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Preparing for a Career in Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine is an exciting, but demanding field which offers a variety of career opportunities for individuals interested in animal health and well-being. There are 27 colleges of veterinary medicine in the U.S., accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, which offer professional programs leading to the doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree. The curriculum prepares graduates for professional careers in private practice emphasizing large, small, mixed, and specialty animals, government inspection and regulatory medicine, zoo and exotic animal medicine, research, education, etc.

The preprofessional academic (preveterinary) requirements for veterinary school are similar to those for medical school. Because these requirements do not lead to a degree in preveterinary medicine, students should pursue a formal degree program in a selected major, such as biology, chemistry, or agriculture, while completing the preveterinary course requirements.

The following curriculum guide provides a suggested coursework sequence for completion of the preveterinary course requirements for the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Complete information about the program is available on the CSU website, www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/cvmbs/pvmpro.html . This coursework is typical of that required by the other 26 colleges, but you should consult the particular school catalog to identify specific entrance requirements.

Colorado State University Course Requirements Required Minimum Credits Fort Lewis College Course Equivalents Credits
Biological Sciences 1 Bio 113- Intro Biology II 4
SC330 Principles of Genetics 3 Bio 371/372 General Genetics/Evolutionary Genetics 3

(2, 1)

Physical Sciences 1 Chem 150 5.5
BC 351 Principles of Biochemistry 4 Chem 311 General Biochemistry I 3
Ph121 General Physics I 5 Phys 201 College Physics I 5
PH122 General Physics II 5 Phys 202 College Physics II 5
ST301 Intro to Statistical Methods OR ST307/EH307 Intro to Biostatistics


Math 201 Elementary Statistics OR  BA 253 Business Statistics 4


CO150 College Composition 3 Comp 150 Reading and Writing in College 4
Arts/Humanities and Behavioral and Social Sciences 12
General Education Classes in groups A, C, D, E

Obviously, successful admission into a professional veterinary program is dependent on a variety of factors, including college grade point average, participation in extracurricular activities, community service, and practical experience working with animals. It is imperative that you work for a veterinarian, or in a similar setting, prior to submission of an application to veterinary school. This experience can be gained from either a paid or volunteer position. Of course, more experience improves your chances of admission. Veterinary schools usually require a letter of recommendation from a practicing veterinarian for whom you have worked.

Some veterinary schools require that applicants take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Veterinary Aptitude Test (VAT) prior to submission of an application for admission (CSU requires the GRE only). Check the application information for more details.


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