Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system and treat the effects of those problems on the nervous system and on general health. Many chiropractic treatments deal specifically with the spine and the manipulation of the spine.

The chiropractic approach to healthcare focuses on the patient's overall health. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments, relying on the body's inherent recuperative abilities. They also recognize that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment, and heredity. Chiropractors recommend changes in lifestyle that affect those factors. In some situations, chiropractors refer patients to consult with other health practitioners.

Like other health practitioners, chiropractors follow a standard routine to get information needed to diagnose and treat patients. They take the patient's health history; conduct physical, neurological, and orthopedic examinations; and may order laboratory tests. X-rays and other diagnostics images are important tools because of the chiropractor's emphasis on the spine and its proper function. Chiropractors also analyze the patient's posture and spine using a specialized technique. For patients whose health problems can be traced to the musculoskeletal system, chiropractors manually adjust the spinal column. (From the online Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011)

The Application Process

Applications are considered for each academic term. It is recommended the application be submitted one year prior to the desired enrollment. This process may vary. Check specific programs for their application process and deadlines. Applicants will be required to submit transcripts and a personal statement or essay that expresses their motivation for choosing the chiropractic profession.

Letters of Evaluation/Recommendation

At least one letter of reference is required from a licensed practicing Doctor of Chiropractic. Other reference and evaluation processes may vary. These may be in the form of confidential evaluations, character reference forms or additional letters of reference.


Some programs conduct informal interviews with each applicant. These interviews generally take place in conjunction with a campus visit and can be arranged through the school's admissions office.

Criminal Background Checks

Applicants should be prepared to disclose and explain any felony or misdemeanor convictions. They may be required to provide signed consent for conducting an External Criminal Background Investigation. Applicants should also be aware that some clinical education sites will require drug screening for students performing clinical rotations.

Diversity in Chiropractic

Factors that contribute to diversity and that are considered in admissions committee evaluations include, but are not limited to, life experiences, work experiences, professional goals, geographical background (rural, urban or suburban), cultural background, and disadvantaged status. Weight will be given to qualified applicants who possess characteristics that are underrepresented in the profession and who would contribute to the overall diversity of the class.

Citizenship/International Students

Most chiropractic colleges admit international students. The application process may be challenging and non-citizen students should thoroughly research admission requirements specific to international students and allow additional time for application processing.

Pre-Chiropractic Curriculum

Saint Xavier has partnered with Palmer Chiropractic College. Saint Xavier students who have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and complete courses prerequisite to admission to Palmer by the end of their third year at Saint Xavier are eligible for the 3+3 Program. Accepted students will complete their senior year at Palmer Chiropractic. After successful completion of their course work at Palmer during this year and meeting Saint Xavier's degree requirements, the students will graduate with a BS degree in Biology from Saint Xavier University.

Sample Schedule for Dual Degree Program with Palmer College of Chiropractic

First 3 Years at SXU

First Year Fall
BIOL 111/BIOLB 111 General Biology I 5
CHEM 111/CHEML 111 General Chemistry I 5
TRANS 100 Transitions 1
ENGL 120 Rhetoric and Writing 3
PHIL 140 The Examined Life 3
  Total Credits for Semester 17
First Year Spring
BIOL 112/BIOLB 112 General Biology II 5
CHEM 112/CHEML 112 General Chemistry II 5
FYS 175 First-Year Seminar 3
COMM 101 Speech Fundamentals 3
  Total Credits for Semester 16
Second Year Fall
BIOL 220/BIOLB 220 Human and Comparative Anatomy 5
CHEM 251/CHEML 251 Organic Chemistry I 5
MATH 112 College Algebra 3
PHIL Philosophy Elective 3
  Total Credits for Semester 16
Second Year Spring
BIOL 320/BIOLB 320 Human and Comparative Physiology 4
CHEM 252/CHEML 252 Organic Chemistry II 5
MATH 113 Trigonometry 3
RELST Religion Elective 3
HIST History Elective 3
  Total Credits for Semester 18
Third Year Fall
BIOL 318/BIOLB 318 Ecology 5
PHYS 201/PHYSL 201 Physics I 4
RELST Religion Elective 2
PSYCH Psychology Elective 3
  Total Credits for Semester 17
Third Year Spring
BIOL 300/BIOLB 300 Genetics 4
PHYS 202/PHYSL 202 Physics II 4
LIT/ART Art or Literature Elective 3
BIOL 355 Senior Seminar 1
  Total Credits for Semester 15

Fourth Year at Palmer College of Chiropractic

First Trimester
Biochemistry I
Fundamentals of Neurophysiology
Gross Anatomy I
Spinal Anatomy I
Rights and Responsibilities
Second Trimester
Biochemistry II
Cell Physiology*
Gross Anatomy II
Spinal Anatomy II
Third Trimester
Advanced Neurophysiology
Fundamentals of Pathology
Neuroanatomy II
Organ Histology
Cardiovascular Pulmonary

*Courses that will transfer from PCC to SXU to meet the graduation requirement.