Which D.O. Schools Require a D.O. Letter?

Premed students struggle to obtain Doctor of Osteopathic medicine (or DO) letters mainly for one reason: There are a lot more MDs out there than DO physicians. 

Nowadays pretty much none of the DO medical schools strictly require a DO letter of recommendation. However, some DO schools prefer DO physician letters over MD letters while others don’t have a preference. It’s important to research different DO medical schools’ preferences to DO letters if you are planning on applying without a DO letter of recommendation. 

Lucky for you, I researched every DO medical school in the United States to find out every school’s letter of recommendation preferences and requirements. My focus was specifically on their physician letter requirements.

Let’s get right into it. 

List Of D.O. Medical School Physician Letter Of Recommendation Requirements

Most DO schools will not require a DO letter of recommendation anymore. This is because students consistently had trouble getting a DO letter due to there being fewer DO physicians available for shadowing.

However, as I mentioned in the introduction, DO medical schools vary with their Physician letter of recommendation requirements. 

I was able to sort every DO school physician letter requirements and preferences into 4 categories: 

D.O. Physician Letter Required

  • Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM)

Yes, currently only one DO medical school requires a DO physician letter to be accepted. It used to be more, but medical schools realize that premed students have difficulty obtaining these letters.

I suspect that soon ARCOM will follow suit and not require the DO letter at all. But as of 2021, this is not the case. 

No Physician Letter Is Required Or Preferred 

These schools don’t require or prefer any physician letter and would be good medical schools to apply to if you weren’t able to obtain one.

  • Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) – Due to COVID they are removing the requirement
  • Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM)
  • Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM)
  • Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) – No physician letter reuiqred or preferred
  • Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (SHSU-COM) – No physician letter required or preferred
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center at Forth Worth – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM) – No physician letter required or preferred

No Physician Letter Required But Preferred

These schools don’t technically require a physician letter of recommendation but they prefer you have one. These schools do not specify a preference for DO schools.

  • New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM)
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM)
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus (PCOM Georgia)
  • Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM)
  • Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California (TUCOM-CA)
  • University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM)

MD or DO Physician Letter Required

These schools state that they require you to have a physician letter of recommendation. However, they don’t have a preference for DO letters.

  • A.T. Still University of Health Sciences Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM)
  • A.T. Still University of Health Science School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA)
  • Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine at New Mexico State University 
  • California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine (CHSU-COM)
  • Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM)
  • Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM)
  • Liberty University Coffee of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM)
  • Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM)
  • Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM)
  • Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kieran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM)
  • Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUNCOM)
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Auburn Campus (VCOM)
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Campus (VCOM)
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Louisiana Campus (VCOM)
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Virginia Campus (VCOM)

DO Letter Preferred

The schools listed below specifically state that they prefer to see a letter from a DO physician.

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM)
  • Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM)
  • Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM)
  • Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (CCOM/MWU)
  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)
  • Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM)
  • Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM)
  • Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – New York (TouroCOM-NY)
  • University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM)
  • University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM)
  • West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)
  • Western University of Health Science College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP)
  • William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM)
  • Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM)

Osteopathic Medical School Letter Of Recommendation Requirements

Now that we have listed every DO medical school based on their physician letter of recommendation requirements, I wanted to summarize every DO school’s overall letter of recommendation (or LOR) requirements. 

Alabama College Of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD (DO is preferred)
  • 1 Committee letter or 2 academic letters from science faculty

Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD (DO is Strongly recommended)
  • 1 Committee letter or 1 science professor

Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM)

  • LOR from a DO required (cannot be MD) 
  • 1 Letter from a Committee or 2 letters from natural science professors

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD
  • 1 letter from a pre-medical committee, health professions advisor, or science faculty member. 

A.T. Still University of Health Science School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD, must have shadowed them for 20 hours and primary care is preferred
  • 1 letter from a pre-medical committee, pre-medical advisor, or science faculty member. 

Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine at New Mexico State University (BCOM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD
  • 2 academic letters from science professors or scientific research advisers. 
    • Non-traditional students who have not been enrolled in science courses for 3 years or more can use letters form employment supervisors.

California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine (CHSU-COM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD
  • 1 academic letter from science professor 
  • 1 additional LOR from a physician, college professor, or work supervisor. 

Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD (DO letter is STRONGLY recommended)
  • 1 letter from a pre-health committee, advisor, or Ph.D. Biomedical science faculty member. 

Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (CCOM/MWU)

  • 1 letter from pre-medical advisory committee, advisor, or science professor. 
  • Preferred that second LOR from a physician DO or MD. Letters from DO physicians are strongly recommended.

Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD
  • 2 Academic or advisor letters or 1 committee letter

Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM)

  • LOR NOT required from a physician for the 2021-2022 cycle due to “challenges presented by COVID-19”
  • 1 letter from a science faculty member (PhD) or a premed advisor. 

Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD
  • 1 letter from premed advisor or committee or science faculty member. 

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

  • LOR from an osteopathic physician is “highly recommended”
  • Premed committee letter or 2 LORs from science professors

Liberty University Coffee of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD
  • 1 letter from a science faculty member or premed advisor/committee.
  • 1 letter from a pastor, volunteer coordinator, or employer. 

Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM)

  • LOR from a physician required (DO or MD)
  • 1 premed committee letter or 2 letters from science professors

Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM)

  • LOR from a physician required (DO or MD)
  • 1 letter from a premed committee or advisor
  • 1 letter from a science professor

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM)

  • 3 letters required
  • At least one letter should be written by an academic or medical professional. No osteopathic physician letter required. 

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM)

  • 3 letters required
  • Pre-health committee letter/Composite letter 
  • Or 2 individual faculty letters (at least one from science) and 1 letter from a supervisor in a long-term job, service, research, or clinical experience
  • Also strongly recommend a DO or MD letter

Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD (DO is preferred)
  • 1 letter from a science faculty member
  • 1 letter from an advisor, composite evaluation, or committee letter.

Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kieran C. PAtel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM)

  • LOR from a physician required DO or MD 
  • Premed committee letter or 3 letters of recommendation (2 science professors and 1 non-science professor)

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM)

  • 1 premed committee letter or 2 letters from natural science faculty
  • LOR from a DO physician is not required but strongly recommended

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM)

  • 1 premed committee letter or 2 faculty letters

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM)

  • LOR required from a physician required DO or MD (DO preferred) 
    • During COVID pandemic the physician letter is not “recommended”
  • 1 Letter from a science faculty member required
  • A premed committee/advisor, military supervisor, research supervisor, second science faculty letter, second physician letter, or a health professional supervisor letter.

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM)

  • 3 LORs required. The following letters are what PCOM highly recommends.
    • Physician LOR preferably DO
    • Premed committee/advisor letter. 
    • Undergraduate or graduate faculty letter. 

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus (PCOM Georgia)

  • Same as the PCOM Philadelphia campus

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM)

  • 3 LORs required
    • LOR from a healthcare provider (Physician preferred DO or MD)
    • 1 letter from a premed committee/advisor
    • 1 letter of the candidates choice

Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM)

  • LORs from a premed committee or at least 2 science faculty members

Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (SHSU-COM)

  • Premed committee letter preferred
  • If not committee letter, minimum of 3 letters required from faculty. Can use work supervisors, preceptors, or research mentors if you have been out of school.

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – New York (TouroCOM-NY)

  • LOR required from a physician (DO or MD) DO letter preferred. 
    • Due to COVID limitations, they will also accept a letter from a non-physician supervisor who observed your interactions with patients or a letter from a DO or MD who has supervised you in a lab or professional environment. 
  • 1 Premed committee letter or 2 letters from natural science faculty. 

Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine – California (TUCOM-CA) 

  • 1 premed committee letter or 2 letters from a biological/physical science faculty required
  • LOR from a physician (DO or MD) recommended

Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM)

  • 1 premed committee letter or 2 letters from your college science professors. 
  • LOR from a physician (DO or MD) required

University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM)

  • 3 letters of recommendation are required
  • LOR from a physician (DO or MD) required, DO letter is preferred. 
  • 1 premed advisor/committee letter
  • 1 letter from a science professor.

University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM)

  • 3 letters of recommendation required
  • No specific requirements but they want letters from premed advisors/committees, faculty members, supervisors of a healthcare position, or physician letters. 
    • DO letter is recommended

University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC/TCOM)

  • 1 premed committee letter or 3 letters from either faculty and/or advisors.
    • Letter from a DO physician is encouraged. 

University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (UP-KYCOM)

  • Letter from a physician (MD or DO) but preferably a DO. 
  • One of the following:
    • 1 premed committee letter
    • 1 advisor and 1 science faculty member letter
    • 2 different science faculty member letters

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Auburn Campus (VCOM)

  • 2 letters of recommendation required
    • Letter from a physician (MD or DO)
    • Letter from a premed committee or science faculty member

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas, Louisiana, and Virginia Campus’s (VCOM)

  • Same

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)

  • Letter from a physician required (MD or DO) but DO letters are strongly recommended
  • 1 premed committee letter or a science faculty member letter 

Western University of Health Science College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP) 

  • 1 letter from a physician (MD or DO) preferably a DO letter. 
  • 1 letter from a science professor or premed committee. 

William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM)

  • 3 letters of recommendation required
    • Letter from a physician (MD or DO) but preferably a DO
    • 2 letters from science faculty (or a single letter from a premed committee)

Should You Apply To D.O. Medical Schools Which Prefer A D.O. Letter When You Don’t Have One?

This depends on your current situation. Generally speaking, we recommend only applying to about 10-12 medical schools if you have a competitive application. This means that you may want to limit how many DO schools you apply to. 

If you are limiting how many D.O. Schools you apply to then you may only want to apply to the schools listed here that don’t have a preference for DO physician letters of recommendation. 

That being said, you also want to base your decision on schools that fit your strengths well. The letters of recommendation are only a part of the application. You need to view your application holistically which may mean that some DO schools may mesh better with you as a whole even if they do prefer a DO letter. 

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