Veterinarians diagnose and treat illness in animal patients as well as protect human health by studying zoonotic diseases (which affect humans and animals), work with laboratory animals and monitor food animal safety. Training lasts four years (post undergraduate) followed by several years of specialty training if desired. Purdue University has one of the finest colleges of veterinary medicine in the country. Because so few veterinary schools exist, admission to veterinary school is highly competitive. A strong academic record, research experience, time spent supervised by a veterinarian, considerable and varied animal experience, and communication skills are all considered during the admissions process.
No particular major is required for entrance into a veterinary school. Pre-Veterinary Medicine is a career goal that includes a set of course requirements that prepare you to succeed as a veterinarian as well as those courses required by veterinary programs. You should choose a major you enjoy, and one in which you will excel.
- 2 semesters General Biology with labs
- 1 semester Microbiology with lab
- 1 semester Genetics (lab required at some schools)
- 2 semesters General Chemistry with labs
- 2 semesters Organic Chemistry with labs
- 1 semester Biochemistry (some schools prefer 2 semesters)
- 2 semesters General Physics with labs
- 1 semester Animal Nutrition
- 1 semester Statistics
- 1 semester Communication
- 1-2 semester(s) English Composition (depending on school)
- 3 semesters of Humanities & Social Sciences
- Careers in Vet Med (for Purdue Students)
- Some schools may require Calculus, Animal Science, Zoology, or other courses
Generally, a grade below a C is not acceptable for prerequisite courses
Becoming a Veterinarian
Veterinary programs offer two equivalent degree options; the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, or DVM, and the Veterinary Medical Doctor, or VMD. Although named differently, they are equivalent degrees. While having a love of animals is important, veterinarians must also enjoy working with people and have a deep interest in science.
Many vet schools offer combined degrees as an option to students allowing them to pursue, for example, an MBA/DVM, a PhD/DVM or an MPH/DVM depending on their interests. Because veterinarians oversee animal health as well a variety of human health concerns and often run their own businesses and may have public health or research pursuits, combined degrees may hold an interest for some veterinary students.
Aptitude Test and Admission
Testing depends on the specific veterinary school to which you are applying, so be sure to look up the requirements. Most schools require you to complete the GRE. Application is made through a centralized service called VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service).
Links and Additional Veterinary Medicine Information
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
- TMDSAS – for applications to schools in Texas