DSP Courses and Modules

The first semester at LECOM in the Independent Study Pathway involves attending classes along with lecture-based and problem-based students in a set of lecture and laboratory-based anatomical science courses including Gross Anatomy, Embryology and Histology. These courses require mandatory attendance, typically five days per week. Because of this requirement and similar on-campus obligations throughout the first two years, LECOM DSP students are required to live within 30 miles of the Erie area to minimize lost study time due to travel.

During the first 12 weeks, students are introduced to, and start to use the DSP curricular methods. Following successful completion of the initial lecture-based course load, DSP students continue their studies using lists of highly structured learning objectives compiled into directed-study “module.” The instruction material for the modules are available through the My LECOM portal and students use this material in combination with textbooks, resource guides and computer-based materials.

While faculty help is always available, attendance at the weekly scheduled DSP meetings is mandatory. As students proceed through the modules, with certain time limits in place, examinations are administered. Exams occur, on the average, about every two to three weeks, on specific dates by which time the students are expected to have mastered the learning objectives outlined in the module. This testing method involves much less testing time than in the lecture-discussion pathway, allowing students to solidify their knowledge of larger amounts of material and recognize the interrelation of all aspects of the curriculum.

The independent study modules are divided into two curricular categories: “Core” and “Systems”. Core modules deal with fundamental basic science disciplines, while systems modules integrate basic science and clinical disciplines in an organ systems approach to learning. Core modules are utilized during the late Fall and part of the early Spring semesters of OMS I year. The use of system modules begins in the Spring semester of the OMS I year and continues through the full OMS II year. A few lecture/laboratory based courses, including Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP), one of the most characteristic courses of osteopathic medical education are presented throughout the OMS I and OMS II years, joining together members of the DSP with students from the other curricular pathways.

The DSP Curriculum Calendar

As noted, entering DSP students begin work on the modules during the Fall semester. The DSP curriculum calendar, available at the beginning of every semester during matriculation, contains module titles, the schedule of study days for each module and the suggested date for completion of each module and a set date for examination. The calendar is based on seven study days per week, with students expected to dedicate a total of about 60-70 concentrated study hours per week, so that the DSP preclinical curriculum can be completed in two years. No courses are held during the summer period (typically June through July) between OMS I and OMS II years. Successful completion of the two-year DSP program by the set date permits students to take the COMLEX Level I Licensure Examination in late May or June following their OMS II year and to begin their clinical clerkships in June, at the same time as the LDP and PBL students.

The DSP modules and the classroom/laboratory based courses (which have mandatory attendance) include:

First-Year Modules:   First-Year Courses:
Physiology   Gross Anatomy (Fall semester)
Biochemistry Histology (Fall semester)
Microbiology Embryology (Fall semester)
Immunology Osteopathic Principles and Practices (I and II)
Pharmacology Healthcare Management I (Fall semester)
Pathology History and Physical Examination (I and II)
Medical Genetics Human Sexuality (Spring semester)
Musculoskeletal System Healthcare Management II (Spring semester)
Basic Neuroscience  
Clinical Neuroscience  
Second-Year Modules:   Second-Year Courses:
Cardiovascular System   History and Physical Examination III and IV
Respiratory System Public Health and Preventive Medicine (Fall semester)
Hematology/Oncology Osteopathic Principles and Practices (III and IV)
Renal System Medical Jurisprudence (Fall semester)
Digestive System Psychiatry (Spring semester)
Endocrine System Advanced Cardiac Life Support (Spring semester)
Reproductive System Geriatric Medicine (Fall semester)
Integumentary System Board Review (Spring semester)