Do you want to combine your interest of animals with your interest in science? Then perhaps Veterinary Medicine is the route for you. Veterinarians practice around the world, working with a wide range of animals, from domestic house cats to Siberian tigers. Veterinarians may use their education in a variety of ways, such as teaching and research, private practice, biomedical and pharmaceutical research, protecting public health, regulatory medicine, environmental health, zoologic medicine, animal-assisted therapy, wildlife management, aquatic animal medicine, and agribusiness.


Prospective doctors of veterinary medicine (commonly referred to as verterinarians) must graduate from a 4-year program at an accredited college of veterinary medicine with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM. or VMD) degree and obtain a license in order to practice. 

Cornell Courses and Other Requirements

There are 28 colleges in the U.S. that meet accreditation standards.  Although many of these colleges do not require a bachelor's degree for entrance, most admitted students have completed an undergraduate degree.  Veterinarians may specialize in areas such as molecular biology, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, immunology, diagnostic pathology, or environmental medicine  with additional post-graduate education.

Veterinary schools are highly competitive and seek students with strong science backgrounds, as well as backgrounds in the social sciences. Please note that the prerequisite course requirements vary from school to school. As such, it is essential that you review the specific requirements at the schools where you plan to apply.

Most schools require the following coursework:

  • English/writing/comparative literature courses (2 courses)
  • General Biology (2 courses)
  • General Chemistry (2 courses)
  • Organic Chemistry I and II (2 courses)
  • Physics (2 courses)
  • Mathematics (2 courses—either Calculus I or II and Statistics)

Several schools also require:

  • Biochemistry (1 course)
  • Microbiology (1 course)
  • Genetics  (1 course)
  • Public speaking (1 course)
  • Conservation science coursework
  • Research or scholarship-intensive coursework
  • Psychology coursework
  • Independent study opportunities (summer, year-round, or post-degree)

The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) provides a summary of vet school prerequisite requirements for each of their member institutions.

Most Veterinary medicine programs require applicants to submit Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores. A few schools require the MCAT, rather than the GRE, therefore, it is important to identify the schools where you plan to apply so you know which graduate entrance exam you need to take.

To apply to Veterinary Medicine programs, visit: Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS)