D.O. School Requirements

Becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine: D.O. School Requirements

Applying to medical school? Medical school requirements to keep in mind

Keeping D.O. school requirements straight while navigating the application process can be challenging, but we can help. Read on to learn more about Des Moines University’s medical school admission requirements for students like you who are preparing to earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree—from prerequisites to medical school course requirements.

Prerequisite Degrees

As you knock out your D.O. school requirements, be sure that you will have completed a bachelor's degree program from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States before orientation.

Take the MCAT and Submit Your Scores

It probably goes without saying that taking the Medical College Admission Test is one of the major requirements for medical school. As you work through the medical school admission requirements, be sure your MCAT scores were received within three years of your matriculation.

At DMU, it should be noted that we review these test scores individually. We do not average sub-scores from multiple examinations.

Medical School Course Requirements

Among our D.O. school requirements for admission are a few prerequisite courses. While you must complete this coursework prior to registration for matriculation, you may apply to DMU while your coursework is still in progress.

Here are the medical school course requirements for admission at Des Moines University:

  • Eight semester hours each of biology/zoology, general chemistry, and physics, preferably with lab. You may substitute three semester hours of statistics with three semester hours of physics.
  • Six semester hours of English, English composition, speech or literature.
  • Four semester hours of organic chemistry, preferably with lab.
  • Three semester hours of biochemistry.
  • Other medical school course requirements may include studies in cell biology, microbiology, immunology, genetics, physiology and anatomy.

The minimum GPAs recommended for application are a 2.8 cumulative GPA, and a 2.8 science GPA on a 4.0 scale. A "C" letter grade or higher in each of these prerequisite areas is required.

Exposure to Medicine

As you check off prerequisites and other medical school requirements, remember to ask physicians you’ve shadowed or other health care providers you’ve worked with to document your experience and exposure to medicine in a letter of recommendation. Your experience can be paid or volunteer.

It is important to gain real-world experience in medicine and the osteopathic medical profession not only to meet requirements for medical school, but to ensure this career is right for you.

If you need help establishing a mentoring or shadowing relationship with an osteopathic physician, visit the American Osteopathic Association website.

Permanent Residents and Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are a legal permanent resident of the United States, you must provide a copy of your permanent resident card or “green card" as a medical school admission requirement. If your permanent residency status is "pending," or you are not a U.S. citizen, you are not eligible for admission into the D.O. program.

If you are an international student working to meet medical school admission requirements for Des Moines University, you are eligible for online study only. Online programs at DMU include the Master of Health Care Administration program or the Master of Public Health program. To be considered for any other program at DMU, you must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident. If you have any questions, please review information for international students.

Previous Matriculants

If you have graduated from an M.D., D.O. or an equivalent program in the U.S. or another country, you do not meet the medical school admission requirements at Des Moines University.

If you have previously matriculated to another medical school and withdrew in good standing for personal (and not behavioral or academic) reasons, your admission into DMU’s D.O. program will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Technical Standards

If you are accepted into the D.O. program and you need accommodations to meet your program's technical standards as a newly enrolled student, you may indicate this on your Technical Standards form. For more information, see the Technical Standards for Admission, Academic Promotion and Graduation for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program.

Background Check

You must complete a criminal background check and drug screen at your expense through the university’s preferred vendor as part of DMU’s requirements for medical school. These results must be released to DMU prior to your matriculation.

As part of our medical school requirements, you must disclose all past or present charges, convictions, dismissals, deferred judgments and expunged records that are related to a misdemeanor or felony. You also must disclose any additional charges and convictions should they occur after the initial criminal background check. Your admission to the program may be revoked should misrepresentations or omissions from the application be noted in the background check.

As part of an ongoing medical school requirement, should you be accepted into the D.O. program, you will be required to complete an annual criminal background check and drug screening while you are enrolled at DMU.

Transferring to DMU’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

If you are a student attending another medical school and you would like to transfer into DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, you will be required to meet additional medical school requirements for admission. For instance, you must be ranked in the upper 50% of your current medical school class with a supportive letter of recommendation from the dean of your current medical school stating that you are in good academic standing, and more.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Do you have what it takes to knock out these D.O. school requirements and earn your Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree? At DMU, we review applications and select students who have met the requirements for medical school and can carry out the mission of our university.

Our overall goal is to recruit and admit service-oriented students who meet our rigorous medical school requirements and demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, compassion, and empathy who can help sustain local and global communities. Take a look at the 2025 Class Profile for tips on getting into medical school and more information, including details about the doctor of osteopathic medicine program versus a doctor of medicine.

Questions? Contact our admissions team.

If you have any questions regarding the application process and DMU’s medical school requirements in light of any issues posed by COVID-19, please contact the admissions team at DMUAdmit@dmu.edu.

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