Aside from allopathic medical schools, which award MD degrees upon graduation, the path to being a physician can also go through osteopathic schools, which award DO degrees upon graduation. This post will go over some basics about DO schools and then some information about MCAT scores for DO schools.
What is the difference between a DO and MD?
The path to being a physician can go through either an MD degree, or a DO degree. Both are four year degree programs. Both are required to take board exams—MD candidates take the USMLE board exam and DO candidates take the COMPLEX board exam. Both follow their medical education with a residency training that can last three to seven years. The major difference between the philosophies of the two schools is that DO schools focus more on osteopathic manipulative treatment, which is a manual hands-on care used to diagnose and treat patients. There is a greater emphasis on the musculoskeletal system. Generally speaking, DO school graduates pride themselves on having a more holistic approach to patients. As a result, DO graduates tend to pursue more primary care specialties.
Compared to 145 accredited US MD-granting medical schools and 17 in Canada, there are only 31 schools of osteopathic medicine in the US that grant DO degrees. .
MCAT Scores for DO Schools
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) publishes an applicant report for applicants. The 2015 AACOM applicant profile report gives the average MCAT and GPAs for those who applied to start medical school in 2015. The average MCAT score (old scoring system) among applicants 26.38, compared to 28.3 for MD schools. The average GPA is 3.44. From the matriculant data from AACOM, the average MCAT score in 2015 was 27.33 and the average GPA was 3.53 (compared to 31.4 and 3.70 for MD matriculants).
The average numbers for DO schools are slightly lower compared to MD schools, but it still is a difficult and long process to get in. The decision to pursue an MD degree or a DO degree should be based on fit and what works best for you and your goals.