The Accreditation Process
How Will The Maryland College of Osteopathic Medicine Get Accredited?
For a new medical school or college to get accredited, it must go through a three step process.
Step 1. The process starts with a declaration that a new osteopathic medical school is being started. That declaration has to be in the form of an application to the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). The application asks for the name, location, acronym, and anticipated date for completion of a self study on the feasibility of starting an osteopathic medical school and the anticipated date for the school's first matriculants (entering students). If a founding dean has been identified, that person's name should be provided on the form (but is not required), and the classification of the college as public, private, non-profit, or for-profit and whether or not the college will be faith based. This is the applicant phase of the process and is step number one.
Step 2. This phase is called candidate status and is reserved for colleges that have demonstrated the planning and resources have been done that make it likely that the college can start within two years.
To achieve candidate status, a college has to have completed a self study and a feasibility (business) plan. A founding dean and administrative staff have to be on board with a requirement that the founding dean is hired at least 12 months before submission of the request to progress from applicant status to candidate status. Associate and assistant deans should also be involved in the planning at this stage. At least two associate deans must be under contract with the COM before candidate status is granted.
For colleges that are part of a larger institution like a university, requirements of the US Department of Education for the University must be met before the proposed school can move forward.
Step 3. Pre-accreditation is the final accreditation milestone. To satisfy pre-accreditation requirements, the self-study demonstrating the plan for the college must be submitted, reviewed, and deemed to have met all of the requirements.
A college stays in pre-accreditation status until it graduates its first class. Once in Pre-accreditation status, a college can recruit students. A college in pre-accreditation status will be reviewed annually to ensure that it successfully follows the plan it had laid out.