub-committee for further investigation.
  • Completion of required medical and immunization documents to be scheduled and managed through SentryMD (the medical record division of PreCheck), and to be completed by the dates specified on the matriculation agreement.
  • Submission of a waiver demonstrating proof of medical insurance coverage or enrollment in the plan provided by the University.
  • Submission of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended where a degree was earned. RVUCOM will accept transcripts submitted as part of the AACOMAS application. In the event of an earned degree isn’t posted prior to matriculation, a letter will be required from the university registrar confirming that the requirements for graduation have been met and indicating when the degree will be posted on the transcript.  Official transcripts must be sent to RVUCOM as soon as the degree is posted. In the event of course work completed at foreign institutions, official detailed course by course evaluations completed by an approved agency must be submitted. Official evaluations must be included with the AACOMAS application and, in the case of a degree earned, the evaluation must reflect that the degree is equivalent to a degree earned at a regionally accredited US college or university.  Please see website or AACOMAS site for a list of acceptable agencies.
  • Any other requirements set forth in the matriculation agreement.

Each year, RVUCOM will enroll approximately 150 new students in Colorado and 125 students in Utah. The level of competition for these seats will be determined by the number of applications received during the admissions cycle and the academic competitiveness of the applicant pool.


Collaborative Admission Process

Colorado State University: RVUCOM will hold up to six (6) seats annually for graduates of Colorado State University’s Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program.  To be considered for admission, candidates must:

  • Meet the minimum admissions requirements set forth by RVUCOM;
  • Have completed the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (1 year) degree requirements at the time of RVUCOM matriculation;
  • Have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.4 in the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (1 year);
  • Complete an AACOMAS application prior to March 15th (note: candidates will NOT have to submit a supplemental application); and
  • Provide a letter of reference from a physician.

CSU-BMS will provide RVUCOM with a list of the recommended candidates and RVUCOM will make the final decision. CSU-BMS will recommend candidates based on a holistic review of the applicant. Any CSU-BMS candidate who is not selected to participate in the program is eligible to apply to RVUCOM via the traditional process.

The 2019-2020 tuition for the College of Osteopathic Medicine is $56,630.00. Additional program fees may apply and may be announced by the administration at any time. The following annual fees will also apply to all COM students:


Student Services: $200
Student Health Insurance: $3,603


Student Services: $200
Student Health Insurance: $3,603


Student Services: $80
Student Health Insurance: $3,603


Student Services: $80
Student Health Insurance: $3,603

The University reserves the right to change tuition and fees at any time without advanced notice. Students will be billed for tuition and fees for each semester approximately 30 days prior to the beginning of each term. Tuition and fees must be paid in full by the first day of class. Late tuition payments or failure to make arrangements to pay tuition will result in the student being removed from class and/or clinical externships. All students are required to obtain health insurance prior to matriculation and maintain their individual health insurance throughout their time of enrollment at the University. Students are automatically enrolled in the RVU Student Health Insurance plan and will be billed for the annual premium with their fall tuition. Students may waive RVU insurance if they can document equivalent coverage. Refer to the section on Student Health Insurance for more information.

Tuition Payment

Tuition and fees are due and payable in full by the first day of the fall and spring semesters unless the student has sufficient financial aid awarded to cover the balance due. RVU does not offer a tuition payment plan. Tuition payments may be made by check, credit card, or ACH transaction. Matriculated students will have access to a payment portal for credit card or ACH payments. Any checks submitted must indicate the student’s name and student number, and should be made out to “Rocky Vista University.”

Tuition Refund

A student who withdraws (either voluntarily or involuntarily) before the first day of class of a semester for which they have already paid their tuition and fees will receive a 100% refund for that semester, with the exception of any non-refundable deposits which will be retained by the University. Students who matriculate into the University, begin classes or externships, and subsequently withdraw (either voluntarily or involuntarily) within the first seven calendar days of a semester shall receive a refund equal to the amount of their tuition for that semester less $4,000. Fees may be refunded with the exception of charges already incurred as of the date of withdrawal. Students who withdraw (either voluntarily or involuntarily) from the University after the first seven days of class or externships but before the thirtieth calendar day of the semester shall receive a refund of 50% of the amount of tuition paid for that semester. No fees will be refunded. Important Note: All dismissals are deemed involuntary withdrawals from the University. Students who are on a voluntary or administrative leave of absence will not be eligible for refunds. Any exceptions to this refund policy must be made by the Dean of the College.

Virtual Events

Transcript Review Workshops
RVU hosts an optional virtual transcript review workshop and a Q&A session during the date(s) listed below. To RSVP and obtain the session link, please contact

There are currently no Transcript Review Workshops scheduled at this time. 

Medical School Virtual Expo

This is a free event for students and advisors interested in connecting with medical schools around the country. Get answers to your most pressing questions and connect with multiple schools at once. You can RSVP here.

There are currently no Medical School Virtual Expos scheduled at this time. 

Virtual Admissions Workshop

General information and overview about the admissions process at RVU, prerequisites, transcript reviews and a Q&A session. You can RSVP here.

July 1, 2020 from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm MST

Off-Campus Events

There are no off-campus events at this time. For more information, please contact

Health and Technical Standards

All candidates must meet health and technical standards to be admitted to, participate in, and graduate from the medical education programs of RVUCOM. Because the DO degree signifies that the holder is a physician prepared for entry into diverse postgraduate training programs, RVUCOM graduates must have the knowledge and skills required to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and must be prepared to provide a wide spectrum of patient care. A candidate for the DO degree must have abilities and skills in the areas described below and meet the standards described as an obligation to patients and society.

Reasonable accommodations will be made as required by law; however, the candidate/student must be able to meet all technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation. Please refer to the section on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The use of a trained intermediary necessarily requires that a candidate’s judgment be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation and is not a permissible accommodation. Enrolled students who are unable to meet these standards may be asked to appear before the Student Performance Committee and may be subject to dismissal.


Students must satisfy all requirements for immunizations at the time of admission and throughout their medical school career. Failure to do so will prevent matriculation or, in the case of an enrolled student, lead to dismissal. For specific information, please see “Health Records/Immunizations” of the Student Educational Records section of the RVU Student Handbook and Catalog.


Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic and clinical sciences. This includes but is not limited to the ability to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensations.


Candidates should be able to speak, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communication. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication (in English) includes not only speech but also reading and writing. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively in verbal and written form with all members of the healthcare team.


Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to perform basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, blood glucose testing, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (endoscopy, paracentesis, etc.), and read EKGs and X-rays. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care, osteopathic manipulation, and emergency treatments to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, opening of obstructed airways, suturing of simple wounds, and performance of simple obstetric maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision. Candidates must be able to lift a minimum of 40 pounds and stand for a minimum of one hour.

Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities:

Candidates must possess conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities, including measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationship of structures. Candidates must be able to sit in a classroom and participate in a full eight-hour day. The practice of medicine requires periods of distinct concentration in surgery, trauma, emergency room care, and other patient settings. Candidates must be capable of extended periods of intense concentration and attention.

Behavior and Social Attributes:

Candidates must have the emotional health required for full use of the intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes.

Osteopathic Principles and Practices (OPP) and Principles of Clinical Medicine (PCM) Laboratory Policies

All OPP and PCM courses include didactic presentations, demonstrations, practical laboratory experiences and clinical opportunities. During these activities, students establish their knowledge and ability to recognize and utilize the relationships between structures and function that are integral to osteopathic medicine.

The student must develop the knowledge and skills necessary to integrate the principles and coordinate the proper osteopathic and clinical techniques to prevent and treat pathology and dysfunction. Concurrently, the students will learn other medical approaches to the treatment of disease and dysfunction in the systems courses. Each course provides education on the principles, philosophy and history of osteopathic medicine, examination and evaluation of the patient, and the proper selection and application of osteopathic treatments and techniques. The OPP and PCM courses require the active participation of all students in the laboratory setting where the student, through the active and tactile examination of others along with reciprocal examination, will learn and demonstrate the ability to evaluate and proficiently treat their future patients.

The training of an osteopathic physician requires the ability to perform tactile examinations and osteopathic manipulative techniques on members of the same and opposite sex. The training of an osteopathic physician also requires that a student experience and understand tactile diagnostic exercise and manipulative treatment. Students are required to participate both as patients and as trainees in the OPP laboratory and PCM laboratory, and examine and be examined by members of the same and opposite sex.

A graduate from RVUCOM has the ability to apply for licensure as a physician in all fifty states. Their license is not restricted to any one particular sex, and candidates for graduation must demonstrate the ability to practice medicine on both males and females.

Additional Waivers

All students must sign the following waivers at the point of interview:

Code of Student Conduct & Academic Responsibility and Code of Behavioral Conduct: this states that students have read the University’s Code of Student Conduct and Academic Responsibility policy and the COM’s Code of Behavioral Conduct policy. Both policies can be found in this catalog.

Statements for Students of RVUCOM Regarding Physical Exposure in Classroom Activities: this states that students understand that curriculum often times dictates physical examination and osteopathic diagnosis and treatment by fellow students or faculty. Additionally, this states that these examinations require physical exposure of and access to regions of the body. This policy excludes such areas as the genitals of male and female students, as well as the breasts of female students.

Healthcare Employment During School (Practice of Medicine)

Employment of any kind during medical school is highly discouraged. The demands of medical school are so high as to preclude most employment opportunities. Student doctors should contact the Office of Student Financial Services for help with budgeting or emergency loans rather than seeking outside employment.

Medical students are prohibited from engaging in any activities (from the time of matriculation to the University until graduation or other termination of student status) that might be construed as the practice of medicine without the proper supervision and direction of designated members of the faculty, whether such activities are engaged in for compensation, done as a volunteer, or otherwise. Any student who is a healthcare worker and wishes to be employed in the health-related field must contact the Office of Student Affairs and forward a request to the Dean. All decisions of approval or disapproval will come from the Dean.

Students who are not in compliance with the requirements above maybe requested to appear before the Honor Code Committee and are subject to dismissal from the University.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

All medical students involved in clinical courses at Rocky Vista University must complete a training course over the privacy laws which apply to the Health Professions to meet requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Annual refresher training is required as well.


Biosafety, Universal Precautions, and Bloodborne Pathogens

All students must complete a basic training course in biosafety, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Because patient contact and/or hands-on learning is a required part of the RVU curriculum, all RVU students must complete OSHA training annually. The avenue chosen for completion of this training is the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online program.

Instructions for registering and logging onto the CITI website, and specific instructions on which courses are required, are provided annually by the Compliance Office.

The design of the applications-based systems curriculum is based on successful integrated academic models for the first two years of the curriculum. Each system is studied twice, first with an emphasis on normal form and function in Year 1, followed by an emphasis on the pathophysiology and clinical approach to each system in Year 2. As well, the curriculum highlights interdisciplinary collaboration and guides students to develop an osteopathic approach to medicine. Basic scientific information and methodology is regularly correlated with fundamental clinical application. Students are exposed to clinical settings in their first semester, which gives them the opportunity to prepare for the “real world” of medicine. This clinical exposure expands in the second year, and the students have increased opportunity to interact with standardized patients on campus, as well as be involved, under physician supervision, with real patients in the office and hospital setting.

The COM has a dedicated faculty; established affiliations with medical centers, hospitals, and healthcare systems; a structured and supported rural medicine program; and a mission to educate the finest osteopathic physicians possible. Students are placed at one of the college’s regional centers to ensure continuity and coordination of clinical education within the COM’s vast and growing clinical training network. Our innovative curriculum is designed to fulfill the COM’s mission of training students who are competent and ready to enter graduate medical education and training with an emphasis on becoming primary care physicians.

Physicians do not work alone, but rather as part of a healthcare team, and RVUCOM promotes interdisciplinary cooperation and interprofessional educational opportunities in the classroom and in all of its clinical settings. RVUCOM is dedicated to the incorporation of milestones, competencies, and Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) into its curricular framework as outlined by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).


Academic Year 2019-2020


OMS I – Semester One (Fall)

Credit Hours

Introduction to Interprofessional Education Seminar I


Cardiovascular System I


Respiratory System I


Molecular & Cellular Mechanisms


Musculoskeletal System I


Osteopathic Principles & Practice I


Principles of Clinical Medicine I


Renal System I


Hematology / Immunology I


Medical Ethics I (year-long course)


Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine (year-long course)


OMS I – Semester Two (Spring)

Credit Hours

Introduction to Interprofessional Education Seminar II


Endocrine/Reproductive System I


Gastrointestinal System I


Neuroscience System I


Osteopathic Principles & Practice II


Principles of Clinical Medicine II


Medical Ethics (year-long course)


Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine (year-long course)


Transition to Clinical Medicine


Microbes and Infectious Diseases



OMS II – Semester One (Fall)

Credit Hours

Hematologic/Lymphatic System II


Cardiovascular System II


Respiratory System II


Gastrointestinal System II


Renal System II


Osteopathic Principles & Practice III


Principles of Clinical Medicine III


Advanced Medical Ethics (year-long course)


IPE Grand Rounds (year-long course)


OMS II – Semester Two (Spring)

Credit Hours

Musculoskeletal System II


Neuroscience System II


Endocrine System II


Reproductive System II


Osteopathic Principles & Practice IV


Principles of Clinical Medicine IV


Psychiatry System


Advanced Medical Ethics (year-long course)


IPE Grand Rounds (year-long course)


Pre-Clinical Capstone



Years Three and Four

Credit Hours

Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine


OPP Year 3: Clinical Integration


OPP Year 4: Clinical Integration


Required Clinical Core Externships

Family Medicine Core I


Family Medicine Core II

Internal Medicine Core I


Internal Medicine Core II

 Pediatrics Core  4
Behavioral Medicine Core  4
Fundamentals of Surgery 1
Surgery Core I 7
Surgery Core II
Choice of Elective (4000+)  8

Required Elective Externships

Choice of Elective

Minimum 2 Required Audition Externships (Sub-I)




Minimum number of credits to be completed in Years III and IV
(1 credit hour = one week)



It is the expectation that students will be involved in academic pursuits throughout Years III and IV of the curriculum, including COMLEX 2 PE preparation. Students not completing the required 86 credit hours may be allowed to walk at graduation but must complete the 86-hour minimum before the awarding of the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

For more information about a specific course, review the RVU Student Handbook and Catalog.

RVUCOM Course Descriptions (PDF)


Grades, Class Rank, Academic Standing

Final grades will be available through MyVista, approximately three weeks after the end of the semester. Final grades can be accessed via an unofficial transcript in MyVista.

Grading for the College of Osteopathic Medicine is based on a scale of 0 to 100. RVUCOM requires a grade of 70 or above to pass all courses; any grade below 70 is failing. Other possible grades, depending on the course, are shown below.

P Pass
HP High Pass
H Honors
F Fail
IN Incomplete
W Withdrawal


P Pass
HP High Pass
H Honors
F Fail
IN Incomplete
W Withdrawal


Incomplete Course Work

A course that has not been completed within the designated time frame is considered to have been failed. Based on unusual circumstances a student may request an incomplete. Granted incompletes require all coursework to be completed within one year (365 days from the date of issue).

Class Rank

Class rank can be found on the last page of your Unofficial Transcript, which is available in MyVista. Please note: in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, class rank freezes at the end of OMS II.

Academic Standing

Like class rank, academic standing is calculated at the end of each semester once final grades have been posted. Current academic standing can be seen on MyVista by running a Degree Audit.

Maximum Length of Completion

Each single-degree DO student must complete the DO degree within a maximum of 6 years.

Program Learning Outcomes (also known as Program Learning Objectives) are defined at RVUCOM as learning outcomes that are expected of all graduates before completion. The PLOs are reflective of the AOA Core Competencies and provide specific expectations of student performance.

I. Demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills, and Aptitudes to Practice Medicine with Excellence

A. Critical Thinking – Ability to identify and solve problems that require the integration of multiple contexts when performing patient care.

B. Breadth and Depth of Knowledge in the Discipline/Clinical Competence – Ability to perform appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic skills, to apply relevant information to patient care and practice, and to educate patients regarding prevention of common health problems.

C. Lifelong Learning Skills – Ability to engage in life-long, self-directed learning to validate continued competence in practice.

D. Evidence-based Practice – Ability to utilize research and evidence-based practice and apply relevant findings to the care of patients.

II. Demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills, and Aptitudes to Practice Medicine with Compassion

A. Humanistic Practice – Ability to carry out compassionate and humanistic approaches to health care delivery when interacting with patients, clients, and their families. They should unfailingly advocate for patient needs.I

B. Ethical and Moral Decision-Making Skills – Ability to perform the highest quality of care, governed by ethical principles, integrity, honesty, and compassion.

III. Demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills, and Aptitudes to Practice Medicine with Integrity

A. Collaboration Skills – Ability to collaborate with clients and with other health professionals to develop a plan of care to achieve positive health outcomes for their patients.

B. Interpersonal Communication Skills – Ability to effectively use interpersonal skills that enable them to establish and maintain therapeutic relationships with patients and other members of the health care team.

C. Accountability – Demonstrate accountability to patients, society, and the profession, including the duty to act responsibly, honestly, and respectfully.

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine has developed several specialized educational tracks and programs to further develop the education of interested students, including:

  • Military Medicine Enrichment Pathway
  • Academic Medicine and Leadership Track (UT campus only)
  • Digital Health Track
  • Global Medicine Track
  • Long Term Care Track (UT campus only)
  • Physician-Scientist Track
  • Rural and Wilderness Medicine Track
  • Urban Underserved Medicine Track (CO campus only)

Click here to learn more about these tracks and other special programs.

Pre-doctoral Osteopathic Principles and Practice Fellowship

The Pre-Doctoral Osteopathic Principles and Practice Fellowship program is designed to augment students’ knowledge and application of the principles, philosophies, and procedures of osteopathic medicine in both the academic and clinical settings. This fellowship emphasizes an anatomic and physiologic understanding and application of OPP clinically, as well as the academic teaching experience in osteopathic principles and procedures. Fellows function as members of the OPP department, aiding in all aspects of the delivery of the OPP curriculum. In addition, the fellowship provides excellent clinical experience through a variety of venues, including osteopathic healthcare for patients from infancy through geriatrics.

The OPP Fellowship is a highly competitive program requiring that students go through an application and interview process. Four students are chosen per campus per year. Participation in the Pre-Doctoral Osteopathic Principles and Practices Fellowship extends the student’s tenure at RVU by one year. Program experiences will occur in Years 3 and 4. Each fellow will alternately rotate between fellowship duties and the Clinical Externships curriculum approximately every 3 months resulting in a six-month involvement in each of Year 3 and Year 4. In Year 5, Fellows will return to the normal Year 4 Clinical Externships curriculum. A certificate indicating successful completion of the fellowship will be awarded at graduation.


Undergraduate Anatomy Fellowship Program

The RVU Undergraduate Anatomy Fellowship Program is designed to provide a continuum of the study of Anatomy to the next level, as well as provide the student with tools that can, in the future, be utilized to either teach or conduct anatomical research appropriate to the context of their final field of endeavor. The successful candidate need not be exclusively surgical residency bound; any qualified student can apply.

Two students are selected yearly for this program following an interview process conducted by the members of the Department of Structural Medicine. Recommendations made by the Department will be forwarded to the Dean for approval.

Participation in the Undergraduate Anatomy Fellowship Program will extend the student’s tenure at RVU by one year. Program experiences will occur in Years 3 and 4; Year 5 will return to the normal Year 4 Clinical Externship curriculum. Each fellow will alternately rotate between fellowship program curriculum and the Clinical Externship curriculum every 8 weeks resulting in an approximate six-month involvement in each of Years 3 and 4. A certificate indicating successful completion of the Undergraduate Anatomy Fellowship Program will be awarded at graduation.

The RVU Clinical Ultrasound curriculum integrates the use of ultrasound into all levels of education for students.


Ultrasound Curriculum

Year One

First-year students have ultrasound sessions paired specifically with their associated dissection labs to facilitate their understanding of anatomy.

  • Sessions Include:
    • Ultrasound Physics and Introduction
    • Musculoskeletal Parts I & II
    • Cardiac Ultrasound
    • Thoracic & Pulmonary Ultrasound
    • Abdominal Ultrasound
    • Head & Neck Ultrasound

Year Two

Second-year students have ultrasound sessions paired with pathology case discussions to facilitate their understanding of pathologic processes in specific body systems.

  • Sessions Include:
    • Ultrasound Physics and Introduction
    • Cardiovascular Ultrasound
    • Focused Abdominal Sonography in Trauma Ultrasound
    • Abdominal Ultrasound
    • Musculoskeletal Ultrasound
    • Resuscitative Ultrasound

Year Three

Third-year students have the opportunity to attend training in ultrasound-guided central venous access.

Year Four

Fourth-year students can participate in clinical ultrasound externships based on their selected specialty choice.


Ultrasound Faculty

John Kendall, MD

John Kendall MDDr. Kendall is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Director of Emergency Ultrasound at Denver Health Medical Center;  Director of the Ultrasound Curriculum for the University of Colorado School of Medicine; and Co-Director of Clinical Ultrasound Curriculum at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has been practicing and teaching bedside ultrasound for over 20 years. Dr. Kendall helped develop and implement the ultrasound curriculum at the University of Southern California Emergency Medicine program during his residency training. In 1996, he was hired as the Director of Emergency Ultrasound at Denver Health Medical Center.

Dr. Kendall has many scholarly publications including the CD-ROM, “Ultrasound in Emergency Medicine and Trauma”, and two textbooks: “Practical Guide to Emergency Ultrasound” and “Case Studies in Pediatric Emergency and Critical Care Ultrasound”. Dr. Kendall is a former Chair of the ACEP Ultrasound Section and he started the ultrasound fellowship at Denver Health Medical Center in 2005.

Amanda Greene Toney, MD

Dr. Toney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Pediatric Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship Director at Denver Health Medical Center, as well as Director of the 1st Year Clinical Ultrasound Curriculum at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She attended medical school at the McGill University, and completed her Pediatric Residency at Harvard Medical School/Boston Medical School. She completed a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Children’s Hospital Colorado and an Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship training at Denver Health Medical Center. She has a strong interest in point-of-care ultrasound education (POCUS) and has educated students, trainees, and attendings across multiple specialties in POCUS, as well as authored multiple textbook chapters and articles on POCUS.

Noelle Northcutt, MD

Dr. Northcutt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Director of Point-of-Care Ultrasound for the Division of Hospital Medicine at Denver Health Medical Center, as well as Director of the 2nd Year Clinical Ultrasound Curriculum at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, TX, followed by an Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Colorado at Anschutz Medical Campus, and an Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship at Denver Health Medical Center. In addition to her passion for point-of-care ultrasound, she also devotes academic effort to exploring gender and equity in medicine. She is an avid outdoor athlete and guilty of talking about cool ultrasound findings while backpacking through the Indian Peaks Wilderness.



Ultrasound Interest Group (USIG)

The Rocky Vista Ultrasound Interest Group pairs with the University of Colorado School of Medicine Ultrasound Interest group. The group sponsors multiple fun, interactive educational sessions throughout the course of the year from short hands-on sessions to a full day “Ultrafest.” Follow us on Twitter! @USIG_CO


Colorado Ultrafest

Colorado USIG hosts the State’s First Ultrafest Event

Ultrasound machines are changing the way doctors examine and diagnose their patients. To prepare for this, the University of California-Irvine hosts Ultrafest every year, a day-long event designed to provide hands-on experience with point-of-care ultrasound. Inspired by the event, Lane Thaut, OMS-IV, and Brian Russ, OMS-IV, collaborated with the faculty at University of Colorado School of Medicine, as well as the Colorado Ultrasound Interest Group (USIG), to host the state’s first Ultrafest.

Held on October 3rd, Ultrafest was attended by over 100 medical students and other health professionals. The event began with two keynote speakers: Creagh Boulger, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Ohio State University, and Nikita Joshi, MD, Clinical Instructor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University. The speakers focused on the benefits of ultrasound, presenting real scenarios and sound advice on how and when to suggest ultrasounds to superiors. Following the keynotes, students visited different workshops, including cardiac, ocular, musculoskeletal, and pulmonary ultrasound.

Each workshop included a great student-to-doctor ratio (often 2:1). The presence of volunteers, mostly pre-med students, allowed attendees to scan instead of having to act as patients themselves, which greatly increased the hands-on learning. Corina Kee, OMS-II, said “They had small groups to teach, practice, and provide one-on-one time with all the students. I am much more comfortable using ultrasound now than I was previous to Ultrafest.” The event also included Echogames, an interactive game that uses an ultrasound to diagnose common ailments. Bobby Nieland, OMS-II, added, “Ultrafest was one of the most fun, interactive, and educational activities I’ve done in medical school to date.”

The Colorado USIG will continue to host ultrasound-related events for members throughout the year and is looking forward to hosting Ultrafest again next year.

Click below to download the Clinical Region Guide for Colorado students:

To contact the Office of Admissions at the Colorado Campus, please email

RVUCOM and both of its campuses adhere to the principles and standards of conduct in the AOA Code of Ethics. Click here to read the Code in full.