Veterinary Medicine

The field of veterinary medicine encompasses a large variety of practices and settings. Veterinarians maintain the health and productivity of commercial food animals and livestock, secure the public health of humans and commercial animals, and treat illness and disease in livestock and sport and companion animals. About seventy-five percent of approximately eighty thousand veterinarians in the U.S. work in private practice and can be found in such diverse settings as zoos, the military, wildlife organizations, emergency animal clinics, research settings, and universities. Numerous opportunities lie outside of standard clinical practice, such as careers involved in the threat of bioterrorism and national security needs.

The field of veterinary medicine continues to grow, especially in government, research, and other forms of public practice. Employment for veterinarians in companion animal practice are expected to continue to grow as the demand for quality care increases. And while the number of farm animals in the U.S. has decreased considerably, the number of animals per farm has increased, causing most food animal veterinarians to focus on the well-being of the herd rather than the individual animal. Demand for specialists in fields like ophthalmology, internal medicine, toxicology, and laboratory animal medicine is expected to increase.

Especially in recent years, veterinary schools have sought to create a student population that more accurately represents the diversity of the United States. In past years, veterinary medicine has seen a huge leap in women entering the field; nearly eighty percent veterinary students are now women. Still, only ten percent of applicants to veterinary schools are underrepresented minorities.

General Information

There are only twenty-eight accredited schools of veterinary medicine in the U.S. Veterinary programs are typically four years in length. The first two years of the veterinary curriculum focus on the preclinical sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and microbiology. The final two years of the curriculum are principally clinical and focus on the study of infectious and noninfectious diseases, diagnostic and clinical pathology, obstetrics, radiology, clinical medicine, anesthesiology, and surgery.

Many students, during their third year of veterinary school, consider further education through internships as a lead-in to a residency program. However, internships and residencies are not required to become a licensed, practicing veterinarian.

Application Process

The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) is a centralized application service sponsored by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). Applicants submit a single application to VMCAS, which then sends a standard application packet to all of the veterinary schools to which you are applying. The web-based application becomes available for students in late May or early June and may be found through the AAVMC’s website. Some veterinary schools utilize their own application or supplemental application materials and others utilize the VMCAS for out-of-state students only. Check the website of each school for their specific application requirements.

Veterinary schools often require a letter of evaluation from a pre-health advisory committee, rather than several individual letters. Each applicant who seeks a committee letter of evaluation will be interviewed by several members of the Stonehill Pre-Health Professions Advisory Committee, who will then condense the comments of science faculty, non-science faculty, and employers, which you will have previously gathered, into a single letter of evaluation to be submitted to optometry schools.

If a veterinary school is seriously considering you for admission, they will most likely request a personal interview.

Entrance Exam

There are three different examinations utilized for admissions: the MCAT, the GRE subject test in biology, and the GRE general test. All colleges require scores from at least one of these tests. The greatest amount of schools require scores from the GRE general test. If you are taking the GRE general test or GRE subject test in biology, take it no later than the spring before you apply to leave time to retake it if necessary.

The MCAT is a multiple choice examination that is approximately 7.5 hours long and consists of the following four examinations in order:

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; 59 questions; 95 minutes
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills; 53 questions; 90 minutes
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; 59 questions; 95 minutes
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; 59 questions; 95 minutes
  • Total testing time: 6 hours and 15 minutes

Only an introductory-level knowledge of physics, general chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry is required for the MCAT. However, the test determines how well you can apply this introductory material to problem-solving questions, not simply if you have it memorized. Each section is scored on a scale of 118 to 132. Your combined score will range between 472 to 528.  

MCAT 2015

Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Math, Stats, & Writing
More information here
Multiple Choice 
7 hr 30 min, which includes breaks and administrative tasks. AM and PM Sessions Available multiple times late January through September Test centers throughout the US and globally Visit the AAMC website for more infomration
Prep materials can be found here. $305.00 Financial aid available (discounted to $115.00)
More information here
Scores released 30-35 days after exam
More information here
Scores automatically uploaded to AMCAS Schools may determine how far back they want the score record to go  


Subjects Covered Type of Exam Exam Length When Given Where Taken Contact Info to Register
Analytical Writing Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning Computer Multiple Choice & Essays 3 hr 45 min Varies by appointment Prometric Test Centers throughout the US
Test Prep Cost of Exam Obtaining Scores Reporting Scores Score Record Notes $195.00 VR @ test site QR @ test site AW = 10-15 days   Registration fee includes up to four schools, which you indicate at the test center; $25 per additional Scores are valid for 5 years; all scores are listed on submitted reports  

Suggested Coursework

The list of pre-requisite courses varies by school.  To view a list published by AAVMC (Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges), please click here.  The following is a general list of common undergraduate courses that typically satisfy the prerequisites for veterinary medicine programs:

  • Chemistry with lab (1 year)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab* (1 year)
  • Inorganic Chemistry (1 semester)
  • Biology with lab (1 year)
  • Biochemistry (1 semester)
  • Physics with lab (1 year)
  • Calculus or Statistics (1 year)
  • English (1 year)

* Biochemistry majors may take Organic Chemistry I  & Inorganic Chemistry (8 credits – CHM 221 & 244)

Many veterinary schools require courses that are not necessary to fulfill a Biology, Biochemistry, or Chemistry major at Stonehill. These may include:

  • Animal sciences and animal nutrition
  • Embryology
  • Genetics
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology

If a veterinary school requires a course that Stonehill does not offer, ask that school if another closely-related course can be substituted.  If no substitution can be made, you should consider taking the course at a different undergraduate institution.


Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

ETS (Facilitators of the GRE)

Khan Academy MCAT 2015 Test Content Videos

Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (MCAT2015), Fourth Edition