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There are two types of medical schools from which to choose. Both types of basic medical training have nearly identical curricula and acceptance requirements. State licensing agencies and most hospitals and residency programs recognize the degrees as equivalent.
Allopathic or MD schools - Allopathic schools grant matriculants an M.D. degree. Visit a listing of all U.S. accredited allopathic schools at Association of American Medical Colleges.
Osteopathic or DO schools - Osteopathic training has a holistic approach to the practice of medicine. Osteopathic schools train their medical students in manipulative techniques for diagnosis and treatment. For more information and a listing of accredited Osteopathic schools, visit American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
Medical School consists of four years of training:
First Two Years: Students learn the basic sciences essential to the practice of medicine. Normal structure and function of human systems and abnormalities and disease is taught through gross anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, and immunology. Lecture-style teaching, problem-based learning, small-group learning and case-based learning are the teaching approaches that accommodate different students’ learning styles. Students also learn history-taking and practice via simulations. The available approaches differ among schools; refer to the individual medical schools’ literature for further details.
Second Two Years: These two years consist of a series of required clinical rotations or clerkships usually lasting from 4 to 12 weeks during which students work with patients and families in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Students function under the supervision of a physician (attending doctors and residents) and collaborate with other health care professionals (nurses, pharmacists, etc).The pattern, length and number of rotations differ from school to school. Clinical training during this period includes clerkships in internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery. During the fourth year, students choose a medical specialty and apply to graduate medical education programs (residencies).
United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps 1 and 2 for an M.D. or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) 1 and 2 for a D.O. are taken during medical school.