DO school requirements are nearly identical to medical school requirements for MD programs, with some notable exceptions. Also, your approach to meeting DO school requirements may look different than they will when applying to MD schools. If you’re apply to both DO and MD schools, be sure to check all the requirements to ensure you have the materials, experience and accomplishments you need for both! In this blog, we’ll look at the 9 DO school requirements you need to know, and tips on how to meet them.

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Article Contents
7 min read

List of DO School Requirements Education Prerequisites GPA MCAT Personal Qualities Letters of Recommendation Altus Suite Residency Background Check FAQs

List of DO School Requirements

Here are the osteopathic medical school admission requirements (MSAR) you need to know!

  1. Bachelor’s degree
  2. Medical school prerequisites
  3. Medical school GPA requirements
  4. MCAT
  5. Personal qualities/DO school application
  6. Medical school recommendation letters
  7. Altus Suite assessment
  8. Residency requirements (in-state vs. out-of-state)
  9. Criminal background check

DO School Requirement #1: Previous Education

The first DO school requirement is, of course, a bachelor’s degree, since there are no medical schools that do not require a bachelor’s degree out there, and DO schools are no exception. There are no requirements for your undergraduate degree major, so even if you don’t have a science-related or health-related degree, you are still eligible to apply for medical school.

If you’re wondering, do I need a graduate degree to gain admission to medical school? The answer is no, it’s not a requirement, but some students do choose to pursue a master’s or even a PhD before applying to medical school. DO schools do not have a strong preference either way, and you won’t gain an advantage by having a graduate degree. On the other hand, there are special master’s programs with linkage to medical school that feed into osteopathic medicine programs. If you have a specific medical school in mind, it may be worth checking out these special programs.

DO School Requirement #2: Prerequisites

Again, medical school prerequisites for DO schools and MD schools are much the same. There are no DO medical schools without prerequisites, so you’ll need to complete the following:

  • One year of biology
  • One year of physics
  • Two years of chemistry
  • One year of English

Some DO schools have additional required or recommended courses, but these are the general requirements you’ll need to meet.

If you do not have the necessary science courses from your undergraduate study, consider checking out some post-bacc premedical programs to help prepare you for medical school, help you get ready to take the MCAT and meet this DO school requirement.

DO School Requirement #3: GPA

In general, DO schools are among the medical schools that accept low GPA. DO schools tend to have lower minimum requirements for applicant GPAs and have a lower average accepted GPA than MD schools. Keep in mind, if you’re asking how to get into medical school with a low GPA that applying to DO schools is not a guarantee of admission.

While most DO schools do not list a minimum required GPA to apply, you should still present a competitive GPA to increase your chances of admission. Check the average accepted GPA at your target DO schools to see how your grades compare and whether you would be a competitive applicant or not. Also be sure to check if those schools have hard minimum requirements for GPA.

Mean GPA for Entering DO Students: 3.61

DO School Requirement #4: MCAT Score

Just like your GPA, your MCAT score is an important requirement for DO schools. Once again, DO schools tend to have lower average accepted MCAT scores and lower MCAT score requirements for admission. However, as with your GPA, it’s still important to have a competitive MCAT score for the best chances of getting accepted.

There are some DO medical schools that don’t require the MCAT, so if you want to get into medical school with a low MCAT or want to skip the test altogether, you can apply exclusively to DO schools that accept low MCAT scores or have no MCAT requirement.

Mean MCAT Score for Entering DO Students: 504

DO School Requirement #5: Personal Qualities

To apply to DO schools, you’ll need to submit a complete application through either AACOMAS or TMDSAS (for some Texas osteopathic medical schools). The application contains all of the qualitative elements of your candidacy, or your personal qualities. The DO school application can include a personal statement, extracurriculars and activities and any professional experience you have such as shadowing, clinical or premed research experience.

Your personal qualities will also be shown through your medical school secondary applications and your osteopathic med school interview.

Want to know how to apply to DO schools? Watch this video:

1. Personal Statement

Your personal statement for DO schools needs to be specific to osteopathic medicine and clearly show why you want to study osteopathic medicine. DO schools don’t want to hear that you’re only looking for the easiest way to become a doctor or that you don’t feel you’re competitive enough to get into MD schools. You need to show a strong connection to osteopathic medicine and a desire to study it.

Check out some AACOMAS personal statement examples for some inspiration for writing your own!

2. Extracurriculars and Activities

Your extracurriculars for medical school will also need to meet DO school requirements. At least some of your activities should be DO-related. This can be through paid employment at a DO clinic, volunteering at an osteopathic medical center or shadowing a DO physician.

You can read some AACOMAS activities examples to get a better idea of how to craft an ideal activities section for your DO school application and how to highlight the right experiences.

3. Shadowing and Clinical Experience

DO schools want to see applicants that have at least some clinical and shadowing experience. It’s not always strictly required, but it’s a significant plus if your experience is in an osteopathic environment or working with DO practitioners.

Research experience is also an advantage for some DO schools. Once again, any research experience you have into osteopathic medicine or practice will look much better on your medical school resume than MD-related experiences.

4. Secondary Applications

DO schools may require you to submit secondary applications or supplemental essays after you submit your AACOMAS application. Medical school secondary essays for DO schools will typically focus on your reasons for choosing a particular school or why you’ve chosen to study osteopathic medicine in particular.

Prepare to write your secondary essays by looking at the essay prompts for your target schools ahead of time and start brainstorming and drafting your responses.

5. Medical School Interviews

DO school interviews are the same as medical school interviews at MD schools, but you will need a particularly strong answer for interview question “why do you want to become a doctor” for a DO school interview, since you’ll need to focus on “why osteopathic medicine”, too.

Just like MD schools, DO schools usually have panel interviews or MMI format. Check if your target DO schools are among the medical schools that use MMI, practice with some of the hardest medical school interview questions and practice your answers well ahead of time.

DO School Requirement #6: Recommendation Letters

Medical school recommendation letters are an important part of DO school requirements. Typically you will need between 1 and 3 recommendation letters for DO schools. At least one of those letters will need to come from a physician, and preferably a practicing DO. Some DO schools require your reference letter to be written by a DO, rather than an MD, so it’s vitally important to maintain some professional contacts or shadow a DO practitioner.

You can find some shadowing programs for premed students which offer experience with DO physicians, or you can pursue from virtual shadowing opportunities with DO practitioners to secure both your recommendation letters for medical school and help fulfill some shadowing hours for medical school.

When it comes to asking for letters of recommendation, check out some AACOMAS letter of recommendation examples, so you can get an idea of what a strong reference looks like, and how to ask a physician you’ve shadowed or worked with for a letter.

Note that there are some DO medical schools that don’t require letters of recommendation, but they are few! Be prepared to secure at least two letters of recommendation for your DO school application.

DO School Requirement #7: Altus Suite

There aren’t many medical schools that do not require CASPer, and DO school requirements are no exception. Most osteopathic medical schools require students to take the CASPer test, although only one DO school requires the completion of Duet, too.

Similarly, there is only one DO school that requires the AAMC PREview instead of CASPer.

Make sure to check your CASPer test dates, or AAMC PREview test dates, and start practicing with some CASPer questions to prepare. You CASPer test is an important part of your overall application to DO schools, so you’ll want to prepare well ahead of time and earn as high a score as possible.

DO School Requirement #8: Residency Requirements

Some medical schools have a strong preference for in-state applicants or have higher admission requirements for out-of-state and international applicants. Certain DO schools even have very strong regional preferences for their applicants or ask that applicants have experience working in certain areas of medicine, or have ties to specific regions or communities.

For instance, the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine has a relatively low acceptance rate for out-of-state and international applicants, but those who are accepted must commit to 5 years of in-state residency and medical practice after graduating, as a condition of acceptance. This policy is to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in the state.

Not every DO school accepts international students, or even out-of-state applicants. Check with each school’s residency requirements and preferences, which will be listed on their websites.

DO School Requirement #9: Criminal Background Check

Some states have a required criminal background check for all medical school applicants, while a background check may be policy for teaching hospitals and medical clinics affiliated with some DO schools.

Furthermore, all osteopathic medical schools require applicants to undergo a criminal background check, regardless of state requirements. When applying through AACOMAS or TMDSAS, you’ll be asked to disclose information regarding prior criminal offenses. You can check the requirements thoroughly on the AACOMAS and TMDSAS applications.


1. What are the DO school requirements?

DO school requirements are nearly identical to MD school requirements. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree and any medical school prerequisites. Applicants must also meet the minimum GPA and MCAT score requirements at DO schools, submit an application through the proper application service and take the CASPer test. DO schools also require all applicants to submit to a criminal background check.

2. What’s the easiest osteopathic school to get into?

Some of the easiest osteopathic medical schools to get into are the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine and Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine according to DO school acceptance rates and admission requirements.

3. What GPA do I need to get into DO schools?

The mean GPA for DO matriculants is 3.59. To have the best chance of getting accepted, you should have a GPA at or above the average accepted range at your target DO school.

4. What MCAT score do I need to get into DO schools?

The mean MCAT score for DO matriculants is just under 505. To get into DO schools, you should have an MCAT score that is above the average accepted score at any particular school.

5. Is it harder to get into MD than DO schools?

In general, MD schools may have higher GPA and MCAT score requirements than DO schools. MD schools also tend to have lower medical school acceptance rates than DO schools. However, some DO schools have extremely low out-of-state acceptance rates or have strong regional and in-state preferences, making them more challenging to get into.

6. Do osteopathic med schools have prerequisites?

Yes. Osteopathic medical schools typically require one year of biology, one year of physics, two years of chemistry and one year of English in order to apply. These are general requirements for medical school, some DO schools may have additional required or recommended courses to complete.

7. How do I apply to DO schools?

To apply to osteopathic medical schools, you must create an account and submit an AACOMAS application. For some Texas osteopathic medical schools, you’ll submit an application through the TMDSAS application system instead. 

8. What is required to get into DO schools?

To get accepted to DO schools, applicants must meet the minimum GPA and MCAT score requirements and submit an application through AACOMAS (or TMDSAS for some Texas osteopathic medical schools). Some DO schools have higher requirements for out-of-state and international applicants as well, or a preference for in-state or regional applicants. All applicants must submit to a criminal background check, as well. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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