The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine is the only medical school (allopathic or osteopathic) in Idaho, and it was privately founded by businessman Dan Burrell. The school was created to solve the problem of doctor shortages in small, rural communities in Idaho and across the country. Despite articulation agreements with several universities guaranteeing applicants from those universities an interview (they must meet all other requirements to be accepted), the ICOM is not one of the easiest medical schools to get into. This article will detail the admission requirements, any applicant preferences, and a breakdown of the curriculum.

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Article Contents
16 min read

Mission Statement Admissions Statistics Eligibility Selection Factors Prerequisites and Recommended Courses Secondary Essays Recommendation Letters Interview Format Acceptance and Waitlist Information Application Timeline Tuition and Debt Funding Opportunities Review of Available Programs Academic Curriculum of the DO program Campus and Faculty Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Research Fields Notable Faculty Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement

“The mission of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine is to train osteopathic physicians prepared to care for persons in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and beyond.”

Right away, the school makes clear its goal to address medically underserved populations in the Mountain West region of the United States comprised mainly of the states mentioned. To that end, the school does show preference for students from these states, although it is a Canadian friendly US medical school, which we’ll get into more later.

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Admissions Statistics

Overall Acceptance Rate: 26.7%

In-State Acceptance Rate: 3%

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 23.7%

Average Science and Cumulative GPA for Incoming Students: 3.50 (Science), 3.57 (Cumulative)

Average MCAT Scores of Incoming Students: 507


The school makes explicit its preference for applicants from five US states in its mission statement (Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming). The most recent data on incoming students show that out of 162 accepted students, 36 were from one of these states. But the entire incoming class is geographically diverse, with 32 different states being represented in the school’s most recent class, so it is one of the many out-of-state friendly medical schools, and these applicants are not at a disadvantage. Students from all over the US and Canada are encouraged to apply if they meet all the other medical school requirements.

To be considered competitive, the school recommends that all potential applicants have a 3.2 cumulative GPA or higher. It also recommends that candidates gain medicine-related experiences, like spending time with patients or shadowing a doctor.

Many medical schools in the US ask candidates to shadow doctors as a way to familiarize themselves with the profession, but not all of them say how many shadowing hours are required for medical school. The ICOM is one of those schools, but a baseline average given by other schools is having anywhere between 40–60 hours of shadowing experience.

The school accepts students from other countries, as long as they:

  • Have permanent residency in the US
  • Have naturalized US citizenship 
  • Have all credits earned at foreign institutions verified by an accrediting agency

Students who need a school to sponsor their F-1 student visas to the US will not be accepted or considered.

Selection Factors


Recommended Minimum MCAT Score: Within the 50th Percentile

Recommended Minimum MCAT For Each Section: Above the 35th Percentile

Recommended Minimum Cumulative GPA Score: 3.2

The school uses every section of the MCAT in its consideration of applications, but it also reviews applications holistically, so all parts of your application matter. If you are not happy with your current MCAT score (you can only submit MCAT scores no older than three years), you can retake the MCAT to be within the range preferred by the school.

All previous courses from your undergraduate are factored into your overall GPA, so you should try to always maintain at least a 3.2 to make yourself competitive. Increasing your GPA is difficult and takes years, so if you are worried about how to get into medical school with a low GPA, you should consider various alternatives if you do not meet the medical school GPA requirements of ICOM.

Coursework and Undergrad

If you have asked yourself, Do I need a graduate degree to boost my med school chances?, ICOM only requires that students have a bachelor’s degree. In one accommodation to non-traditional medical school applicants, they allow students with only 75% of their degree completed to apply. However, they must complete the degree by the time they are accepted to the osteopathic medicine program and start classes.

Prerequisites and Recommended Courses

The school has a list of prerequisite and recommended courses for any potential medical school applicants. The latest data on incoming students show that 79% had science backgrounds, while only 21% had non-science degrees, which is common among osteopathic schools and goes to show that it is not easy to get into medical school without a science background. Only 10% of incoming students had a graduate degree.

The list of required medical school prerequisites includes:

Recommended Courses:

AACOMAS Experiences and Achievements

ICOM is no different from other osteopathic medical schools in the US in using the AACOMAS application service to organize and collect all DO school applications. The school considers applications holistically, so all sections of the AACOMAS primary application are important.

Personal Statement and Application Essays

Medical school personal statements are a standard requirement for all medical school applications. Premed advisors say this is one way to make your medical school application stand out, regardless of whether you are applying to allopathic or osteopathic schools. Allopathic schools use the AMCAS application service to gather and organize medical school applications.

For the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, you should reference AACOMAS personal statement examples to prepare your own statement and follow the exact formatting and content requirements.

Your personal statement should answer the question, “why you do you want to become a doctor?” and reveal how your past experiences have motivated you to apply to medical school. It is also a good place to talk about how you overcame any obstacles in your personal or academic life to demonstrate your commitment and dedication. 

Secondary Essays

ICOM puts all applicants through a two-step application process. They submit their primary application via AACOMAS and, if they are selected by the school, submit a secondary application. The secondary application is submitted directly to the school and contains things like:

  • ICOM secondary application form
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A non-refundable application fee ($65 for in-state and out-of-state)
  • Official transcripts and MCAT scores

Students are also required to answer medical school secondary essay prompts to give admissions officers a better idea of their creativity, intentions, and motivation to attend the school. At this point in the process, it would be good to review medical school secondary essay examples so that you have a good idea of what schools are looking for from your answers.

The following list is what students were asked, according to the latest information:

1. What characteristics of ICOM will help you become a successful physician?

Sample Answer

ICOM’s mission to work with underserved communities in this and neighboring states is something I want to be a part of. I believe unfettered access to high-quality health care is something that we as a country should work toward, and the fact that ICOM was created for this purpose is something that makes me feel like I’m part of the solution. The newness of the school, campus, and other facilities is also exciting to me. The fact that the entire school is located on the campus of Idaho State University also makes me feel like I am getting the full support of both institutions.

2. If this is not your first time applying to medical school, how have you improved your application? (Please type N/A if not applicable)

3. What does Osteopathic Principles and Practices mean to you and how will you integrate these into your future practice

Recommendation Letters

The school has an explicit requirement for all applicants to submit at least two medical school recommendation letters from two specific letter writers. Students must include one letter from either:

  • A faculty science member (PhD-level)


  • A pre-medical/pre-health advisor

The school does not require that students submit a letter from a practicing MD or DO, but if they can obtain one, it is highly recommended and strongly encouraged. Letters written by relatives will not be accepted.

Interview Format

ICOM invites successful applicants to a virtual interview with members of the ICOM admissions committee after they have submitted their secondary application. Admission to the osteopathic program is dependent on several factors, and the interview is one of them. The interview format is a traditional one, where students meet with senior faculty members and admissions officers. The goal of the interview is for the student to determine whether they are a good fit for the school and for the admissions committee to do the same regarding the interviewee. 

One distinctive note about medical school interviews at ICOM is that students who did their undergrad at schools with an articulation agreement with ICOM (there are 13 schools in and around Idaho that participate in this program) are automatically granted an interview with the school’s admissions committee. However, these students must meet the other admission requirements, like having the requisite GPA and MCAT scores, to be admitted to the medical school.

Sample Interview Question

1) “Tell me about yourself.”

My name is Carl Huismanns, and I’m a recent graduate of Montana State University, where I completed a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences. I’m from Pittsburgh originally, but I’ve always had a fascination with mountains and remote areas in general. Whenever I saw these areas from up high on a plane, I imagined what would happen if we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of all this wilderness. Would I be able to survive? Would I know how to survive? What would I do?

This point was hammered home when I saw the movie Alive, which was based on the true story of a Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes. In the movie and in real life, a few of the rugby players were also medical students, which became a huge factor in the survival of others. The medical students worked to bandage wounds and set broken limbs, which provided comfort and reassurance in this harrowing situation.

I remember noticing how, at least as depicted in the movie, the other survivors looked up to the medical students, who took on leadership roles unofficially, mostly because I think people naturally look up to doctors and medical professionals. I remember thinking how important it is to have medical training in all types of scenarios, even as a premed student.

It was the first time I realized how revered medical professionals are, especially in extreme, life-or-death situations. I remember thinking how much I wanted to be the one people look up to when they are in need. And that’s why I want to study medicine here, at ICOM, since its entire mission is to serve the underserved and be there for people who have no one else when they need someone the most.

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

After their virtual interview, students are informed within two weeks of the status of their application. You will receive either an acceptance letter or a letter of regret. You could also be placed on a medical school waitlist, which means you could be admitted later if a spot in the upcoming class becomes available.

If you do receive a waitlist letter, you must contact the office of admissions to learn more about your application and how to get off a medical school waitlist. Schools often provide guidelines for applicants who have been waitlisted and recommend taking various steps, from sending a medical school letter of intent to completing coursework, but it all depends on your individual application, so check with the admissions office first on how best to proceed.

Application Timeline

Primary Application Deadline (AACOMAS): April 1st

Secondary Application Deadline (TUN-COM): April 15

The school gives applicants two weeks to submit their secondary application if they are deemed eligible to apply for the secondary application. The school takes about four to six weeks to review secondary applications, after which you should receive a response (an invitation to an interview or a regret letter) regarding the status of your application. After your interview, you should hear from the school within two weeks, although some applicants have said they heard from the school only one week after their interview.

Tuition and Debt

In-State and Out-of-State Tuition Fees: $57,500

In-State and Out-of-State Annual Fees (lab, computer access, student services): $2,500

Annual Health Insurance Fee (in-state and out-of-state): $3,990

Average Yearly Cost-of-Living Expenses: $27, 863

Average Student Debt of Graduating Students: n/a

Funding Opportunities

Incoming first year students, sophomores, and seniors at ICOM can apply to several sources for financial assistance in the form of:

  • Internal and external scholarships
  • Federal financial aid
  • Grants

Some of the institution-based scholarships available to medical school students include:

1. Scholarships from the Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation

The NOMF sponsors several types of scholarships to offset the cost of medical school tuition. The foundation awards scholarships of up to $100,000 and a minimum of $10,000. Many of the scholarships are geographically based and intended for students from specific areas, like Alaska, Montana, and Washington State, who also show a preference to practice medicine in these areas.

Regardless of the specific scholarship, the eligibility requirements are similar for most of them. Students must be:

  • In their second, third, or fourth year of a recognized DO program (no first year students are eligible)
  • Committed to practicing medicine in the Northwest (Washington State, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon)
  • Familiar with the practices and philosophy of osteopathic medicine

To apply for a scholarship, students must submit:

  • A 90-second video
  • One or more short essays, depending on the scholarship
  • One letter of recommendation

2. Sherry R. Arnstein Underrepresented Minority Scholarship

First year and current students of any DO program in the US can apply for this scholarship of up to $5000 as long as they are members of a historically underrepresented minority group defined by the Sherry R. Arnstein Trust as anyone who identifies as:

  • African American
  • Native American
  • Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian
  • Mainland Puerto Rican
  • Hispanic American

Applicants must also:

  • Be in good academic standing
  • Be enrolled in the first, second, or third year of a College of Osteopathic Medicine program in the US
  • Provide written responses to several essay prompts given by the Sherry R. Arnstein Trust

Residency Match Rates

The school has a 100% match rate for its graduates. They also consistently meet or exceed the national average for the first-time pass rate of the COMLEX Level 1 test, with ICOM graduates passing at a rate of 93.9%. The match residency statistics show that students matched with a majority of primary care residencies, with 33 students matching with either a family medicine residency or an internal medicine residency. The third most popular residency for ICOM graduates was in emergency medicine, as 26 students entered that specialty upon graduation.

Review of Available Programs

1. DO Program

The four-year DO program at ICOM is divided between academic (first two years) and clinical work (last two years). The first two years are where new students are introduced to the various systems of the body as well as foundational medical concepts like anatomy, immunology, and physiology. They also learn more about the tenets of osteopathic medicine by studying basic osteopathic principles and practice.

A lottery held in a student’s second year determines the main teaching site where third year students perform their clerkships and clinical rotations. While students will perform a majority of their clinical rotations at the pre-selected site, they will be permitted to perform other rotations in other specialties at other sites if their primary teaching site does not host that clerkship.

Much of the last two years of the DO program revolve around completing these rotations and exposing students to as many clinical and patient experiences as possible. Students take specialties in internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, and women’s health. The last year of their degree consists of elective rotations students can take in any specialty while they also prepare to apply to residency programs.


The dual-degree DO/Master of Health Care Administration is offered in collaboration with Idaho State University, which provides the Public Health Administration portion of the degree. Students who want to pursue a dual degree must seek approval from the ICOM Student Success Committee and the ICOM Dean to be granted permission to join the program.

There are eight positions available every year, and only students who have completed their first year at ICOM can apply. The credit load for the MPH section of the degree is 33 credits, all of which are taken at Idaho State University. The total duration of the program is five years because students must complete the four-year DO program while also taking Public Health courses at ISU.

Students who receive approval from the Student Success Committee and the ICOM Dean must then independently apply to the Public Health program at ISU, which has its own admission requirements, as follows:

  • Paying the $65 application fee
  • Submit all your official transcripts
  • Submit two letters of recommendation
  • Submit a statement of purpose
  • Submit a resume
  • Submit MCAT or GRE scores

Accepted students also create their own academic calendar in association with the Director of Graduate Studies. They can choose their electives and the focus of their studies while also covering core competencies in subjects like Rural Healthcare Management, Business Policy and Strategy, and US and Global Health Systems.


Another dual-degree program offered in collaboration with Idaho State University, the concurrent Master of Public Health and DO degree, is an ideal path for students who want to enter the field of public health while also earning their DO degree. As with the DO/MPA program, only second year students are eligible to apply to the dual-degree program.

They must first get approval from both the Student Success Committee and the ICOM Dean. The credit load for the Master of Public Health is 42 credits, with courses taken in subjects as versatile as Health Behavior Change Theory and Application to Environmental and Occupational Health.

The eligibility requirements are the same for the DO/MPA:

  • Paying the $65 application fee
  • Submit all your official transcripts
  • Submit two letters of recommendation
  • Submit a statement of purpose
  • Submit a resume
  • Submit MCAT or GRE scores


To make sure ICOM graduates are well prepared to enter the modern medical landscape, the school has created this dual-degree program, offering DO students a chance to learn and master Health Informatics. Health Informatics refers to the way patients' medical histories, test results, and other important data points are handled, processed, organized, and stored via information systems used by modern clinics and hospitals.

This medical information is vital to properly treating patients. That’s why this degree is so unique: it gives medical students the technical knowledge and skills to utilize these systems correctly and apply solutions wherever they find them. The knowledge gained from the osteopathic degree is paired with basic courses in information and computer science while also giving students a broad familiarity with medical ethics, bioethics, and the social and behavioral aspects of health care.

The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • A minimum 3.0 GPA based on 60 hours of undergraduate work
  • Applicants with a graduate degree must submit transcripts but do not need to have a 3.0 GPA.
  • Submit a CV
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Two years of experience working in a health care-related field or
  • A BA or BS in a health-related field instead of work experience will be accepted
  • Submit a maximum two-page, single-spaced statement of purpose describing your career goals

Academic Curriculum of the DO program

The DO program at ICOM is split into two sections: preclinical (years 1 and 2) and clinical (years 3 and 4). The preclinical section of the degree focuses mainly on eleven foundational courses addressing the different systems of the body. This section is also where students familiarize themselves with an osteopathic approach to medicine and patient interaction as they participate in real-world simulations with patient actors and learn from experienced faculty members.

Sample First Year, Semester-Long Courses:

  1. Gross Anatomy and Lab
  2. Practice of Clinical Medicine I and II
  3. Osteopathic Principles and Practice Lecture and Lab
  4. Foundations of Interprofessional Education I and II
  5. Caring and Competent Physician I and II
  6. Cumulative Curricular Review I and II

After this, students enter their clinical years and are expected to complete a total of 12 rotations, one rotation at each of the 12 affiliated teaching sites in and around Idaho. The competencies that students are supposed to cover during these rotations range from family and internal medicine to pediatrics and general surgery.

Within each of these specialties, students also take subspecialties. For example, gastroenterology is a subspecialty within internal medicine, and orthopedic surgery is a subspecialty within general surgery; students are expected to complete these to progress to their fourth year.

The fourth and final year of the degree sees students take nine more four-week rotations at sites of their choosing. All the rotations are elective, but one must be within a primary care specialty. Students are expected to have an idea of their desired residency and have learned by now how to choose a medical specialty. One elective is a course on how to prepare for residency and the COMLEX Level 1 test.

Campus and Faculty

The modern, sustainably built and operated ICOM campus is in Meridian, Idaho, not far from the capital, Boise. The entire ICOM is housed in a single, three-story building located near the main campus of Idaho State University, where students can speak with school administrators or receive any of the school’s student services. The building itself takes up almost 94,000 square feet, and close to 12,000 feet is dedicated to classroom space.

The school and campus have also been recognized by Apple as a Distinguished School, meaning it has integrated Apple technology – hardware and software – into every aspect of the learning experience. Students and teachers share the same hardware (iPads, Macbooks, etc.) and use the company’s software, like Notes, Movies, and Photos to present classes and lectures.

This technology is useful in places like the simulation labs, where students participate and observe medical simulations based on their training or work with medical actors or real patients in any of the 12 patient rooms located on campus. There are also recreational facilities like lounge areas and plenty of different food options.

Affiliated Teaching Hospitals

  • Adventist Health and Rideout - Marysville, CA
  • Avera Health - Aberdeen, SD
  • Benefis Health System - Great Falls, MT
  • Bingham Memorial Hospital - Blackfoot, ID
  • Campbell County Memorial Hospital - Gillette, WY
  • Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center - Idaho Falls, ID
  • Logan Regional Medical Center - Logan, UT
  • Magic Valley Core Site - Twin Falls, ID
  • Monument Health - Rapid City, SD
  • Stony Brook Southampton - Long Island, NY
  • Treasure Valley Core Site/St. Luke’s/St. Alphonsus/Boise VA/West Valley Hospital - Boise, ID
  • Trinity Health - Minot, ND

Research Fields

  • Osteopathic principles and practice
  • Medical education
  • Rural and underserved medicine
  • Obesity, diabetes, and cardiometabolic syndrome
  • Cellular bioenergetics
  • Free radicals and oxidative stress
  • Muscle biology
  • Cancer
  • Neuroinflammation 
  • Gene regulation
  • Cell motility 
  • CNS histology
  • Mosquito gene expression and protein secretion

Notable Faculty

Lt. Col. Dr. Lora Bennett, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at ICOM

Dr. Bennett was recently named Commander of the 124th Medical Group of the 124th Fighter Wing of the Idaho National Guard. Dr. Bennett has both a distinguished medical and military career, having enlisted in the Air Force during her undergraduate studies at Valparaiso University, in Chicago.

Afterward, Dr. Bennett earned her medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Bennett worked in private practice upon finishing her residency at Elgin Air Force Base, until a colleague recommended a career in teaching. She then accepted a position at ICOM and has worked as an assistant professor of family medicine while continuing to perform her National Guard duties.

Contact Information

Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine ICOM


1401 E. Central Drive

Meridian, Idaho 83642

Main phone: (208) 795-ICOM (4266)

Admissions Office


[email protected]

Phone: (208) 795-ICOM (4266)


1. What is the mission of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine?

ICOM has a specific mission to train doctors who want to serve in the Mountain West region of the US, comprising five states: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and South and North Dakota. 

2. Do I need to take the MCAT and submit my scores?

Yes, ICOM is not one of the medical schools that don’t require the MCAT. To be competitive, students must score within the 50th percentile on all four sections of the MCAT. The average MCAT score of the latest incoming class was 507. 

3. What kind of degree do I need to get into ICOM?

You need at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to be considered a competitive candidate. 

4. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?

Yes, the school requires that students have 8 credits each in biomedical sciences, physics, general and inorganic chemistry. Students must also have 6 full credits in English before applying. 

5. How can I apply to ICOM?

All applicants must submit their primary application via AACOMAS and then wait for notification from the medical school to submit a secondary application to them directly. 

6. How much does one year at ICOM cost?

According to ICOM, one year of medical school in the osteopathic, four-year program costs $88,605, which includes tuition, fees, living expenses (room and board), books, and health insurance. 

7. Is it hard to get into ICOM?

Getting into any medical school is a challenge, and ICOM is no different. Students who are from the Mountain West region may have a small advantage over non-resident students, but the acceptance rate for in-state applicants (3%) was much lower than for out-of-state applicants (27%), so it is harder for in-state applicants to get in. The school considers applications holistically, so all aspects of your application matter. 

What are the other medical schools in Idaho?

In fact, the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine is the only medical school in Idaho.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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