10 Best DO schools in the US

The 10 Best DO Schools In The U.S. In 2024

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Hi there! In this blog post, we will be providing you with a list of the top 10 best DO schools in the U.S.

First things first, let’s define osteopathic medicine.

What Is Osteopathic Medicine And What Does A DO Do? 

Osteopathic medicine is a medical practice that takes a more holistic approach to treat medical illnesses by manipulating bones, joints, and muscles. DOs, or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, are the medical professionals who practice osteopathic medicine.

In this practice, patients receive non-invasive manual therapy of the musculoskeletal system, with the goal of enhancing the overall health of the patient’s bodily systems.

DO doctors use a holistic approach to the human body, thinking that one system has an impact on the others, and they strive to arrive at a diagnosis rather than simply treating the symptoms. The goal of osteopathic medicine is to have a favorable impact on the circulatory, lymphatic, and neurological systems of the body to improve the general health and bodily functioning of patients.

Considering that it places a greater emphasis on disease and injury prevention when diagnosing and treating medical disorders, it takes the diet, environment, and entire body system of the patient into consideration. These doctors place a strong emphasis on preventative care and self-healing techniques. As a result, they counsel patients on how to make modifications to their dietary plans, exercise regimens, and general lifestyle.

Osteopathic medicine is a system of treatment that uses hands-on techniques to improve blood circulation and correct abnormal biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system.

DO doctors employ osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), a hands-on method, to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, joint pains, sciatica, neuralgia, tennis elbow, postural issues, and migraines, to name a few.

Techniques for this type of treatment include resistance, subtle manipulation, stretching, palpation, soft pressure, and other similar methods of treatment. Osteopathic physicians use these techniques to evaluate the condition of one’s ligaments and joints.

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What Is The Difference Between An MD And A DO?

what is osteopathic medicine_best do schools

MDs are medical doctors who practice allopathic medicine, and they are referred to as Doctors of Medicine. On the other hand, doctors who practice osteopathic medicine have the designation of DO, which stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

An MD’s practice involves the administration of medications and the execution of surgical procedures that are based on current and modern-day research to manage and treat an injury, illness, and disease. As early as the mid-1700s, the first medical societies were formed, and this was the more traditional method of medical practice that they employed.

DOs, on the other hand, use osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). This is a comprehensive and hands-on approach to treating patients that includes techniques like palpation, stretching, and mild manipulation, among others. In order to acquire a DO degree, students must complete 200 hours of training in osteopathic manipulative medicine, during which they will master manipulation techniques for the musculoskeletal system.

Osteopathic doctors tend to specialize in primary care specialties, such as family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics, to mention a few. As you may have known by now, these are some of the least competitive specialties.

In contrast, MDs tend to specialize in highly competitive specialties like orthopedics, cardiology, plastic surgery, radiology, dermatology, and gastroenterology among others.

It is also worth noting the differences in the average GPA and MCAT of MD and DO program matriculants. In the 2018-2019 application cycle, statistics show that the average GPA and MCAT scores of matriculants to MD programs were 3.72 and 511.2, respectively. Matriculants of DO programs, on the other hand, have an average GPA and MCAT score of 3.47 and 502.5, respectively.

Because of the differences in the average GPA and MCAT scores, as well as differences in their specializations, this creates a bias against DOs that they are less competitive than their MD counterparts. This is not true. MDs are not better than DOs nor are DOs better than MDs.

They have differences in values and in their practices, but at the end of the day, they diagnose and treat their patients for them to have better lives and health conditions. You wouldn’t even realize that some of the best doctors are DOs until you see the initials after their name on their name tags.

There are at least more than 150 accredited and MD-granting schools, creating a marginal difference with DO schools, as there are only 37 accredited, DO programs. Among these 37 DO schools are the 10 best DO schools in the U.S. in 2021, which are what we’ll go through in the next section.

You can check out the differences in med school education, residency programs, salaries, and more in our article entitled MD vs DO: Differences You Need To Know About! Make sure to check it out for more information.

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What Are The Best Osteopathic Medical Schools In The US?

Let’s explore the most esteemed osteopathic medical institutions in the US, so you can explore your options and find the perfect fit for your medical journey!

The University Of North Texas Health Science Center At Fort Worth, Texas College Of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM)

unthsc_tcom_best do schools

    • Location: Fort Worth, TX
    • Average GPA: 3.71
    • Average MCAT: 507
    • Overall acceptance rate: 9.37%
    • Application Fee: $200
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.3:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $13,079 (in-state), $28,767 (out-of-state)
    • Public/private: Public

The University of North Texas, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM), stands out as a premier institution, consistently recognized as one of the nation’s top medical schools for primary care by U.S. News & World Report. UNTHSC ranked No. 116 in Best Medical Schools for Research and No. 11 in Best Medical Schools for Primary Care.

TCOM takes pride in its focus on training physicians skilled in comprehensive primary care and rural medicine.

Prior to graduation, students here receive intensive training on patient safety. UNTHSC-TCOM also claims to be solving the shortage of physicians in Texas as they graduate the most primary care doctors in the whole state.

In 2023, here is the passing rate of TCOM students for the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States (COMLEX-USA) Level 1 is 98%.

Regarding residency placement, the percentage of TCOM graduates placed in Graduate Medical Education (GME) for 2023 was 100%.

Western University Of Health Sciences, College Of Osteopathic Medicine Of The Pacific (WesternU/COMP)

westernu_comp_best do schools

    • Location: Pomona, CA
    • Average GPA: 3.65
    • Average MCAT: 508
    • Overall acceptance rate:
    • Application Fee: $65
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.1:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $61,898
    • Public/private: Private

The Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP) is a distinguished choice for prospective osteopathic physicians.

In the 2023-2024 U.S. News and World Report rankings, WesternU/COMP is recognized at No. 117 in Best Medical Schools for Research and shares the No. 50 spot in Best Medical Schools for Primary Care.

The school is deeply committed to the humanistic tradition of medicine, aiming to produce technically competent, culturally sensitive, professional, and compassionate physicians. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a balanced medical education emphasizing research, primary care, and a commitment to the humanistic approach.

The institution’s location in a diverse community provides valuable clinical experiences, enriching the overall learning experience for future medical students.

In 2022, the passing rate of COMP students for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 95.2%. In terms of their residency placement rates, they reached 98.4% in 2023.

Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM)

Touro University California

    • Location: Vallejo, CA
    • Average GPA: 3.56
    • MCAT: 509
    • Overall acceptance rate: 
    • Application Fee: $100
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.1:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $63,400
    • Public/private: Private

Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM) offers a balanced medical curriculum covering primary and specialty care.

One standout feature is its emphasis on understanding the social factors affecting health, particularly in diverse communities. This helps students grasp the bigger picture of healthcare beyond just genetics.

In the academic year 2021-2022, the pass rate of TUCOM students for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 95.49%.

The residency placement rate has consistently been 100% from 2017 to 2022.

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University Of Pikeville – Kentucky College Of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM)

up_kycom_best do schools

    • Location: Pikeville, KY
    • Average GPA: 3.5
    • Average MCAT: 500
    • Overall acceptance rate: 
    • Application Fee: $75
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.1:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $51,500
    • Public/private: Private

University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the 10 Least Expensive Private Medical Schools back in 2020.

KYCOM is very considerate to those with less financial resources as they provide students with all the necessary equipment such as a white coat and scrub suit, diagnostic equipment (stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, etc), OPP table, required textbooks, and an iPad Pro, paid exam fees for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2 CE for first attempts, and a preparation program for COMLEX-USA Level 1.

In the academic year 2021-2022, the first-time pass rates of KYCOM students for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 84.4%.

In terms residency placement, the percentage of graduates placed in GME for 2022 is 97.58%.

Nova Southeastern University, The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM)

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine NSU

    • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
    • Average GPA: 3.5
    • Average MCAT: 506
    • Overall acceptance rate: 
    • Application Fee: $50
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.1:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $67,513
    • Public/private: Private

At Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM), you’re more than a student; you’re ready to excel in healthcare.

With state-of-the-art labs, interprofessional service-learning, and a commitment to patient-focused care, NSU-KPCOM offers a holistic medical education. Graduates emerge as well-rounded professionals, poised to provide high-quality care, especially in underserved communities.

In the academic year 2021-2022, the first-time pass rate of NSU-KPCOM students and graduates for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 87%.

The GME placement rate of students seeking GME is 99% for the class of 2023.

Edward Via College Of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)

vcom

    • Location: Blacksburg, VA
    • Average GPA: 3.5-3.6
    • Average MCAT: 500-506
    • Overall acceptance rate: 
    • Application Fee: $50
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.1:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $49,800
    • Public/private: Private

Similar to the UP-KYCOM, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine is also among the 10 Least Expensive Private Medical Schools for the academic year 2019-2020, according to U.S. News & World Report.

One of the most notable activities of VCOM is their medical outreach programs wherein each year, students and faculty visit underserved areas and provide care to patients. This is so that students are provided with hands-on clinical field experience.

In 2023, the average first-time pass rate of VCOM students for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 98%.

In terms of residency placement, the percentage of graduates placed in GME for the Class of 2023 was 100%.

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Ohio University Heritage College Of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM)

ou_hcom

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine stands out with a focus on underserved communities and ample clinical experiences. Its close-knit community encourages lifelong learning, cultural sensitivity, and compassionate care, making it an ideal choice for aspiring medical students dedicated to community engagement and primary care.

OU-HCOM is ranked No. 49 in Best Medical Schools for Primary Care according to the U.S. News & World Report 2023-2024 rankings.

In the academic year 2021-2022, the first-time pass rate of OU-HCOM students and graduates for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 90%.

In terms of residency placement, the percentage of graduates placed in GME for the class of 2021 is 99%.

Lake Erie College Of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) has been recognized as one of the 10 Least Expensive Private Medical Schools in the 2019-2020 academic year by the U.S. News & World Report.

Moreover, it offers a variety of programs designed to cater to individual learning styles. In particular, the LECOM Erie Campus distinguishes itself as the sole medical school nationwide to provide five distinct student-centered learning pathways during the initial two years of osteopathic medical education.

In the academic year 2021-2022, the first-time pass rates of LECOM students for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 92.4% for the Erie campus and 96.7% for the Bradenton campus.

The GME placement rate for the class of 2021 is 99.1%.

Des Moines University College Of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM)

dmu_com

    • Location: Des Moines, IA
    • Average GPA: 3.66
    • Average MCAT: 507
    • Overall acceptance rate: 
    • Application Fee: $0
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.1:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $61,304
    • Public/private: Private

In addition to the standard four-year curriculum, Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine offers a one-year fellowship in osteopathic manual medicine.

They also boast of a Global Health Program wherein they also offer short-term service trips, research internships, and rotations around the world.

DMU’s Simulation Center allows students to develop clinical, communication, and interprofessional teamwork skills by providing them real-world clinical scenarios for them to perform hands-on procedures and assessments.

In 2020, the first-time pass rates of DMU-COM students and graduates for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 95.8%, 98.6% for Level 2 CE, and 96.2% for Level 2 PE.

The graduating batch of 2024 has a 98.1% pass rate for the  COMLEX-USA Level 1. Regarding residency placement, the match rate percentage for 2023 is 100%.

[Free Download] Want to have everything you need to be a top student on your medical journey? Get FREE access to our Med School Success Handbook to get 60+ tips including the best study, time management, mindset tips you need to be a top student. Download it here. 

William Carey University College Of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM)

William Carey University

    • Location: Hattiesburg, MS
    • Minimum GPA: 3.53
    • Minimum MCAT: 505
    • Overall acceptance rate:
    • Application Fee: $50
    • Faculty-Student Ratio: 0.1:1
    • Annual tuition & fees: $46,000
    • Public/private: Private

Future medical students aspiring to be community-focused physicians may find WCUCOM an excellent fit, as it cultivates a strong sense of purpose in community engagement and primary care.

The school’s emphasis on rural healthcare aligns with its mission to enhance healthcare access in underserved areas, making it an ideal choice for those passionate about making a difference in such communities.

In the academic year 2021-2022, the first-time pass rates of WCUCOM students and graduates for the COMLEX-USA Level 1 is 97%.

In terms of residency placement, the placement rate of students in the year 2023 is 100%.

 

Summary

A summary of the statistics of the above-mentioned best DO schools in the U.S. can be seen in the table below.

Best DO Schools in the USLocationAve.

GPA

Ave. MCATApplication FeeAnnual Tuition FeePublic/

Private

U.S. News Ranking
The University Of North Texas Health Science Center At Fort Worth, Texas College Of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM)Fort Worth, TX3.71 507$200$13,079 (in-state), $28,767 (out-of-state)Public#116 Best Med Schools: Research, #11 Best Med Schools: Primary Care 
Western University Of Health Sciences, College Of Osteopathic Medicine Of The Pacific (WesternU/COMP)Pomona, CA3.65508$65$61,898Private#117 Best Med Schools: Research, #50 Best Med Schools: Primary Care
Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM)Vallejo, CA3.56509$100$63,400Private#118-130 Best Med Schools: Research, #92 Best Med Schools: Primary Care
University Of Pikeville – Kentucky College Of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM)Pikeville, KY3.5500$75$51,500Private#118-130 Best Med Schools: Research, #40 Best Med Schools: Primary Care
Nova Southeastern University, The Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM)Fort Lauderdale, FL3.5506$50$67,513Private#118-130 Best Med Schools: Research, #112-123 Best Med Schools: Primary Care
Edward Via College Of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)Blacksburg, VA3.5-3.6500-506$50$49,800Private#118-130 Best Med Schools: Research, #80 Best Med Schools: Primary Care
Ohio University Heritage College Of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM)Athens, OH3.66503.44$60$41,142 (in-state), $58,862 (out-of-state)Public#114 Best Med Schools: Research, #49 Best Med Schools: Primary Care
Lake Erie College Of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)Erie, PAMinimum of 2.7, Average is 3.2 or above50th percentile or above (501/502)$50$38,685Private#118-130 Best Med Schools: Research, #84 Best Med Schools: Primary Care
Des Moines University College Of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM)Des Moines, IA3.66507$0$61,304PrivateUnranked
William Carey University College Of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM)Hattiesburg, MS3.53505$50$46,000Private#118-130 Best Med Schools: Research, #58 Best Med Schools: Primary Care

 

FAQs About DO Schools In The US

Let’s compare DOs and MDs further. Here are some frequently asked questions about doctors of osteopathic medicine.

top 10 best DO schools

What Is The Hardest Osteopathic Medical School To Get Into?

Determining the hardest osteopathic med school to get into can vary. It depends on things like your qualifications, how many spots the school has, and what scores they’re looking for, like your GPA and MCAT scores.

Now, some schools are known for being quite competitive. Here are a few that are often tough to crack:

  • The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM): This school often has lots of applicants. The average GPA is 3.71, while the average MCAT score is 507.
  • Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM): TUCOM also has competitive admission criteria, with an average incoming GPA of approximately 3.56 and an average MCAT score of about 509.
  • Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP): They want students with good track record. Usually, they’re aiming for an average GPA of 3.65 and an average MCAT score of 508.
  • Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University: This school is known for being competitive too. Typically, they admit students with an average GPA of 3.6 and an average MCAT score of 508. Additionally, it’s important to note that this school has a relatively high tuition fee at $81,125, which can add to the challenge.

Remember, these schools might change their rules each year, and your chances also depend on things like your letters of recommendation, activities outside of school, and interviews. So, it’s important to check what each school is looking for and be prepared.

What Is The Easiest Osteopathic Medical School To Get Into?

Some of the easiest DO schools to get into are LECOM, PCOM, WVSOM, and VCOM.

  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM): LECOM is known for its flexible admissions policies and has multiple campuses. Their average incoming GPA is typically around 3.2, and the average MCAT score is roughly 500
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM): PCOM has campuses in multiple locations. They tend to admit students with an average incoming GPA of around 3.2 and an average MCAT score of about 503.
  • West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM): This school often considers students with an average incoming GPA of approximately 3.3 and an average MCAT score of around 503.
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM): VCOM has several campuses and looks for applicants with an average incoming GPA of about 3.2 and an average MCAT score of roughly 503.

However, keep in mind that the admission landscape can change from year to year, so it’s important to thoroughly research your options and understand the specific admission criteria of the schools you’re interested in.

Are Those Who Apply For DO Schools The Ones That Can’t Get Into MD Schools?

While it is true that DO school matriculants have lower average GPAs and MCAT scores, the answer to this question is absolutely not in most cases.

There could be students with below than average GPAs and MCAT scores that only see DO schools as an only option, though this is not entirely as they could also try for Caribbean medical schools.

However, most of the time, students apply for DO schools because some of them might be attracted more to the beliefs and practices of osteopathic medicine as compared to allopathic medicine.

Some of them also want to focus more on the musculoskeletal system which is the focal point of DOs.

Are Osteopathic Medical Schools More Expensive Than Their Counterpart Allopathic Medical Schools?

I would like to believe that it’s actually the other way around.

In private schools, the average tuition for MD schools costs around $60,000 whereas tuition for DO schools is approximately $53,000.

In the case of public schools, the tuition for MD schools is around $37,000 for in-state students and $60,000 for out-of-state students. Tuition for DO schools, on the other hand, costs approximately $30,000 for in-state students and $56,000 for out-of-state students.

[Free Download] Want to have everything you need to be a top student on your medical journey? Get FREE access to our Med School Success Handbook to get 60+ tips including the best study, time management, mindset tips you need to be a top student. Download it here. 

Do Graduates Of Osteopathic Medical Schools Have Equal Chances Of Landing Residency Spots As Allopathic Medical School Graduates?

Based on data, you would observe that DOs have relatively lower matching rates compared to MDs.

DOs also tend to specialize in primary care such as pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine which are also some of the least competitive specialties. Take note, though, that they are not limited to these specialties as there are a lot of DOs I know that are also surgeons.

While in some cases, it is true that some board directors lean a little bit towards MD graduates, I believe that your chances of landing and matching depend on how you present and sell yourself.

Would I Learn More At A DO School?

You will learn more wherever your best interests are aligned.

If you want to learn more about the musculoskeletal system and if you find osteopathic manipulative treatment or osteopathic medicine in general interesting, then you belong at a DO school.

So that’s it for this blog post! I hope you have gained some insights on the 10 best DO schools in the U.S. for you to choose which DO school to apply to. We wish you the best of luck with your applications!

I would like to give credit to Shemmassian Academic Consulting, Bemo Academic Consulting, and Premed Experts for they have served as references in the making of this article.

If you have enjoyed this post, how about checking out some of our other blog posts for more great content?

Want Results Like This?

Download The Free Med School Success Handbook For The Best Step-By-Step Tips For Your Medical Journey!

FYI. If you’re on your pre-med journey and you would like for me to basically tell you what I would have done if I was in your shoes, then go ahead and check out The Pre-med Journey, which is a book that I wrote when I was in medical school.

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You can find that book on Amazon for just 99 cents. So if you’re trying to increase your chances of getting into medical school, check it out!

Again, thanks for stopping by!

Until next time my friend…

7 thoughts on “The 10 Best DO Schools In The U.S. In 2024”

  1. My comment is to give you a lots of thanks for this post, it helped me to find this topic and save my time.

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