Pre-Veterinary Degree Programs

Becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine requires a deep understanding of science. But how do you prepare?

Some schools offer pre-veterinary school programs that focus on prerequisite classes in biology, chemistry, and physiology, but do not culminate in a degree. That can leave students in a lurch if they decide to switch careers or take alternate, specialized paths in working with animals. On the other hand, pre-vet degree programs offer a comprehensive breadth of classes that prepare graduates for every eventuality.

Veterinary schools do not require specific majors, such as biology or chemistry—they simply require prerequisite courses. As such, the requirements can be added to almost any major. The most common majors for pre-vet degree programs are animal science, biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. Many schools also offer specializations, concentrations, and emphases in pre-veterinary science, on top of the awarded degree.

Do note that some fields, like zoology, don’t necessarily include all the prerequisites necessary for veterinary school, despite being heavily animal-focused. Also be aware that for students with veterinary ambitions, undergraduate biology degrees should be bachelor of science (BS) rather than bachelor of arts (BA) programs.

To learn more about the details of pre-vet degree programs, read on.

Ask an Expert: Steve Zinn, PhD

Steve Zin

Dr. Steve Zinn is a professor at the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. He is known for his significant contributions to livestock development and animal production efficiency. His research focuses on tissue-specific growth factor expression in livestock, shedding light on the physiological mechanisms involved in animal production efficiency. Additionally, he explores the impact of maternal nutrition on sheep offspring development and the multi-generational effects of poor maternal nutrition on feed efficiency.

Dr. Zinn’s educational background includes a BS in animal science from Cornell University and MS and PhD degrees in animal science from Michigan State University. His commitment to excellence has been acknowledged through accolades such as the 2023 University Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty Advisor Award and the 2023 AAUP Service Award.

Medical Technology Schools: What is something you wish the public understood about pre-veterinary programs?

Dr. Zinn: The biggest thing that people need to understand is that a pre-vet program is preparation for going to vet school. Vet school is an additional four years after you receive your undergraduate degree. Students aren’t confused about this, but their parents and the general public often are.

The most important part of a pre-vet program is the faculty advisors dedicated to advising students so that they can navigate both the undergraduate program at their institution and focus on veterinary school admission requirements for the schools they want to attend or may have success getting into.

Medical Technology Schools: What advice would you give to aspiring pre-veterinary students?

Dr. Zinn: Take as many science classes as you can and get as much experience as you can. Realize that it’s going to be a difficult road because you’re taking many more science classes than the general school population.

Also, try and get some experience with a veterinarian so you get a good understanding of what the profession truly is. To the best of your ability, try to get more than a single experience, such as large animal, small animal, and even research. Get varied experience so that you understand the breadth of what it means to go to vet school. Also, while students should strive to gain as much work experience as possible, they need to understand that it will most likely be voluntary and unpaid.

Admissions Requirements for Pre-Vet Degree Programs

Admissions requirements for pre-vet degree programs will vary from school to school, and from program to program. However, some common requirements include:

  • Strong high school GPA (3.0 or greater)
  • SAT and/or ACT scores
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Applicants who wish to distinguish themselves and prepare for undergraduate success in pre-vet degree programs should also consider extracurricular activities in the sciences.

Accreditation for Pre-Vet Degree Programs

Accreditation ensures that a university, school, or program meets quality standards. It also means that students and employers can trust the accredited institution. Pre-vet degree programs aren’t accredited by a particular professional accreditation society, but they should be regionally accredited.

Regional accreditation bodies include:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

List of Pre-Vet (Veterinarian) Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
University of Arizona Tucson Arizona 89
The Pennsylvania State University University Park Pennsylvania 82
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst Massachusetts 77
University of Delaware Newark Delaware 74
The University of Findlay Findlay Ohio 42
University of Nevada-Reno Reno Nevada 36
Kansas State University Manhattan Kansas 24
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln Nebraska 21
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Miami Oklahoma 13
Snow College Ephraim Utah 8
Otterbein University Westerville Ohio 7
South Plains College Levelland Texas 5
Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan 4
Northeast Community College Norfolk Nebraska 4
Alpena Community College Alpena Michigan 4
Northwest Missouri State University Maryville Missouri 4
Butler Community College El Dorado Kansas 3
Eastern Oklahoma State College Wilburton Oklahoma 3
Lubbock Christian University Lubbock Texas 2
Dodge City Community College Dodge City Kansas 2
University of Maryland-College Park College Park Maryland 2
Andrews University Berrien Springs Michigan 1
University of Holy Cross New Orleans Louisiana 1
Grand View University Des Moines Iowa 1
Huntington University Huntington Indiana 1
Lees-McRae College Banner Elk North Carolina 1
Metropolitan Community College Area Omaha Nebraska 1
MCPHS University Boston Massachusetts 1
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Online Pre-Vet Degree Programs

Arizona State University

Arizona State University (BS Applied Biological Sciences – Preveterinary Medicine)

ASU offers an online BS in applied biological sciences with an emphasis in preveterinary medicine. Students in the program will explore the anatomy and behavior of animals, and develop a firm understanding of biology and chemistry; graduates will be well-equipped for veterinary school and animal-focused careers.

Courses include animal physiology; animal nutrition; ecology and adaptations of vertebrates; veterinary medicine; and advanced principles of biochemistry. While most of the coursework and labs may be completed online, two organic chemistry lab courses must be completed at ASU’s Tempe campus; both in-person labs are compressed into a one-week format over the summer. The program consists of 120 credits in total.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Program Length: Four years

Unity Environmental University (BS Animal Science)

Unity Environmental University an online BS in animal science that prepares students to apply animal biology, chemistry, nutrition, and physiology to the study of animal breeding, growth, behavior, genetics, and management. Graduates will be prepared for several animal-focused careers and well-equipped for veterinary school.

Courses include animal nutrition; animal comparative anatomy; animal comparative physiology; animal behavior; and environmental justice. Students may choose to add a concentration in animal health and behavior. The program consists of 120 credits, of which 90 may be transferred.

  • Location: New Gloucester, ME
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Program Length: Four years

Kansas State University (BS Animal Sciences and Industry – Pre-Veterinary Science)

KSU offers an online BS in animal sciences and industry that can be specialized in pre-veterinary science. Graduates will be prepared for admission to veterinary school.

The core curriculum includes the principles of animal science; general calculus; organic chemistry; and the fundamentals of nutrition. Elective courses cover topics such as anatomy and physiology; animal breeding principles; equine reproductive management; and behavior of domestic animals. The program consists of 120 credits.

  • Location: Manhattan, KS
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Program Length: Four years

On-Campus Pre-Vet Degree Programs

University of Connecticut (BS Animal Science – Pre-Veterinary Medicine)

UConn offers an on-campus BS in animal science as part of its pre-vet program. Students will work with animals and learn how animals function through a study of genetics, anatomy, nutrition, medicine, and behavior.

Courses recommended for pre-vet students include calculus; general physics; growth biology and metabolism in domestic animals; animal embryology and biotechnology; comparative exercise physiology; and endocrinology of farm animals. Graduates will be well-prepared for admission to veterinary school. The program consists of a minimum of 120 credits.

  • Location: Storrs, CT
  • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Program Length: Four years

University of New Orleans (BS Biology)

The BS in biology program at the University of New Orleans can be customized toward pre-veterinary medicine. Students will also have the opportunity to join the Pre-Veterinary Society, which holds two to three meetings per semester and features guest speakers, offering insights into the vet school admissions process.

Core and elective coursework include advanced microbiology; evolutionary mechanisms; vertebrate physiology; comparative physiology; animal behavior; and marine biology. The program consists of 120 credits.

  • Location: New Orleans, LA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Program Length: Four years

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (BS Animal Sciences – Pre-Veterinary Science)

The BS in animal sciences program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a concentration in pre-veterinary science. The concentration emphasizes fundamental science courses and equips graduates for professional study as veterinarians.

Courses include animal stress physiology; applied bioinformatics; techniques in animal nutrition; muscle biology; and applied animal genetics. The program consists of 126 credits in total.

  • Location: Urbana, IL
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Program Length: Four years

University of Massachusetts Amherst (BS Pre-Veterinary Science)

UMass Amherst offers an on-campus BS in pre-veterinary science. While all freshmen enter under the animal science major, they may qualify to transition into pre-veterinary science by taking relevant courses.

Classes in the pre-veterinary science category include an introduction to animal science; animal welfare; animal physiology and anatomy; basic animal nutrition; and cellular and molecular biology. The program consists of approximately 128 credits.

  • Location: Amherst, MA
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Program Length: Four years

Albion College (BS Biology – Pre-Veterinary Medicine)

Albion College offers a pre-veterinary medicine program through its Wilson Medical Institute. After selecting a major such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry, students will follow a detailed curriculum geared towards the advanced study of veterinary medicine.

The pre-vet program includes tailored coursework, service, clinical experience, and research; students will also have the opportunity to participate in hands-on experiences at the Held Equestrian Center, the only on-campus equestrian center at a private college in Michigan.

  • Location: Albion, MI
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Program Length: Four years
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Matt Zbrog Writer

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California. Since 2018, he’s written extensively about emerging topics in medical technology, particularly the modernization of the medical laboratory and the network effects of both health data management and health IT. In consultation with professors, practitioners, and professional associations, his writing and research are focused on learning from those who know the subject best. For, he’s interviewed leaders and subject matter experts at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).