The purpose of this document is to specify the technical standards the University deems essential for a student to matriculate, remain in good standing and ultimately achieve all the competencies necessary for graduation within their program. The University, therefore, requires candidates to confirm their ability to comply with these standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, as a condition of admission and on an annual basis thereafter within a program’s advising processes.

Fulfilment of the technical standards for graduation does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific post-graduate residency or fellowship program or employment setting.

A candidate who is seeking a DO, DPM, MSPAS, DPT or OTD degree at Des Moines University must be capable of completing core educational requirements and achieving the competencies in the basic and clinical sciences. DMU seeks to develop candidates who have a deep and robust health science or medical knowledge base and outstanding clinical skills, with the ability to appropriately apply them, effectively interpret information, and contribute to decisions across a broad spectrum of medical situations and settings. The critical skills required to be successful are outlined below and include the ability to observe, communicate, perform motor functions, as well as to understand, integrate core knowledge and skills, and to behave appropriately in varied educational and professional situations. 

Reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and the Iowa Civil Rights Act may be required by otherwise qualified individual candidates to meet the technical standards specified below. Requests for University-provided accommodations will be granted if the requests are reasonable, do not cause a fundamental alteration of the health science or medical education program, do not cause an undue hardship, are consistent with the standards of the health science or medical profession, and are recommended by the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist.

1. Observation: Candidates and students must be able to acquire required information and timely interpret demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences. They must be able to observe a patient/client accurately for purposes of interactions, evaluation, and treatment.

2. Communication: Candidates and students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language such that they can communicate effectively in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. Candidates and students must be able to communicate with patients/clients in order to elicit and share information. They must have the capacity for comfortable verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills to enable effective caregiving of patients/clients and collaboration within a multidisciplinary team. In any case where a candidate’s ability to communicate is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate reasonable alternative means and/or abilities to communicate with patients/clients and members of the healthcare team.  

3. Motor and Sensory: Candidates and students must have sufficient motor and tactile function to execute movements reasonably required to perform basic laboratory tests, perform physical examinations, and provide clinical care, including emergency treatment to patients. Such actions may require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements and strength, vestibular function, and functional use of the senses of touch to meet professional care standards. In any case where a candidate’s ability to complete and interpret physical findings using such skills and functions is compromised, the candidate must demonstrate reasonable alternative means and/or abilities to retrieve these physical findings. Candidates and students must be willing and able to touch and examine without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, or other characteristics protected by law. 

4. Strength and Mobility: Candidates and students must demonstrate strength, including upper and lower extremity and body strength, and mobility to provide clinical care, attend to emergency codes, and to perform or direct such maneuvers as CPR.

5. Evaluation and Treatment Integration: Consistent with the ability to assess at a minimum symmetry, range of motion, and tissue textures, candidates and students must perform proper evaluation and treatment integration.

6. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: Candidates and students must have the ability to accurately measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, problem solve, and think critically. They must also have the ability to participate and learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small groups, virtual learning, team and collaborative activities.  Interpretation of information from multiple sources (written, verbal, environmental, and interpersonal) is also expected. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates and students must be able to concentrate, timely analyze and interpret data, and make decisions within areas in which there is a reasonable amount of visual and auditory distraction.

7. Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills, and Professional Expectation: Candidates and students must be able to effectively utilize their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, complete all responsibilities attendant to the evaluation and care of patients/clients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and colleagues. Candidates and students must be able to professionally manage heavy workloads, prioritize conflicting demands, and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments; to display flexibility, to learn to function in the face of their own possible biases and uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients, and to not engage in substance overuse or abuse. Candidates and students must be able to understand and determine the impact of the social determinants of health and other systemic issues (including workload and environmental demands) which impact the care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status or any protected status. Professionalism, compassion, integrity, concern for others, ethical standards, interpersonal skills, engagement, emotional intelligence, and motivation are all qualities that are required throughout the educational process.


Des Moines University welcomes qualified candidates and students with disabilities who meet the technical standards of the program, with or without reasonable accommodations. Students with a disability who may need accommodations during their educational career at DMU will be asked to reaffirm their need for accommodations when acknowledging the ability to meet technical standards annually.  The student is responsible for requesting accommodations through the Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist in Academic Support within the Center for Educational Enhancement. Please reach out in person, by email (, or by calling Academic Support at 515-271-1516. The Accommodations and Educational Support Specialist reviews all requests for accommodations through an individualized, interactive process.

The use of an intermediary may be a reasonable accommodation while performing some non-essential physical maneuvers or non-technical data gathering. However, an intermediary cannot substitute for the candidates’ or student’s interpretation and judgement. Intermediaries may not perform essential skills on behalf of the candidate or student, nor can they replace technical skills related to selection and observation.


Candidates are required to attest at the time they accept an offer to matriculate that they meet the applicable technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, and annually confirm they continue to meet these standards. These standards are not intended to deter any candidate or student who might be able to complete the requirements of the curriculum with reasonable accommodations.

The University will provide reasonable accommodations as may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Iowa Civil Rights Act

A student whose behavior or performance raises questions concerning his or her ability to fulfill these technical standards may be required to obtain evaluation or testing by a health care provider designated by the University, and to provide the results to the Center for Educational Enhancement to be considered as part of the interactive process to determine possible reasonable accommodations.

Technological compensation can be made with respect to certain technical standards, but candidates and students should be able to perform these standards in a reasonably independent manner.


In addition to the technical standards set forth, candidates and students must possess the general physical health necessary for performing the duties of a student in the health sciences and a health professional in training without endangering the lives of patients and/or colleagues with whom they might have contact.  

Course Sequence

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1Credit Hours
ANAT 1101A Anatomy I 5
ANAT 1102B Anatomy II 4
DO 1110A Professional Certs I 0.5
DO 1110B Prof Certs & Hlth Team Env I 1
DO 1130A Physn Profess: Ident/Interact/Ethics A 3.5
DO 1130B Physn Profess: Ident/Interact/Ethics B 1
DO 1120 Med Informatics & Translational Learning 2
FDSC 1101 Foundational Sciences I 8
FDSC 1102 Foundational Sciences II 6.5
FDSC 1103 Foundational Sciences III 7.5
OCM 1101A Osteopathic Manual Medicine I A 2.5
OCM 1101B Osteopathic Manual Medicine I B 2
OCM 1107A Clinical Medicine I A 1.5
OCM 1107B Clinical Medicine I B 2
 Credit Hours47
Year 2
BHVMD 2120 Medical Ethics II and Legal Topics 2
DO 2104 Clinical Sci I: Pharm, Hem, Cv, Res 9
DO 2105 Clin Sci II: Neuro/Psych, Uro-genital 9
DO 2106 Clin Sci III: Endo, GI, PMN 6.5
DO 2107 Clin Sci IV: ID, Spec Med, Ger 5.5
DO 2110A Prof Certs & Hlth Team Env II 1
DO 2110B Professional Certs II 1
OCM 2101A Osteopathic Manual Medicine II A 2
OCM 2101B Osteopathic Manual Medicine II B 2
OCM 2125A Clinical Medicine II A 2
OCM 2125B Clinical Medicine II B 1.5
 Credit Hours41.5
Year 3
DO 3144A Clinical Rotations Year III A 20
DO 3144B Clinical Rotations Year III B 20
OCM 3101A Osteopathic Manual Medicine III A 1
OCM 3101B Osteopathic Manual Medicine III B 1
DO 3151 Introduction to Health Systems & Policy 1
DO 3161 0.5
 Credit Hours43.5
Year 4
DO 4160 Clinical Comprehensive Assessm 1
DO 4144A Clinical Rotations Year IV A 8
DO 4144B Clinical Rotations Year IV B 16
DO 4144C Clinical Rotations Year IV C 16
OCM 4101 Osteopathic Manual Med IV 0.5
 Credit Hours41.5
 Total Credit Hours173.5

Elective Courses

There are no required elective hours in the DO program; a complete list of University electives may be found on the Elective Courses page.  Prior to the start of each term, students are provided a list of electives for which DO students are eligible.

Graduation Requirements

The University awards the professional degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) upon recommendation of the faculty. The Academic Progress Committee reports annually to the college faculty the names of students who have met requirements for the doctoral degree. To graduate, a student must:

  • Exhibit high standards of professional behavior and receive the faculty’s recommendation for graduation.
  • Have attained 21 years of age.
  • Pass all required courses, systems, rotations, and examinations.
  • Be formally enrolled for at least two years at the COM.
  • Be of good moral character and emotionally stable.
  • Satisfactorily discharge all financial obligations to the University.
  • Complete all graduation requirements, including the graduation clearance process.
  • Complete the AACOM Graduating Seniors Survey
  • Pass Level 1 and Level 2-CE of the COMLEX examinations.
  • Attend graduation ceremonies at which time the degree is conferred.  Excused absence from commencement for extraordinary extenuating circumstances will only be considered through written appeal to the Dean of the College.