Podiatry class

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

One of only eleven schools of its kind in the U.S., the Samuel Merritt University College of Podiatric Medicine is a national leader in podiatric medical education and patient care. We’re proud to say that 100% of our students receive a residency placement, with 75% of graduates matching with one of their top three residency choices (video).  

Campus Location


  • On Campus

Program Duration

  • Four Years Plus Residency

Upcoming Deadlines

A Rewarding Career in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery


Podiatric physicians are devoted to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of foot and ankle disorders, diseases, and injuries. They are the only health professionals who exclusively specialize in this area — and it’s a field in growing demand. An aging population coupled with an increase in chronic conditions that impact mobility, such as diabetes, means more people are seeking care. 

At the heart of the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) program is a rigorous curriculum in the basic medical and clinical sciences mixed with hands-on learning experiences that begin in your second year, a full year earlier than other programs. You gain clinical experience in a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and specialty facilities in the Bay Area and beyond — including rotations in podiatric surgery, medicine, radiology, wound care, biomechanics, and anesthesia. You’ll provide care to patients of all ages and backgrounds and, in line with SMU’s mission, connect with and learn from underserved communities. 

Our program is committed to leading the field in podiatric medical education, patient care delivery experience, clinical outcomes, research, and community service efforts. After you graduate from SMU, you’ll be ready to excel in your residency training.


To prepare students to be exceptional podiatric residents by providing a podiatric medical education that is intellectually, socially, and personally transformative, that instills professional values, a passion for excellent care, and a dedication to patients and their diverse communities.


  • Promote and implement excellence and innovation in education.
  • Advocate and model an environment of dignity, compassion, and respect.
  • Promote collaborative teamwork and interprofessional education.
  • Educate students to provide excellent podiatric care.
  • Recognize and address the structural and social determinants of health and how they relate to health disparities.
  • Encourage and support quality scholarly activity and research.
  • Foster the skills for lifelong learning, self-reflection, and wellness.


  • Respect. We treat our students as future colleagues.
  • Integrity. We expect every student, staff member and faculty member to be a model of professionalism.
  • Student-centered learning. Students are our highest priority.
  • Professional growth. We cultivate and promote individual development.
  • Excellence. We expect every student, staff member, and faculty member to strive for betterment.

What We Look For

  • A regionally accredited bachelor’s degree with the appropriate prerequisite courses
  • A desire to work with underserved communities
  • A commitment to lifelong, self-directed learning
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • Letters of recommendation

Featured Events

Program Requirements and Info

The program at CPM is a rigorous medical curriculum, and applicants are expected to be of the same caliber as applicants to all medical colleges. In addition to prerequisite coursework, the following are also required:

  • Competitive MCAT scores (see Prerequisites section for latest updates related to MCAT requirements)
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended, including any work in progress
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation, one from a podiatric physician that you have shadowed

Applications for the SMU College of Podiatric Medicine are accepted using the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service (AACPMAS) on a rolling basis until our class is full (48 students).

Apply Now

Prerequisite Coursework

You must have all prerequisite courses completed prior to the start of the term.

Most matriculated students have had a curriculum that includes three or more of the following recommended courses: anatomy, biochemistry, histology, microbiology, and physiology, as well as a spectrum of liberal arts subjects. A combination course such as genetics, embryology, virology, and immunology will also be beneficial.

Prerequisite Requirements, Semester, and Quarter Units

CourseSemesterQuarter Units
General Biology with lab8.012.0
General Chemistry with lab including content in inorganic8.012.0

Organic Chemistry with lab 

A total of 4 of Biochemistry with a lab may be substituted for the second semester of Organic Chemistry 

Physics with lab 8.012.0
English/Communications 6.09.0
Liberal Arts Electives12.018.0

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)*

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is required of all applicants. Test results are valid for three years. The MCAT is the only acceptable standardized exam considered for admission. The program at CPM is a rigorous medical curriculum and MCAT scores are expected to be of the same caliber as those of applicants to all medical colleges.  More information on the MCAT is available on their website: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/

Application deadlines are published by the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service and are posted on AACPMAS.liaisoncas.com. You need to ensure that any MCAT scores submitted to AACPMAS be OFFICIALLY received by the service before any final action can be taken by the college. If the scores are not officially received by the CAS, this may delay any offers of admission that may be made to you.

Supporting Documents

The following documents should be from the same academic year as the year that you apply to CPM. Unless otherwise indicated or requested during the application process, the following documents should be sent directly through AACPMAS at the time of application. Required documents include:

  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended, including any work in progress. Final updated official transcripts with work-in-progress courses completed will be required once grades are posted.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from your college science faculty or a letter from a pre-health advisory committee.
  • One (1) letter of recommendation from a podiatric physician that you have shadowed.

Please include and submit your official transcripts and letters of recommendation directly through AACPMAS with your application.

CPM also accepts letters of recommendation through Interfolio. Documents from Interfolio should be directed to dtran@samuelmerritt.edu

The Interview

Students are selected for an interview based upon the content of the application they submit through AACPMAS. Not all candidates who meet minimum qualifications will be granted an interview, and not every interviewee will be granted admission. While we prefer that you interview in person, we do accept virtual interviews.  

Interviews are held on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning in September and ending in July. The in-person interview day includes presentations about the College of Podiatric Medicine, Samuel Merritt University, financial aid and scholarships, and includes lunch with CPM students as well as interviews with CPM faculty and administration.

International Applicants

All international applicants (including Canadian citizens) have unique requirements. Please contact the Office of Admission for details. International applicants are strongly encouraged to apply to CPM before April 1, as a student visa may take three months or longer to obtain.


For both U.S. citizens and international students, the need for TOEFL will be assessed based on information provided on the application. If required, a minimum score of 100 (Internet Based Test) must be achieved and official score results must be provided to CPM. In addition, you must achieve a score of 26 or higher in the speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT.

Residency Placement Notification

Although there are currently a sufficient number of entry-level residency positions for each podiatric medical college graduate in the U.S., there is no guarantee that every podiatric medical college graduate will receive a residency position.

Although residency programs may have positions available, those positions are not required to be filled if a residency program feels that no desirable candidates are available. 

The Samuel Merritt University College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM) accepts well-qualified students with professional promise whom we expect to succeed. However, while CPM expects every graduate to obtain a residency, CPM cannot guarantee that a residency position will necessarily be available to every CPM graduate.

How to Prepare for the Interview

What should I wear to an interview?
Business attire is appropriate for the interview day. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. 

What should I take to an interview?
Having a personal bag/backpack is helpful. You may bring items to touch up before the actual sit-down interview session in the afternoon.

What is the interview like?
The interview day is very exciting. It starts with informative meetings with staff. You are given a tour of the school, followed by lunch with current students. The actual interview is after lunch, where you will be interviewed by CPM faculty/staff. 

Who will I be interviewed by?
There are several individuals who may interview you. Usually, the dean, associate dean, and faculty members will conduct your interview. 

CPM and the City of Oakland

Where do students typically live when in their first year?
Students live in many surrounding areas of Oakland. In Oakland, students typically live near Pill Hill (the area where the campus is located), Telegraph, the Fruitvale District, and Jack London Square. Students also live in neighboring cities such as Alameda, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Other students commute from cities such as Fremont, Hayward, and Union City. Public transportation is available from all areas. There is a parking garage for students who commute. Student discounts are available for Clipper Cards if you take BART. There is a shuttle that runs from the BART station to the campus.

What is the best way to reduce the cost?
CPM offers many ways to help reduce costs. We will help you find affordable housing and help connect you with roommates.  We encourage public transportation, which is readily available throughout the SF Bay Area and you are eligible for reduced-cost monthly Clipper passes. SMU has a free food pantry for all students.

What stood out to you when choosing CPM over the other schools? SMU CPM, which was founded in 1914, has many well-established, busy hands-on clinical rotations with outstanding clinical faculty and a high faculty to student ratio. CPM clinics are located in Oakland and San Francisco, diverse communities that provide access to a great diversity of patients. Many of the clinics are affiliated with podiatric residencies which give CPM students extra exposure to those programs. CPM is also a smaller program which means more faculty access and more personalized teaching and learning.

What do students do outside of school for social or community activities?
The SF Bay Area is an amazing place, with an abundance of world-class activities. The Oakland campus is surrounded by great parks, restaurants, museums, theater, music venues, sightseeing, sporting events, etc. Community service is also a big part of CPM, with volunteer opportunities almost every weekend and many weekdays.

What the commute is like from BART to the school and how seamless and safe is it? BART is easily accessible and quick to learn. Google Maps will tell you which train to take and what time each train will arrive at the station. To get to CPM you will take BART to the MacArthur station and transfer to a free shuttle for the final half mile to campus. To cover the cost of BART, you may purchase a Clipper Card at any BART kiosk. SMU provides a student discount making public transportation even more affordable on a student budget. 

Is BART safe? Yes, BART is safe with its own police force who patrol each station and many trains. Nevertheless, as in any large city, pay attention to your surroundings and do not flash your expensive electronics, etc. 

What is the overall safety of the area around school, Oakland, etc.? The area around the campus is safe. Like any city, there are areas that are safer and some areas where you need to be diligent. We are fortunate to have a parking garage that is very safe. The area around the campus is seeing significant development over the past few years. Within two blocks, you will find Sprouts grocery store, Starbucks, Chipotle, and Grocery Outlet. There are also campus security guards who help to limit the amount of non-student individuals from roaming onto campus. There are plenty of study spaces that are open until 10 p.m. and midnight and security can escort you to your vehicle if you do not feel like walking alone. Overall, it feels safe here.

What support is offered for students if they need help academically or with general advice?
SMU offers services that you can use such as academic advising/coaching, peer tutoring, and more. First-year students are also paired up with a faculty advisor, a third-year mentor, and a second-year mentor. SMU Student Service offers help in areas such as testing skills, study skills, and wellness. CPM has a faculty member who is dedicated to learning strategies and board preparation. 

What kinds of clubs do you have on campus?
CPM has many clubs and societies including: surgery, wound care, public health, sports medicine, and many others. The school has clubs associated with ACFAS, public health, surgery, volunteer clinics, etc. In addition to academic clubs, there are intramural sports clubs. Students have the option to start their own clubs, too.

Where can I study on campus?
    •    Library (there are cubicles, study rooms you can reserve, and tables)
    •    Campus lounge 

What is the relationship like between the underclassmen and upperclassmen?
CPM has very small class sizes (48 students) that creates a small community that makes it very easy for there to be a collaboration between underclassmen and upperclassmen as well as between students and faculty/staff.

First and Second-Year Related Questions

What's the best thing to use for taking notes in class?
All students take notes differently but most of us have found that an iPad or Microsoft Surface Pro allows you to take notes right on the PowerPoint slides while also being able to label pictures easily. Some applications used for note taking include Notability and OneNote.

How do people find roommates before meeting anyone in class?
CPM sets up a Facebook page for all entering students to allow them to get to know each before school starts. This becomes a platform for students to find roommates.

Are there opportunities for research?
Students can talk to their professors if they have ongoing research or look for research outside of campus that is associated with a hospital or organization. With the presence of the Motion Analysis Research Center, it is quite easy to find an ongoing project to join. 

Where do students typically go for rotations starting their second year? During the second year, rotations are held on the SMU campus, at Highland Hospital in Oakland, at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and at the San Francisco multi-service centers (homeless shelters). 

Are students able to be involved in organizations in their first year?
You are able to take part in clubs, events, workshops, dinners, and more starting your first year.

Is there a dress code for first years?
There is no dress code for classes, however, there is a requirement of full-length pants, a shirt, and closed-toed shoes for labs. The school provides two pairs of scrubs, which is what most students wear to labs.

What is a typical first-year schedule?
First-year students have class Monday-Friday. Class will start around 8 or 9 a.m. and end around 5 p.m. 

How many students per cadaver for anatomy labs?
The student to cadaver ratio is 4:1.

What is the faculty-to-student ratio?
We currently have a 2:1 faculty-to-student ratio. Among all other schools, we have the lowest ratio which allows for more personal interaction with faculty.

CPM welcomes all international students and has processes in place to help international students succeed.

Application Process
Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses for domestic and international students are the same.  

In general, a Canadian science course with three hours of weekly lectures and a lab may be considered equivalent to a four-semester-hour science course in the U.S. Make sure to obtain the course descriptions of your pre-requisite classes as you may be asked to provide these for credit verification.

For courses completed outside of the U.S. or Canada, a transcript credit equivalency service is required. The list of approved evaluation agencies can be found at the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services website.

For any questions or concerns pertaining to CPM, please contact the Associate Dean for Admission, David Tran, DPM. 

For further information on the application process please visit the admissions page of the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine.


Tuition and fees are the same for domestic and international students.

Visa Process for Studying in the U.S.

Once you are accepted to CPM, you may begin applying for a student visa. Note that there are earlier deadlines for international students, as the visa process can take several months. It is recommended that international students complete their application, interviews, and deposit prior to April 1 of the matriculation year.

Canadian Students

The visa process for Canadians differs slightly from other international students in that they do not require any formal appointment with a consulate to secure a visa. The visa will be provided at the border.

  1. Once accepted into the program, you are required to contact the school's Principal Designated Student Official/ Designated Student Official (PDSO/DSO) to start the Form I-20 process.
  2. The PDSO/DSO will work with you to collect the necessary documentation to process Form I-20. Once all documents have been received, a physical copy of Form I-20 will be mailed to you. In order to process Form I-20, you must provide copies of the following:
  • Current ID/passport
  • Bank/loan statement showing sufficient funds to cover the cost of tuition 
  • Previous Form I-20, if applicable

3. Once you receive your official I-20, you need to pay your I-901 SEVIS fee. This can be completed on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

4. Once this is complete you will need to print proof of payment.

5. When you cross the border to the U.S. for school, you will need to give the immigration officer your passport, Form I-20, and proof of payment of your SEVIS.

6. Border officials will then issue you an F1 visa in your passport, which allows you to study in the U.S. for 4 years. You may also work part-time on campus with this visa.

All Other International Students

1.    Once accepted into the program, you are required to contact the school's Principal Designated Student Official/ Designated Student Official PDSO/DSO to start the Form I-20 process.

2.    The PDSO/DSO will work with you to collect the necessary documentation to process the Form I-20. Once all documents have been received, a physical copy of the Form I-20 will be mailed to you. In order to process the Form 1-20, you must provide copies of the following:

  • Current ID/passport
  • Bank/loan statement showing sufficient amount of money that covers tuition cost
  • Previous Form I-20, if applicable

3.    Once you receive your official Form I-20, you need to pay your I-901 SEVIS fee. This can be completed on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

4.    After you receive your Form I-20 and are registered in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student visa. You must present your Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.  

5.    Upon entering the U.S., you are expected to have the original Form I-20 with ink signature on hand as you enter the country. A U.S Customs and Border Protection officer will instruct you to present your Form I-20 at the port of entry. You may arrive up to 30 days before the start date listed on your Form I-20.

The following links provide more information:

U.S. Department of State — student visa
Students and Form I-20 — study in the U.S.
Canadian Students
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVIS FAQ

Financial Aid

SMU CPM offers substantial, renewable scholarships to entering students that are based on merit, income and other factors. SMU CPM's endowment is larger than most of the other colleges, meaning that most students are able to receive substantial discounts on their tuition. CPM also offers numerous additional scholarships in years two to four that may be applied for through the Office of Financial Aid. These scholarships are available for both domestic and internationally accepted students.

U.S. Government Student Loans

These are available to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents only. 

Canadian Government Student Loans

Canadian government student loans and grants are available to Canadians who study at designated institutions in the U.S. Keep in mind that the maximum loan amount through the government may not be enough to cover all your expenses.

Private Loans

To obtain a loan through a U.S. bank, you must have a credit history or a co-signer in the U.S. International credit histories are generally not accepted by U.S. banks. If you do not have a U.S. credit history, you will need to obtain your loans in your home country.

Other Financial Aid

We also encourage students to look for other sources of private/nonprofit/targeted scholarship opportunities outside of SMU, e.g., Lion’s club, tribal scholarships, armed forces, ethnic focus scholarships, underserved community scholarships, etc.

Visa Process for US Medical Residencies

As the F1 visa expires after four years, a U.S. work visa must be obtained before starting residency. Contact the residency program that you have matched with to complete all required forms for a work visa forms/specific information to apply for the work visa in a timely manner so you may begin residency on time.

Currently, international students are prohibited from attending U.S. residencies that are restricted to U.S. citizens by federal law, for example, the Department of Veteran Affairs hospitals (VA hospitals).  Information regarding these specific programs may be identified with assistance from the Central Application Service for Podiatric Residencies (CASPR) or by contacting the residency program.

Students who hold certain dual U.S. citizenships, for example, dual U.S./Canadian citizenship, can apply to ALL residency programs.

How did diversity and CPM's location in the San Francisco Bay Area play in your decision to attend? 

Growing up as a first-generation Filipina woman, I grew up listening to stories about my mother and her family traveling from the Philippines to visit San Francisco. They would talk about fond memories at specific restaurants or their favorite streets they used to walk around. 

My grandparents actually met in the Bay area, so it holds a special place in my heart. I always knew that it was pretty welcoming for people immigrating from different countries and valued its acceptance and desire for diversity. This is one reason why I chose CPM and its location — it celebrates all people and fosters an environment that feels like home for any person of any color. — Jessica, DPM '23 

CPM is located in Oakland which has a diverse patient population. As a future clinician, I find it valuable to serve a diverse patient demographic and be a physician of color that people can relate to. —Lynn, DPM '23 

What is the CPM doing to support diverse students?

Our group, the SMU chapter of the Student National Podiatry Medical Association (SNPMA), created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to shed light on CPM’s current status pertaining to DEI-related issues and calls of action that foster a medical-educational environment that is conducive for all students. 

What does the SMU branch of SNPMA do? 

Our organization serves as a support group for minority students and works to provide a national communication network among students as a means of improving the health employment distribution among all racial and socioeconomic groups. We work with the National Podiatric Medical Association (NPMA), to educate and involve members in the social, moral, and ethical obligations of the podiatry profession. We also work to connect minority students to current DPM as mentors.

Does the SMU branch of SNPMA host events?

Yes, we host events that promote cultural diversity and inclusivity. Events are held throughout the academic year so that students can get together virtually and in person to celebrate and embrace their diverse backgrounds. DEI events are one way to meet and connect with other students outside of academic settings.

Contact the SMU Chapter of SNPMA


Application Fees
Application fees are payable to the Application Service of the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPMAS). Samuel Merritt University does not charge an additional admission fee.

Non-Refundable Deposits and Fees
Students offered admission pay a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 to secure their seat in the class.

Application fees and tuition deposits are non-refundable, whether or not you withdraw in the first week of the term.

Tuition Calculator
There is a tuition calculator that provides a detailed summary of annual tuition, all fees for the program, and a cost estimator for the entire program.

Tuition Calculator

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. 

Scholarships for Podiatric Medicine include:

  • Sharon Clark Diaz Scholarship 

  • Employee Campaign Scholarships   

  • California Fund for Education Excellence (CaFEE)  

  • American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) 

  • Dr. William and Doreen Wong Podiatric Medicine Endowed Scholarship 

  • Dr. William and Phyllis Lowe Podiatric Scholarship Endowed 

  • Faculty Scholarship 

  • Dr. Stephen J.F. Zuber 1969 DPM Scholarship  

  • Dr. Charles H. Johnson ‘38 Podiatric Medicine Endowed  

  • Dr. John Pagliano, DPM 1966 Memorial Scholarship in Podiatric Biomechanics  

  • Dr. Wesley J.Endo DPM Scholarship   

  • SMU Podiatric Medicine Scholarship 

  • Fred and Estelle Goldstien  

  • Irma Walker-Adame DPM Scholarship  

  • Theodore L. Deffinger Endowed Scholarship  

  • CPM Alumni and Associates Endowed Fund 

  • Dr. Russell O. and Antoinette M. Lewis Endowed Scholarship Fund 

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

Sequential Course Curriculum     Course Descriptions

First Year
Classes meet five days a week on the Oakland campus of Samuel Merritt University.

Second Year
Classes meet three days a week, and clinical rotations meet two days a week.

Third Year
Classes meet one day a week, while clinical rotations meet four days a week.

Fourth Year Clinical rotations are 5 or more days per week for 10 months.

Second Year Clinical Rotations

Second Year Medicine
Second Year Radiology
Second Year Highland Hospital 
Second Year Biomechanics Workshop  
Second Year Simulation Center 
Second Year Clinical Skills  
Second Year Community Clinics 
Second Year Laguna Honda Hospital 

Third Year Clinical Rotations


Third Year Medicine (within the Health Sciences Simulation Center)  
Third Year Diabetic and Wound Care 
Third Year Highland Hospital 
Third Year Private Office Clerkship  
Third Year Radiology 
Third Year Biomechanics and Sports Medicine 
Third Year Surgery 
Third Year Surgery Case Based Learning 

Fourth Year Clinical Rotations

In the fourth year, you have the opportunity to base their clinical training at one of several affiliated medical centers. 

Licensure Exams, Graduation, and Residency Placement Rates

American Podiatric Medical Licensing Examinations (APMLE)  * Average pass rates per calendar year (includes first and second-time takers)

 Year Span# Student Passing/ # Students Taking Pass Rate
APMLE Part I 2020-22122/15081%
APMLE Part II - Written2020-22122/12399%


*Visit APMLE for more exam details

2019-20112/124 90%

Four-Year Average Graduation Rate 

Year Span# Students Graduation/ # Students who entered programGraduation Rate
2020-22  113/13186% 

Residency Placement Average Rate

Year Span# Students entering residency/ # total graduatesPlacement Rate

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

Technical Standards for Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

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. 

Promote Excellence

CPM prepares students for careers in a high-demand health care specialty.

A Step Ahead

Hands-on clinical training at CPM begins during the second year, a year earlier than most other colleges of podiatric medicine.


NBPME III First-Time Pass Rate

DPM students' pass rates exceed the national average.


Residency Placement Rate

SMU’s doctor of podiatry graduates find residencies all over the nation.

Podiatric Medicine at SMU

Explore our facilities and see our students and faculty members immersed in learning, research, and clinical experiences.


Faculty in the Samuel Merritt University College of Podiatric Medicine are devoted to helping our students to prepare to become exceptional podiatric residents. Our faculty are experts in their fields and experts in teaching you to become an expert podiatric physician.


Cherri S. Choate

DPM Associate Dean for Educational Affairs

Tim Dutra

DPM Assistant Professor

David Tran

DPM Assistant Professor Associate Dean of Admission
Eric Stamps headshot

Eric Stamps

DPM Dean, College of Podiatric Medicine

College of Podiatric Medicine News