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Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Overview

Veterinarians, or animal doctors, receive a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD) degree upon completing veterinary school.

The four-year education required to become a veterinarian is similar to medical school but students learn about diagnosing and treating a variety of animal species instead of just one. Veterinary school students also see animal patients during clinical rotations, under the supervision of experienced mentors. Some veterinarians also seek additional training via one-year internships and/or two to three-year residencies. They may become board-certified in a specialty area.

Because admission to vet school is very competitive, having prior experience working with animals can be beneficial. Thise site provides information on prerequisite coursework, required tests, and additional websites that may be helpful to you while pursuing a veterinary career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for veterinarians is projected to increase by 36% between 2010 and 2020.

Coursework

The following coursework is recommended for admission to veterinary medical school. Different schools have different pre-requisite coursework so be sure to check with individual schools about their admission requirements.


Biological Sciences

Some vet med schools require at least one year of introductory biology, microbiology, and genetics. At Edgewood, we recommend the following Biological Sciences courses for a pre-vet route:

  • Bio 151 General Biology: Cell Biology and Ecology (or)
  • Bio 181 Honors General Biology: Cell Biology and Ecology
  • Bio 152 General Biology: Genetics and Evolution (or)
  • Bio 182 Information Flow in Living Systems – Honors
  • Bio 312 Microbiology
  • Bio 401 Genetics

Additional 400-level Biological Sciences courses may be useful for admission to and success in vet school. These include but are not limited to:

  • Bio 402 Cell and Molecular Biology (offered even falls)
  • Bio 406 Medical Microbiology (offered odd springs)
  • Bio 425 Comparative Animal Physiology (offered even springs)
  • Bio 430 Animal Behavior (offered odd springs)

Chemistry

Some vet med schools require at least one semester of biochemistry in addition to general and organic chemistry coursework. At Edgewood College, students must complete one year of general chemistry and one year of organic chemistry before enrolling in biochemistry. Here is the sequence of courses at Edgewood:

  • Chem 120 General Chemistry I
  • Chem 121 General Chemistry II
  • Chem 321 Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 323 Organic Chemistry II
  • Chem 340 Biochemistry

Physics

Many vet med schools require a one-year physics sequence with labs. At Edgewood we recommend either of the following two sequences (the second-sequence, Phys 201 and 202, is calculus-based):

  • Phys 130 and 131 General Physics I and II
  • Phys 201 and 202 College Physics I and II

English

Most vet med schools require 6 credits of English and emphasize composition.


Mathematics

Most vet med schools require mathematics and/or statistics. We recommend you successfully complete a calculus and statistics course. At Edgewood, these courses include:

  • Math 231 Calculus I
  • Math 121 Statistics

Relevant tests

Most veterinary schools require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for admission; a few accept Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores. Fee reduction programs are available for both exams. Program admission requirements vary so contact individual schools about prerequisite tests.