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The Don Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) was established on January 6, 1978 by Presidential Decree 1279 as a comprehensive institution of higher learning in the Ilocos region with programs in the field of arts and sciences, health care, engineering, business, education, agriculture and fisheries. Under the College of Health Sciences are the Departments of Nursing, Physical therapy, and Pharmacy. These departments have been performing well in Licensure examinations over the years and many graduates went on further to pursue a Doctor of Medicine degree. To complement these existing health sciences-related courses, the University conceptualized a Doctor of Medicine program in the 1990s which was approved by the Board of Regents under resolution no. 279, s 1996. However, this plan was shelved when the other State University in nearby Ilocos Sur opened its Doctor of Medicine Program in 1996.

Across the University is the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital & Medical Center. It is the only Medical Center in the northernmost part of the Ilocos Region which caters to the health needs of the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Northern Cagayan, Abra and Apayao. It is a tertiary level 3 teaching and training hospital with accredited residency programs in Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Pathology, ENT, Internal Medicine and Anaesthesia. It is also where the schools within Ilocos Norte and nearby provinces for Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy and Medical Technology are affiliated for rotations and postgraduate trainings. Most personnel and residents-in-training of the Medical Center were graduates of the University. Realizing the critical role and contribution of a Doctor of Medicine Program to the Medical Center’s health care initiatives, the Medical Center has submitted to the University in October 2011 its unsolicited and independently-accomplished manifesto of support to the establishment of a Doctor of Medicine Program.

The consultants from different specializations in Medicine who have helped in the establishment of the Residency Training Programs of the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital & Medical Center have also reiterated for years the need for the establishment of a College of Medicine in the University to ensure continuity and viability of the Medical Center’s training programs.

Heeding the clamour of the people within the University as well as from the community, feasibility study on the establishment of the College of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine Program was done. Majority of the responders were students from the feeder programs of the University, the target applicants. The results of the study became the basis for concluding and recommending that the establishment of a College of Medicine is now timely and relevant to the community’s present health needs.

Recognizing this pressing need, the Mariano Marcos State University has decided to set-up the MMSU College of Medicine as resolved in its Board resolution no. 1234, s 2012. With the pledged assistance of the local chief executives by grooming potential scholars, this move to open the MMSU-COM would fill the gap in the delivery of health services in various communities in Northern Luzon as well as strengthen its commitment in its core values of excellence, integrity and service to God and nation.

Ilocos Norte & Its Surrounding Provinces

B. Ilocos Norte & ITS Surrounding Provinces

Ilocos Norte is located at the northernmost province of western Luzon, bounded on the northeast by the provinces of Cagayan and Apayao, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the south by the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Abra. There are 27 municipalities with a total population of 568,017 with 1.0% average annual growth rate (2010) and a population density of 166 persons per square kilometre. The total labour force of the province is 363,000 with an employment rate of 91.5% and unemployment rate of 14.8% (2010). Ilocos Norte derives its income from agriculture and tourism.

Ilocos Norte is connected to Ilocos Sur through the Maharlika Highway and to Cagayan Valley through the Patapat road. It will soon have direct road access to Apayao and Abra through the Ilocos Norte-Apayao road and the Ilocos Norte-Abra road.

Ilocos Norte has twenty five municipal health centers or RHUs in the province yielding a facility to population ratio of 1:22,017 which is below the national standard ratio of 1:20,000. There are 8 public hospitals in the province, composed of the following:

  • 1. Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, DOH-retained tertiary hospital
  • 2. Ilocos Norte Provincial Hospital, classified as a secondary hospital
  • 3. LaoagCityGeneralHospital, classified as a secondary hospital
  • 4. Five district hospitals, classified as primary, located in the following towns:
    • Bangui District Hospital (Bangui, Ilocos Norte)
    • Dingras District Hospital (Dingras, Ilocos Norte)
    • DoňaJosefa E. Marcos District Hospital (Marcos, Ilocos Norte)
    • Piddig District Hospital (Piddig, Ilocos Norte)
    • Vintar District Hospital (Vintar, Ilocos Norte)

The total number of hospital beds in the province is 635 (410 beds in public hospitals and 225 bed in private hospitals). The bed population ratio is 11.5 per 10,000 inhabitants. (2005)

The Philippines Qualification Framework

On October 12, 2012, His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 83, institutionalizing the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) providing a national policy describing levels of educational qualifications and setting the standards for qualifications. . The eight level descriptors are defined in terms of three domains, namely knowledge, skills, values, application and degree of independence. It provides for a quality-assured system with assessment-based qualification recognition. It requires benchmarking and international alignment of qualifications.

It has the following components:

  • Quality Assurance (QA)
  • Pathways and Equivalencies
  • International Alignment
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Credit Transfer
  • Qualifications Register
  • Outcomes-based Education and use of Learning Outcomes


KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND VALUES Demonstrates advanced knowledge and skills in specialized or multidisciplinary field of study for professional practice or self-directed research
APPLICATION Applied in professional work that requires leadership and management in a specialized or multidisciplinary professional work, research and /or for further study
DEGREE OF INDEPENDENCE High degree of independence that involves exercise of leadership and initiative, individual work or in teams of multidisciplinary field
QUALIFICATION TYPE Post-baccalaureate degree

Medical College

The proposed College of Medicine (COM) cleared a crucial hurdle when members of the Regional Quality Assessment Team (RQAT), after a visit on Feb. 24, finally endorsed to CHED its formal opening on the first semester of AY 2014-2015.

Led by Dr. Kristal Mendoza and Dr. Pacita Apilado, the RQAT team was deployed in the main campus to check the quality of the proposed offering based on policies, guidelines, and standards set by CHED.

It is recalled that MMSU President Miriam E. Pascua announced the formal opening of the college during the thanksgiving program tendered by CHS for its board examination passers held at the Covered Court, Jan, 27.

The President’s announcement was seen as a victory for those who have long petitioned for the medical school’s opening. Proponents in the university were backed by statistical data showing an evident shortage of doctors in the rural areas, which shed light on the need for a fourth medical school in the Ilocos Region.

In her congratulatory speech addressed to the successful passers in pharmacy and nursing licensure examinations, the president challenged the graduates to enrol in the new program and even promised nurse board exam fourth placer Dharlene Abbygale G. Agullana an entrance scholarship once she decides to enrol.

Prof. Ryan Dean Sucgang, designated college secretary, said veteran physicians Joven Cuanang and Marietta Baccay will serve as administrative consultants prior to the appointment of a full time dean. Dr. Cuanang, who is now chairman of the board of St. Luke’s College of Medicine, retired in December as medical director of the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City and Makati Global City. He is one of the country’s top neurologists. Baccay, a pathologist, is chair of the Board of Medical Technology of the Professional Regulation Commission. Meanwhile, a committee is currently screening prospective faculty members for the college.

The COM will occupy the University Training Center as its temporary shelter while waiting for the construction of a new building located at a lot currently occupied by the University Motor Pool. With the P40-M building commencing construction this year, the motor pool will be transferred to the CETC.

Since the college will open in June, university officials are trying to expedite arrangements and mechanisms. Negotiations with the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center leadership are underway regarding additional faculty members and clinical programs.

Aspiring medicine students can start taking up biology or other allied courses offered in the university in preparation for this new degree program. For those who have graduated, they should pass first the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) for them to qualify to enrol this year.

Cut-off percentile for NMAT varies by school. For some universities, it ranges from 35 percent to as high as 90 percent. The Ateneo de Manila Medical School, for instance, requires 80 percent while its Zamboanga campus accepts students regardless of their rating. Other schools such as St. Louis University and Far Eastern University demand 35 percent and 40 percent cut-off scores, respectively. The University of the Philippines College of Medicine sets it at 90 percent. At MMSU, it will be 85 percent. According to Dr. Cuanang, setting a higher NMAT percentile requirement would result in a 100 percent passing probability in the Physician Licensure Examination. Applicants will also have to undergo an interview.

For the meantime, only 25 enrolees will be admitted in the college as its pioneer batch. According to President Pascua, many of them will possibly be under scholarship as various local government units in Ilocos Norte have pledged to sponsor at least one medical student from their city or municipality.

Records reveal a shortage of between three and four million jobs in the health industry worldwide. Hence, MMSU officials and a coalition of community supporters in Ilocos Norte have long been pushing for a medical school in the province to deal with an increasing shortage of doctors and specialists in the country.

At present, Region I has three medical schools: Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation and Lyceum North-western University, both private schools in Pangasinan; and the University of Northern Philippines, a state university in Vigan City. (With a report from Herdy La. Yumul)

College Vision, Mission & Goals


A world-class university dedicated to the development of virtuous human resources and innovations for inclusive growth


To develop globally competitive professionals and industry-ready graduates via various modalities and generate new knowledge and technologies for the improvement of the quality of life.


1. To develop medical doctors equipped with all necessary and relevant trainings and experiences in order for them to practice effectively.

2. To conduct researches to improve the quality of medical education and service to address different medical and health-related concepts through the use of available resources.

3. To render extension activities as a means in promoting community awareness, responsiveness and service via different modes.

4. To serve as a link and partner with other health agencies in the implementation of health programs and policies.

Degree Programs/Curriculum

The curriculum is competency-based, student-centered, and community-oriented. It also uses the outcome-based approach in defining the learning outcomes. It follows the traditional building block structure, with basic sciences as focus for the first and second year levels, and progressively building up towards the clinical sciences from second year to clinical clerkship. Although didactic sessions have lectures as the main method of teaching, small group discussions with the use of problem sets, or trigger cases will be used to emphasize the key points that need to be learned. To provide vertical and horizontal integration, special sessions will be incorporated to guide the students in the application of basic principles, and to enhance their skills of analysis, critical thinking and problem-solving.

Cognizant of the school’s responsibilities to the community, the curriculum has been designed to utilize the actual health problems that are encountered in the provinces and towns of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Towards this end, the reports on the profile of the health situations of the province of Ilocos Norte and its surrounding provinces have been obtained from the Department of Health (DOH).

Admission Policies & Selection

Pursuant to the principles of quality and objectivity in the selection and admission of students, the Mariano Marcos State University obliges every applicant to comply with the general requirements set by the Admissions Office and specific to the MD program. However, the MMSU saves the right to refuse admission to any applicant who could not comply with the standards set forth by the University and the MD program. The number of students to be admitted per year and the GWA cut-off are determined by the Dean’s Council, composed of the Dean, Officials of the College, and the Chairpersons of the Basic and Clinical Sciences.

Admission Requirements

1.Qualifications of an Applicant: An applicant for admission in Doctor of medicine Program must meet the following qualifications:

  • Must be a holder of a baccalaureate degree.
  • Must have a have a score of at least fifty (50) in the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT)
  • Must pass the interview administered by the College of Medicine Admissions Committee
  • Must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude
  • Must be physically and psychologically fit

2.Admission Requirements

  • Duly accomplished Application form for Admission (Form available at the College of Medicine/University Registrar)
  • Original Transcript of Records (TOR)
    • For graduates from private Higher Education Institution (HEI), submit TOR validated by CHED Special Order
    • True copy of Diploma or certificate of graduation for those who graduated from public HEI only
    • For graduates of foreign schools, present 2 original copies of the Official Transcript of Records (TOR) duly authenticated by the Philippine Foreign Service Post (PFSP)
  • NMAT result. The College requires an NMAT percentile of at least 50.
  • NSO authenticated Birth Certificate.
  • NSO authenticated Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Certificate of Good Moral Character issued by the Office of Student Affairs or Guidance Counsellor

3.Admission requirements for foreign students

  • Study permit from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
  • Recommendation from the embassy of the student’s country of origin
  • Alien Certificate of Recognition
  • Two original copies of the Official Transcript of Records (TOR) duly authenticated by the Philippine Foreign Service Post (PFSP)
  • Duly authenticated copy of birth certificate and passport by the Philippine embassy
  • Authenticated Police Clearance certificate issued by the national police authorities in the country of origin
  • Notarized affidavit of support with bank statement
  • Four (4) original copies of Personal History Statement (PHS) duly signed by him/her both in English and in his/her national alphabet and stamped with his/her personal seal. PHS forms may be obtained from any Philippine Mission abroad.
  • Six (6) pieces of his original 2” x 2” recently taken photograph with plain white background and his original left and right thumbprints and signature
  • Philippine Bureau of Immigration Clearance
  • Certificate of passing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFEL) or English Language Test (ELT). If the applicant did not take the TOEFL or IELTs, he may opt to undergo a crash program offered by the University prior to application.