What Undergraduate Degree Is Best for Vet School?

You'll need an undergraduate program heavy in the sciences if you intend to eventually earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and pursue a career as a veterinarian. Read on to find out what bachelor's degree programs will help you prepare for vet school. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Undergraduate Degrees for Vet School

To gain admission to veterinary school, you need to complete a significant number of prerequisite courses in chemistry, biology, physiology, physics, English, and mathematics. Some Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programs also require or prefer you to have significant experience working with animals, such as 500 hours of pre-veterinary experience. The bachelor's degree programs discussed below offer many of these subjects as part of core course requirements. They may also allow you to complete research or field internships in your area of interest, helping you gain pre-veterinary experience.

Important Facts About Vet School

Common CoursesLecture and lab courses on normal and abnormal animal organ systems, clinical practice
Prerequisites Most accredited veterinary medicine programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree
Concentrations Options may include large animal clinical sciences, small animal clinical sciences, and infectious diseases and pathology
Possible Careers Private clinic and hospital veterinarian, laboratory veterinarian, farm animal/large animal veterinarian
Median Salary (2018) $93,830*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 19%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Animal Science

Animal science majors learn about the biology of domesticated farm and companion animals. Preliminary courses include organic chemistry, genetics, domestic and companion animal biology, avian husbandry, and equine biology. Your instruction also includes livestock production, animal health, and animal hygiene. Some programs offer an emphasis in veterinary science that includes courses in immunology, pharmacology, physics, and calculus.


Zoology is the study not only of animals but also of the ecosystems that sustain them. Preliminary courses in chemistry, physics, and math are required for these degree programs. In core animal and developmental biology courses, you discuss animal genetics and examine evolutionary case studies of different species. Mammology courses explore the physiology and reproductive systems of mammals.

Some zoology programs offer an early admissions pre-veterinary track to honors students. You can begin graduate-level DVM coursework after only three years of undergraduate study. Course topics include animal behavior, comparative physiology, and animal nutrition.


Biology bachelor's degree programs include microbiology, cell biology, and genetics coursework. You study cellular mitosis, gene structure, and the way cells fight off disease. Some programs even include botany or ecology courses. If you enroll in a school's pre-veterinary biology program, you might also examine animal physiology and anatomy.

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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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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