The Best Schools for Veterinarians
Did you know that there are only thirty colleges of veterinary medicine in the U.S.? Every year, thousands of hopeful future vets apply for only a couple thousand available seats in veterinary schools. This means that admission is extremely competitive.
If you have what it takes to get into one of the best vet schools, you're likely starting to compare all of your different options.
What are the best schools for veterinarians? Where should you go if you want to focus in a specific concentration, such as small or large animal medicine?
Let's take a look at the options when it comes to schooling for veterinarians to help you make the best choice when it comes to your education.
*photo courtesy of cornell.edu
The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University is a selective program with a focus on hands-on learning. Students will work with animals starting on the first day of the DVM program, with the goal of fostering communication and critical thinking while also building clinical skills from the get-go.
Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell is an Ivy League school. There are five academic departments that are encompassed by College of Veterinary Medicine, which are:
- Clinical sciences
- Biomedical sciences
- Population medicine
- Molecular medicine
- Diagnostic sciences
There are also four research centers and seven teaching hospitals hosted by the college. Veterinary programs are offered for both masters and doctoral degrees. As a part of the program, candidates can complete a number of different residencies and internships.
An internship is typically required before a residency. The internships usually last for one year. Residency programs usually last between two and three years.
The University of California, Davis frequently tops lists of the best veterinary schools in the world. UC Davis is one of the largest members of the UC system. Through its school of Veterinary Medicine, some of the top veterinary programs in the country are hosted.
There are six academic departments in the school. These include surgical and radiological sciences, population health and reproduction, and medicine and epidemiology.
There are several master's and Ph.D. programs offered by this school as well as a prestigious DVM program.
If you're looking to attend one of the best schools of veterinary medicine in the country, you'll want to check out North Carolina State University at Raleigh. This isn't just a college, though, but also a center of clinical veterinary practice that sees tens of thousands of cases each year.
There are three academic departments encompassed by the college. These are molecular biomedical sciences, population health and pathology, and clinical sciences.
There are two different academic veterinary programs offers at North Carolina State University. These are a combination master of science/Ph.D. in the field of comparative biomedical sciences as well as a traditional doctor of veterinary medicine.
If you choose to go the former path, there are a number of options when it comes to the area of specialty. These include infectious diseases, immunology, cell biology, and neuroscience.
There are a number of options when it comes to internship and residency opportunities when you attend this college.
*photo courtesy of purdue.edu
The College of Veterinary Medicine at the main campus of Purdue University is considered one of the best schools in the nation for future vets. The college encompasses a number of different academic departments, which are:
- Basic medical sciences
- Comparative pathobiology
- Veterinary clinical sciences
Students can take veterinary programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Students can pursue either an associate or bachelor's degree at the undergraduate level in veterinary nursing (also known as veterinary technician.)
There are a number of different clinical specialties that graduate level candidates can pursue. These include equine sports medicine, comparative oncology, animal behavior, and anesthesiology.
There are a number of clinical areas that DVM graduates can pursue. These include small animal surgery, emergency and critical care, and cardiology.
*photo courtesy of thoughtco.com
The focus at the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine is on clinical practice, veterinary medical education, service, and research. It has a reputation for being one of the top veterinary programs in the country.
There are six academic departments that make up the vet school here. These include surgical sciences, medical sciences, comparative biosciences, and food animal production medicine.
There are a number of dual-degree options here in addition to the traditional doctor of veterinary medicine program.
One of the largest colleges in the country, Ohio State University is responsible for producing roughly 85% of Ohio's practicing veterinarians. There are three academic departments hosted at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, which are veterinary clinical sciences, veterinary biosciences, and veterinary preventive medicine.
Candidates can pursue a traditional doctor of veterinary medicine degree in addition to master's programs in veterinary public health. They also offer master's and Ph.D. programs in the field of comparative biomedical sciences.
For those interested in small animal medicine, OSU might be worth a look. They offer a small animal medicine and surgery internship on top of a number of different residencies in different areas of study.
The second Ivy League to make it on our list of the best vet schools, the University of Pennsylvania is home to Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine. Candidates can pursue programs at both the master's and doctoral levels here. If you are looking for a career in veterinary medicine, research, public policy, or public health, you'll want to look into this school.
UPenn offers what is known as a veterinariae medicinae doctoris (VMD). They are actually the only university to offer this degree. You'll be glad to know, though, that this degree qualifies holders for veterinary practice as it is interchangeable with the DVM distinction.
There are a number of dual-degree programs also hosted by the school. This means you can combine the VMD with graduate programs in other areas including social work, public health, business, and environmental studies.
If you're interested in focusing in large animal medicine, UPenn might be a good choice. In addition to their main campus in Philadelphia, they also operate a rural campus that is home to a large animal hospital as well as a number of research centers.
(Are you a vet who is figuring out how to integrate new communication tools into your practice? Check out this article about essential text messages you should be sending clients.)
The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M's flagship campus consists of five different academic departments. These are:
- Small animal clinical sciences
- Large animal sciences
- Veterinary pathobiology
- Veterinary integrative sciences
- Veterinary physiology and pharmacology
Students can pursue veterinary degrees at Texas A&M at both the undergraduate and graduate level. At the undergraduate level, students pursue a biomedical science bachelor's degree. At the graduate level, Texas A&M offers a DVM program, several Ph.D. programs, and a number of master of science programs.
When you are deciding which program you want to attend, you'll also want to have an idea of which career opportunities are available to you with a DVM or other veterinary medicine degree. Be sure to check out our article about career opportunities for veterinarians here.
For more than 75 years, the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia has explored issues of animal health. They have a reputation for some of the best education, research, and clinical care in the country. There are seven academic departments at the college, which are:
- Small animal medicine
- Large animal medicine and surgery
- Infectious diseases
- Physiology and pharmacology
- Department of biomedical sciences
- Department of population health
- Department of pathology
There are both master's and doctoral level veterinary programs offered here. You can also choose to complete a dual-degree program.
If you're interested in avian health specifically, UGA is a great option. At the master's level, the College of Veterinary Medicine offers programs in avian health and medicine.
The traditional doctor of veterinary medicine degree is available to pursue here. In addition, doctoral candidates can pursue degrees in pharmacology and infectious diseases as well as integrative physiology. There are also dual degree options, including DVM/master of public health and DVM/Ph.D.
The only veterinary school in all of New England is the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Located in Medford, Massachusetts, there are four academic departments encompassed by this school. These are:
- Clinical sciences
- Biomedical sciences
- Infection diseases and global health
- Environmental and population health
You can pursue a DVM here or a number of other master's and doctoral veterinary degrees. At the master's level, candidates can complete degrees in conservation medicine, animal and public policy, and infectious diseases and global health. There are also biomedical sciences doctoral programs offered at the Cummings School.
For people that want to focus on hands-on research, the Cummings School is one of the best vet schools. This is because of the Cummings School Farm on the Tufts campus. Here, a variety of animals are housed on a 200 acre facility where the focus is on research, teaching, and farming.
*photo courtesy of bizjournals.com
The only veterinary school in the state of Minnesota is the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine. Three academic departments are housed at this school, which are:
- Veterinary clinical sciences
- Veterinary and biomedical sciences
- Veterinary population medicine
You can pursue master's and doctoral level programs here in both comparative and molecular biosciences and veterinary medicine. They also offer a traditional DVM program.
If you are research-focused in your interests, this is one of the veterinary schools you should look into. An essential component of all of the programs offered by this school is research. They focus on a wide range of subjects with research clusters including food safety and security, ecosystem health, and chronic disease biology.
Best Schooling for Veterinarians Based on Specific Concentration
If you have a specific concentration in mind when it comes to vet school, there are definitely programs out there to fit your needs.
If you're interested in large animal medicine, consider looking at:
- UC Davis
- Colorado State University-Fort Collins
- North Carolina State University-Raleigh
- Ohio State University-Columbus
- Texas A&M University-College Station
Are you planning on focusing in equine veterinary medicine? If so, be sure to check out Cornell, UPenn, and Texas A&M.
For those future vets who are interested in focusing on exotic animals, you'll want to look at some other options that haven't been mentioned in the article so far. These include:
- University of Illinois at Urbana
- Kansas State University
- Louisiana State University
- Michigan State University
- Oklahoma State University
- Washington State University
Oklahoma State University, Michigan State University, and Kansas State University all work with local zoos to provide exotic animal care.
The Best Schools for Veterinarians: Which School Is Right for You?
As you can see, there are a lot of impressive options when it comes to the best schools for veterinarians. No matter what your area of specific focus is, there is definitely a program in the U.S. that will fit your needs.
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