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 California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) program is a rigorous curriculum in the basic medical and clinical sciences mixed with hands-on learning experiences that begin in students' second year, a full year earlier than other programs. Students gain clinical experience in a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and specialty facilities in the Bay Area and beyond—including in surgery, radiology, wound care, biomechanics, medicine, anesthesia, and, of course, podiatric medicine and surgery. 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.

CSPM Mission

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.

CSPM Vision

  1. Promote and implement excellence and innovation in education.
  2. Advocate and model an environment of dignity, compassion and respect.
  3. Promote collaborative teamwork and inter-professional education.
  4. Educate students to provide excellent podiatric care.
  5. Recognize and address the structural and social determinants of health and how they relate to health disparity.
  6. Encourage and support quality scholarly activity and research.
  7. Foster the skills for lifelong learning, self-reflection and wellness.

CSPM Values

  •  Respect. We treat our students as future colleagues.
  • Integrity. We expect every student, staff 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 and faculty member to strive for betterment.

What We Look For

  • A regionally accredited bachelor’s degree with the appropriate pre-requisite 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 CSPM is a rigorous, medical curriculum and applicants are expected to be of the same caliber as those of 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 Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program are accepted using the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service (AACPMAS) on a rolling basis until our class is full.

Apply Now

2021 CSPM Admitted Student Profile

Applicants 212
Admitted 142
Enrolled 42
Avg. Science GPA (enrolled student data) 3.06
Avg. Overall GPA (enrolled student data) 3.30
Avg. MCAT Composite (enrolled student data) 499

Student Demographics (fall 2021) 

American Indian/Alaska Native 0%
Asian 49%
Black/African American 15%
Hispanic/Latinx 2%
Multi race 7%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0%
Not reported 2%
White 24%

Prerequisite Coursework

Applicants must have all prerequisites courses completed prior to the start of the term. The program at CSPM is a rigorous, medical curriculum and applicants are expected to be of the same caliber as those of applicants to all medical colleges.

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 Requirement, Semester or Quarter Units

General Biology with lab, 8.0 semester or 12.0 quarter units
General Chemistry with lab Including content in Inorganic,  8.0 semester or 12.0 quarter units
Organic Chemistry with lab, a total of 4 semester units of Biochemistry with a lab may be substituted for the second semester of Organic Chemistry,  8.0 semester or 12.0 quarter units
Physics with lab, 8.0 semester or 12.0 quarter units
English/Communications, 6.0 semester or 9.0 quarter units
Liberal Arts Electives, 12.0 semester or 18.0 quarter units

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 CSPM 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:

Deadline due dates for acceptances or decline of offers will be in compliance with current AACPMAS traffic rules in effect.  Students 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 school. 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 CSPM. 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.

CSPM also accepts letters of recommendation through Interfolio. Documents from Interfolio should be directed to

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; neither will every interviewee be granted admission. An on-campus interview is required to be selected for admission. Phone or web interviews are not acceptable.

Interviews are held on most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning in October and going through the following August. The full-day interview consists of an informational presentation about CSPM, Samuel Merritt University, and financial aid and scholarships, a visit to a local podiatric clinic, lunch with current CSPM students, and individual interviews with program faculty. Two to five students will interview each day.

CSPM will continue to interview students for admission until the class is full. After the class is full, interviews will be conducted for spots on the waitlist and possible admission to a future term. In most years, there is significant movement in the summer months that allows us to offer spaces to student on the waitlist.

Students who need disability accommodations may request them by emailing Elisa Laird-Metke at Please give as much notice as you can to allow time to set them up. Further information about the Disability Resource Center can be found here. 

International Applicants

All international applicants (including Canadian citizens) have special requirements. Please contact the Office of Admission for details. International applicants are strongly encouraged to observe the priority deadline of April 1st; to obtain a student visa can take up to three months.


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

Residency Placement Notification

Entering podiatric medical students should be aware that currently, there are a sufficient number of entry-level residency positions available to match the number of graduates from U.S. podiatric medical colleges.

However, a residency program is not guaranteed for every podiatric medical college graduate.

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 for them to select from or for any other reason(s).  With the rapidly changing health care environment, the number of residency positions available compared to the number of graduates at podiatric medical school may vary annually, affecting the graduate to residency position ratio.

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

—How to Prepare for the Interview—

What should I wear to an interview?
Business attire is appropriate for the interview day. Comfortable shoes that you can walk around in will be helpful, as you will be walking a lot.

What should I take to an interview?
Having a personal bag/backpack is helpful. Students can also bring items if they would like 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 many informative meetings with staff and includes a visit to one of the clinical rotation sites that our students attend. Students are given a tour of the school, followed by lunch with current students. The actual interview is after lunch, where students are interviewed by CSPM faculty/staff. 

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

—CSPM and the City of Oakland Related Questions—

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 like Fremont, Hayward, and Union City. Public transportation is available from all areas. There is a parking garage for students that commute. Student discounts are available for Clipper Cards if students take BART. There is a shuttle that runs from the BART station to the campus.

What is the best way to reduce the cost?
CSPM 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 students are eligible for reduced-cost monthly Clipper passes. SMU has a free food pantry for all students.

What stood out to you when choosing CSPM over the other schools?
CSPM has been a school for over one hundred years. We are a school that is committed to communities. Our communities include our student community, the SMU community, the city of Oakland, and our proud community of alumni. We have many busy, established clinics for our students to rotate through while they are students in the program. Not only do students get an early start by seeing patients in their second year, but all CSPM clinics are “hands-on” with a high faculty-to-student ratio. The CSPM clinics are also embedded in multiple teaching hospitals in the SF Bay Area, providing access to a wide diversity of patients. In addition, many of the clinical rotation sites (including San Francisco General Hospital, Highland Hospital, UCSF, VASF, and VA Palo Alto) are associated with various Bay Area residency programs, so it gives students early interaction with future residency programs.

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 CSPM, 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 if you have not taken public transportation before. By using Google Maps, it will tell you what train to hop on and what time each train will arrive at the selected BART station. In order to get to school, you would get off at the MacArthur BART station and transfer to the free Sutter Alta Bates No. 3 or No. 4 shuttle. Make sure to have your student ID on you. During BART rides, it is a perfect time to get some light studying done either with flashcards or your notes. It is safe during the day, but like any other city, be cautious of holding your phone out, pay attention to your surroundings, and avoid using BART when it’s darker out. To pay for your BART ride, you can purchase a Clipper Card at any kiosk you find at a BART station. The school provides a student discount that you pay monthly at the ABSMC Parking & Transportation office at 310 Summit St. Rm G615. The Clipper Card credit will be uploaded automatically to your card each month.

What is the overall safety of the area around school, Oakland, etc.?
The area around the campus is relatively 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 students can utilize 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. CSPM has a faculty member who is dedicated to learning strategies and board preparation. 

What kinds of clubs do you have on campus?
CSPM has many clubs and societies offered on campus that first-year students can check out at the Club Fair during their orientation. 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 you can study with classmates)
    •    Campus lounge (open until 12 a.m.) and patio with tables, chairs, and couches
    •    Classrooms are open to students until 10 p.m.
    •    There are no "24-hour" study rooms on campus yet

What is the relationship like between the underclassmen and upperclassmen?
CSPM has very small class sizes (48 students) and a dedicated faculty who believe in an open door policy. This 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 students to take notes right on the PowerPoint while also being able to label pictures easily. Some APPs used for note taking include Notability and OneNote.

How do people find roommates before meeting anyone in class?
CSPM 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 take place in Oakland and San Francisco. The rotations are attended at hospitals, a homeless clinic, or on campus.

Are students able to be involved in organizations in their first year?
Students are able to take part in clubs, events, workshops, dinners, and more starting their 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 a couple of 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. The schedule varies every year.

How many students per cadaver for anatomy labs?
The student to cadaver ratio is 6:1.

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.

CSPM welcomes international students to study podiatric medicine. Studying in the U.S. is a popular choice for Canadian podiatry students wanting to complete a three-year surgical residency. (Updated March 2021)

—Application Process—
Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisites 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 Service website.

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

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 US—

Once you are accepted, you will be able to 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) in order 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:
  • 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 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:

  • 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—

Scholarships offered to entering student by the school generally include:
Dean’s Scholarship, $5000/year
President’s Scholarship, $10,000/year
Regent’s Scholarship, $15,000/year

These scholarships are merit based and require GPAs and MCAT scores for determination of eligibility. These scholarships are renewable in subsequent years as long as the student maintains academic performance, which is defined as maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and higher. CSPM 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.

US 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

In order to obtain a loan through a U.S. bank, one 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 one does 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 CSPM/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 applied for before starting residency. Contact the residency program that you have matched with for appropriate and necessary guidance and completion of all necessary forms/specific information to apply for the work visa in a timely manner so you may begin residency on time.

Currently, international students can apply to U.S. residencies that are not restricted by federal guidelines, i.e. programs funded by the government, such as the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) or programs that are restricted by their federal graduate medical education funding sources. There are residency programs that are not restricted by these guidelines and these can vary from year to year. 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.

What sets the California School of Podiatric Medicine apart in your opinion?

Early clinical experiences, which start the second year are valuable for future physicians to improve their clinical skills and bedside manners prior to residency. 

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

Growing up as a first-generation Filinipa 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 CSPM and its location—it celebrates all people and fosters an environment that feels like home for any person of any color. — Jessica Sibal, DPM '23 

CSPM 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-Indora Edmond, DPM '23 

What is the CSPM 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 CSPM’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

Lynn-Indora Edmond, DPM '24; Jordan Franklin, DPM '23; Jessica Sibal, DPM '23; Daniel Soohoo, DPM '23 at (CSPM leadership is copied).

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 the student withdraws 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

Your Doctor of Podiatric Medicine graduate education at Samuel Merritt University is an important and valuable investment in your future.  Not only will you have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in health care,  but Samuel Merritt University graduates have a loan default rate of less than one percent.  This means that students who borrowed to attend Samuel Merritt University have found employment in their chosen field that allows them to pay off their loans. 

The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program is proud to offer a variety of ways to assist in funding 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.  Awarding of these scholarships is based on both MCAT score and GPA at the time of application.  These scholarships are renewable, based on maintaining academic achievement.  Entering Doctor of Podiatric Medicine scholarships include:

  • Regent’s Scholarship  $15,000
  • Presidential Scholarship  $10,000
  • Dean's Scholarship $5,000

Scholarships for Podiatric Medicine include:

  • Sharon Clark Diaz
  • Employee Campaign
  • CaFEE
  • APMA
  • Wong Scholarship
  • Lowe Scholarship
  • Faculty Scholarship
  • SMU Podiatric Medicine Scholarship
  • CSPM Alumni Scholarship

WICHE – Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.  WICHE grants are available for students from certain geographical areas of the country.  More information is available at the WICHE website,

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 each program.

In addition to the cost of tuition, books and fees, financial aid can also cover other indirect educational costs, so the total cost of attendance includes:

  • Books and Supplies
  • Room and Board
  • Transportation
  • Personal Expenses
  • Other fees as determined by program/college

Managing your Cost of Living
Once you receive your financial aid package, check this budget 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 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.  The SMU staff is committed to each and every prospective student and enrolled student.  We have an open door policy and are available via phone or email. 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.  During the Spring Semester, the first rotation occurs as a skills workshop, helping the students prepare for their clinical training.

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 Core Clinical Training Opportunities
Students receive 4 units of credit for each month they complete a rotation or clerkship. A total of 48 units of credit are required to complete the fourth-year curriculum.

Second Year Clinical Rotations

Students will complete clinical rotation assignments in the following inpatient, outpatient and specialty clinical facilities:

Rotation Name  (Months in Rotation)
Second Year Medicine Rotation  (1)  0.5
Second Year Radiology Rotation  (1)  0.5
Second Year Highland Hospital Rotation  (1)  1.0
Second Year Biomechanics Workshop  (1)  1.0
Second Year Simulation Center Rotation  (1)  0.5
Second Year Clinical Skills Rotation  (1)  1.0
Second Year Homeless Clinic Rotation  (1)  0.5
Second Year Laguna Honda Hospital Rotation  (1)  0.5
Total  (7)     5.5 Units


Third Year Clinical Rotations

Third year students will complete the following clinical rotation assignments at affiliated Bay Area medical centers, outpatient facilities and community practice clerkships:

Rotation Name  (Months in Rotation)
Third Year Medicine (entirely in simulated environment)  (1)  3.0
Third Year Diabetic and Wound Care Rotation  (2)  4.0
Third Year Highland Hospital Rotation (2)  2.5
Third Year Highland Hospital Rotation/Mondays  (1)  0.5
Third Year Private Office Clerkship  (1)  2.0
Third Year Radiology Rotation  (2**)  1.0
Third Year Biomechanics and Sports Medicine Rotation  (1)  2.0
Third Year Surgery Rotation  (3)  5.5
Third Year Surgical Simulation Rotation  (1)  2.0
Total  (11)     22.5 Units

**Completed during the months assigned to the Highland Hospital Rotation

Fourth Year Clinical Rotations

Aside from our Oakland campus, students may base their fourth-year clinical training at one of our affiliated medical facilities, such as:  

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Phoenix, Arizona

  • Long Beach, California

  • Puget Sound, Washington

  • Salt Lake City, Utah

Licensure Exams, Graduation, and Residency Placement Rates

American Podiatric Medical Licensing Examinations (APMLE)  * First-Time Takers Average Pass Rates

Year Span      # student passing/ #students taking          Pass Rate
2020-22                           91/131                                           69%

APMLE Part II - Written 
Year Span      # student passing/ #students taking          Pass Rate
2020-22                         102/121                                            84%

*The CSPE was not given in 2021-2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Year Span      # students passing/ # students taking        Pass Rate
2018-20                         112/124                                                     90%

*Visit APMLE for more exam details.

Four-Year Average Graduation Rate
Year Span     # students graduation/ # students who entered program    Graduation Rate    
2020-22                               113/131                                                                 86%

Residency Placement Average Rate
Year Span      # students entering residency # total graduates              Placement Rate
2020-22                                119/121                                                                 98%

The California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education ( 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.


Promote Excellence

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

A Step Ahead

CSPM patient clinicals begin as early as your second year, a year earlier than most.


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 California School of Podiatric Medicine are devoted to training students to practice in a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and specialty facilities—including in surgery, radiology, wound care, biomechanics, medicine, and anesthesia. Our faculty are experts in their fields, frequently presenting at national conferences and publishing research in industry journals.


Cherri S. Choate

DPM Assistant Professor

Tim Dutra

DPM Assistant Professor

David Tran

DPM Assistant Professor Associate Dean of Admission

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine News