Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Veterinarians care for the health of animals. They diagnose, treat or research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and animals in zoos, racetracks and laboratories.

Admission Requirements for Veterinary School

From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete universal application to apply to these professional schools. Veterinarian schools will review your application as a whole; you can work with your advisors to provide a competitive application.

Education and Training

Prospective veterinarians must graduate with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree from a 4-year program at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are 28 colleges that meet accreditation standards set by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in the United States and 19 colleges outside of the U.S.

College Major

You are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a Veterinarian program. In selecting a college major, consider how you will satisfactorily complete the prerequisite courses for your designated program in addition to the college/university's degree and major requirements.  Work with your academic and/or pre-veterinarian advisor to plan your course schedule.

You have the option to choose from a variety of undergraduate majors to prepare you for a veterinarian program. Suggested undergraduate majors include Biology and Chemistry.


Most programs look for a minimum undergraduate cumulative 2.8 GPA but the average GPA for matriculates is a 3.6 cumulative and a 3.5 in the sciences. Keep in mind these numbers are averages and various schools can have their own averages that are higher or lower. Also, these averages are climbing higher each year and admission to veterinary medical schools is more competitive than ever. Be sure you take your studies seriously and put in the proper time for reading, studying, and review for each course.

Entrance Exams

You must submit test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), depending on the preference of the college to which you are applying. Currently, 38 schools require the GRE and 5 accept the MCAT.

GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

This is a computerized exam offered year-round. Examinees may take the test once every 21 days, but no more than 5 times within a 12-month period.

In order to register for the GRE you will need to complete the following:

Click here for more information on the GRE.

Quick Look at the GRE

Verbal Reasoning (60 minutes)

  • 40 questions
  • Score range: 130-170
  • Content: reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, vocabulary
  • CMU courses with relevant content: ENG 101, ENG 201

Quantitative Reasoning (70 minutes)

  • 40 questions
  • Score range: 130-170
  • Content: basic math, algebra, geometry, data analysis
  • CMU courses with relevant content: MTH 105 or higher

Analytical Writing (60 minutes)

  • 2 essays (30 minutes/essay)
  • Score range: 0-6
  • Content: grammar, writing ability, analytical reasoning, communicate complex ideas, assemble evidence
  • CMU courses with relevant content: ENG 101, ENG 201

When do students take the GRE?

Usually in the spring or early summer after your junior year; however, the exam is offered year-round.

Where is the GRE administered?

On CMU's campus and in many locations throughout Michigan and the United States

What is the cost of the GRE?

$195, which covers the cost of sending scores to 4 graduate programs; additional fee for score reports beyond the 4.

How should you prepare for the GRE?

  • Begin at least 3 months before your test date
  • Questions emphasize problem-solving abilities, not rote memorization
  • Essential to obtain practice tests

MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)

In order to register for the MCAT you will need to complete the following:

  • Create an AAMC user account by clicking here
  • Register for MCAT by clicking here
  • Take the test

For more information on the MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test

Quick Look at the MCAT

Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Science (95 minutes)

  • 59 questions
  • Score range: 118-1132
  • Content: general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics
  • CMU courses with relevant content: CHM 131 & 132, CHM 345 & 346, CHM 425, PHY 130 & 131
Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills (90 minutes)
  • 53 questions
  • Score range: 118-132
  • Content: passage from the social sciences and humanities disciplines might present interpretations, implications, or applications of historical accounts, theories, observations, or trends of human society as a whole, specific population groups, or specific countries.

Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (95 minutes)

  • 59 questions
  • Score range: 118-132
  • Content: biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry
  • CMU courses with relevant content: BIO 110, BIO 208, BIO 324, BIO 326, BIO 392, CHM 345 & 346, CHM 425

Psychological, Social & Biological​ Foundations of Behavior (95 minutes)

  • 59 questions
  • Score range: 118-132
  • Content: psychology, sociology, biology
  • CMU courses with relevant content: PSY 100, SOC 100, BIO 110

Where is the MCAT administered?

On CMU's campus and in several locations throughout Michigan

What is the cost of the MCAT?


How should you prepare for the MCAT?

  • Begin at least 3 months before your test date
  • Questions emphasize problem-solving abilities, not rote memorization
  • Essential to obtain practice tests

Experience in Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine is an animal health and production-oriented profession. Most admission committees consider animal experience to be an important preparation for the curriculum. Animal experience includes such things as breeding, rearing, feeding, and showing various species of companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals, zoo animals, or wildlife.

A basic knowledge of the veterinary profession is best gained by closely observing the role of the various members of the health care team in a traditional practice setting. It is expected by most veterinary schools that candidates will exhibit a confirmed interest and motivation in a veterinary career by participating in career-related activities such as job shadowing, community service and other volunteer opportunities. Having strong career experiences and life accomplishments will allow you to validate your professionalism and maturity, which are strongly considered in the application process.

Other qualifications. Some veterinary medical colleges place heavy consideration on your veterinary and animal experience. Formal experience, such as work with veterinarians or scientists in clinics, is particularly advantageous. You must demonstrate ambition and an eagerness to work with animals.

To be a veterinarian, you should love animals and have the ability to get along with their owners. You need good manual dexterity and should also possess excellent communication and business skills.

Michigan Veterinary School

Apply to Veterinary Schools

Most veterinary schools use the VMCAS (Veterinary Medical Colleges' Application Service) site as a centralized application site.

Course Requirements

The choice of an undergraduate major while preparing for veterinary school is not especially critical for successful admission, but the selection of certain coursework and the right combination of sciences, social and behavioral sciences and electives is important.

Certain basic requirements must be fulfilled before you can be accepted to a veterinary school. This is a GUIDE only.  Students must consult with their advisors AND the appropriate veterinarian schools on a regular basis for revisions to course requirements and to identify and ensure completion of all required courses.

  • 1 year general Chemistry with labs
  • 1 year Organic Chemistry with labs
  • 1 year Physics with labs
  • 1 year Biology with labs
  • 1 year English
  • 1 semester Biochemistry
  • 1 semester Genetics
  • 1 semester Mathematics
  • 1 semester Statistics

Below are the CMU courses we recommend to meet these requirements:

Subjects Course Numbers Credits
General ChemistryCHM 131 & CHM 1328 credits
Organic ChemistryCHM 345, CHM 346 & CHM 3498 credits
PhysicsPHY 130, PHY 131, PHY 170 & PHY 17110 credits
BiologyBIO 110 & BIO 208 & BIO 21810 credits
BiochemistryCHM 425 or CHM 521 & CHM 5223-6 credits
EnglishENG 101 & ENG 2013 credits
GeneticsBIO 3264 credits
StatisticsBIO 500 or STA 282 or higher4 credits
MathMTH 106 & MTH 107 or MTH 130 or MTH 132* Varies depending on school4-6 credits

Some veterinary schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the admission requirements of the veterinary schools you plan on applying in advance.

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy regarding AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the discipline including labs.

Additional Courses

To further strengthen you application and your ability to succeed in veterinary school, here are some additional CMU courses you could take:

Subjects Course Numbers
Comparative Vertebrate AnatomyBIO 337
Cell BiologyBIO 324
​Physiology​BIO 392
​​Animal Nutrition


Pre-Veterinary Club

The Pre-Veterinary Club prepares students for a future in veterinary medicine and provides opportunities to learn more about the profession by touring veterinarian programs, bringing in guest speakers and offering volunteer opportunities.

The club meets bi-weekly on Sundays at 7:00 PM.

Job Outlook

Veterinarians held about 70,300 jobs in 2012.

Excellent job opportunities are expected because there are only 28 accredited schools of veterinary medicine in the U.S., resulting in only 2,500 graduates each year.

Employment of veterinarians is expected to increase 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be particularly good in government and in farm animal care.


Median annual wages of veterinarians were $82,460 in May 2012. 


Online Resources

For information on a career as a veterinarian and a list of U.S. schools and colleges of veterinary medicine:

For information on veterinary education:

For general veterinary information:


Pre-Health Professions Academic Advisor

Lisa E. Snider
Emmons Hall 136B
(989) 774-2711

Biology Faculty Advisors

Elizabeth Alm (Last Names A-L)
Brooks Hall 157
(989) 774-2503
Greg Colores (Last Names M-Z)
Brooks Hall 217
(989) 774-3412