Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on the health and well-being of animals. It involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases, injuries, and other medical conditions that affect various animal species.

So, You Want to Be a Veterinarian?

Academic Preparation

There are 49 accredited colleges of Veterinary Medicine throughout the world (32 in the United States). Course prerequisites can vary depending on the program but common required coursework is: 

General Biology I Lecture/Lab BIOL 105 & 105L 4
General Biology II Lecture/Lab BIOL 106 & 106L 4
General Chemistry I Lecture/Lab CHEM 111/112 3/1
General Chemistry II Lecture/Lab CHEM 113/114 3/1
Organic Chemistry I Lecture/Lab CHEM 230/232 3/1
Organic Chemistry II Lecture/Lab CHEM 231/234 4/1
Intro to Physics I Lecture/Lab PHYS 100/100L 4
Intro to Physics II Lecture/Lab PHYS 101/101L 4
Fundamentals of Biochemistry or Biochemistry I CHEM 356/CHEM 350 4
Genetics with Lab BIOL 310 & BIO 311 3/1
Animal Physiology and Lab BIOL 350 & 351 3/1
1 Statistics Course  Any department 3-4

There may be additional or different requirements depending on the program. It is important to look at the schools you are interested in for their specific requirements. Here are links to requirements for DVM programs highly desired by USF applicants:  

The Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements (VMSAR) online database provides a thorough profile of each school, including specific coursework required.

There is also a Prerequisite Spreadsheet compiled by AAVMC.



Veterinary Schools will want to see direct experience and exposure related to the field. There are numerous ways to do this, including:

  • Gain animal experience by job shadowing, working on a farm or volunteering at an animal shelter
  • Gain veterinary clinical experience under the direct supervision of a veterinarian
  • Seek opportunities for research experience (animal and veterinary research as well as other field and/or laboratory-based research).

Many USF students have had good success contacting local veterinary offices, clinics and rescue organizations to inquire about volunteer and job opportunities.

The Pre-Vet Society at San Francisco State has compiled a comprehensive list of resources.

There are also pre-vet programs specifically for students underrepresented or from disadvantaged backgrounds, including the UC Davis Summer Enrichment Program 

Application Components

What to Know Before You Apply

Applicants applying to veterinary medical school will use VMCAS, a centralized application service. The cycle opens each January, though the first day to "add schools" is in May.

The application closes in September, for entrance the following fall.

Most vet programs require at least 3 letters of recommendation, with at least 1 being from a Veterinarian you have worked with. 

Many vet programs have moved away from standardized tests but some do require the GRE. You can review a list of programs and their requirements here.

UC Davis provides a thorough timeline of their admissions process.

How to Get into Vet School and Become a Vet