A veterinarian (vet), also known as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary physician, is a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, and injuries in non-human animals. Veterinarians are also at the forefront of research and developments to enhance overall well-being of their animal patients. A veterinarian must be comfortable working in close proximity with all animals, including small animals, livestock, avian and zoo and laboratory animals. Veterinarians are typically associated with meeting the healthcare needs of companion animals (pets) like dogs and cats, but the profession offers many possibilities to work with different types of domestic or exotic animals.
The path to becoming a medical practitioner begins with a genuine desire and interest in helping other people. In the case of a veterinarian, you are helping animals that play a very important role in the lives of their human owners/companions. The strong foundation built as an undergraduate student at Westminster College includes demonstrating the knowledge, skills and personal growth attributes that contribute to a strong veterinary school application and future success in veterinary medicine.
Students can choose different paths to dentistry school, but must be mindful of the core requirements for competitive applications, preparing for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), gaining appropriate experiences in the field and completing their respective majors. While it is possible for a pre-veterinary medicine student to do virtually any academic major, it is imperative for all students to work closely with both academic and health professions advisors to ensure completion of all requirements for professional schools and for their undergraduate degree. Most often, a student on a pre-veterinary medicine track will choose a science major such as Biology, Biochemistry or Neuroscience since the curricula include most, if not all, required and recommended courses. Students will typically apply to a college of veterinary medicine between their junior and senior years, allowing for a direct transition following graduation, but some wait until after they graduate to apply in order to further their education and gain more relevant experience.
The academic and extracurricular experience at Westminster College, ranging from coursework to on- and off-campus service and experiential activities to international study and/or travel, contribute strongly to the appeal of the well-trained and well-rounded individuals who graduate from our school.
Core Requirements for Veterinary School generally are:
Additional course requirements may vary from one professional program to another, so it is the responsibility of the student to be aware of specifics regarding their schools of interest. Good planning and working closely with academic and health professions advisors are essential to maximize chances of success in the highly competitive veterinary school application environment.
A sample schedule for a biology major preparing to take the GRE exam between their junior and senior year and matriculating to veterinary school following graduation is below.
With the exception of the core requirements and courses strongly recommended ahead of the GRE exam, there is curricular flexibility within any chosen major and among the elective courses that are part of the liberal arts curriculum at Westminster College. It is, however, strongly suggested that students take both courses in Anatomy & Physiology (BIO 335/336) in order to be prepared for the veterinary school curriculum. Students planning to study abroad for a semester must also plan accordingly to meet all requirements and timelines. It is also advisable for students to budget time during the spring semester of their junior year to prepare for the GRE exam that will test knowledge in Biology, Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry as well as Reading Comprehension, Perceptual Ability and Quantitative Reasoning.