American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Joining the Osteopathic Family

​Congratulations on your decision to apply to osteopathic medical school!

What are the admissions committees and interviewers looking for in a prospective student?

Admission to osteopathic medical school is competitive and selective. Admissions commitees are looking for demonstrated academic excellence indicating that you have the aptitude and knowledge base to successfully complete the medical school curriculum. Just as important are the personal qualities you bring to the table.

Osteopathic medical schools are looking for students who:

  • are well-rounded
  • have participated in a variety of extracurricular activities
  • have good communication and interpersonal skills
  • come from diverse backgrounds
  • have a record of community service
  • are motivated to pursue a career in osteopathic medicine
  • have a record of leadership
  • have knowledge of osteopathic medicine
  • have some clinical experience
  • have shadowed an osteopathic physician  

Who are osteopathic medical students?

Osteopathic medical schools also have a long tradition of accepting non-traditional students who may be looking at osteopathic medicine as a new career later in life. Typically, these students come from a variety of backgrounds, including administrators, business executives, attorneys, professional musicians and newspaper reporters. Many of these students have families and some are single parents. This is a testament to the caring, supportive environment found in osteopathic medical schools. These students comprise approximately 20-25 percent of our student body across the country.

Almost all students who apply to osteopathic medical school have a bachelor’s degree. There are a few exceptions for students in special programs that have prior arrangements with osteopathic medical schools. Many applicants have earned a master’s degree or doctorate in another subject area before applying to osteopathic medical school.


While requirements for prequisites vary among osteopathic medical schools, all colleges of osteopathic medicine require a minimum of:

• 8 hours biology/zoology

• 8 hours inorganic chemistry

• 8 hours organic chemistry

• 8 hours physics

• 6 hours English

Information used by permission of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.