Osteopathic Medicine

Although DOs and MDs are alike in most ways they are trained, and may practice, with a slightly different philosophy. According to the American Osteopathic Association, DOs are different from MDs in that:

  • "Osteopathic medical schools emphasize training students to be primary care physicians. DOs practice a "whole person" approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as an integrated whole. Osteopathic physicians focus on preventive health care.
  • DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system-your body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of your body mass. This training provides osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another.
  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is incorporated into the training and practice of osteopathic physicians. With OMT, osteopathic physicians use their hands to diagnose illness and injury and to encourage your body's natural tendency toward good health. By combining all other available medical options with OMT, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today."

Programs

Admission Requirements

  • At least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required but the average for matriculants is about 3.5
  • MCAT is required and the average score for matriculants is about 28
  • The required courses typically include:
    • General Biology with lab - 2 semesters
    • General (Inorganic) Chemistry with lab - 2 semesters
    • Organic Chemistry with lab - 2 semesters
    • Introductory Physics with lab - 2 semesters
    • College English - 2 semesters
    • LECOM also requires 2 semesters of courses in Behavioral Sciences (like Psychology). The math requirement varies but familiarity with Algebra or Statistics is expected. Other recommended courses typically include Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Genetics as well as courses in the Humanities
  • Letters of Evaluation (a pre-medical committee letter is expected if available from the undergraduate institution)
  • Experience (some consistent exposure to the medical field over a few years prior to applying is expected, along with meaningful community service activity)
  • An application submitted via the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service

Timeline

  • The AACOMAS application becomes available each year in May and deadlines for submission vary from October to April depending upon the school
  • The MCAT should be taken by the end of September (although some programs accept scores from the January test dates)
  • All osteopathic medical schools also require a secondary application
  • Interviews generally start in the fall and continue until March or April

Resources