Chiropractors are primary care professionals who work one-on-one with patients to ease headaches, back, neck, and joint pain, without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractic uses spinal adjustments and manipulation to increase patients' mobility and comfort.

Students who plan to go to a chiropractic college can pursue any major, as long as they have completed the prerequisite coursework and participated in extracurricular experiences that will give them a well-rounded perspective. Due to the large number of science courses required for admission to chiropractic colleges, students are encouraged to start preparing early in their undergraduate career.


Is this career right for you?

  • Are you interested in studying human anatomy and physiology?
  • Do you like to work one-on-one and develop long-term relationships with people?
  • Do you want to work for a private practice or as part of a small team?
  • Are you interested in problem-solving?
  • Do you prefer a natural and holistic approach to pain relief?


Undergraduate timeline

First Year

  • Select a major that interests you and in which you will perform well. If your major is not in the natural sciences, be sure to take chiropractic prerequisite courses as electives.
  • Connect to tutoring, supplemental instruction, attend professor's office hours to ensure you are mastering the material covered in all courses.
  • Establish a strong GPA from your first semester.
  • Start shadowing a chiropractor.
  • Become familiar with chiropractic college admission requirements.
  • Get involved on campus by joining social and academic organizations.

Second Year

  • Maintain a strong GPA and continue to build relationships with faculty. Start thinking about who you might ask for letters of recommendation.
  • Consider getting involved in undergraduate research.
  • Gain additional shadowing experiences in a variety of different settings. Also consider gaining practical work experience in a medical setting, by volunteering or getting employment.
  • Begin to research and identify the chiropractic colleges to which you think you will apply.

Third Year

  • Continue to maintain a strong GPA in your prerequisite course and overall degree.
  • Visit the chiropractic colleges to which you plan on applying.
  • Line up letters of recommendation.
  • Prepare additional application materials (i.e. personal statement); varies between colleges.
  • Research application deadlines (based on preferred start date) for the colleges to which you plan on applying.
  • Begin preparations to take the GRE (varies between colleges); register to take the GRE, if required.
  • Determine if your preferred schools use ChiroCAS, a centralized application system; if so, set up an account. If not, determine where you should send application materials to individual schools.

Fourth Year

  • Plan to apply at least one year prior to the date you wish to matriculate; this will vary between schools, so it's important that you research application deadlines in advance.
  • Prepare for interviews.
  • Research alternative graduate programs, post baccalaureate programs, and jobs to have a parallel plan if not accepted by a chiropractic college on the first attempt.

Most chiropractic colleges don't require any particular major. Students planning to attend chiropractic college should choose a primary major that best fits their interests. Regardless of major, programs are looking for students who have done well in their coursework and demonstrate proficiency in natural science curriculum. Be certain to incorporate all necessary prerequisite coursework into your degree either through your major or as electives.

Professional Degree

Chiropractic colleges award the D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) after 3-3.5 continuous years of study. While some colleges may accept students who have not yet completed their undergraduate degree, it is recommended that you do so as this is required by many states for licensure. A Doctor of Chiropractic program at an institution that is accredited by The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) prepares students to pass individual state board exams for licensure.

Length of Professional Training

After completing an average of four years of undergraduate work, students who pursue the D.C. degree will complete another 3-3.5 continuous years of study.

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite coursework varies between institutions, so it is important that you review the admission requirements for the colleges to which you plan to apply. The majority of chiropractic colleges require at least 24 credits of life/physical sciences, with at least 12 credits from sciences with labs. These science classes include biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, mathematics, and statistics. In addition, most schools require at least 66 credits in general education or additional science. This includes English college writing, psychology, and social sciences or humanities. Examples of applicable coursework is listed below.


  • BSCI 10110: Biological Diversity (includes lab)
  • BSCI 10120: Biological Foundations (includes lab)
  • BSCI 21010: Anatomy and Physiology I (includes lab)
  • BSCI 21020: Anatomy and Physiology II (includes lab)
  • BSCI 30140: Cell Biology (includes lab)
  • BSCI 30171: General Microbiology (includes lab)


  • CHEM 10060 and 10062: General Chemistry I and Lab
  • CHEM 10061 and 10063: General Chemistry II and Lab
  • CHEM 30481: Organic Chemistry I OR CHEM 20481: Basic Organic Chemistry I
    • Take CHEM 30475: Organic Chemistry I Lab with either
  • CHEM 30482: Organic Chemistry II OR CHEM 20482: Basic Organic Chemistry II
    • Take CHEM 30476: Organic Chemistry II Lab with either


  • MATH 30011: Basic Probability and Statistics OR MATH 12022: Probability and Statistics for Life Sciences
    • Some schools may require additional math coursework


  • PHY 13001: General College Physics I AND PHY 13021: General College Physics I Lab OR PHY 23101: General University Physics I (includes lab)
  • PHY 13002: General College Physics II AND PHY 13022: General College Physics II Lab OR PHY 23102: General University Physics II (includes lab)

other requirements

  • ENG 11011: College Writing I AND ENG 21011: College Writing II
  • PSYC 11762: General Psychology
Testing Requirements
Application Services

Some chiropractic colleges have signed up to use ChiroCAS, the centralized Chiropractic College Application Service. Not all schools utilize this service, so you should check with your school's guidelines to determine the preferred application process. Some colleges will use ChiroCAS but require a supplemental application, so it's important to be aware of these requirements and submission deadlines for the individual schools.

Advising for Pre-Chiropractic

General advising for any pre-chiropractic student in a College of Arts and Sciences major: Erin Lawson,