Preparing for a Career in Veterinary Medicine

Once you have decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, you should:

  1. Read the Pre-Healthcare FAQ that provides general advice for students considering healthcare careers.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the information on this page.
  3. Visit websites such as:
  4. Try to attend the meetings of and consider joining the Miami Pre-Vet Club. This student-run organization is there to help you attain your goal of becoming a vet.

For any questions about pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, please feel free to contact the pre-vet advisors. Students interested in veterinary medicine should make an appointment during their first year at Miami with one of these advisors:

Dr. Susan M.G. Hoffman
Department of Biology
246 Pearson Hall
hoffmasm@MiamiOH.edu

Dr. Paul Schaeffer
Department of Biology
288 Pearson Hall
schaefpj@MiamiOH.edu

Dr. Nancy Solomon
Department of Biology
170 Pearson Hall
solomong@MiamiOH.edu

Pre-Veterinary Coursework

Below are the Miami equivalents of the courses required by Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Other vet schools have similar but not identical requirements; consult their specific websites.

Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Requirements -
Miami Equivalents
Subject Courses
General Chemistry
(1 year with lab)
CHM 141, 144 and CHM 142, 145
Organic Chemistry
(1 year with lab)
CHM 241, 244 and CHM 242, 245
  or
CHM 251, 254 and CHM 252, 255
Biochemistry
(1 semester)
CHM 332, 332L (lab)
  or
CHM 432 (preferred; no lab)
Physics
(1 year with lab)
PHY 161, 162
  or
PHY 191, 192
General Biology
(1 year with lab)
BIO/MBI 115, 116
Physiology
(1 semester)
BIO 305
Math (precalculus or calculus)
(1 semester)
MTH 104 or MTH 123 or MTH 125 (precalculus)
  or
MTH 151 (calculus)
Microbiology (General)
(1 semester with lab)
MBI 161 or MBI 201 or MBI 121, 123
English Composition
(1 semester)
ENG 111
Public Speaking
(1 semester)
STC 135
Humanities/Social Sciences
(16 semester hours)
Includes history, economics, anthropology, psychology, art, sociology, music, literature, languages, writing, and ethics
Science Electives
(35 semester hours)
Includes biology, chemistry, general or organic chemistry, anatomy, animal sciences, immunology, cell biology, molecular genetics, ecology, environmental science or other science courses

 

Additional Requirements

Chemistry 141/142 and BIO/MBI 115/116 are prerequisites for other courses on this list, so it is strongly recommended that you take them during your first year in college. Do not use AP credit for these courses—take them at the college level!

All required courses must be completed with a grade of C or better—if you receive a C- or lower you must retake the course to have it count for vet school admissions. Some vet schools, including OSUVMC, require that you complete all the specifically required courses (except one) by the end of the first semester of the year in which you intend to apply. For Miami students, the one remaining specifically required course ordinarily would be biochemistry or second-semester physics.

Vet schools look favorably on students taking rigorous courses, full course loads each term, and pertinent science and communication courses as electives. These include courses in:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • histology
  • development
  • cell biology
  • immunology
  • statistics
  • sociology
  • behavior
  • computer science

Two highly recommended electives are:

  • Genetics (BIO 342)
  • Statistics (STA 261)
Suggested Coursework Timetable
Year Courses
First BIO/MBI 115, BIO/MBI 116
  and
CHM 141, 144; 142, 145
Second CHM 241, 244, CHM 242, 245
  and
MTH (precalculus or calculus)
Third MBI 121 or MBI 161 or MBI 201
  and
BIO 342
  and
CHM 432
Fourth PHY 161, PHY 162

Applying to Veterinary School

Pre-vet students usually apply for admission to the school in their state of residence, if one is available. The acceptance rate for in-state applicants is generally far higher than the rate for out-of-state applicants. The Miami pre-vet advisors can help students from states without vet schools to decide where best to apply. Information about admission requirements, acceptance statistics, and other pertinent information for every vet school in North America is available through the AAVMC website.

Each student is responsible for meeting admission requirements; students should check websites and/or write directly to vet schools of their choice for specific information on admissions.

Other factors considered by schools of veterinary medicine in selecting students for their programs are:

  • evidence of motivation over an extended period of time
  • veterinary work experience with a number of different species (volunteer or paid)
    The average number of hours of veterinary experience for students accepted at Ohio State University is about 1800, but quality of experience counts more than quantity. Other animal-oriented experience, e.g., in agriculture, a shelter, a zoo, is important but less vital.
  • demonstrated ability to communicate fluently, both verbally and in writing, with a variety of people
    Veterinary medicine requires an ability to work with people as well as animals.
  • realistic understanding of:
    • the daily routine for a veterinarian
    • typical salaries
    • prospects for group practice versus individual practice
    • awareness of veterinary occupations other than the standard small and large animal practices, etc.
  • strong letters of recommendation
    At least one must be from a veterinarian.
  • indications of work ethic, e.g., summer experiences, strong course load, etc.
  • indications of academic ability, i.e., transcripts and letters of recommendation
    Ohio State University requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 to obtain an interview without petitioning; the mean GPA for accepted students is about a 3.6.
  • scores on graduate exam (GRE or MCAT)
    For Ohio State University, the minimum test scores required are: GRE - 1000; MCAT - 24.
  • nonacademic activities such as community service, working to pay for college, work with campus organizations, leadership experience, etc.
  • performance at personal interview