Different Levels of a Doctor's College Degrees


A physician (M.D., D.O., D.P.M, or D.C.) must meet requirements for college education and credits before attaining status as a licensed practitioner of medicine.

The Facts

  • There are many doctoral degrees available in the medical professions, all with individual requirements for degree conferment. Admission requirements for medical degree programs can vary.

Doctor of Medicine

  • An undergraduate degree is typically required before entering medical school. Some schools do, however, allow three years of undergraduate credits. Candidates then study for four years in medical school to earn a doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree, followed by two to eight years of residency.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

  • The initials D.O. follow a physician with a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree. Osteopathic doctors and M.D.s have the same undergraduate and post-graduate training requirements.

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

  • Podiatrists, or D.P.M.s, are required to have at least three years of undergraduate credits, although a full degree is preferred. A four-year podiatric degree follows, with two to four years of residency after graduation.

Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine

  • Chiropractors, or D.C.s, need two years of undergraduate course work before admission to a chiropractic program. A four-year undergraduate degree is preferred. Four years of doctoral coursework follows. No residency is required.


  • Photo Credit wax115/morgueFile.com
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