Metropolitan State University of Denver, Biology Department
last updated October 2023
A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) is a physician trained and licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states. Osteopathic medicine is a “hands-on” and patient-focused approach to providing healthcare. Osteopathic physicians can choose any specialty, prescribe drugs, perform surgeries, and practice medicine anywhere in the US. The main differences between allopathic (MD) medicine and osteopathic medicine (DO) are the licensing exams, the osteopathic manipulation, residency programs and the basic philosophy of medicine. D.O.’s focus on the whole person and consider all facets of a person’s life when treating illness, disease and injury. In addition to using all forms of standard medical treatment, D.O.’s are trained to use osteopathic manipulative treatment to help diagnose injury and illness, to alleviate pain, and to promote well being. The DO places particular emphasis on the musculoskeletal system. Osteopathic physicians work in partnership with each person to help promote health on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. For more information on how osteopathic medicine differs from allopathic (MD) medicine, try http://www.aacom.org. Both DOs and MDs complete four years of basic medical school. Both can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine after completing a residency program (typically 2-6 years of additional training). Both must pass state licensing examinations, both can practice in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities. Training usually consists of four years of undergraduate work [120 semester hours] culminating in a Bachelor’s degree in some major, followed by four years of osteopathic medical school work. You should meet all of the requirements for a BA/BS degree in any major of your interest, general studies and minor requirements, in addition to the following prerequisite course requirements. You are encouraged to explore the humanities and other areas of interest in order to broaden your educational base; you will not have another chance. Since medicine is a mixture of science and contact with people, courses in social and behavioral sciences, arts and humanities are of great value. Of course, you must demonstrate competence in the required science courses as well. Clinical experience (hands-on) is now considered a necessity in order to understand the field you are entering. You need to have a knowledge of osteopathic medicine and ideally, shadow an osteopathic physician.
Admission requirements are similar to those for allopathic (MD) medical schools. There are approximately 25 applicants for every seat in DO school as compared to approximately 36 applicants for every seat in MD school. The following is a list of the minimum course requirements for admission to most medical schools. Contact the individual Osteopathic Medical School for any additional requirements, as there are variations. Contact :
7700 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 250, Bethesda MD 20814
General Minimum Requirements for most Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine:
|General Chemistry (CHE 1800 & 1801, CHE 1810 & 1811)||2 semesters|
|Organic Chemistry (CHE 3100,3110,3120,3130)*||2 semesters|
|General Biology (BIO 1080,1090, 1081,1091)*||2 semesters|
|Mathematics (MTH 1110,1120)||2 semesters|
|Physics (PHY 2010,2020,2030,2040)||2 semesters|
|English Composition (ENG 1010 & 1020)||2 semesters|
|Biochemistry (CHE 4310)||1 semester|
Courses that are required/highly recommended depending on the school include Genetics, & Cell Biology. Other recommended courses are Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Immunology, Developmental Biology, Psychology, Sociology, Ethics, Statistics, & other Behavioral sciences.
*Note: Rocky Vista University requires two additional semesters of biology, such as microbiology, anatomy & physiology. Biochemistry is required. 6 credits of behavioral or social sciences are required.
Selection factors: Places are offered to the applicants who appear to be the most highly qualified in terms of intellectual achievement, character, motivation, maturity, and emotional stability. For this assessment, college grades, MCAT scores, recommendations from college instructors and others, and required personal interviews are used. A wide variety of undergraduate majors are considered acceptable in the selection of applicants. Demonstration of good performance in the prerequisite sciences is needed. Preference will be given to candidates with a science and cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher. On average, candidates admitted to colleges of osteopathic medicine each of the past three years have GPAs over 3.5. Rocky Vista’s 2022 entering class had a cumulative average GPA of 3.54 and a mean MCAT score of 504.4.
Application: Most Osteopathic Schools use the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). Complete the AACOMAS Application. Rocky Vista University participates in a centralized application service, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS). Through AACOMAS, candidates can file one electronic application. AACOMAS then verifies and distributes the information to each of the colleges designated by the candidate. AACOMAS can be reached at aacomas, 7700 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 250, Bethesda, MD 20814, (617) 612-2889. The deadline for the AACOMAS application is March 15, 2023. For best consideration of your application, SUBMIT your APPLICATION EARLY. Consider keeping a journal through your undergraduate years. This will provide you with much information to draw upon when filling out your application. Your application needs to be “dripping” with passion for this profession and avoid pointing out any of your weaknesses that the med-school would see as a risk to accepting you.
Candidates who meet the minimum requirements will be invited to submit a supplemental application via email to RVUCOM.
RVUCOM‘s Minimum Academic Requirements:
Minimal requirements for consideration for admission have been established by the Board of Trustees as a science and cumulative GPA of 3.0. Additionally, any grade below “C” in the required prerequisites will be accepted. It should be noted that the chances for admission for a candidate with minimal grades are limited. Admission would require outstanding achievement on the part of the candidate during his or her career or unique individual circumstances. On average, candidates admitted to colleges of osteopathic medicine during the last three years had GPAs > 3.6.
RVUCOM‘s MCAT Information:
All candidates must submit their most recent scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) through AACOMAS. Scores older than three years will not be considered. A cumulative score of 500 or higher on the new MCAT is required to receive a supplemental application.
RVUCOM also requires three letters of recommendation including one from science instructors who has taught the candidate graded coursework in the natural or biomedical sciences and a letter of recommendation from a US-trained physician.
After review of the secondary application and letters of recommendation, those candidates who possess the skills, knowledge and personality that provide them with the opportunity for success and who, in the opinion of the college, are most likely to assist the college in fulfilling its mission and vision, will be invited to interview. Interviews at RVUCOM are conducted beginning in September and will continue on a rolling basis until the class is filled (about 150 students).
MCAT: You should plan on completing the required courses by the end of your Junior year so that you will be prepared to take the MCAT in the spring of your Junior year. The MCAT must be taken before the application deadline. For MCAT dates and more information on registering for the MCAT, go to www.aamc.org/mcat. Test results must be no older than 3 years old. However, some schools require that MCAT scores be no older than 2 years old. You may take this exam more than once. The application to take the MCAT should be made online at www.aamc.org/students/mcat/start.htm. Cumulative score of 500 or higher on the new MCAT is expected with 502 being the average for students accepted in osteopathic schools. The total score ranges from 472-528. RVUCOM does not combine the highest scores in each section from multiple exams. Rocky Vista’s 2022 entering class average MCAT was 504.4 (The total score ranges from 472-528). The average total MCAT score for the 52,777 nationwide pre-med applicants in 2018-2019 was 505.6.
MCAT (each of the four sections are scored on a 118-132 scale):
1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems. (General Biology, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology, Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning)
2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems. (Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Basic Research Methods and Statistics, Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning)
3. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior. (Psychology, Sociology, Culture, Basic Research Methods and Statistics, Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning)
4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (critically analyze information in reading passages, include content from ethics, philosophy, culture, population health, social sciences and humanities in your answers)
For more MCAT information, including official deadlines, and access to online MCAT registration, go to the AAMC: www.aamc.org/students/mcat/start.htm.
Preparation Resources: https://www.kaptest.com/mcat
CASPer Assessment: Many schools require all candidates to take the CASPer. It stands for Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics and is an online assessment that you do not have to study for. It assesses ethical and moral characteristics as well as professionalism and decision-making skills. Go to www.takecasper.com
What do you do if you do not get accepted your first time to medical school?Contact the medical schools to see if they have suggestions to strengthen your application. Strengthen what you consider to be the weakest parts of your application. Improve your interview skills. Consider, a Master’s Program, applied experience in healthcare, shadowing experiences, science research, volunteer work, community outreach, internships and leadership activities. Rocky Vista offers a one-year Master of Science in Biomedical Science. A great advantage of successfully completing this 9 month program is that students receiving high recommendations from their faculty, may have MCAT or minimum GPA requirements waived when applying to Rocky Vista’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.
For a list of osteopathic schools try http://www.aacom.org
In Colorado the only Osteopathic Medical Program is the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine which opened for students August 2008.
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine
8401 S. Chambers Road, Parker, CO
For further information you are advised to consult with a pre-medical advisor: Biology Pre-Med Advisor: Dr. Hays SI 2032, (303) 615-0777, [email protected].
Colorado Area Health Education Center has numerous pre-healthcare resources for students. http://www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/AHEC/CollegeStudents/Pages/CollegeStudents.aspx