What You Need To Know About Medical Schools In Oregon

July 9, 2024


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/11/23

There are only two medical schools in Oregon. Options for students looking to attend medical school in Oregon are the Oregon Health and Science University, located in Portland, and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest, in Lebanon. The Oregon Health and Science University is well known for its outstanding research and family medicine education. The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest is known for its comprehensive patient-centered DO program.

Both schools are well-respected and reasonably competitive. In this article, we will explore both of them, their mission, requirements to get in, and all the information you need to know if you’re thinking about applying to medical school in Oregon.

Oregon medical schools
image of dots background

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

Overview and Mission

The Oregon Health and Science University is a public research university with a main campus and two hospitals in Portland, Oregon. The school of medicine is the only one in the state that offers an MD program, and it’s ranked first in the nation in family medicine education by US News & World Report.

In addition to the MD program, this medical school offers Ph.D., Master’s, M.D./M.P.H., M.D./Ph.D., and PA programs. It also offers a BS in Radiation Therapy program. The MD curriculum focuses on the scientific basis of medicine, early clinical experience, and responsibilities in patient care and individualized plans.

They consider themselves a community of different colors, cultures, genders, and orientations. Some of their missions are healing, teaching, and discovery. They use innovative education techniques and models that let their students, the world’s brightest minds, create their own unique paths. 

Admission Process 

Applicants should apply through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), which receives applications from May to mid-October. This school’s primary application process is the same as most public institutions of the country that use the American Medical College Application Service. After receiving and reviewing your application, OHSU will send you a secondary application notice via email.  

You can expect a highly competitive process when applying for admission to the school, which annually matriculates only about 150 students out of 6,700 applicants for the MD degree program. This makes the acceptance rate 2.28 percent. 


Minimum academic qualifiers should be taken into account before starting your application process. A minimum GPA of 2.8 and a minimum MCAT score of 497 are required for consideration. Also, the school doesn’t admit international students, and you must either be an American citizen, a permanent resident of the United States, or have DACA status.

The matriculation requirements are the following:

A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science or the equivalent is required from an accredited college or university. Like most medical schools, no preference will be shown for any particular major or area of study. All applicants should strive to pursue a wide variety of coursework spanning the humanities, arts, sciences, social sciences, and mathematics.

Recommended pre-medical competencies and coursework:

  • Professional competencies. Applicants are encouraged to have experience in at least some of the following: Ethical competencies and responsibility to oneself and others, interpersonal skills, ability to work on teams, ability to adapt to different situations, and community service. 
  • Thinking and reasoning competencies: Critical Thinking and Written Communication, Quantitative Reasoning and Scientific Inquiry 
  • Science competencies: living systems (coursework in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biochemistry) and human behavior (coursework in psychology and sociology)

The Oregon Health and Science University values wide and broad academic experience and encourages all applicants to take courses in as many disciplines as possible. This way, they make sure that you are a strong, well-rounded candidate and are prepared to face the real world.

Academic and Selection Factors 

Take a look at the profile of the average matriculant. Familiarity with this profile will give you an idea of what your application needs to appeal to OHSU. 

  • Total average GPA of 3.65
  • Science average GPA of 3.58

The average matriculant had old MCAT scores of:

  • Verbal Reasoning: 10.1
  • Physical Sciences: 10.3
  • Biological Sciences: 10.8

The average matriculant had new MCAT scores of:

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 127
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills: 127
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 127
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 128

The School of Medicine gives preference to applicants in the following groups: 

  • Oregon residents 
  • Non-resident applicants with Oregon Heritage,  in one of the following categories:
  • A student with at least one parent residing in Oregon at the time of application
  • A student who attended high school in Oregon for at least two years and also graduated in the state.
  • A student who attended any accredited college or university in the state of Oregon for two years and graduated no more than 7 years prior to the time of the application.
  • Those pursuing the WICHE-certified in Allopathic Medicine.
  • Those pursuing the MD/PhD Combined Degree Program.
  • Those pursuing  the MD/MPH Combined Degree Program.
  • Non-resident applicants with outstanding achievements in academics and other experiences. These can be significant experiences in healthcare, leadership, extracurricular activities, or community service activities.
  • Applicants with a personal experience that demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity.

Letters of Recommendation

Oregon Health & Science University participates in the AMCAS letters service, so all letters must be sent using the AMCAS letters service during the primary application.

The minimum requirements for the letters of recommendation are:

  • Letters from three college or university professors from any department. However, it is recommended that at least one is from a science professor. 
  • Non-traditional applicants who have been out of college for five years or more can submit two letters from employers and one from a professor.

All applicants should provide non-academic letters in addition to the teaching faculty letters. Under no circumstance should you ask your family or friends to write letters of recommendation for you. 

CASPer Test

All applicants applying to the MD program must complete the online assessment, CASPer, Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics. This online test assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics, which many medical schools consider essential for successful students. Today, this is a requirement for admission to most medical schools in the United States. 

Tuition and Fees 

  • In-state annual tuition:  $46,148
  • Out-of-state annual tuition:  $70,936
  • In-state annual tuition, fees and insurance: $55,508
  • Out-of-state annual tuition, fees and insurance: $80,296

Breakdown of Fees and Insurance Annually

  • University Fee: $583
  • Student Council Fee: $16
  • Dental Insurance: $117.79
  • Major Medical Insurance: $1,574.79
  • Total Fees/ Insurance: $2,291.58

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP)

Overview and Mission

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest is a private, non-profit medical school for osteopathic medicine. Located in Lebanon, Oregon, this school is about 80 miles south of Portland. The school is a branch of Western University of Health Sciences College (Western U) in Pomona, California. Western U is a graduate university of health professions.

Established in 1977 as a direct response to a critical shortage of primary care physicians in the western United States, the College of Osteopathic Medicine has the mission to prepare students to become culturally sensitive, technically competent, compassionate, and professional physicians, as well as lifelong learners. 

This medical school in Oregon offers a DO degree program that provides comprehensive patient-centered education with a distinctive osteopathic philosophy.  

Admission Process

The first step of COMP’s admission process is to make sure you’ve completed all the requirements in time to apply for your preferred year of entry. All applicants will submit the primary application via the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). The AACOMAS opens in early May and remains open until early February. 

Applicants who meet the requirements are sent an email with instructions for completing the secondary application, which is due within two weeks.

COMP’s admission process is highly competitive. Out of approximately 4000 applicants, only around 100 matriculate – making for an acceptance rate of 2.5 percent.  


Before enrollment, you must complete a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science degree, or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. The required coursework you have to complete before enrolling is as follows: 

  • College English (6 semester units)
  • Behavioral Sciences (6 semester units)
  • Biological Sciences with lab (8 semester units)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (8 semester units)
  • Inorganic Chemistry with lab (8 semester units)
  • Physics with lab (8 semester units)

Not required but recommended coursework is the following:

  • Biochemistry 
  • Genetics 
  • Physiology 

Besides the prerequisite coursework, you’ll need to submit official MCAT scores to AACOMAS, as well as two letters of recommendation, one from a physician (MD or DO) and one from a science professor or faculty member. 

While there are no minimum GPA or MCAT score requirements, take into account the following stats of students entering the DO program: 

  • Average overall GPA: 3.65
  • Average science GPA: 3.58
  • Average MCAT score: 507

Like OHSU, this medical school recommends that all students take courses from as many disciplines as possible, making them well-rounded and educated individuals ready to overcome the various challenges of becoming a physician. 

CASPer Test

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest also requires applicants to take the CASPer Test, which needs to be submitted with the secondary application. Accepted tests are those completed between May of the application year and February of the anticipated entering year. Keep in mind that you must take the CASPer test with each application or reapplication.

Tuition and Estimated Cost of Attendance 

The yearly estimated tuition, fees, and overall cost of attendance of the College of Osteopathic Medicine are the following:

Estimated tuition for the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest (COMP)

The school also offers a wide range of scholarships to help reduce the costs and potential loan debt. 

Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in Oregon

When applying to medical school, the main areas you need to focus on are the same regardless of their location in the country. However, the minimum requirements and the course prerequisites will vary from school to school. As we’ve already determined, both medical schools in the state of Oregon are fairly competitive. 

So, if you’re planning on applying to one of Oregon’s schools, you’ll need to make great efforts to make sure you meet the minimum GPA, MCAT scores, and more. 

While an outstanding GPA and MCAT score are both essential to get accepted into any medical school, there are a lot more things that some candidates forget to take into account. Research experience, shadowing, clinical work, volunteering, as well as other skills and abilities you might have are what will potentially make you stand out from other students.

To be a competitive candidate, you have to consider that the medical schools in Oregon highly value a collaborative approach, motivation to engage in new and innovative ways of thinking, and taking an active role in educational experiences. Being able to demonstrate your ability and appreciation for teamwork and successfully participate in collaborative projects is also very important.

These, along with compassion, respect and integrity, are the values that will determine whether or not you’re the candidate the admission committee is looking for. Try to focus on these in your personal statement, essays, and even extracurriculars, if possible. Showcase these abilities and let them know how they shape you and make you a perfect candidate for their medical school.

Also, don’t forget to take the timeline seriously and start preparing early; maintain a strong GPA from the beginning of your undergraduate years, gain experiences relevant to the medical field and the particular schools to which you’re applying, ensuring you have a well-rounded application.


1. Does the Oregon Health & Science University accept transfer students?

Unfortunately, while the Oregon Health & Science University accepted transfer students in past years, it’s not accepting transfer students into the Doctor of Medicine program at this time. 

2. Does the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the PNW accept transfer students?

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific does not accept transfer students in the Lebanon campus. They accept transfer students to the campus in Pomona, California, when circumstances allow. Check the requirements for transfer applicants to know more about it and keep yourself updated on the news and things that may change. 

3. Do the schools accept international students?

The Oregon Health & Science University doesn’t accept international students. The COMP does, but only in the Pomona campus located in California, not in Oregon. Please take a look at their international student page for more information. 

4. Should letters of recommendation be submitted with the secondary application?

For the Oregon Health & Science University, the letters of recommendation must be submitted via the Letter Service of the AMCAS application in the primary application. 

For the College of Osteopathic Medicine Pacific Northwest, letters of recommendation should be submitted with the secondary application within the deadline.

5. Is there a limit for letters of recommendation?

The OHSU doesn’t have a limit. The COMP, however, sets a limit of 5 letters of recommendation. Regardless, we always recommend being smart about it. Focus on quality rather than quantity; ask professors or supervisors who know you well and will be able to portray your best qualities. Under no circumstance should you ask friends or family to write letters of recommendation for you. 

6. Can I change or edit the secondary application?

No, neither the primary or secondary application can be edited nor changed once submitted. Because of this, we recommend that you always review your application several times before finally submitting it. 

7. What does DO mean?

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, just like MDs, are fully licensed physicians. However, DOs practice in additional areas of medicine. Osteopathic physicians care for the whole patient. These physicians are trained to listen to and partner with their patients.

Allopathic physicians use a strictly scientific approach to diagnosing and treating symptoms that arise due to medical conditions. A student pursuing a DO degree will participate in approximately 200 hours of additional hands-on training on the musculoskeletal system.


As you can see, even though there are only two medical schools in Oregon, both of them are quite different and offer a unique approach to teaching.Oregon Health & Science University’s application process is very similar to other US allopathic medical schools using AMCAS.

This medical school is ranked first in the country in family medicine and offers a wide range of programs in addition to the MD. On the other hand, The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Northwest is a private, non-profit institution offering an osteopathic approach. It’s a branch of Western University of Health Sciences College (Western U) in Pomona, California. Like most osteopathic medical schools in the country, they review applications using the AACOMAS system. 

Now you know about the medical schools in Oregon, including their mission, application processes, what makes them good schools, and the best way for you to apply successfully. While both medical schools in Oregon are pretty competitive and applying to either may seem like a challenge, meeting the program requirements and following this guide can help you get accepted. Now it’s time to take the next step and decide where you want to continue your path to your dream career as a physician. 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Schedule A Free Consultation

Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.
Get Free Consultation
image of dots background

You May Also Like