Becoming a veterinarian is a rewarding career option for animal lovers. This profession puts an individual in direct contact with animals to nurture and care for them. By embarking on the path towards a career in veterinary medicine, you’re making a commitment to offering healthcare services and contributing to the well-being of animals. Aspiring veterinarians undergo rigorous academic coursework and clinical training when studying at veterinary school to prepare them to take on these responsibilities in their career. If you have what it takes to become a veterinarian, then pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program can be your first step.
The veterinary school curriculum is designed to prepare aspiring veterinarians for a lifelong career as veterinarians and future leaders. Students spend almost four years in veterinary school to complete the required coursework and clinical training and earn the DVM degree. Throughout the DVM program, students participate in the dynamic learning environment, which emphasizes clinical communication skills, innovative instructional technology, hands-on experimental learning, and modules that match the contemporary topics and trends of veterinary education.
The veterinary school curriculum focuses on ensuring students develop into competent, caring and conscientious veterinarians with skills to imbibe new knowledge into their practice. As a prospective student of the DVM program, it can be helpful to learn about the veterinary school curriculum. Though every school’s veterinary curriculum is slightly different, here are a few courses every veterinary student can expect to encounter.
Basic Science curriculum in veterinary school
The seven-semester basic science curriculum in the DVM program offers students a strong foundational knowledge in medicine. Here are the topics you can expect in the basic science curriculum of the veterinary school.
The first semester of the DVM program provides the students with a strong grounding in professional knowledge and skills. The curriculum includes veterinary anatomy I, histology and embryology, veterinary immunology, and professional development.
During the second semester, new topics such as veterinary parasitology, veterinary bacteriology, and mycology are introduced. While the knowledge of veterinary anatomy and physiology deepens each semester.
In semester three, veterinary students get introduced to new topics in veterinary medicine. Veterinary pharmacology, pathology, virology, epidemiology/public health, and animal welfare and behavior make up the curriculum for the third semester.
With each passing semester, the curriculum focuses on deepening students’ knowledge of the topics introduced in the initial semesters, while introducing new aspects of veterinary medicine. Similarly, in the fourth semester, students undergo intensive learning in veterinary pharmacology, pathology and clinical pathology, clinical skills, and veterinary ethics and communication.
The curriculum for semester five incorporates veterinary anesthesiology, principles of veterinary surgery, toxicology, diagnostics and imaging, and clinical nutrition. Through lectures and laboratories, students get introduced to the highly technical subjects of veterinary medicine.
This semester, the focus remains on introducing the students to small animal medicine, exotic companion animal medicine, aquatic animal medicine, zoo, wildlife medicine, and veterinary clinical skills.
During the last semester, veterinary students typically investigate concepts relating to diagnosing, treating, and managing varying contagious and non-contagious diseases impacting small companion animals, including oncology, neurology, cardiology, and other conditions.
Clinical rotations in veterinary school
Clinical rotations are an integral element of the veterinary school curriculum. The students in their fourth year undergo clinical rotations where they have direct contact with patients of different species. Through clinical rotations, clinical students will be called to integrate their knowledge gained during the basic science years.
Apart from the veterinary medicine curriculum, the other key areas of focus include professional judgment, problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and teamwork. The veterinary schools’ curriculum prioritizes the holistic development of the future veterinarian.