Podiatric Medicine

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

What is a podiatric physician?

Becoming a podiatric physician


Medical Colleges Admissions Test (MCAT)

Pre-Med Experiences

Applying to Medical School

Personal Statement
Letters of Recommendation
Choosing Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a podiatric physician?

  • "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."

- American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine

  • Podiatrists can work in a variety of health care settings including private practice, hospitals, and clinics. Podiatrists can specialize in orthopedics, sports medicine, surgery, pediatrics, diabetic wound care, and more. 
  • Learn more about Podiatric Medicine at the 2017 UC Davis Pre-Health Conference!

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Becoming a podiatric physician


Visit the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine to learn more about becoming a podiatrist.

Becoming a podiatric physician is a lifelong commitment to continuing education. In general, the path to becoming a doctor includes the following steps:

  1. Obtain an bachelor's degree and complete all pre-medical requirements, including prerequisites, the MCAT, and clinical experiences (4+ years)
  2. Attend podiatric medical school (4 years)
  3. Complete Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Residency (3-4 years)
    1. Optional: Complete fellowship (length varies)
  4. Become licensed in the state you wish to practice
  5. Maintain certification & complete Continuing Medical Education (ongoing)

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Prerequisites for Podiatric Medical School

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. 

Podiatric Med School Prerequisites at UC Davis

Most schools require:
General Chemistry (CHE 2ABC)
General Biology (BIS 2ABC)
Organic Chemistry (CHE 118ABC)
Physics (PHY 7ABC)
English Composition (3 quarters of ENL, COM, or UWP classes)

Some schools may also recommend:
Biochemistry (BIS 102/BIS 103 or 105)
Physiology (NPB 101 or NPB 110ABC)*
Anatomy (EXB 106 & 106L)
Cell Biology (BIS 104)
Microbiology (MIC 102 & 103L)*

See the Podiatric Medical School Prerequisite Chart for a list of podiatric medical schools and their requirements.

*Check your major requirements before choosing classes.

  • To prepare academically as a pre-medical student, you'll need to take the podiatric medical school prerequisites and coursework to prepare for the MCAT. School prerequisites and MCAT prep coursework overlap but are not the same. See the courses HPA recommends students take before the MCAT.
  • Each podiatric medical school has different prerequisites. 
  • You can choose any major and apply to podiatric medical 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 with the medical school prerequisites when choosing classes.
  • Complete all of your prerequisite courses for a letter grade - DO NOT take any of them P/NP.
  • HPA recommends that pre-medical students maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, although many medical schools will have GPA averages above this minimum.

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The Medical Colleges Admissions Test (MCAT) is...

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  • required by all medical schools.
  • over 7 hours long.
  • includes four sections:
    • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
    • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
    • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
    • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
    • Learn more about what’s on the MCAT.
  • a content-based test.  

Health Professions Advising recommends that students take the following courses before studying for the MCAT:

  • Biology (BIS 2ABC)
  • Chemistry (CHEM 2ABC)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHE 118ABC)
  • Physics (PHY 7 or 9)
  • Biochemistry (BIS 102 & 103, OR 105)
  • Physiology (NPB 101 or 110ABC)
  • Psychology (PSC 1)
  • Sociology (SOC 1, 3, or 154 recommended)
  • Statistics (STA 13 or 100)
  • CARS Preparation (HIS 2/STS 2, PHI 5, or PHI 15)
  • See HPA's Guide to Standardized Tests to learn more. 

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Pre-Medical 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. 

  • Asking, "Will this look good on a medical school application?" is the wrong way to approach your pre-medical experience. Medical schools will see who you are and what you care about through experiences that align with your interests, goals, and passions. (Learn more about inputting Experiences in the podiatric medical school application.) Whatever you choose to do, be sure you are dedicated, passionate about it, and motivated to pursue it for the right reason!
  • HPA recommends that you first build a strong GPA and gradually build up your experiences. This may require that you take some time off after graduating before you apply, but it is much better to apply later with a strong GPA than to apply early with lots of experience but a weak GPA.

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Applying to Podiatric Medical School

AACPMAS Instructions & FAQ

Have questions about the application? Visit the AACPMAS Instructions & FAQ site.

AACPMAS (Primary Application)
  • The AACPM Application Service (AACPMAS) is the first stage of your medical school application. All podiatric medical schools participate in AACPMAS.
  • AACPMAS opens in the beginning of August each year.
    • Priority deadline: April 1st 
    • Final deadlines: June 1st or June 30th (depending on the school)
  • You must apply the year before you plan on starting medical school.  
  • There are 4 sections of AACPMAS:
    • Personal Information
    • Academic History
    • Supporting Information
    • Program Materials
  • You can create an account in AACPMAS at any time, even if you aren't applying that cycle. AACPMAS will transfer information you input from one year to the next. 
  • You will designate all podiatric schools you're applying to in AACPMAS. The first school costs $180, and each additional school costs $45 each. 
Personal Statement
  • You will answer the following prompt in the "Essays" section of AACPMAS:
    • "State below why you are interested in becoming a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Provide information about your development for a career in Podiatric Medicine. Your essay should be limited to 4500 characters."
  • Your personal statement should not be a list of experiences. Use your essay to tell them something they do not already know about you.
  • The personal statement is your first chance to provide medical school 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.
Experiences & Achievements
  • In AACPMAS, you will designate each of your experiences as one of the following categories (Learn more about each category here.):
    • Employment
    • Podiatric Experience
    • Healthcare Experience
    • Extracurricular Activities
  • You will have 600 characters to describe each of these experiences. 
  • You can add more experiences after you submit your AACPMAS application, but you cannot update or delete completed experiences.
  • Achievements in AACPMAS include any honors or awards. You will also have 600 characters to describe these. 
Letters of Recommendation
  • AACPMAS does not collect your Letters of Recommendation. You will send your letters directly to each school or use a letter service such as Interfolio or Virtual Evals. 
  • Each school has different letter requirements, but you should aim to have letter(s) from the following individuals:
    • Two science faculty from UC Davis (one can also be from a school / community college you transfered from)
    • A podiatric physician that mentored you or that you have shadowed
    • A professional outside of school
Deciding Where to ApplyMap of US Podiatry Schools

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Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming a Podiatrist

Is podiatric medical school different than allopathic or osteopathic medical school?

In recent years, the American Podiatric Medical Association pursued an initiative, called Vision2015 - The Path to Parity, to ensure that podiatrists are universally recognized to be on par with allopathic and osteopathic physicians. Podiatric medical students receive the same curriculum as allopathic or osteopathic medical students that is no less rigorous or intense.

One key difference between the three medical professions is that osteopathic medical students also learn Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine in addition to their other curriculum. 

Download the 2017-2018 Podiatric Medical College Information Book for a year-by-year breakdown of podiatric medical school curriculum. 

I am an international student. What do I need to know?

Applying to podiatric medical school can be more complex and challenging for international students, but Health Professions Advising and other campus resources like SISS can help you achieve your dreams of becoming a physician. 

Some things international students should keep in mind:

  • Most, but not all podiatric medical schools accept international students. 
  • Schools will usually only accept a very small number of international students each year, so the applicant pool is very competitive.
  • International students cannot receive federal financial aid such as Direct Stafford, Direct PLUS, and Perkins Loans.

Visit each school's website to learn about their requirements for international students.

Classes & Prerequisites

What courses satisfy the English requirement for podiatric medical schools?

Lower and upper division English (ENL), UWP, and Comparative Literature (COM) courses will satisfy the English requirement for podiatirc medical schools. You may also take similar classes at a community college. Some, but not all, schools will accept AP credit for this requirement. 

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

Which classes count towards the science GPA?

You can see which courses count towards the science GPA calculated by AACPMAS here

To calculate your science GPA, pull up your Academic Record in OASIS. Along the left side of the course list, you will see boxes. Check off the boxes for the courses you wish to be included in the GPA calculation on the right side of the page.

If I repeat a course, does it affect my AACPMAS GPA?

Starting with the 2017-2018 application cycle, AACPMAS is no longer forgiving first instances of repeated courses. 

What does this mean? This means that every grade you have earned for a course will factor into your medical school application GPA. For example, if you get an F in organic chemistry but retake it for an A, both grades will count towards your GPA. 

Should I take BIS 102/103 or BIS 105?

Either BIS 105 or BIS 102/103 will adequately prepare you for the MCAT. Check your major requirements before choosing one over the other. 

Do medical schools accept AP credit or P/NP classes?

Podiatric medical schools are not consistent in how they handle AP Credit. In general, pre-medical students should take all prerequisite courses at a college level. 

Most schools will not accept P/NP classes to satisfy prerequisites. 

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. 


When should I take the MCAT?

You should begin studying for the MCAT after you have taken all of the coursework that HPA recommends students take before the MCAT. Many students take the MCAT the summer before they apply to medical school. Consider making an appointment with an advisor to create an application timeline. 

See the AAMC's MCAT Testing Calendar for this year's testing dates.

When should I start studying for the MCAT?

When you are taking your prerequisite courses, you are essentially studying for the MCAT. You should formally begin studying for the MCAT after you have taken all of the coursework that HPA recommends students take before the MCAT. 

Keep in mind that the new MCAT is 7.5 hours long. The test is a content test, but it is also an endurance test. You need to practice reading efficiently and coherently for long periods of time. If you struggle with reading comprehension or test anxiety, we strongly recommend that you address those areas before you attempt the test, such as through a SASC workshop


Do I need a test prep course?

According to the AAMC, about half of MCAT examinees report that they used a test prep course to prepare for the test. Whether or not you need a course depends on how you study. If you prefer to study at your own pace, there are many resources available online to help you prepare for the test without using a company. 

Learn more about studying for the test.

Applying to podiatric medical school

When should I apply?

You will apply to medical school the spring of the year before you wish to start. For example, if you want to start school in fall 2020, you will apply to AACPMAS in spring 2019. 

There is no right or wrong time to apply, but you should apply when you feel most confident about your application. When you choose to apply is a very personal decision, and we encourage students to talk out their plans with an HPA advisor before settling on a timeline.

What is a gap year?

The term "gap year" refers to the time after your undergraduate education and prior to entering a health professional school. What you decide to do if you take a gap year is up to you. Students spend their gap year(s) doing a variety of activities, including (but not limited to):

  • working and earning money to finance their professional/graduate education
  • pursue things they didn't have time to do as a student (i.e. study abroad, Teach for America, etc.)
  • completing post-bac classes or a master's degree
  • volunteering pursuing community service projects
  • research

Your gap year is a chance to expand and develop in areas you were unable to develop during your undergraduate years. 

What are the advantages of taking a gap year (or years)?

Benefits of a gap year include:

  • An extra year of coursework towards your GPA
  • An extra year to gain experience (both work and life experience)
  • An extra year to build relationships with faculty for letters of recommendation
  • Having more time to take MCAT prep coursework
  • Not missing classes to travel to interviews during your fourth year of college
  • Not being stressed out worrying about acceptances, financial aid, finding housing during your fourth year of college
  • Working and making some money before starting your next step
When should I start writing my personal statement?

The personal statement should be a reflective, well-polished document. You can create your first draft as soon as you want. The more time you give yourself to get feedback and revise the better. Health Professions Advising advisors are happy to read your essay and give you feedback, but please make the appointment at least a month before your deadline.

Please bring a printed draft of your personal statement to appointments and drop-in advising.

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