Podiatric Medicine

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon, specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of foot disorders, diseases and injuries. Podiatrists diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. A DPM makes independent judgments and performs or orders all necessary diagnostic tests. They perform surgery, administer medications and prescribe physical therapy regimens. Podiatrists can specialize in many fields, including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics, and diabetic care. Podiatric physicians are educated in state-of-the-art techniques involving surgery, orthopedics, dermatology, physical medicine and rehabilitation.



Podiatrists typically do the following:

  • Assess the condition of a patient’s feet, ankles, or lower legs by reviewing his or her medical history, listening to the patient’s concerns, and performing a physical examination

  • Diagnose foot, ankle, and lower leg problems through physical exams, x rays, medical laboratory tests, and other methods

  • Provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, such as prescribing special shoe inserts (orthotics) to improve a patient’s mobility

  • Perform foot and ankle surgeries, such as removing bone spurs, fracture repairs, and correcting other foot and ankle deformities

  • Advise and instruct patients on foot and ankle care and on general wellness techniques

  • Prescribe medications

  • Coordinate patient care with other physicians

  • Refer patients to other physicians or specialists if they detect larger health problems, such as diabetes

  • Conduct research, read journals, and attend conferences to keep up with advances in podiatric medicine and surgery

Important Qualities:

  • Compassion: Since podiatrists provide care for patients who may be in pain, they must be able to treat patients with compassion and understanding.

  • Critical-thinking skills: Podiatrists must have a sharp, analytical mind to correctly diagnose a patient and determine the best course of treatment.

  • Detail oriented: To provide safe, effective healthcare, a podiatrist should be detail oriented. For example, a podiatrist must pay attention to a patient’s medical history as well as current conditions when diagnosing a problem.

  • Interpersonal skills: Because podiatrists spend much of their time interacting with patients, they should be able to listen well and communicate effectively. For example, they should be able to tell a patient who is slated to undergo surgery what to expect and calm his or her fears.


Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/podiatrists.htm#tab-4 

Required Coursework

The chart above is a list of common pre-podiatry prerequisites and the Emory course equivalents. Requirements vary by school. This list does not include all courses that may be required by podiatry schools. Additionally, schools have differing policies for accepting AP/IB credits to fulfill prerequisites.  Students are responsible for verifying the prerequisite coursework and AP/IB policies of the schools to which they plan to apply.

Helpful resources include: AACPM College Information Book and individual school websites.

Podiatry School Prerequisite Chart

This list was last updated in July 2017. Prerequisite chart is not an all-inclusive list.

*If you use AP credit for BIOL 141, you must still take the BIOL 141 Lab. 

Please contact your pre-health advisor if:

  • You have questions about using your AP/IB credit
  • You began Chemistry coursework at Emory prior to Fall 2017 and have questions about how to proceed
  • You transferred to Emory and have questions about prerequisite coursework taken at your previous institution

For more information on the application process for DPM programs, please see the "Application Process" section of the PHMO website.



Source: ADEA: ExploreHealthCareers. 12 June 2013. American Dental Education Association. 19 June 2013 <http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career/20/Podiatrist_Doctor_of_Podiatric_Medicine>.

Source: American Podiatric Medical Association: What is a a podiatrist. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2017, from <http://www.apma.org/Education/content.cfm?ItemNumber=992>.

Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

Students are required to the read the MCAT Essentials before submitting an application to test.

Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes

Sections: Four sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Cost: The basic registration fee for the MCAT is $310, which covers the cost of the exam, as well as distribution of your scores. Late registration and changes to registration will result in additional fees. Applicants with financial need may apply for the AMCAS Fee Assistance Program to receive reduced MCAT registration fees.

Scores: Scores range from 472-528

Timeline: The PHMO recommends that applicants start studying for the MCAT only AFTER all required MCAT coursework has been completed. This means you should complete all MCAT coursework at least three months before you plan to start studying. Students should plan to take the MCAT no later than July in the year they plan to apply. For students applying for August 2019 matriculation, the MCAT should be completed in or no later than July 2018.

MCAT Prep Resources: There are a variety of MCAT prep resources, each differing in both cost and teaching style. The PHMO does not endorse any specific test prep resource, but we encourage you to explore each of the different options to determine which will best fit your needs.  

Topic specific:

Additional Resources:

The PHMO does not endorse any specfic preparation program or company.

School Selection

Number of schools: Students typically apply to between 2-3 podiatry schools (out of 9 total in the U.S.).

Factors to consider:

  • Admission requirements: Consider how the prerequisite coursework and clinical experience requirements fit with your experience.

  • Location: Urban vs. rural setting, proximity to family, recreational opportunities, cost of living, etc. Additionally, think about where you will be doing your clinical work – types of hospitals/clinics, patient population, etc.

  • Mission Statements: You should look for schools with mission statements that fit with your own goals.

  • Curriculum: Seek out information about the curriculum and consider how it fits with your learning style.

  • Cost: Consider tuition and type of financial aid available

Additional resources for school selection:

*Not affiliated with AACPM. Always double check any information with AACPM or with individual schools.

Primary Applications

Applications for AACPMAS are reviewed on a rolling basis. We recommend applying as early in the cycle as possible. For additional information on Centralized Application Services and Personal Statements, see the "Apply" section of the PHMO website.

  • Centralized Application Service: AACPMAS -American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service

  • Number of Participating Schools: All 9 podiatry schools in the U.S. participate in AACPMAS.

  • Cost: $180 which includes one DPM program designation. Each additional school is $45 during the initital submission. Additional schools after the initial submission are $60 each.

  • Fee Assistance? No fee waiveres are available at this time.

  • Personal Statement Prompt: “State why you are interested in becoming a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Provide information about your development for a career in Podiatric Medicine." 4,500 character limit

  • Application Timing: Students will apply in the summer of the year preceding their planned matriculation. The application opens the first Wednesday in August each year.

  • Resources:
  • Secondary Applications: There are no secondary application forms or fees for the schools and colleges of podiatric medicine.

Recommendation Letters

Podiatry schools typically require between 2-3 recommendation letters. The PHMO recommends at least one of your letters be from a science faculty member. Many podiatry programs require or recommend a letter from a podiatrist.  Your letter writers should be professional/academic references who can write compellingly about your personal qualities that will contribute to a successful career in podiatric medicine. Students should check each school's requirements to ensure you have the required letters.

Letters of evaluation are sent directly to schools, not to AACPMAS. For additional information on the preferred method of letter delivery for each program, see the AACPMAS and individual school websites.

If you are applying to podiatry school and you are a current Emory student or an alumni who graduated from Emory within the last two years, you may be eligible to apply for a Composite Letter. More information can be found on the Composite Letter section of the PHMO website.