Preprofessional Health Advising Office, San Diego State University  5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-1017

Phone:  (619) 594-6638  FAX(619) 594-0244 Web:



In addition to providing a general introduction to a podiatric medical career, this handout is designed to acquaint SDSU prepodiatric medical students with preparation and application processes.  The following information is offered as an overview, and is not intended to answer all of your questions or replace advising services.  Read the following pages and open a file now.



Podiatric physicians are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine involving the lower extremities and in particular the feet.  Common services provided include taking medical histories and performing examinations; ordering and interpreting lab tests; diagnosing and treating illnesses; performing surgery; and prescribing medications and counseling patients.  Some podiatrists specialize in surgery, orthopedics, or public health.  Beyond these certified specialties, podiatrists may practice a subspecialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics or diabetic foot care.


Certification:  Podiatric physicians (DPM’s) are licensed to practice in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Income:  According to the Occupational Handbook, the median net income of podiatrists was about $79,530 in 1998.  The average net income for podiatrists in private practice was $116,000 in 1997.  Those practicing for less than two years earned $61,000;  those practicing 16-30 years earned an average of $146,000.


Outlook on the Profession:  Employment for podiatrists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2008.  More people will turn to podiatrists for foot care as the elderly population grows.  Many podiatrists work independently in their own offices.


For additional information, here are web addresses you may find useful.

                     AACPM:                                                            http://

                     APMA (Association of Podiatric Medicine):  




The Preprofessional Health Advisor is available for individual appointments most Wednesdays and Thursdays during the semester.  Peer Advisors, students who are familiar with the application process, provide informal advising during the academic year.  The Preprofessional Health Advising Office is open Monday-Thursday from 8:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 4:00, Friday 8:00 to 12:00.  The Peer Advisor schedule varies; please check the bulletin board outside GMCS-323.


RESOURCES:  The advising office maintains a collection of materials for your use, including:


The PPHA web page has links to national organizations (including AACPM), many medical schools, student web pages, discussions of medicine-related issues, and application tools such as a GPA calculator.



Beginning 16 months prior to your application, you are expected to attend a series of meetings to learn about the steps you must take to prepare yourself for the application process.  You will be designated as the “Class of ‘XX,” where “XX” = the year you will enter podiatry school.



Bio 249, Careers in the Health Professions


This seminar course, Bio 249, is offered in the spring.  Speakers from a variety of health careers provide insight into allied health fields such as podiatry, optometry, physician assistant and pharmacy.  You are encouraged to take this course early in your academic program.


Bio 348, Internship


Currently thre are no established internships for podiatric medicine.  However, you can enhance your application by successful participation in an "on your own" internship.  Reference the PPHA web page for more information.



If you have an active file with the Preprofessional Health Advising Office and meet other qualifications, you may choose to “go through committee.”  Three faculty members or practitioners in your field will review your application, interview you, and provide an evaluation (Outstanding, Strongly Recommended, Recommended, Recommended with Reservations, or Not Recommended) to the Preprofessional Health Advising Office.  If you receive a “Recommended” or better evaluation and provide an autobiography, a Committee Letter will be written to support your application.  This letter is SDSU's official endorsement of your application and provides the committee’s evaluation, quoted comments and a narrative of your background.




Any major is acceptable to podiatric schools; however, a major in the sciences may already include podiatry school prerequisites.  Plan to complete a degree program before entering podiatric school; fewer than 10% of matriculants do not have at least a bachelor's degree. 



The MCAT is a standardized exam given in the fall and spring each year that will test your knowledge in general and organic chemistry, physics, biology (particularly cell biology and human physiology), verbal reasoning, science problem solving, and the writing of an essay on a general topic. 


Plan to study at least 300 hours for the MCAT.  Many excellent study guides are available, including the Student Manual and practice tests published by the AAMC, the people who prepare the test. These materials may be purchased at the SDSU and UCSD bookstores.  It is strongly suggested that you purchase a manual when you begin your prepodiatry coursework, using it as a study guide as you take the introductory science courses.  Compare the course content with the manual’s topic outlines to determine which content areas you should emphasize.


Several commercial courses are available in San Diego, including the Stanley Kaplan Review and the Princeton Review courses.  The decision to utilize their services is a matter of personal choice, but they are expensive.  If you are receiving financial aid, you may apply to the PPHA office for one of a limited number of partial scholarships.  Scholarships are announced in the semester before the classes are given.


Good MCAT scores will strengthen an application, but even a high GPA can be diminished by low MCAT scores.  You should, of course, do your best in both areas.  If you feel that your MCAT performance does not reflect your ability, you may take the examination again.  WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TAKING THE EXAM FOR PRACTICE, OR IN HOPES OF SLIGHTLY IMPROVING YOUR SCORES, AS SOME SCHOOLS AVERAGE SCORES FROM ALL SITTINGS OF THE TEST.


You are strongly encouraged to take the spring MCAT, so your scores will be available when application processing begins.



Six of the seven colleges of podiatric medicine participate in a centralized application service (AACPMAS).  The exception is the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.  The annual deadline is April 1 (priority) or June 1 (final) of each year and processing of applications begins after Labor Day each year.  Applicants must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and are urged to participate in the SDSU Committee process.



There are seven colleges of podiatric medicine in the United States--the Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine in Miami, the California College of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco, the New York College of Podiatric Medicine in New York City, the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland, the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia,  the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago, and the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Des Moines. They all receive accreditation from the Council on Podiatric Medical Education of APMA, which is recognized by the US Secretary of Education and the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation; they all grant the degree of doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM)




Preprofessional Health Advising Office, San Diego State University  5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-1017

Phone:  (619) 594-6638  FAX: (619) 594-0244  E-mail:




You must complete at least three years or ninety semester hours of college credit at an accredited institution.  Over 90 percent of the students who enter a college of podiatric medicine have a bachelor's degree. Many have also completed some graduate study.  All science courses should be preprofessional level courses designed for premedical students and must include laboratory experience. 

SDSU courses that fulfill the requirements for podiatric medical school include:

  SDSU Course # Course Name Comments

Bio 201A

Bio 201B

Prin. of Cell & Molecular Biol (4)

Prin. of Organismal Biology (4)

12 semester hours of biology required by Dr. Scholl's

Chem 200

Chem 201

Chem 231

Chem 431

General Chemistry (5)

General Chemistry (5)

Organic Chemistry (4)

Organic Chemistry (4)


Phys 180A/182A

Phys 180B/182B


Phys 195/195L*

Phys 196/196L*

Phys 197/197L*

Fund. of Physics I/Lab (4)

Fund. of Physics II/Lab (4)


Principles of Physics (4)*

Principles of Physics (4)*

Principles of Physics (4)*

* only physics majors or those particularly gifted in physics


RWS 100

RWS 200

College Composition (3)

Intermediate Composition (3)


Recommended Courses: (Recommended by podiatry schools and/or helpful for the MCAT)

Chem 365 Biochem, Cell & Molec. Biol Bio 366/366L Biochem, Cell & Molec. Biol
Bio 350 Microbiology Bio 590: Human Physiology  (The class which best prepares students for the biology section of the MCAT.)
Psy 101 Introductory Psychology Bio 215 Statistics (prerequisite for Bio 350, 352)
Comm 103 Oral Communication Bio 577 Embryology
Bio 352 Gen Genetics    

Suggested elective courses include:

Phil 330 Medical Ethics

RWS 503W


RWS 508

Technical Writing

Scientific Writing

Spanish 1 year CHE 362 International Health
Comm 103 Oral Communication CHE 561 Health and Medical Care
Psy 101 Intro Psychology Psy 456 Psychology of Death and Bereavement