Physicians (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.
Physicians train in two types of medical schools: allopathic (granting the MD degree) and osteopathic (granting the DO degree). 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. 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.
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.
There is no required or recommended major. Premedical students pursue their major alongside medical school prerequisites that often include:
- General Chemistry with lab (2 semesters)
- Organic Chemistry with lab (1 semester)
- Physics with lab (2 semesters)
- General Biology with lab (2 semesters)
- Biochemistry (1 semester)
- Math: 1 semester math, 1 semester statistics
- English (2 semesters)
- Psychology, Sociology (to facilitate MCAT preparation)
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.
- 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).
- 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 AMCAS (MD) and AACOMAS (DO) primary (common) applications. Application opens in early May for submission in May/June. Separate applications to Texas and Ontario.
- Medical schools prefer/require a committee letter of recommendation.
Find a Program
AAMC Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR)
A searchable database to explore US allopathic medical schools. Additional information available for an annual subscription fee (subscription included with AAMC Fee Assistance Program).
AACOM Choose DO Explorer
A searchable database to explore US osteopathic (DO) medical schools.
HPA Career of the Month
MD Matriculant Profiles
do not lose sight of the values that motivate you, and be open to changes in your "plan"
"Being imperfect is a strength that allows you the opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone and show true grit and dedication towards the pursuit of becoming a physician."
"Exploring what lies outside of the path to medical school will not only deepen and colour your experiences making you a better candidate, but also enrich the unique time you have as an undergraduate at Princeton."
"You can only do college once, so do things that are important to you."
For more information
AACOM Choose DO resources
The Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) oversees osteopathic medical education