Directed Study Pathway

The Directed Study Pathway (DSP, originally Independent Study) is a unique program for medical education. It is initiated with significant daily classroom time in the first semester and allows adult learners, who are capable of learning with minimal classroom time, to gradually decrease his or her lecture attendance and utilize specific "directed study" modules to finish his or her first two years of medical school. The pathway requires the student to have well-developed organizational and time-management skills in order to complete the rigorous requirements in an independent manner.

How Does DSP Work?
The DSP stresses student self-motivation and self-learning. After attending classes in anatomical sciences in the first semester, students begin the transition to studying in small groups, in an independent but closely directed manner. This study is directed by highly structured learning objectives compiled by the faculty and incorporated into self-directed learning modules. With the absence of lectures, textbooks and other appropriate resources serve as the basis for learning. It must be stressed that DSP is not a "correspondence course" of study and requires significant on-campus presence throughout the two years. Certain courses require attendance, especially those with a laboratory portion. After initially attending classes five days per week, students are typically on-campus from two to five days each week throughout the remainder of their two years in the curriculum. As such, all DSP students are required to live within 30 miles of Erie. While students utilize their time as they see appropriate, the pathway is closely directed by the faculty. Students meet with the faculty on a weekly basis.

Though not required, DSP students may attend any or all of the Lecture Discussion Pathway classes as part of their learning experience.

Clinical Experience
DSP students are involved from the beginning in a number of courses involving clinical experience. From Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine class and lab throughout the two years, to learning how to take histories and conduct physical examinations, the DSP stresses comprehensive examination of the patient and helps develop a proficiency in the use of diagnostic equipment.

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
LECOM students learn the basic philosophy, principles and practice of osteopathic manipulative medicine. This hands-on diagnosis and treatment is the foundation of osteopathic whole-person health care.

Each examination includes national licensure board-type multiple-choice questions that are generated by the faculty and based upon learning objectives. The DSP has a regularly scheduled date and time for each module examination.

Is DSP the choice for you?

DSP is ideal for students who:

  • Are self-motivated learners with good organizational and time-management skills;
  • Learn best through reading and small-group interactions;
  • Are dedicated, above all else, to the rigor of academic activities; and
  • Have a strong science education background.