Veterinary Medicine

Whether they're pets, livestock or working animals, animals matter to individuals and society. Every community needs veterinary professionals to provide animal health care, but veterinarians provide many other services. They make sure the nation's food supply is safe. They work to control the spread of diseases. They conduct research that helps both animals and humans. Veterinarians are at the forefront of protecting the public's health and welfare. (Learn more from the Association of American Veterinary Colleges, AAVMC)

Academic Preparation

Although many preveterinary students major in EEB, there is no required or recommended major. Preveterinary students pursue their major alongside veterinary school prerequisites: 

Often include:

  • General Chemistry with lab (2 semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (2 semesters)
  • Physics with lab (2 semesters)
  • Introductory Biology with lab (2 semesters)
  • Biochemistry (1 semester)
  • Math: 1 semester calculus, 1 semester statistics
  • English (2 semesters)
  • Advanced Biology (e.g., Genetics, Microbiology)

Sometimes include:

  • Public Speaking
  • Social science and humanities electives
  • Required hours of work with animals

Check individual schools as requirements vary widely. For more specific information, see: AAVMC Summary of Course Prerequisites Chart (pdf)

Cocurricular Preparation

Many schools require significant hours of work with animals (for example, Cornell recommends 400 hours with some breadth of experience; UPenn recommends at least 500-600 hours of experience working directly with veterinarians; both require a letter of evaluation from a veterinarian).

Application logistics

  • Apply in the late summer/fall, about 14 months before intended entry.
  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required by some programs. The GRE comprises three sections: Reading Comprehension; Quantitative Reasoning; and Analytical Writing.
  • Most programs participate in the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). VMCAS opens in May with fall deadlines.
  • Program requirements vary, but expect to have at least three letters of recommendation. HPA can store copies of letters of recommendation, but recommenders will ultimately send references through the VMCAS eLOR system. Veterinary programs do not require a committee letter of recommendation.

DVM Matriculant Profiles

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Princeton University does not have a veterinary program. We share this information for Princeton students and alumni who may be interested in becoming veterinarians.