Veterinary Undergraduate Programs and Majors

All aspiring veterinarians are required to complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree program at an accredited university. In order to get into these universities, students must earn an undergraduate degree in pre-veterinary studies or a related field.

Essential Information

The curricula of pre-veterinary programs include classroom lectures and laboratory experiences. Aspiring veterinarians are provided with a basic understanding of animal science, zoology and anatomy. Some schools have veterinary science programs that allow pre-veterinary students to enter directly into a D.V.M. program upon graduation, where they can continue their studies with clinical instruction. Vets can pursue licensure after earning the D.V.M.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Large Animal and Equine Medicine
  • Veterinary Anatomy
  • Veterinary Biomedical Sciences
  • Veterinary Clinical Sciences
  • Veterinary Infectious Diseases
  • Veterinary Medicine - DVM
  • Veterinary Microbiology and Immunobiology
  • Veterinary Pathology
  • Veterinary Physiology
  • Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Public Health
  • Veterinary Toxicology and Pharmacology

Bachelor of Science Degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine

A high school diploma and strong standardized test scores are an absolute requirement to gain admittance into most schools offering pre-veterinary undergraduate programs. Before declaring a major in pre-veterinary science, students also must earn at least a 2.5 GPA in college-level biology and chemistry courses. The courses included within a four-year undergraduate program in pre-veterinary medicine are designed to provide aspiring veterinarians with a theoretical background in biology that will prepare them for advanced courses at the D.V.M. level. Some examples of such courses include:

  • General Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Zoology
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Principles of Animal Science

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The purpose of a pre-veterinary degree program is to prepare students for doctoral programs and eventually gain licensure to practice veterinary science. There are no real career paths available to graduates of an undergraduate pre-veterinary degree program, although some graduates can work as veterinary technicians while putting themselves through school. Veterinarians held about 78,300 jobs in the United States in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( They also earned a median salary of about $88,490 per year in 2015.

Certification Options

All 50 U.S. states require veterinarians to gain licensure before they can practice in their chosen field. Each state has its own individual requirements for aspiring veterinarians, although all require individuals to complete an accredited D.V.M. program before seeking licensure. Many states also require aspiring veterinarians to complete the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, which consists of multiple choice questions and diagnostic skills testing.

Students who want to be a veterinarian one day must plan ahead starting at high school and should choose a pre-veterinary or related undergraduate program. Once students earn their undergraduate degree, they are eligible to apply to veterinarian programs and then go to veterinary school.

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