Pre-Vet students are preparing to apply to graduate programs in Veterinary Medicine at the same time as completing an undergraduate degree. They are not only taking prerequisite coursework for their intended graduate programs, but are also pursuing experiences to develop themselves as strong applicants.
What type of education is required?A plan to prepare for a graduate health professional program.
Minimum coursework required for most programs
Because most veterinary medicine schools are obligated to accept residents of their geographical regions, residents of the state of Washington have the best chance of admission at Washington State University in Pullman.
Applicants must have completed at least 90 quarter credits of coursework by the June prior to entry. Of these credits, at least 50 must be in chemistry, physics, and biological sciences.
Although this coursework will meet the requirements for WSU, students should research the prerequisites of all the schools to which they hope to apply.
Things to be aware of
The amount of math needed depends upon your choice of major and selection of veterinary schools. We recommend MATH 124 or 144. The prerequisite for MATH 124, MATH 144, and Q SCI 381 is MATH 120.
Because of high demand for the course, some students are not able to enroll in BIOL 180 in their first eligible quarter. The BIOL 180 sequence can be started in any quarter. Students planning on a physical science or non-science major may prefer to take physics in Year 2 and biology in Year 3, when they'll have a higher registration priority.
WSU's veterinary school requires one semester of physics, and prefer that students on the quarter system complete two quarters. Some other veterinary schools require a full year of physics with labs.
Entering WSU Before Completing a Bachelor's Degree
If you will NOT have completed a bachelor's degree before entering veterinary school, you must complete WSU's general education courses before admission to WSU's veterinary school. WSU will grant you a bachelor's degree at the end of the first year of veterinary school. If you complete a bachelor's degree before entering veterinary school, you are not required to complete the courses below before applying to WSU's veterinary school.
- 9 credits of "communications proficiency" (speech, English composition), of which at least 5 credits must be English composition. Acceptable UW speech courses are COM 220, 320, 334, 335, 373. WSU also requires submission of a portfolio of college writing and a proctored writing sample.
- 5 credits mathematics from calculus (MATH 112 or 124 or equivalent) OR statistics (STAT 220 or 311 or Q SCI 381)
- 9 credits humanities
- 9 credits social sciences
- 5 credits intercultural studies (interdisciplinary study or a study of the art, music, or literature of an ethnic group, or a nation or geographical area outside of North America and Western Europe. Some examples are: AFRAM 201, AIS 201, ANTH 310, AAS 205, CHSTU 201, SISA 210, SISRE 220)
- 8 credits world civilizations (not required of students who start college before Autumn 1991; the closest UW courses are HIST 111, 112, 113)
- In addition, a portfolio of college writing must be submitted. Information is available from WSU.
Dual degree seekers
Some programs offer dual degree options to compliment the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, including DVM/PhD, DVM/MPH,and DVM/MBA.
Example four-year schedule (in advance of entering a professional program)
|Four years before||Chem 142|
|Recommended activities: • Do some independent research on health careers • Join a health related student group • Take VLPA, I&S classes and/or finish your foreign language requirement • Research and begin a volunteer opportunity|
|Three years before||Chem 223|
|Recommended activities: • Set-up some informational interviewing • Continue getting veterinary experience • Take classes that will prepare you for your major • Get to know at least one professor|
|Two years before||Phys 114/117|
|Recommended activities: • Prepare for and take the GRE • Plan for a "Gap Year" • Take a COM course • Begin writing your personal statement • Submit your application on VMCAS • Get to know at least two professors • Research veterinary schools (obtain a copy of Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements), or visit www.aavmc.org|
|One year before||GENOME 372 (offered winter only), BIOL 340, or BIOL 354 and Course work focused primarily on your major|
|Recommended activities: • Attend an information session on interviewing|
Veterinary schools do not select or give preference to any particular majors; therefore, you do not have to major in a science area. You should be thinking of alternate future careers in the event you change your mind, or are not accepted to veterinary school. Choose to major in something that you enjoy and where you do well. Although some veterinary schools don't require a bachelor's degree, it is highly recommended that you have plans to complete an undergraduate degree.
Actively participating in student groups can be an invaluable experience. The student groups not only offer services that prevet students find helpful, such as hosting visits to WSU, informational interviews and group volunteering events, but they also provide a community of students who have similar interests and goals. By taking on an active role, students can also develop their leadership skills.
UW Pre-Vet Society
The UW Pre-Vet Society has frequent meetings and plan a variety of events.
Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS)
MAPS, sponsored by the UW School of Medicine Office of Multicultural Affairs, is open to all and focuses on the specific healthcare issues of underrepresented and underserved segments of our population. For more information, contact Victoria Gardner.
To look for more organizations, visit the Registered Student Organization directory.
Websites to visit
These websites are helpful in learning about the veterinary field, the application process, and more:
- The American Veterinary Medical Association
- The Association of American Veterinary Colleges
Includes links to all U.S. and Canadian veterinary colleges
- The Veterinary Medical College Application Service
- Washington State University
- WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine
- Student Doctor Network
Veterinary school student forums and interview feedback
AAVMC Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements has information on applying to veterinary school and lists details about every veterinary medical school in the United States and Canada.
Applying to Veterinary school
You must present scores from the Graduate Record Exam. Information about the test can be obtained from the Office of Educational Assessment. The test must have been taken in the last five years and must be received by October 1st of the year applying to veterinary school.
Students can prepare for the GRE in a variety of ways, including taking a test preparatory course, or by purchasing study materials individually. Students can be successful using either strategy, so you will want to consider your personal needs as you decide on an approach. Do you study well individually? Or should you try to form a group? Will you benefit from additional tutoring sessions?
The guiding principles in the WSU admissions process are (1) the likelihood that an applicant will complete the academic program successfully, and (2) does the applicant possess the qualities of a good veterinarian?
An application form is available on the WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine website. Necessary evaluation forms can downloaded from the website and sent electronically as part of the application process. All transcripts, GRE scores, and evaluation forms should be mailed to:
Office of Student Services
College of Veterinary Medicine
Bustad Hall 110D
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-7012
Although Washington, Idaho, and WICHE students are encouraged to apply to WSU in this manner, they are welcome to apply through the Veterinary Medical Common Application Service (VMCAS) instead. A VMCAS application should be available through the AAVMC website in August. The required evaluation forms can be downloaded from the AAVMC website as well. Students applying to multiple schools typically use the common application service.
Letters of recommendation
A total of three recommendations, including at least one from a veterinarian with whom you have had contact, are required.
You should have accumulated many hours of veterinary medical and animal experience when you apply. Applicants are evaluated on this experience based on its quality and breadth. Ideally, you should present experience working with as many types of animals as possible, including companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals, and zoo animals or wildlife.
If a school is considering you for admission after reviewing your application, you will be invited to an interview. Interviews vary in length and method. The Student Doctor Network is a great resource to research a school’s interviewing process.
The best preparation for the interview is practice! The Center for Career Services offers a Mock Interview Program to help you prepare. In addition, you can attend a health interview workshop hosted by the Center for Career Services and Undergraduate Advising in the Autumn quarter.