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Latest Figures Spotlight Continued Growth in Osteopathic Medical School Enrollment

January 09, 2019



Paul DeMiglio

Latest Figures Spotlight Continued Growth in Osteopathic Medical School Enrollment

One in Four U.S. Medical Students Now Osteopathic

(Bethesda, MD) – For the first time in history, osteopathic medical students make up more than 25 percent of the U.S. medical student population. Fall 2018 new (first-year) student enrollment at the nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) increased by 5.7 percent from fall 2017 first-year student enrollment, according to data released recently by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). This rise in first-year matriculation brings the preliminary fall 2018 total student enrollment at U.S. COMs to 30,918—a 6.7 percent increase from the official total enrollment in fall 2017—and serves as a major milestone for the profession.

“As a distinct pathway to medical practice that continues to attract an increasing number of students throughout the United States, osteopathic medicine is leading the way in preparing the physician of the future,” said Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and CEO of AACOM. “Through innovative training models that focus on developing quality, patient-centered care, osteopathic medical schools are equipping future DOs with the competencies they need to meet the rapidly-changing demands of our health care system.”

Among the key findings from AACOM’s preliminary fall 2018 enrollment report:

  • The total number of new matriculants climbed from 7,901 in 2017 to 8,281 in 2018—an uptick of 4.8 percent
  • The preliminary number of DO students graduating from medical colleges between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, rose from 6,038 to 6,516—an increase of 7.9 percent
  • A total of 8,574 students began their osteopathic medical education in 2018

Data in this report was provided by the nation’s osteopathic medical schools as of October 18, 2018, and represents preliminary findings. Final enrollment counts are collected in the annual osteopathic medical school questionnaire and final matriculant counts are reported in AACOM’s applicant and matriculant report. All data included may be freely redistributed with proper attribution to AACOM.



The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 35 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 55 teaching locations in 32 states. In the current academic year, these colleges are educating more than 30,000 future physicians—25 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 29 are private institutions.

AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM provides leadership for the osteopathic medical education community by promoting excellence in medical education, research and service, and by fostering innovation and quality across the continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the American public.