What are DO Schools? [Admissions, Top Schools, + Full List]

What Are DO Schools? [Admissions, Top Schools, + Full List]

medschoolcoach

Posted in: Applying to Medical School

Table of Contents

Over the last decade, the number of enrolled osteopathic medical students has risen by 77% in the United States. The holistic approach to healthcare and the preventative philosophy of DO schools is becoming increasingly attractive for prospective med students.

What is an osteopathic physician? An osteopathic physician is a medical doctor that received their education from an osteopathic college. They are Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) rather than MDs (medical doctors) and hold equal status to MDs as physicians.

As you prepare your school lists, you too may be drawn to DO programs. There are now 40 different DO colleges with American Osteopathic Association accreditation. These schools have 64 site locations across the US.

What Are DO Schools?

DO Schools, or colleges of osteopathic medicine, offer programs for training students to become Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Unlike their MD counterparts, DOs are trained with an emphasis on treating the whole person.

Pre-med students apply to DO schools via AACOMAS. The medical school application process is fairly similar between AACOMAS and AMCAS (the application for MD programs).

The medical training between allopathic (MD) medical schools and osteopathic medical schools is, for the most part, the same. Both schools are traditionally four-year programs that teach students how to treat patients, prescribe medications, and perform procedures.

What is the difference between an MD and DO school? An MD school has a greater focus on diagnosing and treating diseases, while DO schools integrate holistic approaches, emphasizing primary care, wellness, and the body’s ability to heal.

In addition to this philosophical difference between allopathic and osteopathic medicine, DO schools require 200 hours of training in osteopathic manipulative medicine in addition to the regular curriculum.

What are the tuition fees for DO schools? Tuition fees for DO schools in 2022-2023 ranged from a little over $13,000 for in-state tuition at one Texas school to over $60,000 per year nationally.

Reasons to Choose Osteopathic Medical Schools

Your personal views and future goals as a physician will play a role in choosing what type of medical school to attend. There are a number of reasons to choose a DO school over an MD school.

  1. Whole-Person Approach — You may align better with the osteopathic approach of addressing the whole person rather than the symptoms of a patient.
  2. Preventative Medicine — Should you choose a DO school, you will learn how to help patients with preventative care, avoiding illness and injury in the future.
  3. Focus on Primary Care57% of DO graduates practice in primary care fields. If you know this is the specialty for you, consider a DO program.
  4. GPA and MCAT Requirements — DO schools have slightly lower minimum requirements, on average, for pre-med GPA and MCAT scores. If your scores are low-to-average and you’re set on continuing your medical education immediately, DO schools may be a good option.
  5. Desire to Serve — Osteopathic schools often emphasize the importance of community commitment. They are a good choice if you have the desire to work in underserved communities, particularly to educate your patients on improving overall wellness (such as lifestyle and dietary guidelines).

Our Physician Advisors can help you stand out among medical school applicants.

Database of DO Schools in the United States

Osteopathic Medical College Acronym State GPA MCAT
Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine ACOM AL 3.47 504
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Auburn Campus VCOM-Auburn AL 3.7 502
Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine ARCOM AR 3.5 500
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University NYITCOM at Arkansas State AR 3.62 506
A.T. Still University – School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona ATSU-SOMA AZ 3.45 505
Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University AZCOM AZ 3.53 507
California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine CHSU-COM CA 3.5 507
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine RVUCOM CO 3.55 506
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine – Melbourne Burrell COM-Melbourne FL 3.7 502
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bradenton Campus LECOM Bradenton FL 3.5 503
Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine NSU-KPCOM FL 3.6 504
Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine – Clearwater NSU-KPCOM Clearwater FL 3.6 504
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus PCOM Georgia GA 3.5 505
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine South Georgia PCOM South Georgia GA 3.5 505
Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine DMU-COM IA 3.57 509
Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine ICOM ID 3.56 505
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University CCOM IL 3.63 510
Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine MU-COM IN 3.65 504
Kansas Health Science Center- Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine KansasCOM KS
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Louisiana Campus VCOM-Louisiana LA 3.7 502
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine MSUCOM MI 3.57 507
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Clinton Township MSUCOM Clinton Township MI 3.57 507
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Detroit MSUCOM Detroit MI 3.57 507
A.T. Still University – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine ATSU-KCOM MO 3.69 504
Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine KCU-Kansas City MO 3.64 507
Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Joplin KCU-Joplin MO 3.64 507
Montana College of Osteopathic Medicine RVU-MCOM MT 3.54 504
Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine CUSOM NC 3.6 505
Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine Rowan-Virtua SOM NJ 3.57 505
Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine Sewell Campus Rowan-Virtua SOM Sewell NJ 3.57 505
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine Burrell COM NM 3.7 502
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine – Elmira LECOM Elmira NY 3.5 503
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine NYITCOM Long Island NY 3.62 506
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine OU-HCOM OH 3.68 504
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine – Cleveland OU-HCOM Cleveland OH 3.68 504
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine – Dublin OU-HCOM Dublin OH 3.68 504
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine OSU-COM OK 3.6 500
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine – Tahlequah OSUCOM Tahlequah OK 3.6 500
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine LECOM PA 3.5 503
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine – Seton Hill LECOM Seton Hill PA 3.5 503
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine PCOM PA 3.5 505
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Campus VCOM-Carolinas SC 3.7 502
Baptist Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine BHSU-COM TN
Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine LMU-DCOM TN 3.4 501
Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine – Knoxville DCOM at LMU-Knoxville TN 3.4 501
Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine Noorda COM UT
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine – Southern Utah Campus RVUCOM Southern Utah UT 3.55 506
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Virginia Campus VCOM-Virginia VA 3.7 502
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine LUCOM VA 3.4 503
Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine PNWU-COM WA 3.5 504
Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine SHSU-COM TX 3.69 506
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – Harlem TouroCOM-Harlem NY 3.47 506
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – Middletown TouroCOM-Middletown NY 3.48 503
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – Montana TouroCOM-Montana MT
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California TUCOM-CA CA 3.56 509
Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine TUNCOM NV 3.54 507
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine UNE COM ME 3.46 504
University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine UNTHSC/ TCOM TX 3.63 506
University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine UP-KYCOM KY 3.5 500
University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine UIWSOM TX 3.61 502
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine WVSOM WV 3.54 502
Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific WesternU/ COMP CA 3.65 508
Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific – Northwest WesternU/ COMP-Northwest OR 3.65 508
William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine WCUCOM MS 3.4 500

Top 10 DO Schools in the U.S.

University of North Texas Health Science Center

This Texas school is one of the highest-ranked medical schools for primary care. TCOM was awarded the highest level of accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, the 10-year Accreditation with Exceptional OutcomeIt. It also has the lowest tuition rate for DO schools at $13,079 for in-state residents. Because this school is in Texas you will have to apply through TMDSAS. There is no specified minimum for MCAT scores or GPA, but this school can be very competitive because it only allows 10% of the seats to be from non-Texas residents.

University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine

Not only is the University of Pikeville Kentucky located in the beautiful Appalachian mountains, but it is also one of the top five most affordable private medical schools. The curriculum here prepares students for primary care residencies and teaches patient-centered care while using the most up-to-date technologies. This university also tries to support med students with fewer financial resources by offering a Student Advantage Program separate from federal financial aid.

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

This college is one of the largest and most affordable osteopathic colleges. Lake Erie has campuses in Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York. They offer varied learning pathways, including traditional lecture-based, problem-based, independent study for first-year and second-year students, and a pathway created for primary care scholars. LECOM also offers the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited residencies in family medicine, orthopedic surgery, psychiatry, pharmacy, and podiatry.

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Situated in Athens, Ohio, this college focuses on rural medicine and primary care. It has partnerships with leading healthcare systems for clinical training. In 2023, this school boasted a 98% match rate for residents. There are 29 available teaching hospitals that third and fourth-year students have the opportunity to work in. Additionally, Heritage offers dual degree programs, like a DO/PhD, if you want to become a medical scientist.

We can help you match with the residency of your choice with comprehensive coaching.

William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine

With a focus on continuous learning, research, service, and hands-on clinical experience, this school teaches students with a community-centric educational approach. WCU is consistently ranked as a top school in the South. 

Their graduates are dedicated to addressing the healthcare necessities of all, especially focusing on the medically underserved and diverse groups in local, national, and global communities.

Western University of Health Sciences

WesternU integrates principles of biomedical ethics and a humanistic approach into its curriculum. At this school, you will learn to become a culturally sensitive professional while the faculty nurtures your passion for healing. 

WesternU also has an Interprofessional Education program that promotes an understanding of other health professions for better collaboration in healthcare settings.

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Ranking #71 in the U.S. News best medical schools for primary care and #111 for research is Michigan State University. This school is renowned for research, community outreach, and producing skilled practitioners. 

They have an extensive clinical rotation network, too, for hands-on training.

Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

If you have a hard time with lecture-structured learning, the curriculum tracks at Rowan may be for you. Programs here focus on small groups, standardized patient encounters to learn patient care, simulators, and community primary care. 

This school has affiliations with large hospitals, such as Jefferson Health Stratford Hospital and Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, to provide extensive clinical experience.

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

Ranked one of the best medical schools for serving rural areas and underserved areas, this college’s mission is to educate students to become community-focused physicians. 

Preliminary numbers for the 2023 Match show a near 100% match rate for VCOM students. 

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

WVSOM is one of the best schools for making a difference in the lives of rural Appalachia. This school has been on the U.S. News rankings for 24 consecutive years. 

While many DO schools are geared toward primary care, WVSOM boasts many former students who have matched into specialties like neurology, orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, and more. 

How to Choose the Right DO School for You

To select a DO school to apply through via AACOMAS, consider these factors:

  • Competitiveness — While the minimum requirements for getting into a DO school may be lower, that doesn’t mean they are easier to get into.
  • Location — There aren’t as many DO schools compared to MD schools. Location options are limited because of this.
  • Salary —  Statistically DO physicians have lower annual salaries than their MD counterparts.
  • Rankings — When paired up against all medical schools, DO schools are lower in the U.S. News ranking table for medical schools. However, when looking at primary care programs specifically, you’ll find five osteopathic schools on that list. 

Choosing a medical school is an important decision for an aspiring physician. There are several misconceptions about DO schools and osteopathic medicine. Often, people don’t understand that a DO and MD are both medically trained, licensed physicians.

DOs are also thought to be only primary care physicians. This isn’t true. DOs can be found in many other specialties. 

Now that the National Resident Matching Program has merged MD and DO graduates together, the match rate for DO students into residencies has increased. 

Many of the common misconceptions about DOs are changing as osteopathic medicine’s popularity increases. There are still some considerations to keep in mind when deciding on a DO med school.

Is osteopathic medical school harder than allopathic medical school?

Osteopathic schools aren’t necessarily harder than MD programs, but there are a few more hoops to jump through, such as learning OMM and taking an additional set of board exams. Still, both DO and MD programs are academically rigorous. 

Before 2015, it was more difficult to match with a residency as a DO student. However, in the many years since, DO and MD students participate in the same residency Match.

A viral Reddit thread on this topic found that many DO students found their education to be more time-consuming than MD students with the addition of OMM and an extra board exam. Commenters also underscored the stigma of the “DO” title as a factor in their perspective, despite the fact that it is quite literally equal to an MD title.

Becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

The route to becoming an osteopathic physician starts during your pre-med studies. These schools tend to have slightly lower minimum requirements, but there are fewer DO programs than MD programs, so they are still equally as competitive.

When applying to DO schools, you will use AACOMAS. You are still required to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation from professors and mentors, a work and activities section, and a personal statement.

Once you have completed a DO program, you will be required to take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) to become a licensed medical doctor. Doctors can then pursue residency through the National Resident Matching Program.

Make Your AACOMAS Application Stand Out

DO schools are looking for well-rounded applicants with a demonstrated passion for community and whole-person care. This pathway provides a different perspective on medicine, patient care, and the healing capabilities of the body. 

Whether you are hoping to become a primary care physician or just drawn to the osteopathic philosophy, MedSchoolCoach can help you stand out.

Picture of Renee Marinelli, MD

Renee Marinelli, MD

Dr. Marinelli has practiced family medicine, served on the University of California Admissions Committee, and has helped hundreds of students get into medical school. She spearheads a team of physician advisors who guide MedSchoolCoach students.

Recent Blog Posts

View All Posts
The Arizona State Flag

Medical Schools in Arizona

Check our our list of the medical schools in Arizona to find median GPA and MCAT, and tuition rates to[...]

calendar-icon October 22, 2023
man playing chess

What Top Tier Medical Schools Look For in Applicants

In 2007, nearly 70% of high school students who graduated went onto college. But, getting into a great school is[...]

calendar-icon March 21, 2019
ChatGPT and AI Impact on Medical School Applicants

ChatGPT & Medical School Admissions: What Applicants Need to Know About AI

In a round table discussion, medical school admissions deans Dr. Leila Amiri from the University of Vermont Larner College of[...]

calendar-icon April 21, 2023

Guidebooks

View all guidebooks
The Pre-Med Journey

The Pre-Med Journey: What it Takes to Get into Medical School

Thinking about applying to medical school? Discover what high school students need to know about obtaining a career in medicine.

Download
Successfully Planning for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK

Successfully Planning for the USMLE Step 1 and 2 CK

Get ready for the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 with this free guide to study planning and resource utilization.

Download
100 MCAT Study Tips

100 MCAT Study Tips

Taking the MCAT? These 100 tips and tricks will help you ace the MCAT.

Download

Happy April Fool’s Day from MedSchoolCoach!


While mastering sleep-learning is still a dream, MCAT Go helps you study for the MCAT while you are awake. Listen to MCAT Go for free (a $99 value) by entering your email below to receive an exclusive discount code. This ain’t no joke.