Chiropractic Medicine

There are many pieces to the chiropractic school application, including your GPA, personal statement, list of experiences, letters of recommendation, and biographical information. Use the navigation below to explore each aspect of preparing for chiropractic programs. 

What is a chiropractor?

Becoming a chiropractor

Academic Preparation

Standardized Test

Experiences

Applying to Chiropractic Programs

Frequently Asked Questions



What is a chiropractor?

  • A doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (D.C.) is a specialist primarily concerned with how the spine and how its interplay with the nervous system affects other body functions. He/she uses modern techniques to examine and diagnose conditions. Once a diagnosis is reached, the chiropractor may use any one of many techniques to treat the problem, including dietary guidance and manipulation of the spine and musculature.
  • To learn more about the chiropractic profession, check out ACA's "What is Chiropractic?".

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Becoming a chiropractor

  1. Obtain a bachelor's degree and complete all pre-chiropractic requirements, including prerequisites and experiences (4+ years)
  2. Attend a chiropractic college (4 years)
  3. Pass the National Board Exam for Chiropractors administered by the NBCE to become certified
  4. Become licensed in the state you wish to practice
  5. Maintain certification & complete Continuing Chiropractic Education (ongoing)

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Academic Preparation

Myth: If I'm going to get a C- in a class, I should intentionally get a D or F in that class in order to retake it for a better grade.

Fact: Do not fail a class on purpose in order to retake it for a better grade. Even though the lower grade will not be included in your UC Davis GPA, it will remain on your transcript and most centralized applications will count that first grade into your application GPA.

Additionally, the health profession schools will still see it. It is better to have a C- in the course and improve through other courses in the same discipline than to take a D or F.

Most health professional schools require all prerequisites to be completed with a C or higher. Although you cannot repeat the C- at UC Davis, you will need to repeat it somewhere else either over a summer or after graduation.

If you need to discuss this or any other academic difficulty futher, please make an appointment with a staff advisor. 

PRE-CHIROPRACTIC PREREQUISITES AT UC DAVIS


Most schools require: 

General Biology (BIS 2ABC)
General Chemistry (CHE 2ABC)
Physics (PHY 7ABC)
Psychology (PSC 1)
English Composition (ENL, UWP, COM)

See the Chiropractic Program Prerequisite Chart for a sample list of chiropractic programs and their requirements.

*Check your major requirements before choosing classes.

  • Several programs require only 90 credit hours to qualify; however, the majority of successful applicants have completed their bachelor’s degree before entering chiropractic school. The 90 hours will include a minimum of 24 semester hours in life and physical science courses. These science courses will provide an adequate background for success in the DCP, and at least half of these courses will have a substantive laboratory component. In each of the six distribution areas, no grades below 2.00 on a 4.00 scale may be accepted.
    • At least nine quarter hours of the chemistry courses must include a corresponding lab. The chemistry requirement may be met with the following
      • 4.5 quarter hours must be General/Inorganic Chemistry
      • 9 quarter hours must be Organic and/or Biochemistry
      • 4.5 quarter hours of Chemistry elective
  • You can choose any major and apply to chiropractic school. If you choose a non-science major, you still have to take the science prerequisites required by most schools. Always cross-check your major requirements and the chiropractic school requirements when choosing classes.
  • Complete all of your prerequisite courses for a letter grade - DO NOT take any of them P/NP.

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Standardized Test

  • There is no entrance exam required for admission into chiropractic school.

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Experiences

Myth: I can do a lot of meaningful experiences to make up for a weaker GPA.

Fact:  Having many meaningful activities will NOT make up for a low GPA.

You must focus on your grades during your undergraduate years, earn at least a 3.0, and then begin adding experiences. You can always take a year or two off after graduation to gain more experience. It is better to graduate from UC Davis with a higher GPA and less experiences than lots of experiences but a low GPA. 

  • We strongly recommend exploring this field by shadowing a D.C. You can find a chiropractor through the ICC's HRI System. You can also find a chiropractor on your own and shadow or volunteer in his/her office. You could consider interviewing a chiropractor to learn more about the field, or participate in an internship through one of the schools.
  • Choose experiences that are meaningful to you and think outside the box! Here are some good places to start looking for experiences at UC Davis:

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Applying to Chiropractic Programs

ChiroCAS
  • ChiroCAS is a central application system for applying to chiropractic schools. Not all schools use ChiroCAS. Check with your school's chiropractic program to see their specific application guidelines. 
  • Application deadlines vary by program. Check your school's program website to determine their specific application deadlines. Generally, you should apply one year before the intended term start date (For example, if you plan to start chiropractic school in the fall of 2020, you must apply in the summer of 2019.)
Personal Statement
  • The personal statement, or statement of motivation, should answer topics concerning your interest in the chiropractic program, as well as your experience and understanding of chiropractic medicine. 
  • ChiroCAS allows 3000 characters (including spaces) for the personal statement. 
  • The personal statement is your first chance to provide admissions committees with subjective information about your qualifications and your reasons for choosing this particular career. In other words, the personal statement is your initial opportunity to present yourself as an interesting and unique applicant who deserves a closer look.
Letters of Recommendation
  • Two or three letters of recommendation are usually required. They should be from faculty (at least one science professor) and also from a health professional, preferably a chiropractor who can evaluate your potential in the field.
Interviews
  • Applicants may be invited to schedule an interview prior to matriculation. Not all programs require or offer interviews. Interview styles can include one-on-one interviews with faculty, school representatives, or panel interviews with professionals, and can also be situtational or behavioral. 
Supplemental Applications
  • Certain programs will ask for an additional application to be submitted. Supplemental applications requests vary by school and will be submitted separately from ChiroCAS. Be sure to check the school's deadlines to make sure any supplemental materials are submitted on time. 
Choosing Chiropractic Schools
 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I study abroad?

Studying abroad is a wonderful experience that we encourage you to pursue. It is a valuable experience that provides the opportunity for growth in both maturity and cultural awareness.

You should not study abroad because you are pre-health in an effort to make your application stand out. You should study abroad because you want to gain the experience.

If your study abroad program was through UC Davis Study Abroad or UC Education Abroad (UCEAP), then your coursework will be on your official UC Davis transcript and fullfil prerequisites. If you studied abroad directly through a foreign institution, then your coursework will be on a "foreign transcript," which most health professional schools do not accept. 

What courses satisfy the English requirement for chiropractic programs?

Lower and upper division English (ENL), UWP, and Comparative Literature (COM) courses will satisfy the English requirement for occupational therapy schools unless an OT program's website says otherwise. You may also take similar classes at a community college. 

Note: Testing out of the upper division UWP course requirement via the Upper Division Composition Exam (UDCE) for graduation does not count towards the occupational therapy prorgram requirement.

 Many pre-health students take UWP 104F (see course description here). This is a great option because in this class you will produce a personal statement draft. Consider waiting to take UWP 104F until your junior or senior year, or closer to when you will submit your application.

What careers can I pursue with a chiropractic medicine degree?

Most chiropractors run their own private practice to treat patients, but other D.C. careers include working in hospital settings, working with other health professionals in group practices, or even working in education and academia. 

What do chiropractors treat?

Chiropractors differ from other doctors in that their line of expertise is treating pain within the back, neck, and head. They can also treat ailments involving various muscles, joints, and ligaments due to strain from sports or physical activity. 

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