I'm nearing graduation from university, at which point I'll have a degree in computer science (bioinformatics) with a minor in mathematics. My intention is to specialize in computational medical research, perhaps applying various A.I. techniques to studying/modeling medical data.

My question is, is there an inherent difference between MD vs. DO regarding the ability to perform research? Are there more resources available for one more than the other? Does the industry, in general, promote/value research of DO more than MD? Other way around?

Any insight is greatly appreciated, as I need to start thinking about MCAT and applying to programs.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about health. Sep 26, 2017 at 5:22
  • @GrahamChiu - While you are correct, it does not fit into the original scope for health, it does fit with the new direction that many of the users want to take the site in. I will let the community decide on the viability of the question.
    – JohnP
    Sep 26, 2017 at 19:47
  • @JohnP If this is targeted at us, we have reconsidered and are vouching for a sister site. You might call us splitters :P. I’ll stay active on both sides (given the new site makes it to beta)
    – Narusan
    Sep 26, 2017 at 21:21
  • @JohnP this is tough either way as it is borderline opinion or experience based - but I do feel it would fit MedicalSciences, it's just not even in Beta yet.
    – DoctorWhom
    Sep 27, 2017 at 2:46
  • 3
    I want to see a few hundred other questions closed before this one is.
    – Carey Gregory
    Sep 27, 2017 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


MDs and DOs are both physicians. Both learn at least a core medical curriculum, then take exams demonstrating that level of knowledge (USMLE vs COMLEX). Both can apply for residencies for any specialty, and they take the exact same specialty boards in order to practice medicine. Both can go into research or any other branch of medical science, with or without going through a residency.

The core medical curriculum is offered in all. So I honestly feel that what you learn and your exposure to research is highly institution-dependent, and the differences between MD schools can even be greater than between MD and DO schools. (Except that OMT is not offered in most MD schools to my knowledge.) There are some generalizations, like that DO schools tend to be more holistic in philosophy, but even that is institution-dependent.

Unfortunately, historically, and even still in some circumstances/regions/fields, DOs have had a more uphill battle to reach the positions and recognition that they deserve in this MD-dominated medical field. But within the medical field, I feel that the vast majority of MDs and DOs today finally see each other as equal colleagues, as they should.

Certainly a doctor's skill as a clinician or researcher is more dependent on their individual learning, mentorship and experiences that they seek out than anything else!

Which is probably the most important factor for someone going into research: what the affiliated UNIVERSITY is doing. What research can you be involved in during medical school? What can it offer you in strength of opportunities and mentorship?

I would approach it by exploring the difference between SCHOOLS rather than degrees. Figure out who is doing what you want to do, and who offers the most opportunity to explore what you're interested in. Then apply accordingly. Also, I recommend contacting both an MD and a DO in a similar field of research and ask them for their perspective on their experience, and advice as someone coming into the field.

  • Well put! Even with healthcare seemingly always 10 steps behind in most technological areas, scary how fast things are evolving....
    – Mike-DHSc
    Sep 27, 2017 at 4:32
  • @Mike-DHSc - If you want scary, any moderately well off multi-millionaire could set up a CRISPR lab and start going to town. $50-100k setup costs and 5-10k a week maintenance.
    – JohnP
    Sep 27, 2017 at 16:07

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