Applications to Nation’s Osteopathic Medical Schools Break Record for Fifth Consecutive Year


February 2, 2011

Wendy Fernando
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Phone: 301-968-4174

As potential medical students learn more about becoming an osteopathic physician (DO), they are increasing their applications to osteopathic medical colleges. As of mid-January, with three months left to apply for the 2011 entering medical student class, the number of applicants to the nation’s 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine already has surpassed last year’s cycle-end total. More than 13,500 aspiring physicians have applied to the schools, 7.3 percent more than had applied at this time in the cycle last year.

  • Potential medical students have submitted more than 100,000 applications to the nation’s 26 osteopathic medical colleges; on average, the colleges are receiving approximately 20 applications for every available seat.
  • Every one of the colleges is recording increased numbers of applications this year, with growth in applications ranging from under 1 percent to more than 25 percent.
  • 19,426 students are currently enrolled in an osteopathic medical college, a number that has nearly doubled since the year 2000.
  • More than 20 percent of new U.S. medical students are studying at osteopathic medical colleges.
  • By 2015, more than 5,300 osteopathic physicians will graduate from the nation’s osteopathic medical schools each year.
  • Growth in the number of osteopathic medical school graduates will help mitigate looming physician shortages, especially in the critical primary care area. DO students continue to pursue primary care fields (internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics) in proportions surpassing those of their U.S.-trained MD colleagues.
  • The nation’s approximately 63,000 osteopathic physicians are fully licensed to practice the entire scope of modern medicine, bringing a patient-centered, holistic, hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating illness and injury.

Additional Information

View data on applications, enrollment and graduates by osteopathic medical college.

View 2009-10 enrollment by osteopathic medical college.

View information about each of the nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine.

Quote from Dr. Stephen C. Shannon, President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

“The number of applicants to osteopathic medical schools is growing exponentially, from approximately 6,800 in 2003 to more than 13,400 for the 2011 entering class (a nearly 100 percent increase). These are excellent students; not only are their Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores and GPAs strong and steadily increasing, but they are demonstrating their community involvement and commitment through increased participation in service and research.”

Other Contacts for Stories on Osteopathic Medical School Applications Growth

Silvia Ferretti, DO 
Provost, Senior Vice President, and Dean of Academic Affairs 
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine 
(814) 866-8104

Tom Levitan, MEd 
Vice President for Research and Application Services 
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine 
(301) 968-4148