When people think of a career in medicine, they often picture a physician’s role in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease in a clinical setting. However, physicians can have careers in a number of non-clinical settings, including (but not limited to): research, teaching, business, public health, journalism, or political advocacy.

In the United States, physicians are trained in Allopathic Medicine (earning an M.D. degree) or Osteopathic Medicine (earning a D.O. degree). What’s the difference?

Physician-Scientists devote a portion of their professional efforts to research. The primary pathway to this career is through a combined degree, either an M.D./Ph.D. or D.O./Ph.D.

Some medical schools will have other graduate degrees available for students to earn in combination with their medical degree, including (but not limited to): Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), or Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.).

After they complete their medical degree, physicians participate in additional training – known as Residency – in their area of specialty. The length of this training varies, depending on the specialty being pursued.

Allied Health professions with similar clinical responsibilities include Physician Associates (formerly known as Physician Assistants) and Nurse Practitioners. For more information about these and other Allied Health professions, contact our campus partners in the Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising.

You can learn more about this health profession at The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and