University of Vermont

Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences (ASCI)

Pre-veterinary Information for
Prospective Students

Assisting a
           veterinarian in surgery. As a student with an interest in pre-veterinary studies, you may have many questions about how you’ll approach your undergraduate career.  At UVM, we’re proud of our strong advising network of staff who can help guide you through the process of selecting a major, enrolling in relevant course work, exploring professional options, and ultimately applying to veterinary school.

To assist you at this stage of your educational planning, the UVM Admissions Office has prepared the following information which answers many questions commonly asked by first-year candidates interested in pre-veterinary studies at the University of Vermont.

Selecting a Major

Like most colleges and universities today, UVM does not offer a pre-veterinary major.  Most students who are interested in veterinary medicine choose the pre-professional option of Animal Science.  With few exceptions, a UVM undergraduate student can prepare for professional school from any program offered at the university.  True, many pre-veterinary students pursue degrees in the physical, biological, or animal sciences, however these are not a prerequisite for entry to veterinary school.  When it comes to applying, most professional schools are interested in overall academic quality and in the scope and diversity of a student’s academic work.

It’s important to follow your interests when selecting a major, maintain high standards, and to be flexible.  Not all well-prepared students gain admission to highly competitive veterinary schools; remain open to related or alternate careers.

Required Courses

Each veterinary school has its own criteria for admission.  If you have an interest in a particular school, you should consult the individual page for that school. The link to the U.S. Veterinary Medical Colleges is The general requirements for most veterinary school applicants are as follows:

Biology:  A minimum of one year is required.  Our two-semester sequence of Principles of Biology (Bio 1, 2) generally satisfies this requirement.

Chemistry:  One year of general chemistry is required.  This is fulfilled by our introductory Chemistry sequence (Chem 31, 32).  
One year of Organic Chemistry (Chem 141, 142) is also required, and some veterinary schools suggest quantitative analysis, physical chemistry, or other related areas of theoretical or quantitative chemistry, including biochemistry.

Physics:  There is a one-year requirement, and course work must include a laboratory component.  At UVM, you can take either Elementary Physics (Phys 11, 12) or General Physics (Phys 31, 42) depending on your math preparation. The lab is Phys 21/22.

Mathematics:  One semester of calculus is recommended, and in some cases required, for veterinary school admission.  UVM’s Math 19 is recommended.  Lower level mathematics courses may prove helpful for students not ready to study calculus; strong math preparation may also improve achievement in physics and organic chemistry.

Additional Requirements:  Many veterinary schools require a year of English, often with specific requirements in composition and literature.  Many veterinary schools also encourage broad, diverse study in the humanities, social sciences, and foreign languages.  Some schools also require animal related courses.  Since some schools have specific requirements in these areas, it is important to consult listings for the schools in which you’re interested.

Pre-veterinary Advising Process

During the First and Second Years

Your first two years at UVM are a time for adjusting to college life, selecting a major, enrolling in the courses recommended or required for entry into the health professions, and exploring career goals.  First, discuss your interests with your academic advisor – preferably as early as Orientation – and begin enrolling in the appropriate course sequences.  Academic advisors are familiar with the introductory course work recommended for professional schools and will assist in fitting those courses into a major program.

Other steps you can take early in your undergraduate career include participating in relevant volunteer experience, working for a veterinarian, joining the pre-vet club - a student organization devoted to exploring all aspects of the veterinary profession, doing an internship, undergraduate research or participating in a class that has hands-on experience such as CREAM.  

During Junior and Senior Year

Early in your junior year, the Pre-veterinary Advisor’s role becomes more critical.  It is important to plan for the GRE and any other standardized tests.  Prior to your senior year you should begin to prepare your VMCAS (Veterinary Medical College Application Service) application, or other applications.  This process is extensive, and should begin during the summer if you plan to attend veterinary school the following year.  You must also identify and contact the individuals you plan to ask for letters of recommendation.  Usually this includes your advisor, at least one veterinarian, and one other professional.  You must also be sure to have completed and documented your animal experience.

CALS/ASCI Pre-Veterinary Opportunities: Extracurricular Experiences

Entry to veterinary schools is intensely competitive, and successful candidates have usually distinguished themselves both academically and outside the classroom.  Significant volunteer experience in a veterinary or medicine-related field, a research internship in a university laboratory, community service work, and leadership roles in student organizations all constitute excellent preparation for a career in veterinary medicine.

UVM students are fortunate to have an undergraduate, graduate, and medical faculty who welcome qualified undergraduates into their research laboratories.  Many opportunities for undergraduate research are sponsored by UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) and URECA (Undergraduate Research Enrichment Competitive Awards) programs.  More information can be found by going to UVM's Office of Undergraduate Research web site. UVM students can also gain experience and become more involved with and connected to the local community by joining a wide range of service organizations active in the Greater Burlington area.

UVM’s Placement Rate

UVM takes pride in an excellent record of acceptances for Animal Science students.  For the fall of 2014, approximately 80% of the UVM students who applied to veterinary school were accepted.  Our students have been admitted to a wide range of academic institutions, including highly rated programs at Cornell, Tufts, and Purdue, North Carolina, and the University of Pennsylvania.  

Successful candidates present excellent academic records, with overall undergraduate grade point averages generally 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale, strong GRE scores, and evidence of leadership and appropriate experience.  Given the competitive nature of entry into the veterinary profession, it is vital that students consider viable career alternatives.  

Not all students interested in veterinary school attend directly upon college graduation.  In fact, veterinary schools often prefer candidates seasoned by a number of years of work and other life experiences.

For more information contact:
University of Vermont
Department of Animal & Veterinary Sciences
102 Terrill, 570 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05405-0148
(802) 656-0155

Additional Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Professional Info.
Possible Four-Year Program
Veterinarian Careers / Vet Tech Careers
Veterinary Medicine - Types of Careers
U.S. News and World Report's Veterinary School Rankings

Return to top of page

Last modified December 07 2016 04:07 PM

Contact UVM © 2018 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131