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Osteopathic Physician (D.O.)

The field of physician care is in high demand as the overall population ages and access to health insurance opens. According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, osteopathic physicians provide all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. Osteopathic physicians also offer the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health promotion and disease prevention.

NOTE: Pre-med is not a major or a program, and The University of Tampa does not have a medical school. Pre-med is an interest or path students choose that advisors help guide them on their journey towards applying to medical school.  

Preparing for Osteopathic Medical School

Earn a bachelor’s degree

Medical school is a graduate program; to become eligible to apply to medical school students need to earn a bachelor's degree and take specific pre-requisites (classes that medical schools require). At UT, students can earn a bachelor's degree and take pre-requisite courses. They will need to choose a major as pre-med is not a major or a program at UT.

Students who are interested in going to medical school typically major in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry. These majors include most of the required courses for entrance into medical programs and will help prepare students for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). However, other degrees can also prepare students for health professions; thus students are encouraged to major in the field where they excel and should consult the pre-health professions advisor about course work.

Basic pre-requisite* (Each osteopathic medical school has its own set of pre-requisites and suggested courses, and students need to research the admission requirements of each school to which they are intending to apply.) courses required for osteopathic medical school: 

  • Biology I (1) and II (2) with labs
  • General Chemistry I (1) and II (2) with labs
  • Organic Chemistry I (1) and II (2) with labs
  • Physics I (1) and II (2) with labs
  • Biochemistry
  • Calculus and/or Statistics 
  • Intro to Psychology and Intro to Sociology: these behavioral sciences are needed for the MCAT
  • Most medical schools prefer students to have additional upper-level biology courses 

*Each osteopathic medical school has its own set of pre-requisites and suggested courses, and students need to research the admission requirements of each school to which they are intending to apply. Search accredited osteopathic medical schools in the U.S. and their pre-requisites.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) 

  • Completion of the basic pre-requisites is needed to be prepared to take the MCAT.
  • The MCAT is required for all U.S medical schools. It is about 7.5 hours long and costs $305.
  • Students who are on the traditional path of going to medical school directly following graduation from UT should be prepared to take the MCAT in the late spring/early summer of their junior year.
  • Take the MCAT before applying to medical schools. 

Build an extensive record of relevant experiences

  • Shadow an osteopathic physician – gain knowledge of the medical field and confirm if this is your passion 
  • Community service/volunteer – students should have a passion for helping others; opportunities could be inside or outside of medical/clinical settings
  • Research/lab experience
  • Leadership – roles on and off-campus  

Medical school applications

  • Students apply to medical school a full year before they intend to start (summer of junior year through fall of senior year). 
  • Applications open every May and each school has its own deadline.
  • Most medical schools have rolling admissions, so they will review student files as soon as they are complete and submitted. Applicants are encouraged to apply early! 
  • Take a look now at what is expected of the application: AACOMAS Application   

Osteopathic medical school information

  • A traditional osteopathic medical school program is four years long. In most schools, the first two years focus on the basic science foundation of medicine, which is followed by two years of clinical rotations in primary care and specialties.  
  • There are two osteopathic medical schools in Florida:
  • After completion, the students earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)  
  • A residency program is required after osteopathic medical school. Residency programs are between three and seven years long depending on the type of residency chosen. 
  • After residency is complete, students may choose to pursue further training in a subspecialty and complete a specialty fellowship, which can last between one and three years.

Pre-Health Professions Committee (PHPC)

Members of the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics and the Department of Biology offer guidance to students and write letters of recommendation, known as Committee Letters, through UT's Pre-Health Professional Committee (PHPC).


Pre-professional advising has a dedicated program specialist to help students prepare for professional school in the health sciences. The specialist would like to see all pre-health students early on to ensure they are on the path to success. Please email Jackie Mikulski to inquire about the next steps in the pre-health advising program.

Additional Resources

Explore Health Careers- Osteopathic Physician  
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

Pedro R. Garcia Rodriguez

"I have no choice but to credit the University’s incredible faculty for my growth, as they fostered my love, not only in science, but in the wonders of life.”

— Pedro R. Garcia Rodriguez ’17, B.S. in Biology - Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022