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Required Courses

Courses required for admission vary significantly from one institution to another. The following courses are mentioned frequently as being required and/or recommended by a majority of vet med programs:

  • 1 year biology with lab
  • 1 year general/inorganic chemistry with lab
  • 1 year organic chemistry with lab
  • 1 year physics with lab
  • 1 year English (including public speaking and composition)
  • 1-2 courses in mathematics or statistics
  • 1 course in biochemistry

Some vet schools may also require courses in genetics, microbiology, animal nutrition and humanities/social sciences. Some of these courses may not be available at Northwestern University and may have to be taken elsewhere. 

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) produces a course prerequisites chart for the vet schools that use VMCAS (the centralized application service).  The AAVMC also creates college descriptor pages for their member vet med schools.

The Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements guide (VMSAR) contains admission requirements and contact information for all 32 U.S. and Canadian veterinary medical colleges, as well as the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh. A new edition usually comes out in May and can be bought online.

Choosing a Major

Veterinary medical students come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Applicants are not required to major in "pre-vet" or any specific major in college to be eligible for admission to a vet med program. However, because vet med programs vary so much in required coursework, students should begin researching possible programs early to determine if their choice of major will fulfill all or most of the vet med program requirements.