Marine Veterinary Colleges

Read about the field of marine veterinary medicine, which involves caring for aquatic species such as those in zoos or marine parks. Review the requirements for becoming a veterinarian, including vet school and licensure, and find out how you can specialize your training in marine veterinary medicine. Explore some of the subjects you'd study in vet school and during your specialty marine training. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Marine veterinary medicine requires studies in areas like clinical research, physiology, and anatomy. Aspiring marine veterinarians will need to complete vet school.

What is Marine Veterinary Medicine?

Marine veterinary medicine, also called aquatic animal medicine, is a subfield within the veterinary profession. Marine veterinary medicine itself also has a number of subspecialties, including aquaculture medicine, clinical research and the study and care of captive and zoo species.

What Do I Need to Do To Become a Marine Veterinarian?

You'll need to earn a bachelor's degree and be accepted into a veterinary medicine school so you can earn your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). Some veterinary programs offer specialized study in marine or aquatic medicine. After vet school, you might obtain training in marine veterinary medicine through a postgraduate certificate program, internship and/or residency, which often are highly competitive. A postgraduate certificate can also be obtained through the American College of Zoological Medicine, which also offers voluntary credentialing.

How Do I Get Into Veterinary School?

Acceptance to a DVM program, or a joint program such as a DVM/Master of Public Health, usually is based on a combination of undergraduate grade point average (GPA), veterinary prerequisites GPA, Graduate Record Exam scores, documentation of veterinary experience and a variety of personal assessments obtained through letters of recommendation and interviews. Though the exact proportion varies by school, academic considerations often comprise about half of the overall evaluation process.

What Might My Studies Consist Of?

The first two years of veterinary school typically focus on anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pathology and imaging. The third and fourth years usually center on clinical experiences in non-classroom settings, with the fourth year devoted to clinical rotations. If you are able to specialize in aquatic animal medicine as a veterinary student, more of your clinical work will be with marine animals.

Postgraduate opportunities in aquatic medicine vary. An internship can last 1-2 years, while residency programs can last up to three years. You could work at an aquarium or with marine animals in the wild at locations around the world. Externships are also available; however, these tend to last for shorter periods of time and generally consist more of observation than work.

What Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Marine Veterinary Medicine?

Marine veterinary medicine is typically not studied at the bachelor's degree level, but students could prepare for vet school through a marine biology program; aspiring veterinarians will want to make sure the curriculum covers all the necessary prereqs to enroll in vet school after graduation. Pre-vet programs are another option.

  • Florida Institute of Technology offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Biological Sciences - Marine Biology
  • The University of South Florida offers a B.S. in Marine Biology
  • Penn State offers a B.S. in Veterinary and Biological Sciences for pre-vet majors

What Schools Offer DVM Programs in Marine Veterinary Medicine?

The following schools offer DVM programs and have elective study options available in marine veterinary medicine:

  • Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine is home to an Aquatic Animal Health Program that offers numerous aquatic animal medicine courses
  • Students in the University of Florida's DVM program can pursue an Aquatic Animal Medicine Certificate in addition to their degree
  • Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (operated jointly by Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland) has an Aquatic Medicine Program that offers DVM students an elective course in aquatic medicine and fish health, as well as independent study opportunities

What Schools Offer Postgraduate Programs in Marine Veterinary Medicine?

Postgraduate options are designed for students who have completed their DVMs. They include residencies, fellowships and certificates. The following schools all offer residencies related to marine veterinary medicine:

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a Zoo and Aquatic Animal Residency Program
  • The University of Florida has an Aquatic Animal Medicine Residency
  • Washington State University's Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology has an anatomic pathology residency in aquatic animal health

Prospective marine veterinarians will need to start with a science-focused or pre-vet bachelor's degree, followed by veterinary school. Several schools offer vet students specific coursework in aquatic animal health, and postgraduate options are also available in the specialty.

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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