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Bachelor's Degree Programs in Veterinary Science

Explore the typical coursework in a bachelor's degree program in veterinary science, which can help prepare you for veterinary school or for a graduate research program. Check the career path to becoming a veterinarian.

What Kinds of Bachelor's Degree Programs in Veterinary Science Are There?

You can choose from degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science or a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. Both of these programs are designed to prepare you for graduate study, veterinary school or a career in biomedical research. This degree alone will not qualify you to work as a vet, but many schools have a special 'pre-vet' track if you are interested in becoming one.

Fields of Study Veterinary science, veterinary and biomedical sciences; pre-vet track
Online Availability Online options are not available
Coursework Topics Parasitology, animal anatomy, molecular pharmacology, infectious diseases, animal pathology
Veterinary School Prerequisites BS in veterinary science; VCAT, GRE or MCAT scores; volunteer experience at an animal shelter or veterinary clinic; letters of reference
Job Outlook (2016-2026)20% growth (for veterinary technologists and technicians)*
Median Salary (2018)$34,420 (for veterinary technologists and technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Online Learning Options?

Due to the fact that you will be expected to perform clinical rotations and lab work, this degree is not available through an online program. It's essential that you work directly with and on animals as a veterinary science student.

What Does the Program Cover?

Once you've completed your general education requirements, you'll take a variety of courses designed to provide you with a solid knowledge of many different types of animals, their genetics, care and diseases. You will learn about livestock, companion animals (like dogs and cats) and wildlife. Topics in science and medicine that you'll likely study include the following:

  • Animal anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Medical and molecular virology (the study of viruses)
  • Infectious diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Histology (the study of tissues)
  • Molecular pharmacology
  • Animal pathology
  • Toxicology
  • Animal radiology

You'll also examine animal behavior, animal nutrition and contemporary issues in veterinary medicine. As part of your coursework, you'll be expected to work on and with laboratory animals and complete several modules of practical experience.

How Can I Become a Veterinarian?

First, you will have to complete your bachelor's degree in veterinary science. Although there are some schools that will accept students who don't have a bachelor's degree (but have instead completed the prerequisite coursework for vet school admission), having one is to your advantage. Volunteering at a veterinary clinic or animal shelter to gain clinical experience is also recommended.

You'll also need to take a graduate admissions exam - which may be the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or even the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), as specified by the school - and provide several letters of reference. Admissions to veterinary school are very competitive; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2014 that there were only 30 veterinary medicine colleges in the U.S. that were accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education (www.bls.gov). Therefore, it is important that you maintain high grades and gain a strong proficiency in mathematics and the life sciences to secure admission.