Bridge to Podiatric Residency (Advanced Placement)

Our innovative 22-month curriculum offers graduates from medical and dental schools in the US and abroad, an opportunity to earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree and attain eligibility to apply for a US podiatric surgical residency position.  

Campus Location


  • Hybrid
  • On Campus
  • Online

Program Duration

  • 22 Months

Upcoming Deadlines

A Unique Opportunity

At Samuel Merritt University, we are committed to shaping the future of podiatric medicine through comprehensive education, hands-on experience, and a specialized curriculum tailored for graduates from medical and dental programs in the US, Canada and further abroad.  The Bridge to Podiatric Residency program (BPR) encompasses a range of courses and rotations to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills required to become a podiatrist.   

Join the Next Generation of Podiatrists 

Are you seeking a medical career that offers great work-life flexibility? Do you want to become a surgeon? Consider our 22-month pathway, designed to pave the way for a doctor of podiatric medicine degree and eligibility for residency in podiatric surgery (while we cannot guarantee that you will receive a residency position, it’s important to note that the current availability of residency positions in 2024 surpasses the number of graduates, creating a favorable environment for aspiring podiatrists).   

What We Look For 

If you're a medical or dental school graduate, our program welcomes you to bridge the gap and become a distinguished Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Unlock your potential. Shape your future. Become a podiatrist.  

Requirements & Program Info

Bridge to Podiatric Residency Applicant Requirements

  • Successful completion of a medical or dental program from a US or international medical or dental school.  A copy of your diploma must be submitted along with a link to your institution's registrar's office or any third party for degree verification (e.g. Degreeverify.org, World Education Services (WES), etc.) 

  • Official transcripts of ALL graduate programs that you have attended (this includes MD, DO, MBBS, DDS, DMD, BDS, PhD, MBA, JD, MPH, etc.). For international students, transcripts must be submitted to WES or an equivalent evaluation agency.  Final official evaluation must be submitted to BPR. For expediency, unofficial transcripts may be submitted directly to BPR; however, official transcript evaluations must be received by the end of the first month of the program and must align with the unofficial documents.

  • Good academic standing upon graduation from your medical or dental program.  

  • Three letters of recommendation, with at least one letter from your graduate institution (faculty, dean's letter, faculty mentor, etc.)  Letters should detail your academic achievements and your suitability for a career as a podiatrist.

  • A personal statement detailing your experience/exposure to the profession of podiatric medicine.

Next Steps: 

  • A required in-person or virtual interview invitation will be extended if your application is accepted.

  • We will communicate with you predominantly via email. Please make sure that BPR has your correct email address and other contact information. 

  • Following receipt and review of all required documentation and completion of an interview, the decision for acceptance to the program will be communicated to you within seven business days.

To apply, download the fillable PDF application below and email the application and required documentation to David Tran, DPM, Associate Dean for Admissions, dtran@samuelmerritt.edu.
bpr_application_form_2024.pdf(380.79 KB)





Lower Extremity Anatomy and Cadaver Lab 



Gain a deep understanding of the intricate structures of the lower extremity through hands-on dissection and anatomical study. 


Podiatric Surgery 


Learn the fundamentals of foot and ankle surgery, preparing you to excel in a podiatric surgical residency. 


Podiatric Biomechanics 


Explore the mechanics of the lower extremity, enhancing your ability to diagnose and treat movement disorders.


Podiatric Medicine 


Delve into the medical aspects of podiatry, developing expertise in diagnosing and managing foot and ankle conditions. 


Lower Extremity Trauma 


Learn to address traumatic injuries of the lower extremities, from fractures to soft tissue injuries. 



Clinical Rotations 




Podiatric Surgery 


Gain hands-on experience in surgical settings, refining your surgical skills under the guidance of experienced podiatrists. 


Diabetic/Wound Care 



Develop expertise in managing diabetic foot conditions and wound care, a critical aspect of podiatric medicine. 





Apply biomechanical principles to analyze gait and posture, offering tailored solutions for patients' unique needs. 


Podiatric Surgery Case Based Learning 


Enhance your decision-making abilities by studying real-world surgical cases and their outcomes. 


Podiatric Surgery Clerkships 


Experience month long surgical clerkships throughout the United States.  

The College of Podiatric Medicine is proud to offer a variety of ways to fund your education including scholarships, work study and student loans. The first step in applying for financial aid at SMU is to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

All accepted students are considered for the entrance scholarship, which is based on merit, income and other factors. These scholarships are renewable, based on maintaining academic achievement. 


Samuel Merritt University has received $10 million from the estate of Russell Odell Lewis, DPM ‘65 – the largest single donation in the school’s 113-year history. His transformative estate gift will dramatically expand the scholarship resources broadening educational access for students with financial needs and furthering SMU’s mission to diversify the healthcare field. The fund was first established in 2007 after the death of Dr. Lewis’ wife, to provide annual scholarships to nursing and to podiatric medical students.  


WICHE – Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. WICHE grants are available for students from specific western states. More information is available at the WICHE website, www.wiche.edu. Please direct your attention to the PSEP program. As candidates/students can come from any of the participating states, state guidelines may differ.  

Your financial aid package at Samuel Merritt University is personalized to you. We develop your financial aid package using guidelines set by the Department of Education and the estimated costs of the College of Podiatric Medicine.  

In addition to the cost of tuition, books and fees, financial aid can also cover other indirect educational costs, including the following: 

  • Books and supplies 

  • Room and board 

  • Transportation 

  • Personal expenses 

  • Other fees as determined by the College of Podiatric Medicine  


Managing your Cost of Living 
Once you receive your financial aid package, check the amount of the award against your actual living expenses and we can make necessary adjustments to meet your needs. By incorporating cost effective practices such as shared housing, transit discounts, and more, the average cost of living in the Bay Area for our students is calculated to be about $27,000/year. 


Detailed information about financial aid, budgeting, total cost and application processes are available on the SMU webpage. 


We realize that the financial aid process can be difficult and overwhelming.  We are here to help. Financial Aid staff can assist with budgeting, understanding your awards and understanding the process.  

finaid@samuelmerritt.edu or 510-879-9200 

The Samuel Merritt University College of Podiatric Medicine is accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (www.cpme.org) and the accreditation status is accreditation.  Accreditation is an indication of public approbation, attesting to the quality of the podiatric medical education program and the continued commitment of the institution to support the educational program. The council is recognized as the professional institutional accrediting agency for podiatric medical education by the US Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For further information, please contact the Council on Podiatric Medical Education at the following address: 

Council on Podiatric Medical Education 
9312 Old Georgetown Road 
Bethesda, MD 20814 
(301) 571-9200 

The mission of Samuel Merritt University’s Podiatry school is to produce highly skilled and compassionate podiatrists. Students are expected to develop a robust medical knowledge base and requisite clinical skills, with the ability to appropriately apply knowledge and skills, effectively interpret information, and contribute to patient-centered decisions across a broad spectrum of medical situations in all settings. The following technical standards, in conjunction with the academic standards, are requirements for admission, promotion, and graduation. The term “candidate” refers to candidates for admission as well as current DPM students who are candidates for retention, promotion, or graduation. 


These requirements may be achieved with or without reasonable accommodations, the cost of which will be borne by the institution. These standards should not serve as a deterrent to any candidate with disabilities who desires to pursue medical education. Candidates with disabilities bring unique perspectives which contribute to the diversity of the student population and will create a diverse health care workforce of culturally competent practitioners who can meet the needs of their patients. Candidates with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center immediately to begin a confidential conversation about possible accommodations necessary to meet these standards. Fulfillment of the technical standards for graduation does not guarantee that a graduate will be able to fulfill the technical requirements of any specific residency or clinical position. 


Technical Standards  


Observational Skills 

A candidate must acquire information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in foundational sciences. In addition, a candidate must be able to evaluate a patient accurately and assess relevant health, behavioral and medical information.  Candidates must be able to obtain and interpret information through comprehensive assessment of patients, correctly interpret diagnostic representations of patient physiologic data, and accurately evaluate patient conditions and responses.  


Communication Skills 

Candidates must exhibit interpersonal skills to enable effective caregiving of patients, including the ability to communicate effectively in English with all members of a multidisciplinary health care team, patients, and their families in person and in writing. Candidates must be able to clearly and accurately record information and accurately interpret verbal and non-verbal communication. 


Patient Care Skills 

Candidates must perform physical examinations and diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate must be able to provide or direct general care for patients, and properly respond to emergency situations in a timely manner. Examples of common treatments required of candidates include providing palliative care of foot and ankle conditions, injecting medications such as anesthetics and anti-inflammatories, taking orthotic impressions, taking pedal radiographs, and assisting in foot and ankle surgery. Candidates must meet applicable safety standards for the environment and follow universal precaution procedures. 


Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Cognitive Skills 

Candidates must be able to learn through a variety of modalities, including but not limited to, classroom instruction; laboratory, including cadaver lab; small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; and use of computer technology.  A candidate must effectively interpret, assimilate and understand the complex information required to function within the DPM curriculum including, but not limited to, the ability to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures; effectively participate in individual, small group, and lecture learning modalities in the classroom, clinical and community settings; learn, participate, collaborate and contribute as a part of a team; synthesize information both in person and via remote technology; interpret causal connections and make accurate, fact-based conclusions based on available data and information; formulate a hypothesis, investigate the potential answers and outcomes; and reach appropriate and accurate conclusions. A candidate must be able to find sources of knowledge, acquire the knowledge through various modalities, and possess the ability to be a life-long learner. 


Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills and Professional Expectations 

A candidate must be able to exercise good judgment, promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. The skills required to do so include the ability to effectively handle and manage heavy workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Candidates are expected to exhibit professionalism, personal accountability, compassion, integrity, concern for others, and interpersonal skills including the ability to accept and apply feedback and to respect boundaries and care for all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of gender identity, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other protected status. Candidates should understand, and function within, the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine, and maintain and display ethical and moral behaviors commensurate with the role of a podiatrist in all interactions with patients, faculty, staff, students and the public. Interest and motivation throughout the educational processes are expected of all candidates. 

Samuel Merritt University recognizes disability as an aspect of diversity that is integral to society and to the campus community. It is the policy and practice of Samuel Merritt University to create an inclusive learning environment. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) works with students and faculty to create accommodations when necessary to provide equal access to University services and facilities. If you would like to discuss disability-related needs, please contact the DRC for a confidential appointment at drc@samuelmerritt.edu. Accommodations cannot be applied retroactively, so please reach out early. 

Empowering Medical Graduates from across the globe to excel in Podiatric Medicine


Unmatched DO Graduates in 2023


Total unmatched MD and DO graduates in 2023


Unmatched MD Graduates 2023



Cherri S. Choate

DPM Associate Dean for Educational Affairs

SMU Perspectives

College of Podiatric Medicine News