A veterinarian is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or a Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD). Veterinarians diagnose and treat illness in animal patients, as well as protect human health by studying zoonotic diseases. Veterinarians can also work with laboratory animals or monitor the safety of food products that are of animal origin. After earning an undergraduate degree, there are four years of training required to become a veterinarian.


Academic Expectations

Specific admission requirements vary per veterinary school. You should consult with schools of interest to determine their specific admission requirements. 

Suggested academic preparation:

  • Bachelor's degree- A bachelor's degree plus prerequisite courses in the sciences are the required for some veterinary schools, but most schools require fulfillment of school specific pre-requisite courses that can be found here
  • Competitive academic record- Heavy course loads (17-18 credit hours by junior year), multiple science courses with labs in the same semester, and high grades in all courses, especially the sciences, are recommended.
  • Major in Anything


We recommend you meet with an advisor once a semester to ensure you are progressing with the correct academic coursework.

Entrance Exams

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

Many, but not all, veterinary medicine programs require that students take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or the Biology GRE. The GRE is computer-based and offered on set dates throughout the year. Schools may also accept the The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in place of the GRE. You should consult with schools of interest to determine specific admission requirements.

GRE (Graduate Record Exam) Information


MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) Information


Application Information

VMCAS (Centralized Application Services)

Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) is the centralized application service for most Colleges of Veterinary Medicine. VMCAS will duplicate the application and forward it to the veterinary schools the student is interested in. All required materials are processed through this application service including letters of recommendation/evaluation. Some schools require supplemental applications so consult each school of interest. Most college students traditionally apply to vet schools in the fall of their senior year to meet the deadline of September 15  

Professional Degrees

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or a Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD)

A VMD and DVM are the same degree, both Doctors of Veterinary Medicine. VMD is only given to students of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and DVM degrees are received by students who attend one of the other 31 schools in the United States, or 15 accredited international veterinary schools. Doctors of Veterinary Medicine are able to diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, and perform surgery. Veterinarians also prevent the transmission of animal diseases to people, and advise owners on the proper care of animals. Unlike medical school, residency after completing schooling is not required, and only necessary for students who wish to specialize in one of the many speculates (Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology, Neurology, Oncology, Surgery etc). Specialization in these fields requires a two-year internship, or for board certification three to four yeas of residency in that specialty. 

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