A podiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), known also as a podiatric physician or surgeon, qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg.

When treating patients, this system is also known as the lower extremity. Podiatric physicians are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the lower extremity based on their education, training and expertise. Podiatrists are defined as physicians by the federal government.


A DPM is a specialist in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lower extremity disorders, diseases and injuries. A podiatric physician works independently, utilizes x-rays and laboratory tests for diagnostic purposes, prescribes medications, orders physical therapy, sets fractures, and performs surgery. As part of a healthcare team, the DPM works closely with other health professionals to treat and control disease.


Within the profession, podiatric physicians can specialize in a variety of areas such as surgery, orthopedics, or public health. Besides these certified specialties, podiatrists may practice a subspecialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care. Podiatric physicians are the only doctors to receive specialized medical and surgical training, and board certification in the care of the lower extremity. (from AACPM Website)



In making decisions about admissions, podiatry schools consider a range of factors that may vary from one school to another. All prerequisite courses usually need to be completed with a grade of C or higher.  A science and cumulative GPA > 3.0 and an MCAT >490 are competitive scores for admission.  


It is recommended, and often required, that you complete the following courses:*

Biology BIO 150 and 227 (or CH/BI 227), BIO 233 (genetics) and physiology (BIO 243 or BIO 247)
Chemistry 1 year Gen Chem w. lab (CHEM 125 & 126 OR CH/BI 125 & 227 OR CHEM 121, 123, and 126 OR CHEM 122 & 126)

1 year Org Chem w. Lab (CHEM 247 & 248)

1 sem Biochem (CHEM 379) (pre-req for MCAT)

Physics 1 year Gen Physics with lab (PHYS 124 & 125)
Math & Stats Calculus (MATH 119 or 120) (pre-req for Gen Chem)

Statistics – (STAT 212) (pre-req for MCAT)

Social Science PSYCH 125 & a semester of sociology (pre-reqs for MCAT)
Recommended Medical Terminology (BIO 291), English (one composition course and one literature course)


Sample Course Timeline

The following timeline is an example of how you might wish to schedule your prerequisite courses. Timing of these courses may change due to major requirements, study abroad experiences, cohort coursework such as Great Con or Ch/Bi, timing of the MCAT/application, and admissions guidelines at Podiatry schools. In addition to these courses, each student will fit in any classes required by their major. All students are strongly encouraged to meet with Professor Crisp to plan pre-podiatry courses. All students must also consult with their advisors regarding course selection.


Year 1: General Chemistry, MATH 119 or 120, PSYCH 125, BIO 150 (or year 2) 

Year 2: CHEM 247 & 248, BIO 150 (or year 1), BIO 227, STAT 212

Year 3/4:  CHEM 379, PHYS 124 & 125, BIO 243, BIO 233 and/or additional biology courses

Prerequisite Course Requirements for Admission to all 9 Podiatry Schools


*Please note, it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they complete all prerequisite coursework in the time required for admission. Please consult each podiatry school’s website for prerequisite requirements.



WHAT CENTRALIZED APPLICATION WILL I USE? American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
Application Service



  • Shadowing: Paid or volunteer experience in which there is significant observation of a podiatrist (e.g., shadowing) is required.
  • Volunteering:  It is highly recommended that you volunteer in your community, starting as early as your first year at St. Olaf. Although your volunteer role can be in healthcare or outside of healthcare, we recommend that you aim to volunteer in both capacities. Podiatry schools are looking for applicants with sustained and meaningful volunteer experiences. They don’t want students who are simply checking the “volunteer box.”
  • Internship(s): It is recommended that you gain experience in the field through interning at a medical clinic, a department of health, a community clinic, etc. 
  • Leadership: It is strongly recommended that you serve in a leadership capacity (president of an organization, academic tutor, service on an advisory board, etc.). Leaders can enhance their communication and organizational skills, as well as learn how to interact with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • Research: It is highly recommended that you complete at least one 10-week summer research experience. You do not have to find a research opportunity that is related to podiatry.
  • Post-baccalaureate Experience: Many podiatry students have had employment experience between college and podiatry school, often holding positions within healthcare; the average age of admission is 24.



Study AbroadAlpha Epsilon Delta: Preprofessional Health Honor Society

Pre-health Professionals Club 

Pre-health Moodle site

Pre-health Google calendar

Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry



American Podiatric Medical Association

Minnesota Podiatric Medical Association



Professor Kevin Crisp (Professor of Biology, Chair of the Health Professions Committee)

Office: Pre-Health Advising in Piper Center (TOH 270)  Phone: 507-786-3981 Email: crisp@stolaf.edu


*Ultimately, it is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that they complete all prerequisite coursework and experiential opportunities required for successful admission to podiatry school.

To download and print, please click on this link: Podiatry