Applying to medical school, including choosing which schools you’ll apply to — the average pre-med applies to 16 schools — involves tons of research, a realistic look at your credentials, and a little bit of dreaming. If you’re trying to decide whether to apply to MD (allopathic) or DO (osteopathic) schools, or maybe you’re applying for both, you’ll want more information on the differences and similarities between these approaches to medical care, as well as more information of the best osteopathic medical schools for you.
Osteopathic medicine’s traditional principles and practices, especially the focus on patient-centered, preventive care, are becoming part of many health care system reform efforts. Because of this, the number of students applying to osteopathic medical school has almost doubled in the last decade. Last year, more than 21,000 aspiring physicians applied to become osteopathic medical students (compared to about 11,000 in 2007-08). The good news for you as a pre-med is that pursuing a career as a DO is a great choice. At the same time, osteopathic medical schools are becoming much more competitive with the influx of applicants. In 2019, there were only 35 DO degree granting medical schools in the United States.
Typically, a DO will be need to pass the COMLEX to obtain their own license to practice medicine. The job outlook for Osteopathic Doctors is expected to rise from roughly 311,300 positions in 2019 to over 470,900 positions by 2032. Here are some of the best osteopathic medical schools in the United States.
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The American Academy of Family Physicians ranks DMU as a top school for family medicine and COMLEX level 3 scores for DMU students have ranked number one in the nation. The school’s seniors also benefit from five consecutive years of nearly 100% residency placement. DMU prepares students to become primary care physicians or to practice in specialty areas such as surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, cardiology, psychiatry, emergency medicine and others. To be a competitive applicant for the school’s 218 seats, you’ll need to target a GPA of around 3.56 and an MCAT score of 507.
At VCOM, students can study in Blacksburg, Virgina, Spartanburg, South Carolina, or Auburn, Alabama. The school’s programs train several hundred entering aspiring DOs, with median GPA and MCAT score for accepted students sitting at 3.62 and 501 respectively. More than 90% of VCOM seniors match into their first choice specialty. A major focus within VCOM’s mission is to assist the rural and medically underserved populations in the Appalachian Region. VCOM’s goal is to recruit and graduate students who will address health care disparities in these areas through primary care practices.
The Marian University College of Osteopathic welcomed its first class in August 2013. MU-COM is the only osteopathic medical school in the nation at a Catholic University and is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. After completing the first two years of biomedical sciences and clinical skills courses, you’ll begin rotations through the third and fourth year. During the third year, you will rotate through a number of primary care and specialty care clinical settings including family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, and multiple others in rural, suburban, and urban environments. The fourth year will be spent completing remaining CORE rotations and specialty elective rotations, which give students an opportunity to rotate at hospitals where you’d like to complete a residency. It will also give you many opportunities to complete specialty, subspecialty, and/or clinical internship rotations. The entering fall 2018 DO class had a total GPA average of 3.65, a science GPA of 3.58, and an MCAT average of 504. All are above the national average for entering DO students.
MSUCOM welcomes more than 300 students into the DO program each year. Entering students have a median science GPA of 3.7 and a median MCAT score of 507. The school teaches its first- and second-year students at three sites to facilitate access and provide a variety of experiences. Two-thirds of these students are on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, and one-third is split fairly evenly between the Macomb University Center in Clinton Township and the Detroit Medical Center downtown. Not only that, but MSUCOM collaborates with 45 hospitals and around 30 Federally Qualified Health Centers. A majority of the school’s graduates stay in the state to practice patient-centered care in almost all of Michigan’s 83 counties, and half practice primary care.
Located in Stratford, New Jersey, more than 5,000 students applied to RowanSOM and only 325 were accepted. Close to one fifth of all RowanSOM students from underrepresented minority populations. The school’s graduates enjoy a 100% placement rate, with most going into internal medicine, family medicine, or pediatrics. RowanSOM looks for candidates with a median overall GPA of 3.5+, a median science GPA of 3.3+, and an average MCAT score of 505.
Located on the oceanfront in Biddeford, Maine, UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine ranked in the top 10 medical schools where graduates are most likely to match with their first choice residency program. It is the number one provider of physicians for the entire state of Maine. More than 60% of graduates that practice in primary care disciplines such as Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics. The Graduating Class of 2021 came in with an average overall GPA of 3.63, science GPA of 3.6, and an average MCAT Score of 504. Third-year rotations are at Clinical Campuses throughout the Northeast. Each student will complete the following rotations: Internal Medicine (12 weeks), Family Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery, and Community Health (6 weeks each). Fourth-year electives include four weeks of internal medicine subspecialty, four weeks of surgery subspecialty, four weeks of emergency medicine, four weeks of osteopathic manipulative medicine.
University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine includes the preparation of its graduates for competency in the world of primary care medicine. All graduates of the KYCOM Classes of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 have obtained residency placements in graduate medical education programs offered by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Accreditation Council for Graduate Education Education (ACGME), or by the military. Core Rotation requirements at KYCOM include Family Medicine, Women’s Health, and pediatrics. The Pikeville, Kentucky school has 142 seats for incoming DO students.
The average age of WVSOM students is 27, making this a friendly school for aspiring physicians who might be coming from a more non-traditional route. The school received over 5,000 applications and chose to interview about 10%. WVSOM is also known for its efforts in Rural, Family, and Primary Care Medicine, including being number 1 in providing primary care physicians for West Virginia and top in the nation among all medical schools graduating physicians who practice in rural areas. Close to 70% of 2014-2017 graduates entered primary care residencies. The 2019 entering class of 200 students had median a median GPA of 3.51 and an average MCAT score of 501.
Pomona, California and Lebanon, Oregon welcome a student body made up of 326 enrolled aspiring physicians in the DO program. The class of 2023 received more than 10,300 applications and interviewed 948 students, making this a highly competitive program. The average student is 25.5 years old, and came in with a science GPA of 3.61 and an MCAT score of 507. Service-learning projects are an integral part of your first year of medical education. In your second year, you will have numerous opportunities to continue community service activities.
Located in quaint Hattiesburg, Mississippi, WCU saw 80% of its seniors match into a primary care specialty and only 0.3% didn’t match. Using a community-based training model, the WCU looks to educate and train graduates who are committed to serving the healthcare needs of all individuals, with special attention directed to the medically underserved.