2 minute read

Osteopathic Medicine

Educational Data

In the United States, there are presently 19 osteopathic colleges. The establishment of colleges of osteopathic medicine is being discussed in other areas of the country. In a recent year, the present 19 colleges admitted about 2,500 freshmen out of an applicant pool of about 9,500. Students from six states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Texas, and Iowa — made up the largest segment of the enrollment of the first-year classes. The grade point average of the class was about 3.3 (where 4.0 = A). This is a somewhat lower average than that for the entering class at conventional medical schools. Thus borderline premedical students who are intrinsically qualified should seek to secure places in osteopathic medical schools.

Admissions committees are putting increased emphasis on grade point average, recommendations, and interviews, and less emphasis on test scores. The committees seek the same general characteristics in prospective students as allopathic medical schools (such as dependability, maturity, integrity), but they also look for special interest in and motivation to study osteopathic medicine. Letters of recommendation from osteopathic physicians (and even students) adequately acquainted with applicants can be helpful.

The number of women in a recent freshman class was about 40% of the total enrollment. This is relatively similar to the proportion of women enrolled in allopathic medical school. The number of entering students having less than four years of undergraduate education was a small percentage of the total entering class. This clearly reflects the fact that both osteopathic and allopathic medical schools still feel that the fourth year in the undergraduate college is desirable.

The average age of entering osteopathic students has been 24 years (range: 20–42); this is somewhat higher than for those accepted in allopathic medical schools. It may be because many matriculants were motivated to enter this field after exposure to related community service careers. Among the older freshmen, many have backgrounds in teaching, allied health fields, and research. As with the allopathic schools, applicants over 28 need not expect to have special difficulties in gaining admission. The basic science course requirements for admission to osteopathic schools are the same as those for allopathic schools. The majority of freshmen, as would be expected, were biology or chemistry majors and almost all of them took the MCAT.

The curriculum at an osteopathic school is almost identical with that offered at the allopathic schools. Study is divided into basic science and clinical science training. There is a required course in the basic theory and practice of osteopathic medicine. The philosophy of osteopathic medicine, with its emphasis on total health care, is incorporated where appropriate into the standard courses. Curriculum revision in line with that taking place at allopathic schools is also occurring at osteopathic schools.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesGuide to Medical & Dental SchoolsOsteopathic Medicine - Basic Philosophy, Choosing Osteopathic Medicine, Osteopathic Education, Training, And Certification, Educational Data