What is Podiatric Medicine (Podiatry)?

According to the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM) Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) strive to improve the overall health of their patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions resulting from injury or disease associated with the foot and ankle. A DPM makes independent judgments, prescribes medications and performs surgery.

AACPMs membership consists of nine colleges and more than 200 hospitals and institutions that offer postdoctoral training in podiatric medicine.

It takes four years of medical training to become a DPM.

Choosing a Major

There is no particular major required for someone interested in podiatric medicine. Statistics released by the AACPM notes that 56% of applicants majored in biology, 11% in the physical sciences, 9% in other sciences, and 6% in the social sciences.

Pre-requisites at Wheaton

Most health professions schools require the same pre-requisite courses as listed below. Keep in mind that specific schools may have additional requirements.

All courses should be completed by the end of the junior year for students planning to apply to medical school in the senior year. All students need to complete these pre-requisites before taking the MCAT.

1 Year of Biology

Bio 112: Cells and Genes*

One other course from the Cells and Molecules* area of biology.

2 Years of Chemistry

Chem 153: Chemical Principles

Chem 253: Organic Chemistry I

Chem 254: Organic Chemistry II

Chem 232: Aqueous Equilibria

1 Year of Physics

Phys 170 or 180: Introductory Physics I

Phys 171 or 181: Introductory Physics II

1 Year of English

Eng 101: Writing*

One other class in English at or above the 200-level.*

*Denotes classes that are offered every semester

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP credit may >on some occasions be used to satisfy the English writing (Eng 101) and/or mathematics requirements. It is highly recommended that AP science courses not be used to satisfy any of the science pre-requisites since health professions schools expect you to have the classroom experience of taking science lab classes at the college level. If you do accept credit for an AP class in a required science course, the expectation is that you will take an upper-level science courses/labs in the science department to satisfy the health school requirement. AP credit equivalent to Wheaton’s English 101 will waive writing requirement, but students still have to take a 200-level English course.

Summer courses

Though there is nothing that says a student cannot take pre-requisite science courses in summer school, students should remember that many of the health professions schools prefer that science classes be done during the semester to demonstrate the ability to take laboratory courses while registered for a full course load. Students considering taking a pre-requisite science course over the summer should consult with Dean Trayford.

Pass/Grade/Fail option

Required pre-medical courses can never be taken pass/fail. Students should also think carefully when considering taking any other classes under this option. Health profession schools want to see if you are successful in many different areas of study, not just in the pre-requisite courses. Therefore, students are discouraged from taking any classes under the pass/grade/fail option. If there is a good reason for using this option, consult with Dean Trayford. Remember, take all science courses for a grade.

Study Abroad

Health professions schools consider a student who studied abroad in a very positive light, particularly if the experience can be combined with health-care-related experiences. Students interested in studying abroad should definitely do so. It is important to plan ahead when thinking about studying abroad. Discuss your plans with Dean Trayford. Keep in mind though that pre-requisite courses should not be taken during study abroad. Most schools will not accept pre-requisite requirements taken at a for­eign institution.

Grade Point Average and Standardized Test Scores

In 2009, the overall GPA was 3.3 and the average science GPA was 3.1. Average MCAT scores for Matriculants also remained relatively constant in all categories over the previous year: Verbal Reasoning went from 7.1 to 7.3; Physical Science scores stayed the same at 7.1; and Biological Sciences increased from 7.5 to 7.7 over the previous year.

Related links