Allopathic and osteopathic doctors (MDs and DOs) may take on numerous roles in their careers, including seeing patients, conducting research, teaching, managing healthcare facilities, and developing healthcare policy, but caring for individuals’ health is at the heart of the profession. MDs and DOs are trained similarly, completing undergraduate medical education (med school) and graduate medical education (residency), and can practice in all of the same settings in the US.
Osteopathic medicine was developed in the 1870s by an allopathic physician who felt there was undue focus on disease at the expense of preventative care and treating illness within the context of the whole body.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) oversee allopathic and osteopathic medical education, respectively, and provide a wealth of information for aspiring physicians.
Course prerequisites often include:
- General Chemistry with lab (2 semesters)
- Organic Chemistry with lab (1 semester)
- Physics with lab (2 semesters)
- Introductory Biology with lab (2 semesters)
- Biochemistry (1 semester)
- Math: 1 semester math, 1 semester statistics
- English (2 semesters)
- Psychology, Sociology (to facilitate MCAT preparation)
For more details: HPA Prehealth Preparation: Academic
Applicants are expected to take the Medical College Admission Test within three years of planned matriculation to medical school (e.g., 2022 for matriculation in 2023 through 2025).
It is essential to gain a real-world perspective on your profession of interest through clinical experience. Beyond that, choose service, research, leadership, and other activities that will help you develop the core competencies valued in entering medical students, including service orientation, cultural competence, and teamwork and communication skills.
- Begin working with HPA in the fall, two years before intended entry (e.g., Fall 2021 for 2023 matriculation).
- Apply in June, about 16 months before intended entry (e.g., June 2022 for 2023 matriculation).
- Apply to most schools through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Application opens in early May for submission in early June. Separate applications to certain schools in Texas (TMDSAS) and Ontario (OMSAS).
- Medical schools prefer/require a committee letter of recommendation. See HPA Application Process: Committee Letter.
- See Application Overview and Timeline for more details
Find a program
For more information
- HPA Career of the Month: Allopathic Medicine, MD (Google Slides, September 2020)
- HPA Career of the Month: Physician Scientist, MD/PhD (Google Slides, December 2021)
- HPA Career of the Month: Osteopathic Medicine (Google Slides, November 2019)
- HPA Career of the Month: Primary Care Medicine (Google Slides, May 2015)
- HPA Career of the Month: Psychiatry (Google Slides, May 2018)
- HPA Career of the Month: Pediatric Medicine (Google Slides, October 2018)
- HPA Career of the Month: Geriatric Medicine (Google Slides, March 2020)
- Association of American Medical Colleges
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
- Doctors that DO
- Introduction to Osteopathic Medicine online course (offered by Rowan SOM)