Chiropractic medicine focuses on the relationship between the body’s main structures – the skeleton, the muscles, and the nerves – and the patient’s health. Chiropractors believe that health can be improved and preserved by making adjustments to these structures, particularly to the spinal column. They do not prescribe drugs or perform surgical procedures, although they do refer patients for these services if they are medically indicated.

Once derided by the “mainstream” medical community, chiropractic medicine has become a well-recognized and highly respected health care field. Chiropractic services are covered by health insurance, including Medicare, and chiropractors are bound by the same regulations and ethics as medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy.

Most patients seek chiropractic care for back pain, neck pain, and joint problems. However, many patients choose a chiropractor as their primary care doctor, because they prefer treatment plans that do not rely on medication or surgery.

Because of the emphasis on holistic health care, chiropractic medicine is associated with the field of complementary and alternative medicine.



Undergraduate requirements (varies by program):

 Biology (2 courses)  BIO 123, BIO 143, or BIO 233
 Chemistry (2 courses)  CHEM 125, CHEM 126*
 Organic chemistry (2 courses)  CHEM 247, CHEM 248
 Physics (2 courses)  PHYS 124, PHYS 125
 Psychology (1 course)  PSYCH 125
 Calculus (1 course)  MATH 120
 English (1 course)  Variety of course options

*St. Olaf general chemistry options:

  1. CHEM 125 (fall), CHEM 126 (spring)
  2. CHEM 121 (fall), CHEM 123 (Interim), CHEM 126 (spring)
  3. CH/BI 125 (fall), CH/BI 126 (Interim), CH/BI 127 (spring, also counts as a semester of general biology)
Be sure to check the admission requirements for the specific programs you will be applying to!


All chiropractic schools advise that you obtain practical experience  with a health professional, preferably a chiropractor. This experience  will provide you with a better understanding of chiropractic medicine and help you answer the commonly asked question, “Why do you want to become a chiropractor?”

Entrance exam:

There is no entrance exam required for admission into chiropractic school. Interviews, however, may be required.

General application:

ChiroCAS – Costs $125 for the first school and $45 for each additional school.

Graduate programs are three and a half years with coursework and clinical experience. Graduates can practice general chiropractic or acquire post-graduate training various chiropractic specialties. 


Professional organizations:

Student organization:

List of graduate programs: