Colleges of Veterinary Medicine

Read about Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) programs, and find out what they entail. Check the prerequisites for applying to vet school, and explore the typical curriculum in a D.V.M. program. Review the licensure requirements for veterinarians. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Students entering into Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programs must be prepared to commit 4-8 years to this area of study. Coursework includes animal behavior, veterinary anatomy, and pharmacology. Rigorous testing, examinations and/or licensure are required to become a veterinarian.

What Are Veterinary Medicine Programs Like?

As a veterinary medicine student, you learn how to treat many types of animals, such as cats, dogs and horses. Your curriculum will center around the sciences, such as biology, chemistry, animal medicine and toxicology. In general, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) program takes about four years to complete. However, programs that combine your undergraduate and veterinary medicine educations can take about seven years to complete. By the final year of your program, you'll engage in clinical rotations where you'll work alongside trained professionals to gain hands-on experience practicing what you've studied in the classroom.

What Schools Offer Doctoral Degrees in Veterinary Medicine?

D.V.M. programs are available at several schools in the U.S. Combined degree structures offer students the opportunity to earn graduate credit or learn in a multi-disciplinary approach to this particular area of study. Here are a few of the school options:

  • North Carolina State University offers a combined Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy (D.V.M./Ph.D.) degree program
  • The University of Georgia offers a dual D.V.M./Ph.D. Medicine Scientist Training degree program
  • Colorado State University offers a D.V.M. program

What Do I Need to Study Before I Enroll?

Before you can enroll in a D.V.M. program, you need to complete a series of undergraduate prerequisites. An undergraduate degree isn't always needed, but can make you more competitive. You also have to have a background of working with animals, whether it's through volunteer work or paid experiences. You may be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or another standardized test, such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Keep in mind that if you enroll in a combined degree program, you can fulfill some of these prerequisites as a standard part of your program.

What Kind of Classes Will I Take?

As a veterinary student, you'll begin your studies by taking courses in the basic sciences. You'll also learn healthcare principles and clinical skills. You may gain experience working with different types of animals, such as livestock, companion animals, birds and horses. Some of the courses that you take during your first three years in veterinary school can include:

  • Veterinary anatomy
  • Veterinary physiology
  • Histology
  • Animal behavior
  • Pharmacology
  • Physical examination skills
  • Animal medicine and surgery
  • Veterinary immunology
  • Exotic diseases
  • Veterinary radiology

Some programs may also encourage you to prepare a research thesis during your first three years as a veterinary student. During your final year, you'll spend all of your time in clinical rotations rather than in classrooms. Some of the rotations you complete can include small animal medicine, avian medicine, emergency care, surgery and anesthesiology.

What About Licensure?

Before you can practice as a veterinarian, you need to become licensed in most cases. For some positions with government agencies, you may be exempt from having to earn licensure. To earn your license, you have to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), which is administered by the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME). Each state has its own licensure requirements, but all require that you earn your D.V.M. And pass the NAVLE. Your state may also require that you pass a state jurisprudence exam or an additional clinical exam.

Veterinary medicine is typically studied in a D.V.M. program that includes clinical rotations and allows students to gain experience treating various types of animals. Some schools offer dual degree programs that pair a D.V.M. and a Ph.D.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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