Best Osteopathic Medical Schools – DO Acceptance Rates – 2024

December 7, 2023

best osteopathic schools acceptance rate

If you’re aspiring to become a future healthcare practitioner, your journey to becoming a physician takes you through the doors of osteopathic medical schools. These institutions provide you with a unique perspective on patient care, seamlessly blending traditional medical sciences with a specialized focus on the musculoskeletal system and manual therapies. In this article, we’ll explore the distinctive features of osteopathic medical school programs, shedding light on their philosophies, admission statistics, and the specialized training they offer for individuals like you who are on the path to becoming healthcare professionals.


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What is the Difference Between an MD and a DO?

In the United States, physicians can pursue education through either allopathic or osteopathic medicine. Those with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree have typically graduated from an allopathic medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the Association of American Medical Colleges (LCME). Conversely, individuals with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree have attended an osteopathic medical school accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.

Regarding medical philosophy, MDs and DOs approach examination, diagnosis, and treatment differently. MDs practice allopathic medicine, relying on medications and surgery for treatment, along with specific tests and procedures for diagnosis. In contrast, DOs practice osteopathic medicine, emphasizing holistic treatment of the body rather than addressing individual conditions. They may incorporate osteopathic manipulative treatments in addition to conventional allopathic tools.

Despite the differences in medical philosophies, there are numerous similarities between MDs and DOs, including:

  • Attending a four-year accredited medical school.
  • Using proven scientific facts to diagnose and treat patients.
  • Being able to practice medicine throughout the U.S.
  • Writing medical prescriptions.
  • Specializing in a particular field of medicine.

However, there are also noteworthy distinctions. MD programs outnumber DO programs fourfold, resulting in a 9:1 ratio of MD to DO physicians in the U.S. MDs often specialize and work in more densely populated areas, while DOs commonly pursue primary care roles in less populated regions. Additionally, MD and DO physicians must pass different licensing exams to practice medicine.

Is it Hard to Get into Osteopathic Medical Schools?

The difficulty in gaining admission to osteopathic medical schools is influenced by several factors, one being the limited number of available spots compared to allopathic medical schools. Osteopathic programs represent a smaller subset within the broader medical education landscape. Just take a look at MD versus DO programs in California, for example. While there has been a consistent growth in the number of osteopathic medical schools over the years, they still lag behind their allopathic counterparts. The inherently smaller capacity creates a more competitive environment for prospective students seeking admission.

Osteopathic medical schools have garnered increased popularity for several reasons, contributing to the heightened competition for available spots. One notable factor is the distinctive philosophy and approach to patient care that osteopathic medicine emphasizes. The holistic perspective, focusing on treating the whole person rather than just symptoms, resonates with a growing number of individuals aspiring to pursue a healthcare career. As society places a greater emphasis on patient-centered care and preventive medicine, the osteopathic approach aligns with evolving healthcare trends.

Additionally, the rising popularity of osteopathic programs can be attributed to the broader recognition and acceptance of osteopathic medicine within the medical community. Osteopathic physicians are increasingly integrated into various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and research institutions. This integration has led to a greater understanding and acceptance of the unique skill set and holistic principles that DOs bring to the medical field.

Furthermore, the osteopathic emphasis on hands-on techniques, such as osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), distinguishes these programs. Students interested in a more integrative and patient-centered approach to medicine are drawn to osteopathic schools, adding to the overall appeal and contributing to the heightened competition for admission.

What is the Application Process Like?

Whether you’re seeking admission to MD or DO programs, the academic and extracurricular prerequisites remain consistent. Essential requirements include obtaining a bachelor’s degree, completing the MCAT, and engaging in pertinent extracurricular activities such as research, volunteering, or lab work. The application process for both MD and DO programs involves submitting a comprehensive application, seeking letters of recommendation, crafting a personal statement, addressing supplementary essays, and preparing for interviews. DO applicants, in particular, submit their applications through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS).

Despite these shared elements, nuances exist in the approach to letters of recommendation and the personal statement. DO programs mandate two recommendation letters—one from a science faculty member and another from a medical doctor, with a preference for osteopathic practitioners.

Irrespective of the program, your personal statement must tackle two pivotal questions: Why pursue medical school, and what qualifies you for admission? This essay should reflect on past experiences, highlighting the skills and qualities acquired. Crucially, crafting a personal statement for osteopathic medical schools involves demonstrating how these experiences align with the principles of osteopathic medicine.

For applicants considering both MD and DO programs, it’s permissible to draft a unified personal statement and subsequently modify it. However, a concerted effort is essential to make the personal statement distinctly resonate with osteopathic programs. Avoid incorporating generic terms like “holistic” and “comprehensive,” despite their relevance to osteopathic philosophy. Admissions reviewers can discern attempts to adapt an MD-oriented personal statement to DO requirements. Every facet of your application, from letters of recommendation to the personal statement, should be individually tailored for each type of medical school.

What is Osteopathic Medical School Like?

In actuality, there is little distinction between allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. Both programs have a duration of four years. The initial two years are dedicated to classroom instruction, covering subjects such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, immunology, pathology, and pharmacology. Termed as “pre-clerkship” or “pre-clinical” years, this period establishes the foundational knowledge essential for success in clinical rotations during the subsequent third and fourth years.

In addition to clinical rotations, DO students are obliged to fulfill up to 200 hours of manipulation training, concentrating on the musculoskeletal system. This training imparts manual therapy and manipulation techniques, serving as a diagnostic and treatment method that extends beyond the scope of traditional MD programs.

Throughout their medical education, both MD and DO students undergo examinations, the successful completion of which qualifies them to obtain their medical license. MD students undertake the three-part United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Meanwhile, DO students can opt for either the USMLE or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX), depending on the specific requirements of their school.

Osteopathic Medical School Admission Statistics – Acceptance Rate, MCAT, and GPA

School Acceptance Rate MCAT Score GPA
1) Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine 2.4% 504 3.54
2) Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine 2.7% 510 3.63
3) Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – New York 2.7% 507 3.4
4) Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific 2.9% 508 3.65
5) Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California 2.9% 507 3.51
6) University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine 3% 502 3.61
7) Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine 3.2% 505 3.47
8) West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine 3.7% 502 3.54
9) Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences 3.8% 500 3.6
10) New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine 3.9% 506 3.5
11) Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine 3.9% 505 3.57
12) Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine 4% 505 3.6
13) William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine 4.1% 500 3.5
14) A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine 4.2% 504 3.69

Best Osteopathic Schools + Acceptance Rates (Continued)

15) Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 4.2% 506 3.5
16) Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine 4.2% 506 3.5
17) Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 4.4% 505 3.64
18) Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine 5% 504 3.65
19) University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine 5% 504 3.57
20) A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona 5.3% 505 3.45
21) Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine 5.5% 504 3.65
22) Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine 5.5% 507 3.7
23) Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine 6% 509 3.57
24) Pacific Northwest University of Health and Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine 6.8% 504 3.5
25) Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine 7.5% 507 3.53
26) Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine 8% 507 3.54
27) Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine 9.1% 507 3.64
28) Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine 9.4% 506 3.55
29) University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine 11.6% 507 3.71
30) University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine 13.6% n/a n/a
31) Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine 14% 501 3.5
32) Lincoln Memorial University Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine 14% 501 3.4
33) Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine 14% 505 3.49
34) Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine 14% 505 3.49
35) Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine 14.6% 505 n/a
36) California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine n/a 507 3.5
37) Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine n/a 503 3.42
38) Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine n/a 506 3.69

Choosing an Osteopathic Medical School – Next Steps

As you contemplate your choice of osteopathic medical school, it is imperative to consider various factors that align with your goals and values. Beyond the competitive admissions landscape, assess whether the school’s philosophy resonates with your personal approach to patient care and healthcare ideals. Delve into the integration of osteopathic principles, the availability of hands-on training opportunities, and the institution’s standing within the medical community. Scrutinize the curriculum, clinical rotations, and support services to gain a comprehensive understanding of the educational experience. Ultimately, your decision should be a thoughtful reflection of your professional aspirations, learning preferences, and the distinctive features that each osteopathic medical school offers, ensuring a rewarding and successful journey through medical education.