Veterinary Medicine

Veterinarians care for the health of animals. They diagnose, treat, or research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and animals in zoos, racetracks, and laboratories. Veterinarians in private clinical practices treat the injuries and illnesses of pets and farm animals with a variety of medical equipment, including surgical tools and x-ray machines. They provide treatment for animals that is similar to what a doctor would do to treat humans.

Typical Responsibilities

  • Examine animals to diagnose their health problems
  • Treat and dress wounds and perform surgery on animals
  • Test for and vaccinate against diseases
  • Operate medical equipment such as x-ray machines
  • Advise animal owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments
  • Prescribe medication and euthanize animals

Preparing for Admission

  • Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are currently 30 colleges with accredited programs in the US, 5 in Canada and 21 abroad. A veterinary medicine program generally takes 4 years to complete and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components. Specialties require additional schooling after DVM.
  • Resources for researching schools: A complete list of all D.V.M. programs can be found on the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges website
  • Prerequisite coursework: varies by school. A complete list of prerequisite courses is available for each institution on the VMCAS website. There is also a book (Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements – VMSAR) published regularly with specific information.
  • Standardized Tests: Most programs require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission. Detailed information about the GRE process is available on the VMCAS website.

The Application Cycle

  • There is a Centralized Application Process (VMCAS) that all veterinary medicine schools (31) participate in.
  • Application opens: early May but annual updates on application deadlines can be found online.
  • Fees and Fee waivers: VMCAS charges $205 for the first program you apply to and $105 for each additional program. There is a fee assistance program to help cover application deadlines available to eligible students to apply.
  • VMCAS has created a thorough instruction manual and FAQ which is helpful for students in the application process.