A veterinary school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, which is involved in the education of veterinarians. To become a veterinarian one must first complete a veterinary degree (i.e.: DVM, VMD, BVS, BVSc, BVMS, BVM, BVS, cand.med.vet, etc.)
A veterinary school should not be confused with a department of animal science. A department of animal science usually offers a pre-veterinary school curriculum, teaches the biomedical sciences (usually resulting in a Bachelor of Science degree or the equivalent), and provides graduate veterinary education in disciplines such as microbiology, virology, and molecular biology. The terminology can be confusing, as many veterinary schools outside North America use the title "Faculty of Veterinary Science" rather than "college of veterinary medicine" or "school of veterinary medicine," and some veterinary schools (particularly those in China, Japan and South Korea) use the term "department" rather than college or school.12
There are several types of degrees that aspiring vets can earn; these differ according to country and may involve undergraduate or graduate education.1 For example, in the United States, schools award the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM),3 and the same degree is awarded in Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, Hungary, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Tobago and Trinidad.1 Many countries offer a degree equivalent to the North American DVM. In the United Kingdom, and in many countries which have adopted the undergraduate system of higher education in which a bachelor's degree is equivalent to a DVM (albeit after five or six years of study, not four. In the United States the 4 year DVM degree is earned following a 4 year undergraduate degree totalling 8 years of study after high school), an appropriate degree is conferred ( Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery etc.).4 In Ireland, the Veterinary Medicine Programme at the University College Dublin awards the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (MVB)5 At the University of Edinburgh, the degree is the Bachelor's of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery (BVM&S).6 Some veterinary schools, however, offer a degree which enables the recipient to practice veterinary medicine in the home country but which does not permit the individual to even sit for a licensure exam in another nation. For example, veterinary schools in Afghanistan only offer the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.4 Ethiopia awards the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, but the degree is not recognized in the US or Western Europe due to the low quality of education provided by Ethiopian veterinary schools.7
About 50% of Veterinarians own their own business as soon as they graduate from school. Nearly every country in the world requires an individual with a veterinary degree to be licensed prior to practicing in the profession. Most countries require a non-national who holds a veterinary degree to pass a separate licensure exam for foreign graduates prior to practicing veterinary medicine. In the US, for example, the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) administers a four-step examination which is accepted by all American state and territorial veterinary licensing boards, the US federal government, and the District of Columbia.8 In Europe, the European Parliament, which has some jurisdiction over the member states of the European Union (EU), issued a directive on September 30, 2005, which provides for EU-wide standards for veterinary medical education and mutual recognition of veterinary degrees between member states meeting these standards.9 Licensure requirements are diverse, however. In South Africa, the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act, Act 19 of 1982 provides for automatic licensure if an individual has graduated from one of several universities in South Africa, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom (as of 2008, these include the University of Pretoria, Medical University of South Africa, Massey University, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Liverpool, and the University of London) or has passed the veterinary licensure examination administered by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. All other persons are required to pass an examination and register with the South African Veterinary Council.10 India has a similar system in which degrees awarded by certain schools are "deemed" to automatically qualify an individual to practice veterinary medicine, but has forgone an exam in favor of state tribunals which investigate credentials and can add a veterinarian to the register of licensed practitioners.11
Not all nations accredit veterinary schools, but all developed countries and most newly industrialized and developing countries do.12 Few failed states have any accreditation system, however. In the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE)13 accredits veterinary schools.14 Accreditation systems and standards vary widely, however, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom all have vet programs that hold similar standards as those in the United States and Canada.citation needed The European Union is developing a common accreditation standard, but as of 2008 accreditation was most often provided by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE).151617
Accreditation systems vary widely in developing nations. In Mexico, El Consejo Nacional de Educación de la Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia (CONEVET) accredits veterinary medical colleges, although few schools are accredited.18 The accreditation system is poor or nonexistent in other developing nations. Ethiopia, for example, has focused on building veterinary medical colleges rather than accrediting existing schools to ensure quality. Subsequently, there is almost no accreditation system and the quality of veterinary education in the country is poor.7
Admissions practices, requirements and difficulty vary widely among veterinary schools, and from nation to nation. Generally speaking, gaining admission to a veterinary school is highly competitive, due to the small number of places available.19 Most AVMA-accredited institutions in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States share a common, online application system, known as the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS).19 Many colleges belonging to VMCAS have additional, individualized application requirements as well, and admissions standards are quite high.1920 Admissions standards in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa also vary widely. Many veterinary schools limit admission to students from their area, state or country. For example, 25 of the 28 veterinary schools in the US are public universities, and by law may set aside relatively few places for out-of-state residents.19 Other countries have similar schemes. For example, in India, federal law requires that each veterinary college set aside 15 percent of its places for students coming from other parts of India. The Veterinary Council of India (a body of the federal government), conducts the All India Common Entrance Examination, and the top scorers on the exam are placed throughout India.21
The cost of attending veterinary school also varies tremendously. The value of the national currency, the cost of veterinary school relative to the cost of living or median national income, the existence and amount of governmental education subsidies, the existence and amount of financial aid to students (from public or private sources), and a number of other factors combine to influence the cost of attending veterinary school. In countries where a veterinary degree is a professional degree taken as a second degree, governments may not subsidize veterinary school attendance to the degree that they do an undergraduate college education. In the United States, the average tuition was US$15,676 for residents in the 2006-2007 school year, and $28,861 a year for non-residents.22 Average cost during the same period of fees was $3,482 (residents) and $4,452 (non-residents), room and board $8,964 (residents and non-residents), and books and equipment $2,043 (residents and non-residents).22 In Canada during the same time period, average resident tuition was C$5,651 and average non-resident tuition $32,942.22 Resident and non-resident fees were C$719, resident and non-resident room and board C$6,493, and resident and non-resident books and equipment C$1,712.22
Veterinary medical school curricula are not standardized. Programs may last anywhere from three to six years. In the United States and Canada, for example, the program is generally four years long. In the first three years, students are taught basic science (such as anatomy, physiology, histology, neuroanatomy, pharmacology, immunology, bacteriology, virology, pathology, parasitology, toxicology) in the classroom, as well as other basic courses such as herd health (also called population health), nutrition, radiography, and epidemiology. During the third year, students are exposed to clinical topics like anesthesiology, diagnostics, surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and dentistry. The fourth year is often 12 (not nine) months long, during which students work in a clinical setting delivering care to a wide range of animals.23 A focus on clinical education is an aspect of most veterinary school curricula worldwide. In 2005, for the first time in its 104-year-history, the Veterinary Medicine Programme at the University College Dublin instituted a lecture-free final year focusing on clinical training.24 The Institute of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Zurich recently developed and implemented a new curriculum for teaching pathology which includes an extensive clinical component.25 Veterinary schools in Israel,26 Spain,27 the Czech Republic,28 and Slovakia29 also focus heavily on clinical training.
The level of participation in clinical training can be quite limited in some schools and countries, however. In Japan, students are not permitted to engage in clinical education until they have studied for six years.30 For example, in Sri Lanka, until recently the public owned relatively few companion animals, and veterinary medical education focused on herd health—with the result that veterinary schools focused little attention on clinical skills. As recently as 2004, this had not changed.31 In Ethiopia, few schools have clinical training facilities, and the government has placed a priority on opening more schools rather than improving the existing colleges.7 Even in the United States, there is some concern that clinical training may suffer because many veterinary teaching hospitals are in deep financial trouble.32
Most veterinary schools do not permit students to engage in "species specialization"; that is, students must be expert in veterinary medicine covering a wide range of species rather than just one or two (such as dogs, cows, or reptiles).33 Most veterinary programs do, however, allow students to take electives which will permit them to specialize upon graduation. Many veterinary schools in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States do engage in "tracking," whereby students are asked which branch of veterinary medicine they intend to practice (companion animal, bovine, equine, food supply, avian, wildlife, public health, etc.).34 Although tracking has proven to be contentious among some educators, about 60 percent of US and Canadian veterinary schools engage in full or partial tracking of students—and there are increased calls for full tracking by some North American veterinary medical education organizations.3536 Some scholars and thinkers have argued that enhanced tracking should be linked to "limited licensure," or granting veterinarians to practice veterinary medicine only in the species or specialty in which they were trained.3537
Unlike human medicine, almost no veterinary medical education regimes require students to enroll in an internship and/or residency upon graduation. However, internships and residencies are often required for veterinarians seeking board certification in Canada, Europe and the US.38
Lecture and rote learning are two of the most common teaching methods used in veterinary medical education.39 To a lesser degree, outcome-based education40 and discovery learning are also common pedagogical approaches. Inquiry-based learning is also sometimes used.41 In the last two decades, problem-based learning has been adopted in most veterinary schools in developed countries, especially those in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and Western Europe.42
- History of Veterinary Medicine in Pennsylvania
- List of schools of veterinary medicine
- Indian Veterinary Research Institute (www.ivri.nic.in/)
- Veterinary Medical College Application Service
- First professional degree
- Veterinary medicine
- "AVMA-Listed Veterinary Colleges of the World." Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates/American Veterinary Medical Association. June 5, 2008. Accessed December 4, 2012.
- For examples, see the DVM degree-awarding Department of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry at Guangxi University in China, or the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.
- The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania awards the Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris (VMD) degree, which is the same as the D.V.M. degree. See: "Education and Training." University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. 2008. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- "Universities, Institutions, Colleges and Schools Awarding Veterinary Degrees." Vets-Net.com. September 15, 2007. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- "Veterinary Medicine." UCD Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine Programme Office. No date. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- Pettigrew, G. "The BVM and S at the University of Edinburgh." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Fall 2003.
- Mayen, Friederike. "A Status Report of Veterinary Education in Ethiopia: Perceived Needs, Past History, Recent Changes, and Current and Future Concerns." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2006.
- Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates. AVMA.org. 2008. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- "Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications (Text with EEA relevance)." Official Journal. L 255, September 30, 2005. Accessed July 26, 2008; for a list of national licensing bodies in EU member states, see: "Competent Authorities and Information Centres in the European Union (Articles 2, 3 and 14.1 of Directive 78/1026/EEC; Article 1 of Directive 75/1027/EEC; Article 56.3 of Directive 2005/36/EC) - VETERINARY SURGEONS." Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. March 18, 2008. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- "Automatic registration: Registration with the South African Veterinary Council." South African Veterinary Council. No date. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- "IVC Act: IVC Acts & Rules." Veterinary Council of India. No date. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- Simmons, Don. "Developing an Accreditation System." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2004.
- AVMA Center for Veterinary Education Accreditation. AVMA.org. The AVMA COE has accredited veterinary schools overseas, and as of July 2008 had accredited veterinary schools in Australia, Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
- Krehbiel, Jan. "The AVMA COE Accreditation Site Visit." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2004; Simmons, Don and American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (COE) Accreditation. "The American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (COE) Accreditation." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2004; Barzansky, Barbara. "Comparison of Accreditation Practices and Standards of US Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2004.
- Halliwell, R.E. "Accreditation of Veterinary Schools in the United Kingdom and the European Union: The Process, Current Issues and Trends, and Future Concerns." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2004.
- Fernandes, Tito. "The Role of Vet2020 Project on Quality of European Veterinary Education." Journal Veterinary Research Communications. August 2004; Veterinary Education and Free Movement of Veterinary Surgeons in Europe: Towards an Accreditation System." Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. November 2000. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education Web site.
- Berruecos, J.M.; Trigo, Francisco J.; and Zarco, Luis A. "The Accreditation System for Colleges of Veterinary Medicine in Mexico and a Comparison with the AVMA System." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2004.
- Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements. Indianapolis, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 2008. ISBN 1-55753-499-3
- Kogan, L.R. and McConnell, S.L. "Gaining Acceptance Into Veterinary School: A Review of Medical and Veterinary Admissions Policies." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Winter 2001; Haynes, Emily N. "Your Path to Success: Advice to People Considering a Career in Health Sciences." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2007.
- "All India Common Entrance Examination (AICEE)." Veterinary Council of India. No date. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- "First Year DVM Student Tuition and Fees (Class of 2010): Amount Paid by DVM Students Resident and Non-Resident Students." Comparative Data Report. Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Washington, D.C., March 2007. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- Turnwald, Grant H.; Sponenberg, D. Phillip ; and Meldrum, J. Blair. "Part II: Directions and Objectives of Curriculum Structure at Veterinary Medical and Other Health Professions Schools." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2008; Fuentealba, Carmen; Mason, Robert V.; and Johnston, Shirley D. "Community-Based Clinical Veterinary Education at Western University of Health Sciences." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2008; Lloyd, James W.; Fingland, Roger; Arighi, Mimi; Thompson, James; de Laforcade, Armelle; and McManus, Joseph. "Satellite Teaching Hospitals and Public–Private Collaborations in Veterinary Medical Clinical Education." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2008; Cornell, Karen K. "Faculty Expectations of Veterinary Students in Clinical Rotations." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2008.
- Doherty, Michael L. and Jones, Boyd R. "Undergraduate Veterinary Education at University College Dublin: A Time of Change." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2006.
- Pospischil, Andreas; Djamei, Vahid; Rütten, Maja; Sydler, Titus; and Vaughan, Lloyd. "Introduction to the Swiss Way of Teaching Veterinary Pathology in the Twenty-First Century: Application of e-Learning Modules." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Fall 2007.
- Shahar, Ron and Bark, Hylton. "Veterinary Education in Israel." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2006.
- González-Soriano, Juncal. "The Present and Future of Veterinary Education in Spain." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2006.
- Veerek, Vladimír. "Two Differentiated Programs of Veterinary Medical Education at the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Czech Republic." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2006.
- Cabadaj, Rudolph; Pilipcinec, Emil; and Bajová, Viera. "The Curricula of Veterinary Study at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Koice in the Slovak Republic." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2006.
- Stutsman, Beth. "Veterinary Student Exchange Program Broadens Horizons." West Lafayette Journal and Courier. August 13, 2005.
- Obeyesekere, N. "Needs, Difficulties, and Possible Approaches to Providing Quality Clinical Veterinary Education With the Aim of Improving Standards of Companion Animal Medicine in Sri Lanka." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2004.
- Whitcomb, Rachel. "Colleges in Crisis: Economy, Changing profession Hurt Teaching." DVM Newsmagazine. July 1, 2008.
- Karg, Michael. "Designated Licensure—The Case for Speciation Within the Veterinary Degree." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. December 15, 2000.
- Center for Emerging Issues. Committee for the Future of Veterinary Services. Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. United States Department of Agriculture. "Veterinary Medicine." in Current Trends and Uncertainties for the Future of Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: USDA/Center for Emerging Issues, 2002.
- Willis, Norman G.; Monroe, Fonda A.; Potworowski, J. Andre; Halbert, Gary; Evans, Brian R.; Smith, John E.; Andrews, Kenneth J.; Spring, Lynelle; and Bradbrook, Andrea. "Envisioning the Future of Veterinary Medical Education: The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Foresight Project, Final Report." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Special Issue. January 2007. Accessed July 26, 2008.
- Tyler, Jeff W. "Assessing Veterinary Medical Education With Regard to the Attraction, Admission, and Education of Students Interested in Food Supply Veterinary Medicine and Retention of Student Interest in a Career in the Food Supply Sector." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. September 15, 2006; Karg, Michael. "The Need for a Food Supply–Exclusive College of Veterinary Medicine." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. February 1, 2007; Radostits, Otto M. "Engineering Veterinary Education: A Clarion Call for Reform in Veterinary Education--Let's Do It!" Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2003; Hooper, Billy E. "Ongoing Curricular Change in Veterinary Medical Colleges." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Fall 1994; Lavictoire, Suzanne. "Education, Licensing, and the Expanding Scope of Veterinary Practice: Members Express Their Views." Canadian Veterinary Journal. April 2003; Prescott, John F.; Bailey, Jeremy; Hagele, W. Curt; Leung, Dominic; Lofstedt, Jeanne; Radostits, Otto M.; and Sandals, David. "CVMA Task Force on 'Education, Licensing, and the Expanding Scope of Veterinary Practice.'" Canadian Veterinary Journal. November 2002.
- Shadduck, John A. "Challenges Facing Veterinary Medical Education and Some Strategies for the Future." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Fall 1994; Fiala, Jennifer. "Limited Licensure Ignites Debate: National Organizations, Regulators Explore Options." DVM Newsmagazine. April 1, 2008; McLaughlin, Michael A. "Commentary on Limited Licensure: Has Its Day Finally Arrived?" DVM Newsmagazine. July 1, 2008; Fiala, Jennifer. "Future Veterinarians: A 25-Year Look Ahead." DVM Newsmagazine. April 1, 2007.
- Lloyd, K.C. Kent. "The Scientific Component of Residency Training." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2008; Lumeij, Johannes T. and Herrtage, Michael E. "Veterinary Specialization in Europe." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2006.
- Edmondson, Katherine M. "Applying What We Know About Learning to Veterinary Education." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2001; Moore, Dale A.; Leamon, M.H.; Cox, P.D.; and Servis, M.E. "Teaching Implications of Different Educational Theories and Approaches." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Summer 2002.
- Trent, A.M. "Outcomes Assessment Planning: An Overview With Applications in Health Sciences." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2002; Black, L.S.; Turnwald, Grant H.; and Meldrum, J.B. "Outcomes Assessment in Veterinary Medical Education." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2002; Kleine, L.J.; Terkla, D.G.; and Kimball, G. "Outcomes Assessment at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2002; Walsh, Donal A.; Osburn, Bennie I.; and Schumacher, R.L. "Defining the Attributes Expected of Graduating Veterinary Medical Students, Part 2: External Evaluation and Outcomes Assessment." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 2002.
- Powell, V. and Steel, C.H. "Search for the Woolly Mammoth: A Case Study in Inquiry-Based Learning." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Fall 2003.
- Howell, N.E.; Lane, India F.; Brace, James J.; and Shull, R.M. "Integration of Problem-Based Learning in a Veterinary Medical Curriculum: First-Year Experiences with Application-Based Learning Exercises at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Fall 2002; Pickrell, John A. Enhancing Large-Group Problem-Based Learning in Veterinary Medical Education. Washington, D.C.: Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, August 31, 1997 (accessed July 26, 2008); Piekunka, Joseph M. "Cornell's DVM Program Is Problem-Based Learning." Admissions Newsletter. March 1999 (accessed July 26, 2008); Rand, J.S. and Baglioni, Jr., A.J. "Subject-Based Problem-Based Learning in the Veterinary Science Course at the University of Queensland." Australian Veterinary Journal. February 1997; Rivarola V.A. and Garca M.B. "Problem-Based Learning in Veterinary Medicine: Protein Metabolism." Biochemical Education. January 2000; Klemm, W.R. "Using a Formal Collaborative Learning Paradigm for Veterinary Medical Education." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. Spring 1994.