When choosing a medical school, undergraduates have many choices to make including what type of medical school to attend. There are traditional medical schools offering graduates an M.D. degree (allopathic) and medical schools offering a D.O. degree (osteopathic). The curriculum at both types of school is almost identical. State licensing agencies and even residency programs recognize the degrees as equivalent. Simply put, osteopathic doctors are legally and professionally equivalent to medical doctors.
The difference between the two types of schools is that osteopathic medical schools take a holistic approach to medicine based on a belief in treating the “whole patient” (mind-body-spirit) and the utility of osteopathic manipulative treatment. Osteopathic medical schools have a reputation for looking at the whole applicant, not just his or her statistics, and therefore tend to admit nontraditional applicants. Both doctors can practice in all areas of medicine, and ultimately the decision belongs to the student.