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Medical School Applications

Are you applying M.D. or D.O.?

What's the difference?


Allopathic Medicine

University of Iowa and 155 other schools

Applications through AMCAS

Tends to learn more about direct diagnosis and treatment, emphasizing competitive specialties

Receives science courses and clinical rotations

Accepted worldwide, possibly a better option for those considering international medicine

Medical students take the USMLE

Can pursue allopathic residencies only

Many programs offer MD/PhD Programs for medical researchers


Osteopathic Medicine

Des Moines University and 41 other schools

Applications through AACOMAS

Tends to focus most on primary and preventative care with a "whole person" approach

Receives science course, clinical rotations and 200 hours of OMM (osteopathic manipulative medicine)

Accepted in 85 countries (and notably Doctors Without Borders)

Medical students take the COMLEX (and USMLE if they want to, school requirements vary)

Can pursue osteopathic or allopathic (if they take the USMLE) residency programs

Many programs offer

DO/MS or MPH degrees for deeper learning

  • YouTube

via Doctor Mike

  • YouTube

via Rachel Southard

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In order to decide between MD and DO, I think it is very important to research the differences and similarities between these programs. While they are both great routes, I felt more aligned with osteopathic philosophy and chose this path because I believe it’ll help me become the physician I strive to be. 



D.O. 2023


I decided to apply MD, since all of the schools I am interested in only offer an MD program. Also, since I plan to pursue a surgical specialty after medical school, MD was the better choice.


Biochemistry & Economics

UI 2021

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I chose DO because of the focus on treating and considering all aspects of a patient's life - physically, socially, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. We are trained to partner with our patients to improve their health and wellness, not just to treat a symptom. A DO is a great fit for students who want to focus on forming a strong relationship with their patients and see their patients' health as a journey that they will continuously help guide them on. Because of this, DO's often choose specialties in primary care, though any specialty is certainly an option!



D.O. 2023

Do you want to apply M.D. or D.O.?

You can apply both M.D. and D.O., but they will be through separate systems/applications

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