Osteopathy is a distinctive form of medical practice that uses all modalities of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. A Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health education, injury prevention and disease prevention. DOs are often a part of a general or specialized practice.
Pre-Requisite Course Work
Pre-requisite courses for osteopathic medicine are similar to those for a regular medical school. Again, you can major in any discipline you choose, but you must fulfill the minimum course prerequisite requirements before applying to schools of Osteopathic Medicine. Prerequisite course work for osteopathy MUST include the following courses. Be aware that many of these courses require that you have had college level algebra (Math 113) and other prerequisites.
- One year of inorganic chemistry with lab (Chem 150 and lab; Chem 151 and lab)
- One year of basic biology with lab (Bio 106 and lab; Bio 113 and lab)
- One year of basic physics with lab (Phys 201 and lab; Phys 202 and lab OR Phys 217 and 218) Most osteopathic schools do not require calculus-based physics, and the MCAT exam is not calculus-based physics.
- One year of organic chemistry with lab (Chem 250 and lab; Chem 251 and lab)
- A number of schools also require coursework in calculus or college-level math, behavioral science (psychology), the humanities (especially English composition), and computers. Some more competitive schools require advanced-level science courses such as biochemistry, genetics, and cell and molecular biology, especially for students who meet basic requirements through high school advanced placement credits.
- A baccalaureate degree (120 hours total; 45 hours of upper division work; general education requirements; requirements for major and/or minor).
- Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT)
Application Procedures & Timelines
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) offers prospective students a convenient, centralized application service on-line for accredited osteopathic medical schools. Through AACOM's Application Service (AACOMAS), students can file one electronic application then AACOMAS verifies and distributes the information to each of the colleges designated by the applicant. Each school has its own application deadline, with the earliest in November, most around February 1, and some as late as April 30. This process also requires that you take the MCAT in the summer before your senior year in order to meet the earliest application deadlines. After schools receive your AACOMAS application materials, they may ask you for secondary applications (see Medical School process). Most schools are on a rolling admission basis, and some offer "early decision" programs. By applying early on-line, you are assured your materials will be processed in a timely manner and not subject to delays.