The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is a specialist concerned with prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of foot disorders resulting from injury or disease.
Academic preparation for podiatry school requires completion of a set of prerequisite classes, usually science, which vary from school to school. Most podiatry schools require, or at least encourage, completion of a Bachelor’s degree. However, some schools accept students who completed more than 90 credit hours of college credits but do not have Bachelor’s degree. For your degree, any major is appropriate. There is no preference in this regard, so study something you love!
Preparation for podiatry school involves engaging in experiences that develop and demonstrate skills in communication, leadership, community service, and familiarity with the profession. What you do outside of class is as important as what you do in class so don’t neglect these activities. Keep in mind that activities complement your coursework, but will not compensate for low grades. Both are important!
- Make sure you have contact information for supervisors and physicians you work with or shadow in case you need a recommendation letter. Try to keep an open relationship with them after you discontinue activities.
- Keep a record of all hours of service and experiences. The Prehealth Planner Spread Sheet on our website can help with this.
- Writing reflections on each activity in a journal will be helpful when you write your personal statement.
This should be one of your first experiences as a prepodiatry student. Observing a podiatrist in action will help you gather the information you need to fully commit to the profession, and to learn about a variety of podiatry specialties. It is also good to interview several podiatrists.
Podiatry experience is very important in your application. Most students gain this experience by shadowing a general podiatrist for more than a semester. Consider Internship to structure your experience and earn course credit. More information can be found here, http://careers.utah.edu/find-job/index.php.
Because you are preparing for a humanitarian profession, it is important to have volunteer experiences that demonstrate a commitment to serving others in your community. It is suggested that this be ongoing throughout your college years prior to application for admission.
As a podiatrist, you will be a leader and team member in many ways – with your patients, your staff, your colleagues, and in your community. Examples include offices held in organizations, committee work; leadership in church activities; coordinating a project; managing, training, supervising at work or in other activities; teaching experience of any kind; coaching; peer counseling or mentoring, etc.
This guide is designed for applying to a range of podiatry schools. It is not a comprehensive list. Requirements may vary by school so applicants should look closely at what is required at the schools at which they are applying. The following list indicates the most commonly classes required or recommended by podiatry schools. See a Preprofessional advisor for more information.
AP & IB CREDIT
Some podiatry schools may not accept Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits earned in high school towards their prerequisites, so students with AP or IB credits in science, math or writing should either take the introductory course or a higher level class in the appropriate area.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE CREDITS
Podiatry schools vary on their view of prerequisite classes taken at Community Colleges. Some accept them but look on them with some disfavor, other schools readily accept them. Students should be aware of this when planning their education.
There are a number of very good reasons for students to begin their college education at a Community College, so we have some recommendations for those who wish to do so. In general it is okay to take the following classes at the Salt Lake Community College. However, to satisfy schools who do not accept Community College work, higher level courses may have to be taken to make up for it.
- MATH 1050 College Algebra and anything below
- BIOL 1610 & 1615 BIOL 1620 & 1625, General Biology 1 and 2 with labs, in place of BIOL 1210 and 2020 at the U of U
- CHEM 1210 & 1215, and 1220 & 1225, General Chemistry 1 and 2 with labs.
- ENGL 1010 and 2010
- CLEP Credit & Correspondence Study— Depend on Podiatry school. Check each podiatry school’s website for more information.
- “Online” Courses— Depend on Podiatry school. Check each podiatry school’s website for more information.
- Withdrawals--W’s should be used only for emergencies, although W’s will not affect your GPA.
- GPA—The Podiatry central application service, AACPMAS, will calculate Total, Science, and Non-Science GPAs. The average GPA for accepted applicants is usually in the 3.2 range
- Repeated Courses—All grades from ALL attempts at a class are counted in your GPA when you apply for podiatry school. (This is different from the U of U’s policy to only count the most recent attempt.)
REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS
1 year of General Biology: The U of U offers one semester of General Biology
BIOL 1210, Principles of Biology (3 credits)
Any one of the following can be used for the second General Biology
BIOL 2020 Cell Biology (3 credits) Prerequisites: BIOL 1210 and CHEM 1210
BIOL 2030 Genetics (3 credits) Prerequisite; BIOL 2020
BIOL 2210 Human Genetics (3 credits) Prerequisite; BIOL 1210
PATH 3100 Medical Microbiology (3 credits)
BIOL 2325, Human Anatomy (4 credits) Prerequisite BIOL 1210
The lab is included and fulfills one Biology lab for most medical schools
BIOL 2420 Human Physiology (4 credits), Prerequisites BIOL 1210 and CHEM 1210
BIOL or CHEM 3510, Biochemistry I (3 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 2310 Recommended Prerequisites BIOL 2020 and CHEM 2320
Lab Requirement: Since 2 Biology labs are required by most Optometry schools, students can take either the Anatomy OR Physiology lab to fulfill the first biology lab for most Optometry schools. The second biology lab can be fulfilled by any biology course such as BIOL 2015, 3115, 3205, 3235, 3515, 3525 and more. Please note that many of these classes correspond to a class that must also be taken. Taking labs at Salt Lake Community College is also acceptable.
In order to take the proper math class, you must have ACT, SAT or math placement test scores, or successfully pass a prerequisite math course. Some students will need MATH 0980 or MATH 1010 before starting the Prepodiatry math sequence.
REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS
The most common requirement is College Algebra and Trigonometry. University of Utah students need to take Trigonometry even if it is not required because it is a prerequisite for the lowest Physics series accepted by podiatry schools.
MATH 1050 College Algebra (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1010 or placement
MATH 1060 Trigonometry (3 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1050 or placement
MATH 1050 & 1060 can be substituted with MATH 1080 (5 credits) Precalculus
REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS
CHEM 1210 General Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1050 or math placement
Lab CHEM 1215 (1 credit)
CHEM 1220 General Chemistry II (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 1210
Lab CHEM 1225 (1 credit)
CHEM 2310 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 1220
Lab CHEM 2315 (2 credits)
CHEM 2310 Organic Chemistry II (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 2310
Lab CHEM 2325 (2 credits)
BIOL 3510 or CHEM 3510, BiochemistryI (3 credits) Prerequisite, CHEM 2310,
Recommended Prerequisites BIOL 2020 and CHEM 2320
REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS
1 year of Physics with labs: Students have 2 series to choose from
Algebra and Trig based Physics
PHYS 2010 General Physics I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1060
Lab PHYS 2015 (1 credit)
PHYS 2020 General Physics II (4 credits) Prerequisite PHYS 2010
Lab PHYS 2025 (1 credit)
Calculus based Physics
PHYS 2210 Physics for Scientists and EngineersI (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1210
Lab PHYS 2015 or 2215 (1 credit)
PHYS 2220 Physics for Scientists and engineers II (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1220 and PHYS 2210
Lab PHYS 2025 or 2225 (1 credit)
REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS
2 semesters of English Composition
WRTG 1010 (3 credits)
WRTG 2010 (3 credits) Prerequisite WRTG 1010
CW course (3-4 credits) If no course in your major, choose something from either Writing or English department.
Most podiatry schools require at least 1 Behavioral Science and 1 either Arts or Humanities course.
REQUIRED BY SOME SCHOOLS
Any Psychology course
OPTIONAL PREPARATORY COURSES FOR MATH, CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS
- MATH 10 (non credit) Math Boot Camp for Intermediate Algebra, 1 week workshop offered the week before fall and spring semesters begin
- MATH 15 (non credit) Math Boot Camp for Precalculus, 1 week review workshop offered the week before fall and spring semesters begin
- CHEM 10 (non credit) Chemistry Boot Camp for General Chemistry, 5 hours per day 5 days per week for 2 weeks
- CHEM 1200 (3 credits) Preparation for College Chemistry, Usually offered online. Check class schedule for more information
- CHEM 1208 (1 credit) Introduction to the Periodic Table, Offered online between semesters for 2 weeks
- CHEM 2308 (1 credit) Introduction to Organic Chemistry Offered online between semesters for 2 weeks.
- PHYS 1500 (3 credits) Preparation for College Physics, Offered once a year. Check class schedule for more information
OPTIONAL COURSES FOR EXPLORING THE PODIATRY FIELD
- College of Health LEAP, LEAP 1100 (3 credits) and 1101 (3 credits), 2 semester seminar course for Freshman considering health majors, http://leap.utah.edu/program-options/college-of-health/.
- HEDU 2010 (3 credits) Introduction to Health Profession (Fall only).
Prepare for Letters of Recommendation
Requirements for letters vary between schools, so research schools early and know what you need. Plan ahead! Get to know people from these categories so they can write excellent letters for you. 3 to 4 letters of recommendation are required by most schools—2 from science professors and at least 1 from a podiatrist.
- Science Professor (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math)
- Science / non-Science Professor
- Podiatrist / Supervisor
- Tell professors at the beginning of the semester that you would like them to keep an eye on your performance in class. It will give them a longer observational window.
- Visit their offices regularly
- At the end of the semester, if you do well, ask them if they would be willing to write you an excellent letter of recommendation when you are ready to apply.
- A key to a good letter is the establishment of a relationship between student and
professor based on shared academic interests.
- Ask thoughtful questions
- Delve deeper into concepts presented in lectures
- Share your academic and career goals
- Ask for recommendations for additional reading
- Inquire about their areas of interest and research
- After you have gotten to know professors, ask about further opportunities, e.g. teaching assistantships, individual research projects, etc.
- American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (aacpm.org)
- WICHE Program (http://www.wiche.edu/psep/podi)
The Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) is a consortium of undergraduate and graduate programs in the western states. This enables Utah residents to enroll at reduced tuition in out-of-state professional programs. In order to qualify for WICHE, students who have been a resident of Utah for at least 5 years and must file a WICHE application by October 15, one year prior to the fall entrance date to podiatry school.