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Pre-Veterinary Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Pre-veterinary programs are designed to prepare students for veterinary school. Pre-veterinary courses can be completed alongside any major. In addition to taking coursework, students might want to consider gaining experience in veterinary medicine.

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How to Select a Pre-Veterinary School

While pre-veterinary majors aren't available, students can select a related major and complete the prerequisites for veterinary school. Many colleges and universities offer a pre-veterinary curriculum.


  • Strong science department
  • Internship opportunities
  • Research opportunities
  • Obtaining a certificate in a related area

Strong Science Department

A degree in science isn't required, but most of the prerequisite courses for veterinary school are in the sciences. Students should check that a prospective school has a strong science department to ensure that they receive adequate preparation.

Internship Opportunities

Veterinary programs are highly competitive and typically prefer to admit individuals with hands-on experience over those without it. Prospective students should look for a pre-veterinary school that offers the opportunity to complete an internship at a local veterinary clinic, animal shelter, zoo or farm or offers guidance in finding such placements. Some schools may have on-campus facilities for students to gain experience with animals, including farms and veterinary facilities.

Research Opportunities

Students may also wish to look for research opportunities related to veterinary medicine. While some schools don't offer research that deals specifically with animals, students can still complete research in areas like microbiology. It's also a good idea to investigate the type of research being performed by faculty members.

Obtaining a Certificate in a Related Area

Students might want to consider certificate programs in areas closely related to veterinary medicine, such as animal health management, which are designed to supplement a bachelor's program. Some of these programs offer coursework specific to a certain type of animal, as well as related courses in topics like immunology and epidemiology.

Pre-Veterinary Program Overview

Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program

A pre-veterinary course of study includes science and math courses along with the general education requirements. It usually takes three years to complete the requirements and a student may apply to veterinary school as soon as the requirements are met, even if they have not yet completed a bachelor's degree. Upperclassmen may have the best chances at landing research and volunteer opportunities. The courses and labs commonly required by veterinary schools include:

  • Biology
  • General and organic chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physics
  • Microbiology
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