Pre-Vet Program

 


ANSC Undergrads and Grads working on a sheep research project in Drs. Reed and Govoni's lab.
 

Description of the Animal Science Pre-Veterinary Degree Option

Animal Science includes the study of domestic and companion animals and animal products. While pursuing a B.S. degree, Animal Science students work with animals and learn how animals function through the study of genetics, physiology, anatomy, nutrition, medicine and behavior. Students interested in a career in veterinary medicine also enroll in courses in biochemistry, physics and microbiology. In addition to excellent preparation for admission into colleges of veterinary medicine, the Animal Science major provides for many other career options. The Department has modern teaching facilities and barns for dairy and beef cattle, horses, sheep, swine and poultry; these are located within walking distance of campus. Specific admission requirements vary slightly among veterinary colleges, but all emphasize a strong science background. Veterinary medicine programs are four years in length and admission is competitive. Applications to veterinary college are made during the final year of the B.S. program. Successful applicants must maintain a high grade point average in college, and competitive GRE or VCAT scores. The Department of Animal Science has several advisors for pre-veterinary. The advisors will assist and guide students through their undergraduate career.

While it is true that a student can major in any discipline, and as long as the entrance requirements for veterinary school are met, the student might be admitted. However, without experience working with animals, acceptance into vet school is less likely. To help students get this important experience, our program provides many opportunities in the classroom, laboratories, independent study and internships to "learn by doing." We have a solid record of success with our undergraduate students that persist in their goal of gaining admission into veterinary school.
 

Frequently Asked Questions- General

1. Is pre-vet a major in the Department of Animal Science?

The Department of Animal Science offers a pre-vet option for students majoring in Animal Science and this can be viewed here. The plan of study for the option is designed to meet the entrance requirements of veterinary schools in the U.S. and abroad and provides opportunities for valuable "hands-on" experience with animals.

 

2. In addition to completing an appropriate Plan of Study, what else is necessary to gain admission to vet school?

Students must perform well in coursework (i.e., get good grades) and obtain practical experience with animals. This could be under the direction of a veterinarian, in a research lab or working in one of our animal units.

Some schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), so individual vet schools need to be consulted.  A copy of "Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements" is available to students in the Department of Animal Science Main Office (George White Bldg., Rm 107).

 

3. How does the UConn Animal Science major help me meet these additional requirements?

In two ways:

First, the Department of Animal Science has a strong commitment to undergraduate education, including advising and teaching. Faculty and staff get to know their students/ advisees on a first-name basis and are readily accessible for consultation. This open approach provides students with the opportunity to "keep on track" with their academic pursuits. This commitment to undergraduate education by our faculty has been recognized with the following awards in recent years:

  • UConn Alumni Association Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • UConn Undergraduate Student Government Educator of the Year Award
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty Advisor for the University of Connecticut
  • UCAHNRAA Outstanding Staff Award
  • UCAHNRAA Excellence in Teaching Award
  • CAHNR Research Excellence Award
  • Kinsman Teaching Excellence Award
  • First Year Experience Teaching Award
  • USDA Teaching Fellow
  • University Teaching Fellow

Second, all Animal Science majors get experience working with animals. Students benefit from the most extensive domestic animal facilities in New England. Specifically, we have facilities that house dairy, beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses and poultry. Most importantly, the barns are only a 5-10 minute walk from the George White Building, home of the Department of Animal Science. This provides unparalleled opportunities for students to gain important hands-on experience in formal class work, undergraduate research, or as part-time employees at the barns without needing a car on campus.

 

4. What if I start out with the pre-vet option but change my mind along the way and decide against applying to vet school? What other careers are available to Pre-Vet Animal Science majors?

There are many, many employment opportunities available to students that graduate with a B.S. in animal science. Some examples of possible careers are listed at our career opportunities page where you can also find a listing of firms that employ animal science graduates.


Members of Pre-Vet club assist a vet with a jaguar in Honduras while on Alternative Spring Break


5. How should I prepare myself in high school for the pre-vet option?

Take as many science and math courses as your school allows. These can include biology, chemistry, physics, physiology, algebra, trigonometry and calculus. In addition, take courses that provide writing experience and also take at least three years of one foreign language. If you have the option to take college credit courses at your high school, it will give you greater flexibility in course selection during your college pre-veterinary medicine program. In general, the better the academic background a student has, the better prepared they are for classes at UConn.  You should meet all the admission requirements in the undergraduate catalog of the University of Connecticut. 

In addition, obtaining experience working for a veterinarian is an excellent way to determine if veterinary medicine is an appropriate career choice. Most veterinary colleges require this type of work experience prior to application. Other positions working with animals may also enhance your veterinary college application.

 

6. Do high school Advanced Placement (AP) classes help?

Yes, AP classes in almost any subject help. Taking AP classes in the kinds of classes listed above will provide you with an excellent background in those subjects. AP classes in other subjects, such as history, language, and English will also give you good background for general education classes at UConn. Achieving a good score on AP tests can allow you to meet specific course credits at UConn, and allow for greater flexibility in course scheduling. A word of caution: some veterinary programs do not accept AP credit in required courses. If you pass the AP exam, check with your pre-vet advisor to determine if accepting the AP credit is appropriate for you.

 

7. Does UConn have contracts with any vet schools?

Yes, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine contracts with Connecticut to offer a limited number of seats to Connecticut residents when there is funding granted by the State of CT legislature. The total number of positions available each year is determined by Connecticut, however, currently 5 positions are available. Connecticut residents admitted under this contract pay reduced tuition.


For more information on this opportunity, click here.
 

8. Does UConn have a veterinary school?

No. There is no college/school of veterinary medicine in the state of Connecticut. The only veterinary schools in New England are Tufts University in Massachusetts, Cornell in New York, and the University of Pennsylvania.

 

9. Does the University offer a vet tech program?

No, UConn does not offer a program leading to certification as a veterinary technician. Typically vet tech programs are two-year associate degree programs. However, many of our students work as veterinary technicians while pursuing their degree and some get full-time jobs after they complete their Animal Science degree. In many cases veterinarians are seeking employees that have broad-based animal backgrounds with knowledge in animal management, physiology, nutrition, and health and disease. The Animal Science program offers students the opportunities to get this background.

To see a list of schools in the Northeast that offer vet tech programs, click here.  To view programs offered in other parts of the U.S. visit www.veterinaryschools.com or www.vettech.org.

For a comprehensive page that covers vet-tech schools, requirements, and job information, please click here.

 

10. What are some of the veterinary schools that UConn Animal Science students have been accepted to?

Click here to find out!

                                                                                                                                                            

An ANSC performs a castration on a rat in Lab Animal class while Dr. Milvae looks on.

Frequently Asked Questions for Current Pre-Vet Students

1. Is there one manual or handbook that will help inform me on questions I have on any veterinary school in the U.S. and Canada?

Yes, there is an excellent publication that would be of great interest to you. It is published by the Purdue University Press, Lafayette, IN. The title is "Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements in the United States and Canada (Current Year)" (ISBN# 1-55753-314-8).


2. Do veterinary schools vary in their total applicant pool, acceptance rates and tuition?

Yes, very much so, and this should be a consideration in deciding to which schools to apply. The Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements book given above lists the current tuition rates and the applications and admissions for out-of-state students. The applicant/admission ratios are inflated because most students apply to several veterinary schools, however, they give some guidance as to the acceptance rates of the various schools.
 

3. How do state contracts with veterinary schools work?

First you need to understand that application classification is based on the state of residency and not the undergraduate school you attend. Most veterinary schools classify applications as from a state resident, from a contract-state resident or from someone usually referred to as "at-large" or "non-resident". Currently the state of Connecticut does not have any contracts and Connecticut residents are in the non-resident (at-large) category for all veterinary schools.
 

4. When should I apply to veterinary school?

You should apply before each school's published deadline. Submit your application in the fall semester one year before you hope to attend. Deadlines range from mid-October through early January.  This will normally be the first semester of the senior year and students should plan to complete most of the veterinary school requirements by the end of the seventh semester.
 

5. Is there a resource to help me apply to and prepare for my interview for veterinary school?

Yes.  The Student Doctor Network (SDN) is a nonprofit educational organization has been recommended by our prevet students as a valuable recource for students preparing for, and applying to, Med School, Vet School, etc.  The site includes sections for Medical, Dental, Veterinary, Rehab Sciences, Audiology, Optomology, Pharmacy, Podiatry, and Psychology.  The forums are very helpful – especially in preparing for the interview. 
 

6. Should I apply to more than one veterinary school?

Most of our qualified preveterinary students apply to several schools. It is costly to do so but enhances possibilities for admission.
 

7. When should I take the VCAT, GRE, or MCAT tests?

It is wise to take them in the second semester of your junior year for experience and again in the fall of your senior year after completing more course work. Schools require only one test, but not all schools require the same test. UConn's Career Services in the Wilbur Cross Building will have application booklets with test dates and deadlines. Application deadlines are several weeks before the tests are given, so be sure to plan ahead. Your advisor will help you if you have additional questions.
 

8. Should I take a Commercial Course to prepare for the Standardized exams?

In general, this is not necessary as such courses are expensive and most students can do well using one of the many books or CDs on how to prepare for GRE exams. However, some students will benefit from the discipline of a formal course. If you have questions, see your preveterinary advisor.
 

9. If I apply and am refused, should I reapply the next year?

Yes, veterinary schools appreciate patience and persistence. You can use the extra year to enhance your qualifications and application. For example, additional work experience, or graduate course work may be helpful. Be sure to contact the schools and ask what can be done to strengthen your application.
 

10. If I am refused, would it help me to complete a Masters degree and then apply for veterinary school?

Many students do this. In addition to strengthening your application to veterinary school, a Masters (M.S.) degree opens other career opportunities after veterinary school. Many complete their M.S. at a university where there is a veterinary school and sometimes even take a course or two offered by the veterinary school.
 

11. If I decide not to go veterinary school, what other career opportunities can I pursue with this educational background?

The animal science curriculum provides an excellent background for many career opportunities. In addition, the recommended courses in the basic sciences for PreVet students open opportunities in graduate school, biotechnology and other professional programs (See "Employment Opportunities" section).

 

PRE-GRADUATE

1. What is a graduate school assistantship?

Most graduate programs offer top graduate students an assistantship. This is also called a stipend and will assist you in meeting your financial obligations while completing your degree. At the University of Connecticut, an assistantship includes a salary, health benefits and tuition remission. In addition to your research project and academic programs, the assistantship carries additional responsibilities, including assisting in teaching courses and other departmental needs.

2. Is there a book or text to help me with graduate school information and selection?

Yes, The Peterson Guide is a very good source of information. A current copy is on file in the Kinsman Library, Room 110 of the George White Building.

3. Are all graduate programs devoted solely to research?

No. Typically all programs are a combination of course work and research. The most common plan is the Master of Science (Plan A) in which a significant research project is undertaken and results in a written thesis. Some programs have more emphasis on course work (Plan B) and do not require a written thesis. The latter is generally not considered desirable if further graduate work is contemplated.

4. Should I take the GREs?

Yes, almost all graduate programs require the general GREs. It is best to contact the program of interest to determine whether specific content exams are required.

5. What are typical requirements for admission into a graduate program?

Unlike veterinary school, there are rarely specific course requirements for admission to graduate school, but coursework in the basic sciences, such as biology and chemistry, is important. The Department of Animal Science at The University of Connecticut requires the general GREs and gives preference to students with GPAs above a 3.0. Courses in biology, chemistry, biochemistry as well as in animal science related classes are also an advantage.


Pre-Vet Faculty Advisors

Dr. Steven Zinn- also an Honors Advisor (view bio)
Dr. Robert Milvae (view bio)
Dr. Amy Safran (view bio)
Dr. Sarah Reed - Equine Focus- Also an Honors Advisor (view bio)
Dr. Kristen Govoni (view bio)
Dr. Dennis D'Amico (view bio)
Dr. Mary Anne Amalaradjou (view bio)

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Contact Us

Department of Animal Science
Unit 4040
3636 Horsebarn Hill Road Ext.
Storrs, CT 06269-4040

George White Building Room 107
Open Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm
Phone: (860) 486-2413
Fax: (860) 486-4375
Email: AnimalScience@UConn.edu