Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medicine is very similar to allopathic medicine. Like allopathic physicians, osteopathic physicians deal with the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease. They practice preventative medicine and educate their patients. They are licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. Osteopathic medicine’s main difference from allopathic medicine is that it is traditionally concerned with the patient as a whole; it utilizes a “holistic” approach to the practice of medicine in general.

Osteopathic medicine was developed in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Still, M.D., who was concerned with the extensive use of ineffective or harmful medical practices and treatments in allopathic medicine.  He developed osteopathic medicine as a method of treatment that emphasizes the musculoskeletal system and a concern for the human patient as a complete entity. 

General Information

There are 30 osteopathic medical colleges in the U.S. The greatest number of schools is located in the Midwest where osteopathic medicine was established.

Osteopathic medical programs are four years in length and consist of two years of basic science courses and two years of clinical training. Clinical training is composed of clerkships where the student spends time in a clinical setting under the supervision of one or more mentors. After receiving the DO degree, graduates may serve a 12-month internship approved by the American Osteopathic Association. Completion of the internship allows the DO to begin the general practice of medicine. The graduate, however, may apply for entry into specialty training in a variety of MD or DO residency programs ranging from two to six additional years.

Clinical Experience

The American Osteopathic Association maintains a list of the individual state associations.  You should contact the association for your state and ask for a DO who is willing to mentor pre-med students in the your area.

The Massachusetts Association of osteopathic physicians suggests going to the iLearn Mentor Program website which pairs students with DOs, and checking this site to find and call DOs in the area.  You should call a few offices that you find through the websites to ask if they would be willing to have you shadow them.

Application Process

The Application Service, or AACOMAS, is the centralized application service for osteopathic medical schools. Applicants submit a single application to AACOMAS, which then sends a standard applicant packet to each of the medical schools to which you are applying.

Osteopathic schools often require a letter of evaluation from a pre-health advisory committee, rather than several individual letters. Each applicant who seeks a committee letter of evaluation will be interviewed by several members of the Stonehill Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee, who will then condense the comments of science faculty, non-science faculty, and employers, which you will have previously gathered, into a single letter of evaluation to be submitted to optometry schools

If an osteopathic school is seriously considering you for admission, they will most likely request a personal interview.

Entrance Exam

The Medical College Admission Test, MCAT, is required for admission by all U.S. medical schools. During and after medical school, you will have to pass nationally standardized licensure and certification exams. The MCAT is designed to show those candidates who have demonstrated content mastery and proficiency in this kind of testing. Studies have shown that MCAT scores are statistically reliable and valid predictors of academic success in the basic medical sciences in medical school. Some medical schools conduct a preliminary screening based entirely on GPA and MCAT scores as a component of the process of selecting those applicants to be interviewed.

The MCAT is a multiple choice examination that is approximately 7.5 hours long and consists of the following four examinations in order:

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; 59 questions; 95 minutes
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills; 53 questions; 90 minutes
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; 59 questions; 95 minutes
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; 59 questions; 95 minutes
  • Total testing time: 6 hours and 15 minutes

Only an introductory-level knowledge of physics, general chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry is required for the MCAT. However, the test determines how well you can apply this introductory material to problem-solving questions, not simply if you have it memorized. Each section is scored on a scale of 118 to 132. Your combined score will range between 472 to 528.  

MCAT 2015 

Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Math, Stats, & Writing
More information here
Multiple Choice 
7 hr 30 min, which includes breaks and administrative tasks. AM and PM Sessions Available multiple times late January through September Test centers throughout the US and globally www.amc.org/mcat
Prep materials can be found here. $300.00 Financial aid available (discounted to $115.00)
More information here
Scores released 30-35 days after exam
More information here
Scores automatically uploaded to AMCAS Schools may determine how far back they want the score record to go  

The following is a list of undergraduate courses that typically satisfy the prerequisites for osteopathic medical programs:Suggested Coursework

  • Chemistry with lab (1 year)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab* (1 semester)
  • Biology with lab (1 year)
  • Physics with lab (1 year)
  • English (1 year)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics, Behavioral Sciences, and Statistics are also strongly recommended.

 * Biochemistry majors may take Organic Chemistry I  & Inorganic Chemistry (8 credits – CHM 221 & 244)


American Osteopathic Association (AOA)

142 East Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(800) 621-1773

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)

5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 310
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301) 968-4100

Khan Academy MCAT 2015 Test Content Videos


Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (MCAT2015), Fourth Edition*

*A free copy of this guide is available in the Office of Career Services in the Kruse Center, Cushing-Martin Hall.  You may visit the office to check out the guide to determine if you would like to purchase your own copy or not.