Pre-chiropractic Program

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is one of the three major fields of health care. The three primary health care delivery systems include allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, and chiropractic. Chiropractic is defined as the diagnosis and treatment of disease without the use of drugs, medicine, or surgery. The characteristic principle of chiropractic is that belief that disturbances of the nervous system produced by derangements of the spine and pelvis are often a primary or contributing factor in many ailments. Accordingly, chiropractic utilizes manipulation of the spine and extremities, as well as lifestyle and nutrition counseling to promote wellness and to prevent and treat disease. Doctors of Chiropractic are primary care physicians who specialize in the treatment of neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders.

The practice of chiropractic is regulated by statute in all fifty states. Education and licensure requirements include between three and four years of Baccalaureate level coursework followed by the Doctor of Chiropractic degree earned from a chiropractic college accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). The course of professional study leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree lasts from three to five years. A license must be obtained from the state in which the individual chooses to practice.

What courses must I take at UW-La Crosse before applying to chiropractic college?

Chiropractic colleges require a minimum of 90 semester hours of college credit before one can apply for admission, although some chiropractic colleges require an undergraduate degree. Your pre-professional credits in the basic sciences must be earned with a grade of 'C' or above (some schools require a 2.50 cumulative GPA in the sciences). Survey courses in the sciences are not acceptable. The average GPA of students entering chiropractic colleges over the last several years has been around 3.00 on a 4.00 point scale.

Listed below are the specific courses at UW - La Crosse that will meet the minimum prerequisite requirements for admission to the accredited colleges of chiropractic in the United States.

BIO 105 General Biology 4 credits
BIO 312 Human Anatomy & Physiology I 4 credits
BIO 313 Human Anatomy & Physiology II 4 credits
CHM 103 General Chemistry I 5 credits
CHM 104 General Chemistry II 5 credits
CHM 303 Organic Chemistry Theory I 3 credits
CHM 304 Organic Chemistry Theory II 3 credits
CHM 305 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2 credits
PHY 103 Fundamental Physics I 4 credits
PHY 104 Fundamental Physics II 4 credits

Note: PHY 203-204 (calculus-based) may be substituted for PHY 103-104

Communication and/or Language Skills

Six credits or more including ENG 110 (College Writing). Additional courses could include CST 110 (Public Oral Communication) or foreign languages.


Three credits or more (PSY 100 General Psychology)

Social Sciences and Humanities

Fifteen credits or more. The subject areas of social science and humanities include courses in the fields listed below. The list does not include courses in mathematics, computer science, business, or physical education. Note that this requirement can be met by completing the UW-L general education requirements.

Anthropology   Fine Arts   Political Science
Communication Foreign Languages Psychology
Economics History Religion
Education Literature Sociology
English Philosophy Theatre

Should I earn my Baccalaureate (B.S.) Degree from UW-La Crosse prior to matriculating in chiropractic college?

This is a difficult question because many factors must be considered before coming up with the best answer for your particular situation. First and foremost, it is strongly recommended that you earn a Bachelor's degree from either UW - La Crosse or from the chiropractic college you choose to attend (if they have the B.S. option). This is because a number of states (including Wisconsin) require that you must hold the B.S. degree, in addition to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, before issuing a license to practice. Furthermore, a small number of states require that the bachelor's degree be granted prior to matriculation in a school of chiropractic. Accordingly, it is imperative that you confirm all requirements with the licensing board of the state in which you desire to be licensed early in your undergraduate career! Please keep in mind that this list is subject to change.

In summary, the answer to the question of whether you should earn a degree from UW-L prior to entering chiropractic college is: "It depends". If you know where you ultimately want to live and work, and if that state does not require that you earn the bachelor's degree prior to matriculation, then it is not necessary to graduate from UW-L. Just stay here long enough to get your prerequisites completed. However, if you want to be licensed in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, or Rhode Island, you must earn an undergraduate degree before beginning chiropractic college.

My recommendation is to get your undergraduate degree before starting chiropractic school. Here is my rationale. By getting your undergraduate degree first, you will not have any future problems with licensure requirements if you change your mind about where you want to live. You will not have to take any "extra" courses above and beyond those in the chiropractic curriculum since you will already possess the bachelor's degree. Last but not least, you will be better prepared to handle the rigorous chiropractic curriculum by completing your undergraduate training first.

What should I choose as a major if I plan to earn a degree from UW-La Crosse?

First of all, be aware that UW - La Crosse does not offer a degree in "Pre-Chiropractic". Students just make this declaration in order to provide them with the appropriate advising. Basically, you could major in anything you desire (e.g., art, history, chemistry, biology, etc.). All that ultimately matters is that you complete the prerequisites. This major would likely provide the most comprehensive background in terms of preparation for chiropractic school.

What selection criteria are used by chiropractic colleges?

The primary criteria used to select among the applicants include overall GPA, science GPA, total number of credits completed, letters of recommendation, the quality of your written application (essay), and personal interview. The average GPA of students entering chiropractic colleges over the past several years has been about 3.00. As stated previously, the CCE has set of minimum GPA of 2.50 for acceptance. Some chiropractic schools may use a higher minimum GPA. Most schools request that you apply one year in advance of the trimester in which you wish to enroll.

Where can I obtain more information about chiropractic?

The pre-chiropractic advisor is Dr. Glenn Brice, 3031 Cowley Hall in the Department of Biology. Please set up an appointment with him if you wish to discuss the requirements for admission to chiropractic school. He has catalogs and video tapes describing various schools. In addition, there is information about a number of chiropractic colleges posted on the bulletin board outside 3031 Cowley.

For additional information on chiropractic:
American Chiropractic Association
1701 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209 (703) 276-8800

For information on chiropractic colleges and educational requirements:
Council on Chiropractic Education
4401 Westown Parkway, Suite 120
W. Des Moines, IA 50265 (515) 226-9001

For information on chiropractic licensing requirements:
Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards
501 E. California Ave.
Glendale, CA 91206

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