veterinary by yaofenji


									                Pre-Veterinary Medicine Preparation at UHMānoa
                   Text compiled from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges website,
                           the AAVMC’s Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements,
                                 the NAAHP’s Medical Professions Admission Guide, and
                                              the UHM 2005-2006 Catalog.

Veterinarians work with animals to help not only animals but also people live longer, healthier
lives. They diagnose and treat sick and injured animals, prevent animal diseases, improve the
quality of the environment, ensure food safety, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to
humans, and advise animal owners, from livestock companies to individual pet owners.

Veterinary medicine continues to expand rapidly and now offers twenty specialties:
anesthesiology, animal behavior, clinical pharmacology, dentistry, dermatology, emergency and
critical care, internal medicine, laboratory animal medicine, microbiology, nutrition,
ophthalmology, pathology, poultry medicine, preventive medicine, private practice, radiology,
surgery, theriogenology (reproduction), toxicology, and zoological medicine.

Veterinarians work in a wide variety of areas, including private practice, zoos, private industry,
mobile services, research laboratories, government institutions, the military, wildlife
organizations, racetracks, and circuses. Veterinarians work in public health, inspection and
regulatory agencies, and in government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Food and Drug Administration.
Although most veterinarians are in clinical practice, some also choose to conduct research or
teach in higher education.

Related fields that do not require a veterinary degree include animal health technician, animal
research, animal science, animal training and breeding, animal welfare, environmental
management, hospital administration, marine biology, veterinary assistant, and wildlife

                                 D.V.M. and V.M.D. Programs

Becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctorate (VMD)
requires 8 to 11 years of education:

       Bachelors Degree (ca. 4 years)
       Veterinary Medicine School (ca. 4 years)
       Internship (ca. 1 year)
       Residencies (ca. 2-3 years)

The first two years of veterinary school are usually spent in classrooms and laboratories studying
the biological sciences, including anatomy, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, and
physiology. Years three and four are primarily clinical.

                                                                            UHM Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center – May 2009
Upon graduation from an accredited veterinary school, DVMs are eligible to take the national
board examination and state licensing. Some states require tests and/or interviews in addition to
the national board examination. All veterinarians must be licensed in order to practice!

In their senior year, veterinary students can apply through a matching program for an internship
in small-animal medicine, large-animal medicine, or surgery. Veterinarians can often command a
higher starting salary after completing an internship. The most prestigious internships are at
veterinary medical colleges or large private veterinary hospitals. Ranking for internship is based
upon academic performance and faculty recommendations.

Veterinarians who have completed an internship or who have two years of private practice
experience can apply for residency programs. Residencies are 2- to 3-year programs that provide
further specialization in 11 areas: internal medicine, surgery, cardiology, dermatology,
ophthalmology, exotic small animal medicine, pathology, neurology, radiology, anesthesiology,
and oncology. Some residencies combine research and graduate studies and confer a Master’s
degree. Upon successful completion of residencies, veterinarians are certified by the appropriate
veterinary medical specialty board.

Many schools offer joint degree programs, combining a DVM with degrees such as a Master of
Science (DVM/MS), a Doctor of Philosophy (DVM/PhD), and a Master of Business
Administration (DVM/MBA).

                               Prerequisites for Admission

Most importantly, remember that requirements vary from school to school! You must research to
create a list of all the prerequisites you will need to apply to the veterinary schools you are
interested in attending, and then figure out how those courses will fit into your undergraduate
degree, whether as general education core, as major, or as electives.

A complete list of veterinary schools and their prerequisites can be found both online at the
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges website,, or in the
AAVMC’s Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR); a copy is available in
PAC. The following UHM courses are required by most veterinary schools:

Biol 171/172Lab and 172/172Lab                    Introductory Biology I and II
Chem 161/162Lab and 162/162Lab                    General Chemistry I and II
Chem 272/272 Lab and 273/273Lab                   Organic Chemistry I and II
Phys 151/151Lab and 152/152Lab                    College Physics I and II
Biol or Mbbe or Peps 402                          Biochemistry
Math 215 and 216                                  Calculus I and II
Scos or Psy 225                                   Statistics
English 200+                                      Composition

Additional requirements may include agriculture, animal nutrition ((Ansc 244), animal genetics
(Ansc 445), business, computer science (ICS 101), environmental biochemistry (MBBE 412),

                                                            UHM Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center – May 2009
genetics (Biol 340), humanities, microbiology, social sciences, and upper division biology or
zoology courses such as embryology.

                            What makes a strong candidate?

Veterinary school tuition, as high as it is, covers only a fraction of the cost of educating a
veterinarian, which means that each new student represents a huge investment by the school.
Schools need to be certain that the students they accept will be capable of completing the
veterinary curriculum and are likely to become good veterinarians.

Are you capable of completing the veterinary curriculum?

Admissions committees are looking for students who have:
  • completed the prerequisites
  • a high overall GPA
  • a high science/math GPA
  • performed well on the GRE or MCAT
  • balanced their course load so it is challenging yet realistic

Are you likely to become a good veterinarian?

Admissions committees look for students who have:
  • significant experience in and knowledge of the profession
  • strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • good leadership skills
  • empathy, compassion, and a commitment to service
  • high ethical and moral standards and a conscientious work ethic
  • maturity (judgment, responsibility, dependability)
  • a broad liberal arts education that includes the humanities and social sciences
  • strong letters of recommendation

                                     Standardized Tests

Most veterinary schools require applicants take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), but a
significant number require the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

The GRE is available only in computer-based format. It can be scheduled for almost any day of
the year and appointments are scheduled first-come, first-served basis. You can register three
ways: via telephone, at 1-800-529-3590, using a credit card; via mail, by completing the
Authorization Voucher Request Form in the GRE Registration Bulletin and mailing it to the
designated address along with the registration fee payment; or via online at, using a
credit card.

                                                            UHM Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center – May 2009
The GRE requires approximately 3-4 hours and tests your verbal, quantitative (math), and
analytic writing skills. Some versions include an ungraded, experimental section. Scores for the
verbal and quantitative sections range from 200 to 800, with 800 being highest; scores for the
writing section range from 0 to 6, with 6 being highest. Your score report will be mailed to you,
usually within about two weeks of the test date, and will include not only your scores but also
your percentile ranking.

The MCAT is offered only in computer-based format. It must be scheduled several months in
advance and is offered ca. 20-25 times each year. The MCAT takes approximately 4 hours and
tests your knowledge and skills in Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning,
and Writing. The biological, physical, and verbal sections are scored on a scale from 1 to 15,
with 8 being average. Scores for the writing section range from J (lowest) to T (highest), with O
being average. Both individual and composite scores are reported; scores of 25 O and higher are
considered competitive.

Your most important preparations for both the GRE and the MCAT are your undergraduate
courses, not only the prerequisites for veterinary school, but all of your courses, many of which
sharpen your writing and verbal reasoning skills. Your Verbal Reasoning (MCAT) and Analytic
Writing (GRE) scores are the most difficult to improve and probably the most accurate predictor
of how well you will do in veterinary school.

                                  The Application Process

There are currently 28 accredited veterinary schools in the U.S.; students who are considering
applying should become familiar with their websites and differences. AAVMC’s Veterinary
Medical School Admission Requirements provides summaries for each school, making it easy for
students to compare; a copy is available in PAC.

There are three general steps in applying to veterinary schools: the initial, or primary application
through the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS); the secondary, or
supplemental application for individual schools; and the interview.

Most, but not all schools participate in VMCAS; to apply to those that do not, applicants must
request applications directly from the individual schools.

Primary applications can be submitted to VMCAS at Applications are available
upon request, but electronic submissions are recommended. Once your application is complete,
VMCAS will forward it to whichever schools you specify. It is your responsibility to verify that
your application is complete!

VMCAS applications (and most other applications, as well) request:
  • an application form, including
        o biographical information,
        o experience (veterinary, non-veterinary animal related, and health related),
        o official transcripts from all institutions attended;

                                                              UHM Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center – May 2009
   •   an academic record, including grade point averages (cumulative, science/math, final two
       years, etc.);
   •   a summary of your personal history (work, travel, etc.);
   •   GRE or MCAT scores; and
   •   a personal statement or narrative essay.

After reviewing the VMCAS applications they have received, veterinary schools send their own
applications (the secondary or supplemental application) directly to students who meet their
basic criteria. Secondary applications frequently request additional information, essays, and
letters of recommendation.

After reviewing the secondary applications, veterinary schools invite promising applicants to
come for an interview. Applicants are responsible for all costs incurred while interviewing,
including airfare, lodging, and meals.

   • The more you know about the school, the better your chances of being accepted.
   • Contact individual schools' Admissions Offices to find out how they handle:
        o advanced placement (AP) credits
        o College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits
        o courses taken at a community college
        o courses taken for credit/no credit instead of a grade
        o residency issues
        o time limits on acceptable science courses
        o coursework taken outside the U.S.

                                  Additional Information

UHMānoa’s Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center (PAC) has reference books, lists of
volunteer opportunities, academic planning worksheets, and one-on-one advising by peers who
can help you prepare for and apply to veterinary medical schools.

UHM's Pre-Veterinary Club                                  

UHM’S Biology Club                                         

Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR)             available in PAC

Medical Profession Admission Guide: Strategy for Success by          available in PAC

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)             

                                                           UHM Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center – May 2009
Student AVMA                                             

Association of American Veterinary Medical College (AAVMC)

Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS)   

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)                        

Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)                   

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)

                                                         UHM Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center – May 2009

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