Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Prerequisites can vary on a school by school basis. Please check the prerequisites for schools to which you hope to apply

A summary of course prerequisites can be found at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Member InstitutionsAAVMC College Descriptor Pages can also be found online.

The following courses are required by many veterinary schools in the United States as the minimum background needed for acceptance.

PrerequisitesMason Courses
Biology, 2 semesters with a labBIOL 213 Cell Biology
BIOL 311 Genetics
General Chemistry, 2 semestersCHEM 211 + 213
CHEM 212 + 214
Biochemistry, 1 semesterBIOL 483/CHEM 463
Organic Chemistry, 2 semesters with a labCHEM 313/315
CHEM 314/318
College Physics, 2 semestersPHYS 243/244
PHYS 245/246
Mathematics, 2 semesters - varies by schoolMATH 113
STAT 250/BIOL 214
EnglishENGH 101
ENGH 302
Humanities/Social Sciences, 2 semestersVaries by school

Additionally, some schools may be looking for one, or more, of the following: Microbiology, Physiology, Comparative Anatomy, Nutrition and Speech Communication.  See the AAVMC Summary of Course Prerequisites for further information.

Admission to veterinary schools is highly competitive.  According to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, a competitive grade point average is 3.5.  A competitive GRE general aptitude score, a wide variety of experience with both large and small animals, experience working for a veterinarian for 400-600 hours, experience working in a research laboratory or in commercial or industrial settings related to veterinary medicine are also expected.


The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges has identified a variety of veterinary settings that include private practice, corporate veterinary medicine, the federal government, the U.S. Army Corps and U.S. Air Force, research, teaching, public health, food supply medicine, global veterinary medicine, public policy and shelter medicine.

Veterinarian Education

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine.  There are currently 28 colleges with accredited programs.  A veterinary medicine program generally takes 4 years to complete and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components…All states and the District of Columbia require veterinarians to have a license.  Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require prospective veterinarians to complete an accredited veterinary program and to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam.”

The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS)

VMCAS is a centralized service which allows applicants to use a single application process to apply to veterinary programs.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to find out which schools participate and send individual applications to those that do not participate.

Standardized Tests

Most veterinary schools require students to take at least one standardized test.  The majority of schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  Students need to understand which the schools require which tests and how the scores are reported.

Letters of Recommendation

Veterinary schools vary with regard to the letters of recommendation required of applicants.  According to VMCAS, letters of recommendation are accepted electronically (eLOR).  No paper letters are accepted.

Employee Outlook and Earnings

The current Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Veterinarians can be found online.

Pre-Veterinarian Advising

The information contained in this information sheet should be discussed with the Health Professions Advisor.

Students must still be advised in their department regarding their major.