Two surgeons working on patient.

In the US there are two major types of medical degrees: Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).  MD and DO degrees are very similar. They both require similar prerequisites for entry into professional school, require applicant to take the MCAT, medical school is four years, there are additional years of residency required, medical students must pass licensing exams, and both offer a variety of specializations. The major difference between the two is one of philosophy. DOs are trained in a more holistic approach to medicine where they consider the whole person in the diagnosis of a disease rather than focusing primarily on symptoms. More information on these two types of medical degrees.  For more information on MD careers visit the website for the American Medical Association and for DO careers visit the website for the American Osteopathic Association.

Medical School Prerequisite Courses

In general most programs require:

  • One year of Biology with labs
  • One year of General Chemistry with labs
  • One year of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • One to two semesters of Biochemistry
  • One year of Physics with labs
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

Other coursework that may be beneficial:

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Additional semesters of Biochemistry

Applying to Medical School

The process of applying to medical schools begins with determining the schools to which you are most likely to apply.  Because schools vary in their required and recommended prerequisite coursework, it is important for you to understand the requirements at your target schools early in your undergraduate career.  This will ensure you can develop a plan to take the courses your schools indicate are necessary.  Applicants are encouraged to apply to the public medical school(s) in their state of residence.  At most public medical schools, there are significant financial and admission preferences extended to in-state applicants.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): A student interested in medical school will typically prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) during their third year (fall/winter) and then take the exam in spring/summer of following the third year.  For more information visit the MCAT website at here.

Letters of Recommendation:  Pre-medical students should be prepared to ask two science professors and one non-science professor for letters of recommendation.  Many medical schools may ask for a letter from a physician, and these may be specific to the type of medical school you are applying to (i.e. allopathic medical schools may request a letter from an M.D., osteopathic medical schools may request a letter from a D.O.).  Schedule a meeting with the professors to directly ask them to write the letters. Don’t just drop in as the request might get shuffled off and forgotten. Be intentional about asking.  Bring a list or short narrative of the work you completed in the classes taken under the professor. Professors see many students over the years and don’t always remember specific course assignments or course experiences like you will. Remind them of these experiences.  Provide an estimated date for submission of their letters. Give your professors enough time to write a thoughtful letter.

Shadowing and experiences:  Admission into medical school is not only becoming increasingly competitive, but it is no longer satisfactory just to have a high GPA or strong MCAT score.  Students should be accumulating significant experience shadowing, volunteering, or clinical work.  While there is no specific minimum number, most medical schools prefer shadowing physicians in three different medical fields, and most osteopathic medical schools want to see significant hours and experiences with a D.O.  And while medical schools do not list research experiences as required, 85-90% of applicants accepted to medical schools have some research experience.  Therefore to be well-qualified candidates, students should engage in research activities.  Generally, the first place to look for these activities is within the department that houses the student’s major.

Personal statement: A personal statement is a well thought out explanation of why medicine is right for you based on the experiences that have led you to this conclusion.  Experiences from your life, work, research, or shadowing that are pertinent to explaining your call to medicine need to be included as part of this statement.  Journaling is a convenient way of keeping track of formative experiences and their impact on you as they occur.

Application timeline:  The application process to medical school begins in May/June of the third year and the primary application should be submitted to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and/or American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS) no later than July.  Secondary applications begin to arrive in August or September of the senior year, and they must be completed and returned immediately.

Medical Schools Attended by Butler Graduates

Recent Butler graduates have attended the following Medical Schools:

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Campbell University
  • Creighton University
  • Des Moines University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • Kansas City University
  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Liberty University
  • Lincoln Memorial University
  • Loyola University
  • Marian University
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Michigan State University
  • Midwestern University
  • Morehouse College
  • New York Institute of Technology
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Ohio State University
  • Ohio University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Penn State University
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Rocky Vista University
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • Rowan University
  • Saint Louis University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • Stanford University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Touro University
  • Uniformed Services University
  • University of California Irvine
  • University of California San Francisco
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • University of New England
  • University of New England
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Pikeville
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Toledo
  • University of Washington
  • Wayne State University
  • West Virginia University
  • Wright State University