Pre-podiatry is an undergraduate curricular focus for students who plan to enter a professional program leading to the degree of doctor of podiatric medicine.
Pre‑Podiatry at Ship
Most pre-podiatry students are biology majors; however, a pre‑podiatry student can major in virtually any discipline. Pre‑podiatry students are advised by the pre-podiatry advisors with regard to prerequisite courses required by podiatric programs, Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) preparation, podiatry school application procedures and current trends in podiatric medical school admissions.
Shippensburg University has been affiliated with Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (TUSPM) since 1992. Though most of our students pursue podiatry school after completing a 4‑year undergraduate degree, several have entered Temple’s program as “3+4” students. Under this agreement, qualified students can apply to TUSPM early in their junior year. If accepted, they enter TUSPM after completing their junior year, and credits are transferred back 4 to Ship after they complete their first year of podiatry education. Shippensburg then awards the Bachelor of Science in biology or chemistry to the student.
Students who have entered TUSPM via the accelerated “3+4” program usually had above-average credentials and performed very well in the program. Temple and Shippensburg have developed a high level of appreciation for one another’s program over the last several years as a result of this affiliation and the success of Ship’s students who have completed the program.
Science classes are small at Shippensburg University, usually having no more than 16 students per laboratory section. Seasoned professors, not graduate students, teach lectures and labs. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment is available to students, giving them hands-on experience with current techniques.
The university has a consistent record of placing qualified students into podiatric programs. Pre‑podiatry advisors maintain close ties with TUSPM by visiting their program during the summer months to stay current with admissions procedures and standards. They attend conferences for health professions advisors where they meet colleagues from other universities and share ideas. This ensures our pre‑podiatry students receive accurate, current and comprehensive information. Pre-podiatry students are given “mock interviews” prior to the time they apply to podiatry programs. This experience provides the student with interview practice and gives the Health Professions Committee information on the student so a committee letter of reference can be written to support the student’s application.
Admission and Degree Requirements
The basic course prerequisites for the seven podiatry schools in the United States are:
- 8 credits of biology
- 16 credits of chemistry
- 8 credits of physics
- 6 credits of English
Certain programs might require other college-level courses so students are advised to examine the specific requirements of the programs to which they plan to apply early in their undergraduate career. The biology-health professions curriculum enables the pre‑podiatry student to schedule this coursework along with other course requirements for the respective major. Pre‑podiatry students pursuing a non-science major can include these science requirements as electives; however, podiatry schools expect non‑science majors to perform very well in these science courses. A broad selection of courses is available within the biology and chemistry disciplines, and pre‑podiatry students are encouraged to include some of the following courses among their electives:
- Human physiology
- Cell biology
- Pathogenic microbiology
Competitive pre‑podiatry students almost always have QPAs of 3.2 or better, have performed competitively on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and have completed internships in podiatric settings. Leadership, community/human service and a willingness to volunteer contribute to the personal qualities of a successful pre‑podiatry student. Successful students plan a strategy early in their college career with regard to course sequences, preparing for and taking the MCAT, internship experiences and application to podiatry schools. They also communicate frequently with their pre‑podiatry advisor.
Qualified Ship students have fared extremely well in the admissions process to podiatric programs. Perhaps because of the geographical proximity and the affiliation agreement, the majority of pre‑podiatry students have entered Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia. Several students have also matriculated at Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine.
Faculty-directed undergraduate research is highly encouraged at Shippensburg, and each year several biology students present the results of their research at regional, state or national conferences.
Students are encouraged to participate in internship experiences with practicing podiatrists, visit podiatry programs such as TUSPM and attend on-campus presentations by podiatry school admissions personnel. Practicing professionals and podiatric school admissions personnel are routinely invited to speak to the Health Sciences Club. Additionally, the diverse health professional interests of Ship’s students and the variety of health professionals invited to speak at the university expose pre‑podiatry students to other areas of the health care field.