What are BS DO Programs?
BS/DO programs (Bachelor’s of Science/Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) grant select individuals a reserved seat in an osteopathic medical school as they work towards completing their bachelor’s degree. This pathway is very attractive for pre-med students as it takes away the fear of not being accepted into medical school, allowing them to thrive during undergrad and reach their highest potential. Students will feel more empowered in these programs, as they are given the confidence that a career as a physician is in their future.
It is important to note that the seat in medical school is reserved, not guaranteed. This means that undergraduate students will have to continuously work to maintain certain grade point averages (GPAs), both cumulatively and within the science courses in particular. Students in some programs may also still have to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT); however, scores required to continue into the medical school and earn their seat may be lower than the average that is accepted each year during the traditional medical school application cycle.
Prerequisite courses must be passed with a minimum grade specific to each school, and must all be completed prior to matriculation. All requirements to earn the reserved medical school seat will be outlined to you upon acceptance, and can be found on the university’s website in most cases.
When do you apply to BS/DO Programs?
Oftentimes, students can apply during their senior year of high school, along with the rest of their college applications. You will be required to apply to the undergraduate university that is part of the BS/DO program, along with a sort of “secondary” application to the actual dual-degree program itself. This special application can be found on the school’s website, along with the deadline to submit.
Some programs allow students to apply during college as well, often during their freshman or sophomore years. This is usually only limited to current students of the undergraduate school affiliated with the osteopathic medical school.
What are the requirements?
These are often school specific, but it is important to have a strong science background. These schools want to see that you are an individual who is rigid in their goal to become a doctor, and by following previous trends, they can easily predict your potential success in the BS/DO program. Be sure to keep in mind the minimum GPA requirements for the BS DO programs you are interested in as you progress through your studies in high school.
SAT and ACT:
SAT and ACT requirements are also outlined on the schools’ websites. Some may require either exam, while others may want scores from both. SAT Subject tests are usually not mandatory, but are appreciated when part of the application.
LORs (Letters of Recommendation):
Certain programs may require a letter of recommendation from a DO physician, so it is important to stay aware of this and prepare accordingly. When choosing a letter writer, be sure to ask those you believe will contribute strong recommendation on behalf of your candidacy as a physician. Physician letters hold a special place during the application process, as admissions committees want to know that medical professionals who know you personally see you as an excellent medical school candidate, even as it is very early in your career.
Finally, the “secondary” application will include essay prompts for you to complete, which can resemble the typical medical school personal statement. Make sure that as you construct your responses, you are accurately conveying your love of medicine and desire to become a physician, tying in why a dual-degree BS/DO program would help you accomplish your goals.
Along with the listed requirements, BS/DO programs are looking for someone who is very passionate about medicine. Being granted a reserved seat in medical school is a huge honor! As long as you are adequately expressing your love for the medical field and inspiration to become a doctor in your essays and during the interview, you are on the right track to getting accepted. The admissions teams for these programs want someone who is 100% certain that a career as a physician is right for them, even at such an early stage of their career.
In most cases, your choice of major is not limited by the BS/DO program! As long as you take the outlined prerequisite courses prior to medical school, you can choose to study whichever degree program appeals most to you. Oftentimes, students will select a sciences-based major, such as Biology or Chemistry, as the courses required for each will parallel topics on the MCAT and subject matter in medical school.
Length of Study/Undergraduate College
8 year program affiliated with Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Boston Campus
– 8 year program affiliated with California State University
– 7 year program affiliated with Pitzer College
7 or 8 year program affiliated with Nova Southeastern University
8 year program affiliated with Illinois Institute of Technology
Affiliated with University of Hartford, Utica College, and more
Affiliated with Michigan State University
7 year program with Lyman Briggs College
8 year program affiliated with many universities, including Wayne State College, University of Missouri – St. Louis, and Rockhurst University
7 year program affiliated with Rutgers University – Camden
8 year program Affiliated with Adelphi University
7 or 8 year program affiliated with Seton Hill University, and more
8 year program affiliated with Adelphi University, Gannon University, or the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Part of the Texas Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP)