Jul 24, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog


A podiatric physician (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, or DPM) is an independent health care provider who is qualified by training and education to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and disorders of the foot, ankle, and related leg structures known as the lower extremity. The podiatric physician uses the full range of diagnostic, medical and surgical treatment modalities and works closely with other health professionals to treat and control disease. The podiatrist practices in urban as well as rural sites and may be associated with multi-specialty clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and professional sports.

In general, schools of podiatry require up to 90 semester hours of prerequisite coursework and most podiatry students have a Bachelor’s degree. The student is free to pursue a major in any area of interest. The pre-podiatry curriculum requires one year each of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and mathematics, along with coursework in English, humanities and the social sciences. A pre-podiatry student at USD should use the suggested curriculum for the pre-medicine program as a guide. The pre-podiatry curriculum offers basic required courses, but the student should contact the individual college of podiatry about requirements specific for that school. The student should consult with an advisor to help plan a course of study that complies with the requirements for admission to the school of podiatry of the student’s choice.

Admission to a College of Podiatry may require the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general and science subjective tests. The American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service (AACPMAS) maintains a central application process for Colleges of Podiatric Medicine.

For more information about podiatric medicine contact: The American Association of Podiatric Medicine (http://www.aacpm.org); The Academic & Career Planning Center, 605-658-3600; the Health Professions Advisor, 605-658-6334, or by visiting the following web site: http://www.usd.edu/admissions.

Brittany Schultz
Department of Public Health and Health Sciences
Professional Academic Advising
Center for Health Education Room 226

Amy Nelson
Department of Public Health and Health Sciences
Program Director
Center for Health Education Room 224

Pre-Podiatry Suggested Subjects and Courses

Students who complete podiatry school will earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. Students interested in podiatric medicine should research the individual program/s to which they plan to apply for specific admissions requirements. Students may pursue any major of interest. For a list of podiatric programs, visit: https://aacpm.org/colleges/. Pre-Podiatry students at USD may use the following curriculum as a guide in completing podiatry prerequisites.

*Required prerequisites



It is highly recommended that students also complete additional coursework in Mathematics, Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Microbiology, Psychology, and Sociology. Please note that some podiatry schools may require courses in these fields as part of their pre-podiatry curriculum:


  • Students must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The MCAT tests foundational science knowledge in combination with skills in scientific inquiry, reasoning, research, and statistics in the following general areas:
    1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
    2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
    3. Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior
    4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • Podiatry schools like to see significant extracurricular activity, ideally pertaining to the healthcare field. This experience can be paid or volunteer. To establish a mentoring or shadowing relationship with a podiatrist, visit the American Podiatric Medical Association.
  • While many students participate in science research, experience working with patients/people in a healthcare setting is also valued. Podiatry schools also value leadership experience. Students should choose a project or volunteer experience that truly “does something for them.” The project should pertain to personal interests yet contribute to the community. This experience should be meaningful enough to the student that they can describe in their podiatry school admissions essay and/or interview why it was inspiring and how it contributes to their interest in becoming a DPM.