Osteopathic Medical Schools: Is DO MD’s Brother from Another Mother?

What Is an Osteopathic Medical School?

So by now, you have probably noticed osteopathic medical schools or DO medical schools. What are they? Well, they are medical schools which offer a DO degree instead of a MD degree.

Should you apply to osteopathic schools? Definitely.

I actually attend a DO medical school.

What Is the Difference Between MD and DO?

So what exactly is an osteopathic doctor and how is that different from a medical doctor?

Simply put, there isn’t a big difference. Whatever a MD can do, the DO can do too. They both practice medicine in the same specialties — from family medicine to endocrinology to dermatology.

There may be a bigger percentage of DO students who want to go into general medicine (myself included), but there are also many of them who want to specialize. In fact, most of my friends want specialize.

osteopathic medical schools - DO or MD?

Mr. Onionhead is also confused about DO and MD schools. Which one should he pick?

Pros of Studying Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic students have two advantages over traditional medical students.

  1. The first advantage is that DO students learn osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). OMT is a type of manual treatment that fixes patients’ disease by fixing their muscles and bones (musculoskeletal system). In a sense, the OMT is helping the body to heal itself. This opens up a field of medicine that is pretty much only for osteopathic doctors.
  2. The second advantage is that DO students can apply to both DO and MD residencies while traditional medical students can only apply to MD residencies. Again, this results in more opportunities for osteopathic students.

Cons of Studying Osteopathic Medicine

The main disadvantage of a DO degree is that it is not as well known as a MD degree. When you’re practicing, you may get questions from patients about your degree.

In addition, some MD residencies (especially the very competitive ones) will require the DO student to take the USMLE. So basically, the DO student will have to jump through an extra hurdle compared to the MD student when applying to very competitive MD residencies.

Inside Information for Osteopathic Medical Schools — Free!

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) is kind enough to provide a free electronic book on the admissions criteria of all the osteopathic medical schools. It is the osteopathic equivalent of the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR). If you are applying to DO medical schools, I would strongly recommend that you download the book. Between this book and the MRSA, you will have all the admissions requirements and statistics for all US medical schools.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, the advantages of attending DO medical schools outweigh the disadvantages. On a personal note, I am very happy attending an osteopathic medical school and I know many of my peers feel the say way.

More About Osteopathic Medical Schools

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Class in Medical School
This section will detail my personal experience and feelings about osteopathic medicine so far. If you want a better understanding of what OMT is or if you want to learn how to do well in OMT class, definitely check this out.

This article is part of the Get into Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about getting accepted into medical school.


  1. Could you make a post regarding the average admission stats for osteopathic medical schools?

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