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Cornell University

Veterinary Medicine-Specific Resources

Prerequisites for Veterinary Medical Pathways

Cornell Courses that Satisfy Veterinary School Requirements


Biology

Offered fall, spring and summer

BIOMG 1350 Introductory Biology: Cell and Developmental Biology
AND BIOG 1440 or1445* Introductory Biology: Comparative Physiology
   *BIOG 1445 is an individualized instruction format course.
AND BIOG 1500 Investigative Biology Laboratory

English/Composition

The English/composition requirements of schools vary. Some schools require one semester while others require two semesters, some with a focus on English composition. Students are encouraged to check the requirements of specific veterinary schools. Most veterinary schools will accept First-Year Writing Seminars (FWS) in fulfillment of their writing requirement; however, writing-intensive courses from other disciplines may also be acceptable.

Some veterinary schools also require a course in oral communication.

  • COMM 210 Oral Communication (offered fall, spring, summer)

Biochemistry

Any of the following:

  • BIOMG 3310 Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism (offered fall)
    AND BIOMG 3320 Principles of Biochemistry: Molecular Biology (offered spring)

  • BIOMG 3300 Biochemistry, Individualized Instruction (offered fall, spring)
  • BIOMG 3350 Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins, Metabolism, and Molecular Biology (offered spring)
  • NS 3200 Introduction to Human Biochemistry (offered fall)
  • BIOMG 3330 Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins, Metabolism, and Molecular Biology (offered summer)

Advanced Life Sciences

Requirements of veterinary schools vary. The following are common upper-level courses that may be required by some schools. Students are encouraged to check the requirements of schools to which they plan to apply.

  • BIOMG 2800 Genetics Lecture (offered fall, spring, summer)

    • BIOMG 2801 Genetics Lab (offered fall, spring, summer)
  • BIOMI 2900 General Microbiology Lectures (offered fall, spring, summer)
    • BIOMI 2911 General Microbiology Laboratory (offered fall, spring)
  • NS 3410 Human Anatomy and Physiology (offered spring)
    • NS 3420 Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory (offered spring)
  • ANSC 2120 Animal Nutrition (offered fall)

General Chemistry

Visit the General Chemistry course options for more information. Some options include:

Option 1

CHEM 2070 General Chemistry I (offered fall, summer)
AND CHEM 2080 General Chemistry II (offered spring, summer)
Option 2
CHEM 2150 Honors General and Inorganic Chemistry (offered fall)
   •  An accelerated one-semester course leading directly to organic chemistry
   •  An AP score of 5 on Chemistry or instructor permission is required
   •  Some veterinary schools require a full-year of general chemistry
Option 3
For Engineering Students Only
 
CHEM 2090 Engineering General Chemistry (offered fall, spring)
AND CHEM 2080 General Chemistry II (offered spring, summer)
OR CHEM 2150 Honors General and Inorganic Chemistry (offered fall)

Organic Chemistry

Students should explore requirements of specific veterinary schools before choosing which option to pursue.

Option 1

CHEM 3570 Organic Chemistry for the Life Sciences (offered fall, summer)
AND CHEM 3580 Organic Chemistry for the Life Sciences (offered spring, summer)
AND CHEM 2510 Introduction to Experimental Organic Chemistry (offered fall, spring, summer)
Option 2

CHEM 3590 Honors Organic Chemistry I (offered spring)
AND CHEM 3600 Honors Organic Chemistry II (offered fall)
AND CHEM 2510 Introduction to Experimental Organic Chemistry (offered fall, spring, summer)
Option 3

CHEM 3530 Principles of Organic Chemistry (offered fall)
AND CHEM 2510 Introduction to Experimental Organic Chemistry (offered fall, spring, summer)
   •  A single-semester organic chemistry course
   •  Some veterinary schools require a full-year of organic chemistry

Math

Some veterinary schools require a semester of calculus and/or statistics. Students are encouraged to check the requirements of schools to which they plan to apply.

Calculus
   •  MATH 1106 Calculus for the Life and Social Sciences (offered spring)
   • 
MATH 1110 Calculus I (offered fall, spring, summer)
   •  MATH 1910 Calculus for Engineers (offered fall, spring, summer)
Statistics
   •  STSCI 2150 Introductory Statistics for Biology (offered fall, spring)
   • 
BTRY 3010 Biological Statistics I (offered fall)
   •  MATH 1710 Statistical Theory and Application in the Real World (offered fall, spring)
   •  AEM 2100 Introductory Statistics (offered fall)
   •  ILRST 2100 Introductory Statistics (offered fall, winter, spring, summer)
   •  PSYCH 2500 Statistics and Research Design (offered fall, summer)
   •  ECON 3130 Statistics and Probability (offered fall)
   •  SOC 2010 Evaluating Statistical Evidence (offered fall)
   •  ENGRD 2700 Basic Engineering Probability and Statistics (offered fall, spring, summer)
   •  CEE3040 Uncertainty Analysis in Engineering (offered fall)
   •  PAM 2100 Introduction to Statistics (offered spring)

General Physics

Option 1
Individualized instruction, not calculus-based

PHYS 1101 General Physics I (offered fall, summer)
AND PHYS 1102General Physics II (offered spring, summer)
Option 2
Calculus-based

PHYS 2207 Fundamentals of Physics I (offered fall)
AND PHYS 2208 Fundamentals of Physics II (offered spring)
Option 3

PHYS 1112 Physics I: Mechanics & Heat (offered fall, spring, summer)
AND PHYS 2208 Fundamentals of Physics II (offered spring)
Option 4

For Engineering Students
PHYS 1112 Physics I: Mechanics & Heat (offered fall, spring, summer)
AND PHYS 2213 Physics II: Electromagnetism (offered fall, spring, summer)
AND PHYS 2214 Physics III: Oscillations, Waves, and Quantum Physics (offered fall, spring, summer)

    *Crossovers between 1101/2208 and 2207/1102 are acceptable.

Pre-Vet FAQs

Which college should I enroll in?

A student in any undergraduate college at Cornell may enroll in the courses required for entry into veterinary college. Cornell undergraduate applicants to veterinary school are primarily enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with a few in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Human Ecology. The appropriate choice depends largely on your other academic and career interests. Students are encouraged to consult the University's publications for information about the seven colleges at Cornell, and to review their requirements, majors, and course descriptions.

What should I major in?

Veterinary schools do not require or recommend any particular undergraduate major or designated pre-veterinary program. Cornell does not have a pre-veterinary major, and there is no evidence that admissions committees of veterinary colleges give special consideration to any particular undergraduate education beyond satisfactory completion of the required undergraduate courses; for this reason, students are encouraged to pursue their own intellectual interest in an academic major. Of students admitted to the 2019 veterinary school classes, 6.6% had earned no degree (note, a Bachelor’s degree is not required), 87.7% had earned a BA/BS degree, 5.3% had earned a MA/MS degree, and 0.4% had earned a PhD. The majority of the admitted students with BA/BS degrees majored in animal/zoological sciences or basic science.

Cornell students might major in animal science, biological sciences, natural resources, or development sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; in biological sciences, English, or anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences; or in nutrition in the College of Human Ecology. In any case, students are able to complete the required courses while at the same time receiving a broad education and exploring other interests and careers. Students are more likely to succeed at and benefit from subjects that are interesting and stimulating, while also leaving open the option of pursuing an alternative career.

Can I take required courses Pass-Fail or S/U?

No. Do not take any requirement for veterinary school “pass/fail” or “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” (S/U).

Will Advanced Placement (AP) Biology credits fulfill prerequisites?

Check with an advisor before making a decision to use AP Biology credit (see the Office of Undergraduate Biology website). Generally speaking, students are advised not to use AP Biology credit because evidence has shown that students who use this credit may find themselves at a learning disadvantage in advanced courses.

Courses accepted by the College as satisfying graduation requirements may be used to replace introductory course requirements at veterinary schools. You should check with specific veterinary schools to determine if AP credits are acceptable. Some schools advise students to pursue advanced courses in the discipline in which AP credits were earned to reinforce the material.

Can I take prerequisites as summer school courses?

Required courses maybe taken during summer session here or at other universities whose educational standards and rigor are comparable to Cornell's. In general, it is preferable to take these courses at Cornell during the regular school year in order to demonstrate that you can perform well even while carrying a full course load. Your college advising office can explain the procedure for attending summer school elsewhere.

What kinds of animal care related experience do I need?

Veterinary medicine is an animal-oriented profession. Therefore, experiences working with different kinds of animals in different settings and a demonstrated understanding of the veterinary profession are important considerations in the selection process. Such experience may involve breeding, rearing, feeding, and showing various kinds of animals including companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals, zoo animals, or wildlife. Students should be prepared to present evidence of hands-on experience with animals and sufficient contact with the veterinary profession to demonstrate an understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a practitioner and the scope of veterinary medicine to the admissions committees. Some schools may require that a veterinarian write one of an applicant’s letters of recommendation. Successful applicants to CVMCU typically have 400 or more hours of veterinary experience.

How do I apply to veterinary schools?

The centralized online application service Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) handles applications for 30 U.S. veterinary institutions, along with five Canadian and 20 other international veterinary institutions around the world, including in Scotland, England, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, etc. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the VMCAS application through information provided by AAVMC (Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges) and through the VMCAS website. Applications to schools that do not participate in VMCAS and offshore veterinary schools are made to each school individually.

Which standardized examinations are required for application to veterinary schools?

Most veterinary schools accept the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Some accept the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). CVMCU no longer requires a standardized exam score. VMSAR contains standardized test scores and GPA minimums and averages for veterinary schools as well as information about preferred standardized tests.

What are the application statistics for veterinary schools?

In 2018, there were 7,507 applicants for the approximately 4,120 available seats to U.S. schools of veterinary medicine. The number of applicants increased from the 7,076 who applied in the 2017 cycle. The 7,507 applicants in the 2018 cycle submitted over 36,596 individual applications, an average of 4.9 schools per applicant.

The average VMCAS fee was $655 per applicant.The average GPA for accepted applicants was 3.6 in 2018. The average GRE percentile scores of accepted applicants in the 2018 cycle were 65.1 for the verbal section and 53.5 for the quantitative section.

Approximately 50-60 Cornell students apply to CVMCU each year. Over the last five years roughly 15-20 members of the CVMCU classes were from Cornell.

What is the current employment outlook for vets?

Surveys conducted in 2014 indicate that sixty-three percent of all veterinarians are in private practice; however, government, businesses, universities, and the military also employ veterinarians. In 2016, the median salary for practicing veterinarians was $88,490. The median debt for a 2015 veterinary school graduate was $156,480.Most veterinary medicine students need to borrow to cover expenses, including tuition and the cost of living. The AAVMC also encourages students to consider the costs of owning animals (dogs, cats, horses) during the years spent in veterinary school, as 75-80% of students bring pets. In order to secure loans, you should be sure to maintain a good credit rating throughout your college years.

What is the double registration program?

The double registration program between CVMCU and Cornell University undergraduates is approved for students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). It enables a qualified student to save one year in pursuit of the Bachelor and D.V.M. degrees. The program is intended for students who have been admitted to CVMCU after completing three years of undergraduate work and who have made sufficient progress on the Bachelor's Degree requirements. Certain courses taken in the College of Veterinary Medicine can be used to complete those requirements. Questions about the program may be directed to the CALS pre-health/pre-vet advisors in 140 Roberts Hall. Students are also encouraged to seek out information from CVMCU, including the Pre-Vet Newsletter (subscribe).

What is the 7-Year Combined BS/DVM Accelerated Program?

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVMCU) have established a formal 7-year BS/DVM program for those looking for an accelerated path to a veterinary degree. This program gives exceptionally well-qualified CALS students the opportunity to obtain provisional admission to CVMCU after completing their Freshman year. For details and criteria to apply visit the website

CALS Pre-Vet Canvas Course

Cornell CVMVU Programs

CVMCU Accelerated 7-Year Combined BS/DVM Program: The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) have established a formal 7-year BS/DVM program for those looking for an accelerated path to a veterinary degree. This program gives exceptionally well-qualified CALS students the opportunity to obtain provisional admission to CVMafter completing their Freshman year. Review details.

CVMCU Early Acceptance Program: The Early Acceptance Program gives exceptionally well qualified applicants the opportunity to obtain admission to veterinary school after completing their sophomore year. Entry into the professional curriculum is expected after completion of the junior year. Admission to the program is based on outstanding academic performance in the first two years of college and the applicant’s plan for the intended use of the third year in college. Completion of a baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation is not required. Review details.