School Rules

New COCA accreditation standards in place

New and proposed colleges of osteopathic medicine must now meet new standards for graduate medical education and curriculum.

Revised Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) standards for colleges of osteopathic medicine are now in effect, clarifying expectations for the schools and the students they serve. The changes come after a June public meeting in which the commission took action on rules for proposed and existing colleges.

“The revised standards are good for the profession and the education community because they create a clear expectation of what happens if standards are not met,” says Brian Kim, COCA interim secretary.

“We expect that schools will conduct regular, rigorous self-assessments and students will see that these institutions are being proactive about compliance with standards.”

Some highlights of the changes include:

  • Accreditation actions for non-complying schools are clearly specified, limiting COCA’s discretion for remediation.
  • A different set of standards will now apply to new and proposed COMS, which must comply with expanded criteria for curriculum and post-graduate education.
  • Existing COMS will see expanded and better-defined standards for facilities, faculty and curriculum.
  • Schools found in violation of standards will not be allowed substantive changes to their accreditation status. Substantive changes include class size increases, additional locations or changes to the mission or legal status.

COCA sought public comment on the proposed standards and received significant input from several existing COMs, as well as the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, the Student Osteopathic Medical Association and related AOA councils, Kim added.

Review the new standards here.

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