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Pre-Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Medicine:
Veterinary medicine is one of the most rewarding and diverse professions in which to engage. The scope and impact of veterinary activities in the world today is tremendous. Veterinarians not only provide animal health care through a wide variety of private practice situations, they also engage in teaching, research, regulatory activities, public health service, and extension in both the public and private sectors. The nation's health is directly related to the quality and health of its animal population, whether those animals are used for food, fiber, or companionship. The veterinary profession is responsible for improving and maintaining the nation's health through better animal care.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine:
Pre-Veterinary Medicine is a pre-professional program designed to fulfill the admission requirements for a College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Graduates of a CVM earn the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and are eligible to become licensed veterinary practitioners. One must hold a license to practice veterinary medicine from each state in which one wishes to practice. It generally takes 3 to 4 years to complete the pre-veterinary curriculum and another 4 years to complete the DVM professional curriculum. Post-doctoral studies leading to advanced degrees (MS, PhD) and/or specialty certification (surgery, ophthalmology, etc.) are also available.

Students wishing to enter the Pre-Veterinary medicine program should be prepared for a rigorous academic program that emphasizes the sciences. It is recommended that one's ACT or SAT scores be above average and that one possesses a strong interest and aptitude for science courses. Although important, a background in animal care and veterinary experience is secondary to one's scientific aptitude and overall scholastic abilities.

Students may complete the pre-veterinary requirements for most CVM's at any college that offers a Pre-Veterinary Medicine program or Biology degree. The Pre-Veterinary advisor at the college should be consulted regarding course selection and admission strategy. Kentucky residents at a school that does not have an official pre-veterinary advisor should contact Roberta Dwyer at UK for advising.

It is recommended that pre-veterinary students work toward a corollary degree (such as agriculture, biology, or veterinary technology) in the event that they are unable to gain admission to a CVM. Multiple and second application strategies should also be discussed with the pre-veterinary advisor. Students attending foreign CVM's must pay particular attention to the procedures for getting licensed in the United States following graduation.

CVM Admission:

There are over 30 CVM's in the US and Canada and each has its own admission requirements. CVM admission is very state-oriented with preference going to in-state students. Some states without a CVM have a contract with a state that does have one. For example, Kentucky contracts 38 positions with Auburn University and three positions with Tuskegee University each year for legal Kentucky residents. If admitted under the Kentucky state contract, the Kentucky student pays in-state tuition or reduced tuition..

CVM admissions are based on a strong academic background (national average GPA of 33.5 for admitted students), aptitude in the sciences, veterinary experience with small and large animal veterinarians, letters of recommendation, GRE (or other exam) scores, and a committee interview. There are approximately 3 to 4 applicants for each in-state position available. For non-contract, out-of-state applications, there may be a ratio of 10 applicants per position with substantial increases in tuition, as high as $45,000+ per year.

CVM admission is designed to be a very fair and non-discriminating process. Objective information (such as grades and standardized exam scores) plays the major role in ranking applicants while subjective information (such as interviews and recommendations) plays a lesser role.

Additional Information:

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges:

Links to member institutions and VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service).

American Veterinary Medical Association:

Information on all aspects of veterinary medicine including links to all AVMA accredited colleges of veterinary medicine.

Purdue University Press:

To obtain the book: "Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements in the United States and Canada" (published annually).


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