Western University of Health Sciences College of Podiatric Medicine Western University of Health Sciences
College of Podiatric Medicine

Board Passage Rates, Graduation Rates and Residency Placement

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  • Board Passage Rates, Graduation Rates and Residency Placement


In keeping with the objective of podiatric medicine having parity with allopathic and osteopathic medicine, the first two years of the curriculum for WesternU’s College of Podiatric Medicine will be essentially the same as for our founding College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific.

Emphasizing academic excellence, compassion, and comprehensive patient care, WesternU’s Doctor of Podiatric Medicine curriculum is delivered in three phases. For more information and a listing of current course descriptions, please refer to the the Western University of Health Sciences Catalog.

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Our Strength Is In Our Students

When you become a member of the Western University family, you will enjoy the benefits that come with being a part of the newest, most progressive and integrative podiatric medical college. The 21st century medical world requires cutting-edge technology, interprofessional team work and access to patients in order to be trained to your personal best level.

The Standardized Patient Lab at WesternU-CPM becomes a key part of your training early in your first semester. Physicians and medical educators work with you personally to develop your history taking and physical examination skills performed on laypersons hired and trained to present clinical scenarios. By the time you graduate, you will have had over 45 patient encounters in the SP Lab. This puts you at a distinct advantage when you sit for the high stakes, third part of board examinations in your senior year when you will be assessed on these same skills with standardized patients. An electronic medical record system in the laboratory ensures that when you start rotations in April of your second year, where EMR is already in use, you are a step ahead of your peers from most other podiatric schools.

Computer animations of anatomical structures are available to assist you in your education also. You can access EchoStar video recordings of lectures at the time you choose at regular speed or several increased speeds. These recordings and also podcasts of lectures can be used in many settings, including while you are at the gym working out or sitting outside enjoying the year round Southern California sunshine.

In the on-campus clinic you will work with equipment that in some cases may not be available elsewhere, increasing your advantage! The Motion Diagnostic Center features a Noraxon Myo-Pressure System via a treadmill for gait analysis. There is also a Novadaq-Luna Imaging System and Biomedix-PADnet system for non-invasive PAD and CVI testing.

The gross anatomy lab experience defines entry to medical school for many and WesternU-CPM has not abandoned student dissection as some medical schools have. This experience is the cornerstone of the medical school experience. On-line animations are available for those who want to add to the experience. We understand that you are an adult learner and the way you learn may be different from the person sitting next to you. Testing is available to any student through the LEAD office for those who want to explore what their unique method of learning is – kinesthetic, auditory or visual.

Interprofessional Educational Experiences

WesternU-CPM walks the walk when it comes to interprofessional education. There are not only Interprofessional Education courses, in which you interact with students representing nine medical professions, but you will also take the first two years of your education sitting side by side with your osteopathic medical peers. The only exceptions to this are Osteopathic-specific courses like Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and History of the Osteopathic Physician. In place of those, the podiatric students take Podiatric Medicine and Principles (PMP) I, II, III and IV and other podiatric-specific coursework. PMP is a four level course taught dynamically through a foundational lecture on a major topic, followed by small group sessions exploring these principles through real life cases. Critical thinking skills and teamwork are built from day one.

Did you know that adult learners only retain 5% of what they hear in a lecture and only 10% if they also read along with the slides? A group discussion of the material raises that to 50% and if you add to that presenting the material to others, what happens in small group discussion, you retain 90% of the material.*

We use the evidence-based academic literature to design our curriculum. It is a dynamic curriculum as well, meaning that we listen to our students’ voices with mid-course and end-of-course surveys. We put students’ ideas to work to better the educational experience for you. 

On occasion we are asked “Why take all of the classes that the DO students take, including Psychiatry and Reproductive Health?” There is a very good reason. Several decades ago when a DPM graduated at the end of four years, he or she could, and often did, open an office and begin treating patients. That is not the case in the 21st century. Now, when a person graduates, the hand-off is to a three-year residency program where additional, podiatric specific materials are reinforced. You learn everything you need to become a podiatrist here at WU and then you reinforce those concepts in your residency program before going into practice. At WU CPM, we educate you as a physician with a specialty in podiatric medicine and surgery. This means that in a residency program, you shine because of your comprehensive, interprofessional knowledge and practices. You are an integral part of the hospital team.

*Department of Education data

For more information about WesternU’s IPE initiative please visit the Interprofessional Education website.

Clinical experiences

Students receive a superior education and rich patient volumes during their rotations, which begin in April of the second year. These rotations are at academic health centers, and well-known hospitals in the Southern California area. These include Olive View UCLA Medical Center, the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Downey Regional Medical Center and the Patient Care Center on our own campus.

You choose your Year Four clinical rotations in consultation with your faculty mentor and graduate medical education specialists. These rotations can be in most any state that you select. If you desire to be an extern at a qualified hospital that we do not currently have an affiliation agreement with, we will work with you to develop one.

The Story of Our Inaugural Class – DPM 2013

 Thirty-eight students began their education at WesternU-CPM in August 2009, putting their faith in the assurance that the institution would gain accreditation. Podiatry does not allow a college to become fully accredited until the year in which the first class will graduate, which was awarded in 2013.

 This was a diverse group, four of whom entered the Dual Degree program (a five-year program) and had on-time graduations in 2014. One student received academic suspension and graduated with the following class. Six students voluntarily withdrew to pursue other interests while four were unsuccessful and were dismissed.

 The graduation rate that takes into consideration only those who matriculated in 2009 and graduated in 2013, is 61% but does not reflect those students who were in five-year programs like the Dual Degree program that results in graduation with two degrees.

CPM strives for transparency with its data and therefore includes the following information for a better understanding of our students’ successes.

 The total graduation rate for those newly matriculating in 2009 and desiring to complete their education here is 88% and the on-time graduation rate for that class is 71%, which includes the Dual Degree and four-year students. Total graduation rate is the percentage of students who elected to graduate from WesternU-CPM and were successful. The on-time graduation rate is the percentage of students who did so in the time allotted for their degree, four years for the DPM degree and five years for the DPM MSMS dual degree. This explanation is used consistently throughout WesternU-CPM’s reporting.

The Story of the Class of 2014

Thirty-six students matriculated at WesternU-CPM in August 2010, with one of those electing to do the five-year dual degree program. This individual is scheduled to graduate on time in May 2015.

Six students chose to voluntarily withdraw to pursue other interests while three students were placed on academic probation and joined the Class of 2015. Two of these students will graduate with that class. Three of the original matriculating students were dismissed for academic reasons.

WesternU celebrated the graduation of its second class of Doctors of Podiatric Medicine in May 2014. The rate for those students who graduated within four years, and who newly matriculated in 2010, is 69% but again does not include the successes of those on-time graduates in the dual degree program and other students who took five years to complete the curriculum.  Of the 30 students who desired to complete their education at WesternU, 25 were successful in the four-year curriculum or 83%. With the dual degree candidate, the on-time graduation rate for the class will be 87%. Two additional students will graduate in 2015, raising the total graduation rate to 93%.

Graduation rate averages

The average graduation rate as defined by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education for the first two years is 65% while the on-time graduation rate average, including the Dual Degree students, will be 72%. The total successful graduation average for students matriculating in the first two years of the College’s existence will be 94%. This includes students in all categories who elected to graduate from CPM and who will graduate from the institution.  

Graduating Student Survey Data

APMLE passage

There are currently two parts to the national board examinations for which podiatric medical students sit. A third – a clinical skills exam – will be added for the Class of 2015. For each of these two current exams, test takers from all podiatric medical schools have three opportunities to pass each exam if needed. Students must pass each board exam to continue to the next level of education and training.

Boards Part One

The Class of 2013, the inaugural class, had an 82% pass rate after the first administration and this rose to 100% after the second sitting.

The Class of 2014 had a 79% first-time pass rate while that total reached 96% after the second sitting.

The Class of 2015 had a 63% rate first time pass rate and that rose ultimately to 100%.

The Class of 2016 had an ultimate pass rate of 95% and a first-time taker’s rate of 82.5%. This brings the College’s overall average first time test takers rate to 76% and ultimate pass rate to 97.64%  for the first four years of the college’s existence.

Boards Part Two

The Class of 2013 had a 91% pass rate after the first sitting. All 100% passed upon the second sitting. The Class of 2014 had a 97% first-time pass rate and 100% second-time rate.

On Part Two, the averages are 94% for first time test taker and 100% ultimate pass rate. 

Where Our Graduates Are: Residency Placement

WesternU-CPM students have an advantage when it comes to applying for a residency program because they have experience in their third year with multiple, Southern California programs. Year Four is considered by podiatric medical education as the audition year, where students rotate through up to seven programs.

WesternU has graduated two classes now and these men and women have earned top residency placements around the country. In the inaugural 2013 graduating class and the class of 2014, 100% of our graduates qualified for residency placement by passing both parts of the national board examinations. All graduates in the 2013 class placed in three-year podiatric medicine and surgery programs. In the 2014 year, one student is pursuing the Dual Degree program and will graduate with the Class of 2015 giving the class a 97% placement rate as of July 2014.

View residency program placement