Podiatry class

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

One of only nine schools of its kind in the U.S., our California School of Podiatric Medicine is a national leader in podiatric education and patient care. 

Campus Location

Format

  • On Campus

Program Duration

  • Four Years Plus Residency

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. 
 

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

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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
  • 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.

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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, 8.0 semester or 12.0 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: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/

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. Please send your official transcripts to: 

AACPMAS
PO Box 9200
Watertown, MA 02471

The following documents should be sent directly to CSPM Office of Admission:

  • 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 send your letters of recommendation directly to:

CSPM Office of Admission
3100 Telegraph Ave, Suite 1000
Oakland, CA 94609

CSPM 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; 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 drc@samuelmerritt.edu. 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

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.

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

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, www.wiche.edu.

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

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.

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

https://www.samuelmerritt.edu/admissions/affording-smu/financial-aid-and-scholarships

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.

finaid@samuelmerritt.edu or 510-879-9200

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 clincal training.

Fall Semester
Human Anatomy I 6.0
Biochemistry I  3.0
Histology  4.0
Physiology I  3.0
Lower Extremity Anatomy I  3.5
Introduction to Evidence Based Medicine  1.0
Total units  20.5

Spring Semester 
Medical Genetics  1.0
Physiology II  3.0
Lower Extremity Anatomy II  3.5
Human Anatomy II  3.0
Biochemistry II  3.0
Introduction to Clinical Medicine  2.0
Biomechanics I  1.75
1st Year Clinical Skills Rotation  0.25
Total units  17.5

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

Summer Semester 
Immunology  3.0
Radiology I  1.0
Podiatric Medicine I  1.0
Total units  5.0

Fall Semester 
Radiology II  1.0
Medical Microbiology  4.0
Pharmacology I  4.0
Pathology I  3.0
General Medicine I  3.0
Podiatric Medicine I  1.0
Biomechanics II  2.0
Podiatric Surgery I  2.0
Total units  20.0

Spring Semester 
Pathology II  3.0
Pharmacology II  4.0
General Medicine II  3.0
Podiatric Medicine II  2.0
Podiatric Surgery II  3.0
Neurology/Clinical Neuroscience  6.0
Total units  21.0

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

Fall Semester 
Dermatology I  1.5
General Medicine III  3.0
Jurisprudence  1.0
Biomechanics III  2.0
Podiatric Surgery III  2.0
Total units  9.5

Spring Semester 
Pediatrics  2.0
Dermatology II  1.5
General Medicine IV  2.0
Podiatric Trauma  2.0
Public Health  1.0
Total units  8.5

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 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

APMLE Part I
Year Span      Pass Rate
2016-2018     86%

APMLE Part II - Written
Year Span      Pass Rate
2017-2019     85%

APMLE Part II - CSPE
Year Span      Pass Rate
2017-2019     96%

APMLE Part III
Year Span      Pass Rate
2020                 To be reported

*Visit APMLE for more exam details.

Four-Year Average Graduation Rate
Year Span      Graduation Rate    
2017-2019     88%

Residency Placement Average Rate
Year Span      Placement Rate
2017-2019     97%

CPME-required outcomes, July 1, 2019                                                                      
Part 1 APMLE Pass Rate 2016-18 (first-time takers only)—86%
Part 2 APMLE Written Pass Rate 2017-19 (first-time takers only)—85%
Part 2 APMLE CSPE Pass Rate 2017-19 (first-time takers only)—96%
Four-year Graduation Rate 2017-19 (average)—88%
Residency Placement Rate 2017-19 (average)—97%

The California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University 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 the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University is to train physicians who have the comprehensive clinical and didactic training necessary to provide highly skilled, competent health care in a variety of medical and surgical settings. Potential podiatrists are expected to complete all academic and clinical requirements of the professional program before they can sit for national board exams and state licensure exams and practice. Each candidate for the DPM degree must be able to consistently, quickly and accurately integrate all information received, perform in a reasonably independent manner, and must have the ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize applicable data.  The purpose of this document is to delineate the skills deemed essential to the completion of this program and to perform as a competent provider in the practice of podiatric medicine. 

The University successfully works with a number of students who need accommodations because of a disability.  Therefore, any student who believes that they may require accommodations in the educational program because of a disability is encouraged to contact the Director of Disability Support Services at 510-869-6616 or send an email to DisabilitySupportServices@SamuelMerritt.edu

If a student cannot demonstrate the following skills and abilities, it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation. The University will provide reasonable accommodation as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the program offered and does not impose an undue hardship such as those that cause a significant expense, difficulty, or are unduly disruptive to the educational process.  Documentation will be required regarding the nature and extent of the disability and the functional limitations to be accommodated.    

1. Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments and laboratory exercises in the basic medical sciences, including computer assisted instruction. They must be able to view images via a microscope and to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.

2. Communication: Candidates and students should be able to speak, hear and observe in order to effectively be involved in the didactic learning process in the basic medical sciences and clinical science courses. Candidates and students must be able to elicit information, examine patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, perceive nonverbal communications, and be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Therefore, they must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form in order to be adequately evaluated in all courses and clinical rotation assignments.

3. Motor: Students must be able to perform maneuvers necessary to do a proper physical examination and to perform fine motor skill tasks with proficient use of instruments such as scissors, clamps, scalpel or drill. Candidates and students should possess sufficient motor function to execute the necessary movements to participate in the laboratory portion of the basic science courses, and to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways and the suturing of simple wounds. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

4. Sensory: Since podiatric medical candidates and students need enhanced ability in their sensory skills, it would be necessary to thoroughly evaluate for candidacy individuals who are otherwise qualified but who have significant tactile sensory or proprioceptive disabilities. This would include individuals with significant previous burns, sensory motor deficits, cicatrix formation and many malformations of the upper extremities.

5. Strength and Mobility: Podiatric medical treatment often requires sufficient upper extremity and body strength. Therefore, individuals with significant limitations in these areas would be unlikely to succeed. Mobility to attend to emergency codes and to perform such maneuvers as CPR is also required.

6. Visual Integration: Consistent with the ability to assess asymmetry, range of motion tissue texture changes, it is necessary to have adequate visual capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration.

7. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving and critical thinking are necessary skills for the podiatric medical student. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

8. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and evidence mature and sensitive relationships with faculty, staff, and patients. They must be able to promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. Candidates and students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Candidates and students are expected to possess and be able to demonstrate the highest level of ethical and professional behavior. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are also personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes.

Promote Excellence

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

100%

NBPME III First-Time Pass Rate

DPM students' pass rates exceed the national average.

Advanced Training

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

100%

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.

SMU Perspectives