*** We have paused recruitment for the time being as we want to implement several improvements to the course and will notify interested parties when this has been done. ***

Membership of the London College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Pre course learning is directed by our Distance Learning Module leading into a 2 week intensive course leading into the clinic based course running two days a week, Friday and Saturdays, over 18 months which means less week day commitment, and also makes it easier for doctors to maintain their current activities.

    Course Structure

    1. Distance Learning Course for 3 Months

    The majority of this is revision of anatomy and physiology, with a small component of new material relating specifically to osteopathy. Students are supported throughout the course by a mentor, and the mentoring starts with the distance learning course. We emphasize that this is an important start to the course as anatomy and pain physiology need to be up to date to get the most out of intensive course and clinic work. We are introducing some learning in marketing skills, in developing your profile on our Training Clinic page of our website, these skills will be developed in the clinic attachment. Professionalism is reviewed through comparing fitness to practice requirements of osteopaths with those in medicine by the General Medical Council, and outcomes for osteopathic training Osteopathic Practice Standards is introduced.

    2. Intensive course for 11 days

    The intensive course is two consecutive weeks of 5 week days, with one weekend day in the middle of the two weeks. This part of the course prepares the student for the learning in the clinic – revising some musculoskeletal and orthopaedic examination techniques but introducing new refined osteopathic assessment and treatment techniques so you are ready to start in the clinic diagnosing and treating patients.

    3. Clinic Teaching

    After the intensive two weeks the attendance for clinic teaching is two days a week for 78 weeks and one and half days of this is supervised patient care in the clinic.

    • Students attend for two days each week, 0930 to 1700 hrs for the whole course.
    • Each student is entitled to 6 weeks of annual leave. The college is closed for one or two weeks at Christmas depending the days that the bank holidays fall on. The course therefore extends over approximately 80 weeks in total, over 18 months. Students have to attend 72 weeks of clinic teaching in order to gain the qualification. If a student is unable to complete the 72 weeks due health or other reasons within the planned course, arrangements can be made to make up required training although this might involve additional costs.
    • Students should expect that with college attendance and private study, there will be a commitment of at least 21 hours per week.

    4. Teaching Technique

    • Concurrent with the clinic teaching, there is technique teaching every week for half a day, initially for 16 weeks and then at regular intervals to the end of the course for a further 22 weeks, making a total of 38 weeks. Following this further non core technique teaching and other topics will be taught in the half day teaching, and in the latter stages of the course as students become more skills in techniques, this time in part will be replaced by clinic learning.
    • Time additional to this minimum commitment will be dictated by the needs of students as they progress.

    5. Lunch Time Teaching

    • Topic teaching, student presentations and journal reviews take place at lunch time on both college days, and attendance is essential to complete the required hours for the course. Students are expected to have a working lunch in college with the tutor.

    6.Private Study

    • Students vary in the amount of study required outside the teaching and clinic schedule, but should allow for at least 6 hours per week. This includes maintaining a patient and technique log which is compulsory. The students will have an opportunity to observe osteopaths in our clinic and teaching in other osteopathic colleges.

    7. Structure Of The Course

    To become an osteopath, students need to develop highly skilled diagnostic and treatment palpation and manual skills by regular practice and tuition without significant breaks. With breaks of more than about 3 or more weeks the skills acquired deteriorate significantly and then require some time for revision to get back to the same level of skills before then making further progress. The technique teaching is two weeks of new skills and then revision every 2 and 4 and 5th weeks to reinforce skills and runs in one block of 16 weeks and block of 22 weeks and is important in the early stages of the course that leave is kept to the minimum.

    In the clinic students need to develop a flow of patients both new and follow up cases in order to learn the clinical osteopathic skills and any major interruption in clinics over time mean student do not get the continuity of clinical cases needed for learning.

    And lastly an important part of the course is the student group who work together learning and developing their skills as a cohesive and supported group.

    For this reason students do need to commit to attend the course regularly with only the allowed leave in order to attain the skills of an osteopath and be successful in our assessment process to gain the MLCOM.

    8. Documentation Of Learning

    Students are required to maintain an electronic diary of learning called their portfolio which is kept on the LCOM cloud storage system. Students are also invited to give the tutors and college feedback and comments informally and also are required to complete feedback forms at intervals during the course. Students receive written feedback on their clinical work every week which is logged in their portfolio.

    Students have to understand and comply with the General Data Protection Regulations, and how this affects recording of their learning, and no patient identifiable data is allowed on the portfolio.

    Students will be required to develop a log of techniques and manipulations in the latter part of the course.

    Students are required to reflect on learning, as this is an essential skill for long term proficient practice and professional resilience.


    Six weeks leave are permitted for the whole course, on average 4 weeks per year, which excludes 1-2 weeks over Christmas when the clinic is closed. A maximum of two consecutive weeks of leave are allowed to maintain progression of palpatory and proprioceptive skills. Students are required to plan their leave with their student colleagues as this can affect the flow of patients through the training clinic.

    Sick leave is counted separately, and if students have significant sickness absence they may be required to make up days lost, this will be decided by faculty.

    Care Of Patients

    Students, Tutors and LCOM share the responsibility of care for the patients seen in the Training Clinic. Students must have indemnity to work as a student in the clinic, and they are responsible for the consultation and appropriate record keeping and managing patients as discussed or directed by faculty. Faculty take responsibility to ensure the quality and safety of patient care and therefore is a requirement that student comply with directions from faculty. The college responsibility is to provide clinic rooms, and systems of running and management of the clinic, and appropriate systems for quality of care for patients, and systems for teaching and learning of students. The overall responsibility is held by the Trustees of the Osteopathic Trusts Ltd who own the clinic and college.

    Students are required to comply with Osteopathic Practice Standards from the start of the course. Students as qualified doctors are required to comply with General Medical Council standards even if they are not registered with the GMC. GMC standards are set down in Good Medical Practice which can be found on the GMC website.

    Course Content

    • The underlying theory and principles of osteopathy will be introduced by distance learning and in the intensive course. The distance learning course over two months is to revise basic sciences such as anatomy, pain physiology and study concepts of osteopathy. The college will advise on reading material and interaction will occur via email with your mentors who are faculty members.
    • Teaching includes familiarity with the concept of somatic dysfunction and relevant neurophysiology, ergonomics and postural adaptation.
    • A high level of skill in musculoskeletal diagnosis will be taught including conventional medical and osteopathic examination techniques.
    • Students will also need to re-evaluate previous knowledge and integrate it with study of the evidence base relevant to osteopathy and musculoskeletal pain and impairment.
    • A range of osteopathic techniques are taught to the level of safe independent application. The teaching focuses on structural osteopathy with introduction to indirect techniques.
    • Teaching is designed to reach the standard to enable independent practice as a medical osteopath, and also to reach the standards required to register with the General Osteopathic Council.