The pre-veterinary program of study is not a degree-granting major. Rather, it is a program of study pursued by students who intend to apply to veterinary medicine programs. Pre-Veterinary students are able to choose a major in any discipline provided they successfully complete all prerequisite courses in the pre-veterinary program of study and take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or, in some cases, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Pre-Veterinary students work with a pre-veterinary advisor who helps with course sequencing and academic preparation for veterinary school.
Required pre-requisite courses for admission to veterinary medicine programs are as follows:
- General Chemistry: a one year series, with lab (7 semester hours)
- Organic Chemistry: a one year series, with lab (7 semester hours)
- Biochemistry: 1 course (3 semester hours)
- Biology: a one year series, with labs (8 semester hours)
- Genetics: upper level Mendelian and molecular course (3 semester hours)
- Mammalian anatomy and/or physiology: one course (3 semester hours)
- Oral Communication: interpersonal, group, or public speaking (3 semester hours)
- English Composition: 6 semester hours
- Humanities and Social Sciences: 8 semester hours
- Physics: Physics 1 – first semester of a 2 semester series (4 semester hours)
NOTE: The colleges to which you apply may have additional requirements not included on the above list. Contact each institution to which you wish to apply for a college brochure. Be sure to consult with your pre-veterinary academic advisor about prerequisite requirements. Also, refer to the Summary of Course Prerequisites guide updated by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges at www.aavmc.org
Veterinary medicine is the field of medicine that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals. The scope of veterinary medicine is broad, covering all animal species, both domesticated and wild, with a wide range of professional practice opportunities. As a veterinarian, you could work in a variety of settings such as:
- Private Practice
- Animal Hospitals
- Public or Private Zoological Parks
- Research Centers
- Exotic Animal Centers
- Animal Rescue Facilities
- Agricultural or Large Animal Practice
- Extension Service
Learn more about Veterinary Medicine at these websites:
- Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges: www.aavmc.org
- American Veterinary Medical Association: www.avma.org
- Veterinary Medical College Application Service: www.vmcas.org
Students apply to veterinary medical programs through a centralized, online system, the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (www.vmcas.org). The website also has a section on FAQs and detailed instructions on filling out the online application. Students can learn about the application process by reading carefully through the “Applying to Veterinary School (VMCAS)” section found at www.aavmc.org
- The admissions profile posted in 2019 by Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine is as follows (please note that individual schools post profiles of their students on their websites which may differ from the averages noted here):
- Class size: 157 students
- GPA Averages: Cumulative 3.69; Science 3.54
- Competitive Candidates:
- Care about serving people as well as animals
- Demonstrate integrity
- Possess excellent interpersonal skills
- Feel committed to animal care, broadly defined
- Demonstrate leadership
- Have empathy and compassion for others
- Welcome diversity
- Explore professional opportunities and education with a spirit of curiosity and enthusiasm
- Volunteer in animal care settings
- Seek job shadowing opportunities with multiple veterinarians in multiple practices
- Cultivate strong letters of reference from science faculty, veterinarians, research mentors, volunteer coordinators and/or academic advisors, anyone who can articulate a student's commitment to and potential for success
- Some questions to ask yourself when considering veterinary medicine:
- Do I have compassion for animals?
- Am I committed to serving others?
- Do I have a strong interest in science?
- Do I enjoy working with people?
- Am I a team player?
- Do I enjoy working with my hands and problem-solving?
- Am I a good listener?
- Have I shadowed a veterinarian?
- Am I interested in the work veterinarians do?
- Am I committed to the time, money, and effort involved in veterinary medicine education?
- Can I see myself working with animals who may be in pain?
- Do I have a parallel plan outside of veterinary medicine?
- How to get started:
- Meet with your Pre-Veterinary academic advisor
- Check out the American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org) and Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (www.aavmc.org) websites