Pre-veterinary medicine

Cornell College students interested in pursuing a career as a Veterinarian are considered part of the Pre-Veterinary Medicine program. Pre-Veterinary Medicine is coordinated by the Dimensions for Health Professions. 

The Dimensions Guide to Pre-Veterinary Medicine includes information on veterinary medical school prerequisites, a sample course timeline, and other tips and resources helping you navigate your pre-veterinary medicine career at Cornell College. 

The Co-Curricular Activity Journal is a resource aiding students in reflection and meaning making throughout their experiences leading to a healthcare career. The Dimensions Co-Curricular Activity Journal helps students keep an active record of co-curricular activities contributing to a strong application to Veterinary School.

What is a veterinarian?

Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to improve public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals (Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015).

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, zoological medicine, animal-assisted therapy, wildlife management, aquatic animal medicine, and agribusiness.

 Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and pass board examinations in order to practice as a licensed veterinarian. 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 Technicians and Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers also work in the veterinary medical field. 

Preparing for veterinary school

After receiving a degree from Cornell, students enter a doctorate in veterinary medicine (DVM) program. (Although many veterinary colleges do not require a bachelor's degree for entrance, most admitted students have completed an undergraduate degree.)  

Choosing a Major

Most Pre-Veterinary Medicine students at Cornell College major in Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Prerequisite Coursework

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), and 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, and 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. 

Admissions examination

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Most veterinary medicine programs require the GRE for admission. A few schools require the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) instead of 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. 

Application process

Students applying to veterinary school nationwide utilize the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). 

Dimensions is your primary source for information when you reach the planning stage for your veterinary school application. Cornell students are expected to utilize the Health Professions Committee before the start of their intended application cycle. 

Additional resources