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College of Arts and Sciences

Pre-Veterinary

 

Preveterinary Curriculum

The “preveterinary curriculum” is just a list of courses that are required for admission to veterinary school. It is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area. The list of courses we describe here meet the course requirements for many veterinary schools; however, you should consult the specific veterinary schools to which you plan to apply for any variances.

Admission to veterinary schools is not solely determined by prerequisites. Other factors are weighed as well, such as GPA (overall and science specific), Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, evidence of care for people and animals through service and employment experiences, leadership roles, observation and shadowing experiences, and other personal characteristics. Gaining entrance into veterinary school is highly competitive, and students who are accepted usually surpass the minimum requirements.

 

 

What Should I Major In?

Veterinary schools do not require a particular major. Although most preveterinary students choose an academic major in one of the sciences, such as Biological Sciences or the Biochemistry emphasis of Chemistry, other majors are acceptable including those in the humanities, social sciences, or business. Students should select the major in which they feel the most comfortable and in which they would like to work if they are not accepted into veterinary school.

 

Already have a degree?

Some students already have a B.A. or B.S. or above and decide to pursue becoming a veterinarian. It is recommended that such students visit the preprofessional office for additional advisement. It is common for these students to take their missing prerequisite courses for veterinary school here at USM as post-baccalaureate students, work on the other non-course requirements, prepare for and take the GRE, and then apply to veterinary school(s). 

Some students may choose to pursue a second major, while others enroll in prerequisite courses as a non-degree-seeking student. In either case, students must go through the University's Undergraduate Admissions office to be either admitted (new students) or re-admitted (former students) prior to enrollment.

 

 

Veterinary School Possibilities

The only Mississippi College of Veterinary Medicine is located at Mississippi State University in Mississippi State, MS (near Starkville, MS). MSU enrolls about 95 incoming students each year in their DVM program and does not require Mississippi residency for application.

 

Other Schools of Veterinary Medicine in states adjoining Mississippi are:

College/University Location Website
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA lsu.edu/vetmed
Auburn University Auburn, AL vetmed.auburn.edu
Tuskegee University Tuskegee, AL

Other DVM programs can be found listed by state at the American Veterinary Medical Association website.
 

 

Requirements for Applicants

Veterinary schools have relatively similar minimum requirements for admission, typically:

  • completion of a series of specified courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics (BCPM, courses must be for science majors) and English 

  • completion of a baccalaureate degree; although consideration is occasionally given to exceptional students with 79+ credit hours, a baccalaureate degree is strongly preferred

  • a competitive GPA in BCPM courses and overall

  • multiple positive traits, such as honesty, integrity, ethics, compassion, leadership ability, and motivation

  • competitive scores from the nationally administered Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are sometimes required

  • ability to handle full-time study

  • experience working in a veterinary office as well as experience in animal handling (outside of a veterinary office)

  • active participation in community service

 

The following list of Required Courses* meets only the minimum requirements for admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine of the Mississippi State University campus near Starkville. Students must consult the specific admission requirements and application deadlines for the school(s) to which they plan to apply, including UMMC.

  • ENG 101 & 102

  • Speech OR Technical Writing

  • Two MAT courses at or above MAT 101

  • BSC 110/L & 111/L

  • BSC 380

  • CHE 106/L & 107/L

  • CHE 255/L & 256/L

  • CHE 420/L

  • PHY 111/L $ 112/L OR 201/L & 202/L

  • Three to four advanced science electives (12 hours total)

  • Electives in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts (15 hours total)

 

Suggested Course Sequence & Strategies for Success

The suggested course sequence below is merely a guideline for timely completion of MSU's required courses. Courses to fulfill the major must be worked into the student’s schedule.

Students must consult the USM Undergraduate Bulletin, the USM Class Schedule, and their primary academic advisor. It is important to start CHE 106 with lab early in freshman year since the five required chemistry courses and labs CHE 106, 107, 255, 256, and 420 or 421 must be taken in sequential order and should be taken before taking the MCAT at end of junior year. BSC 110 and 111 with labs should also be taken early in a student’s academic career since they are prerequisites to advanced Biological Sciences courses. During the last semester of the Sophomore year, students should develop a more detailed plan for the Junior and Senior years as many upper-level courses are offered only in specific semesters and/or on a rotating two year cycle. 

 

 

Year 1

Fall

Spring

BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a  4h BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a 4h
CHE 106&L  4h CHE 107&L  4h
MAT 101 b  3h MAT 103 b  3h
ENG 101 c   3h ENG 102  3h
Required elective d  3h Required elective d  3h

a   The order in which students take the introductory Biological Sciences (BSC) courses does not matter; 110 covers molecular and cellular topics whereas 111 covers ecology and organisms.

b   Placement in mathematics (MAT) courses depends on the student’s ACT subtest score. Consult the prerequisites for the math course you plan to take. Calculus is required for some majors in the USM College of Arts and Sciences but is not required by most veterinary schools. 

c    Placement in English Composition courses depends on the student’s ACT English subtest score.

  • ACT English subtest score 16 or below:  ENG 99E (Expanded Composition Studio) and ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 17-19:  ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 20 or above:  ENG 101 (Composition 1)

d  Students must take 15 hours of any combination of Humanities, Social/Behavioral Sciences, and Fine Arts (Aesthetic values) courses. However, to fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree from Southern Miss (or from MSU), students should select:

  • one Fine Arts/Aesthetic Values course (ART 130, DAN 130, MUS 365, THE 100)
  • three Humanities courses; take ENG 203 and select two courses from (HIS 101, HIS 102, PHI 151, REL 131), at least one must be a history course
  • two Social and Behavioral Sciences courses; select one course from (ANT 101, SOC 101) and one course from (ECO 101, PS 101, PSY 110)

 

Strategies for Success

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

  • Students should focus on doing well in their academic studies, particularly the required science, behavioral science, and math courses. Students should study for long-term retention of knowledge in preparation for their GRE exam and use in veterinary school.

  • Students should become involved with extracurricular activities, including meaningful community service learning, volunteer activities, and leadership positions that will demonstrate effective interactions with diverse people and effective time management skills. Students should maintain a record of these events for use in the VMCAS application.

  • Students should start getting some hands on exposure to veterinary medicine (sights, sounds, smells, feel). It is important to maintain a record of these experiences, which generally relate to working in veterinary offices. 

  • Students are strongly encouraged to complete the prerequisites for the Hatten Externship (BSC 392) during the first year. The focus of the course is shadowing medical professionals (physicians, dentists, and veterinarians) in practice. The externship is offered in the Fall semester, so students must fulfill the prerequisites for enrolling in the course by the end of the preceding Summer semester. Students may participate in the externship twice. Since students typically apply to veterinary  school at the end of the Junior year, participation in the Externship as Sophomores and Juniors is recommended. Externship prerequisites are ENG 101, 102; BSC 110/L, 111/L; CHE 106/L, 107/L; [MAT 101, 103 OR one Calculus course]. A minimum GPA of 3.2 for USM GPA, degree GPA, and BCPM GPA is required.

  • Students may join AED (Alpha Epsilon Delta), the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society, as associate members at any time even if they do not fulfill the requirements for full membership (must be enrolled at Southern Miss for a minimum of three semesters and meet specific course and GPA requirements). Full members are inducted during the Spring semester. Applications and instructions for membership are available at the preprofessional office.

 

 

Year 2

Fall

Spring

CHE 255&L 4h CHE 256&L  4h

PHY 111&L

 

4h PHY 112&L 4h
[or PHY 201&L 5h] [or PHY 202& 5h]
 BSC 380/L 4h Speech or Technical Writing e  3h
Two required electives d 6h Two required electives (one science) d, f 7h 

e   CMS 111 or ENG 333

 f   Advanced science electives include junior, senior, and graduate level courses in Biochemistry [CHE 420 (1 semester survey) or CHE 421/L, CHE 422/L, CHE 424/L (majors/minors sequence)]; nutrition (NFS 362); Cell Biology (BSC 360); Comparative Anatomy (BSC 361/L); Genetics (BSC 370); Vertebrate Biology (BSC 407);  Comparative Animal Physiology (BSC 450); Histology (BSC 461/L; Embryology (BSC 465/L); Molecular Biology (BSC 476, BSC 478L); Pathogenic Microbiology (BSC 481/L); Immunology (BSC 486/L); parasitology; Analytical Chemistry (CHE 311/L); Calculus [MAT 114 (1 semester survey); MAT 167, MAT 168, MAT 169 (majors/minors sequence); statistics (PSY 360); Physical Chemistry (CHE 461/L, CHE 462/L); differential equations; advanced physics. These advanced science courses can not be used to meet both the basic requirements and the 12 hour advanced science requirements at the same time.

 

Strategies for Success

  • Students should continue to follow strategies from Year 1.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the Hatten Externship (BSC 392), which is offered each Fall. Students may participate in the Externship twice. Since students typically apply to veterinary school at the end of the Junior year, participation in the Externship as Sophomores and Juniors is recommended.

  • Students are typically inducted into AED, the national Health Preprofessional Honor Society, in the Spring semester of the Sophomore year, but may be inducted in Junior or Senior year (must be enrolled at Southern Miss for a minimum of three semesters and meet specific course and GPA requirements).

  • The Application Process may begin this year but this is rare. (See below for application process.) Applications require 79 semester hours of required courses. To do so by the end of the second year, students would have to take some courses during the summer semesters of the first and/or second years. Otherwise, most students continue into the third and fourth year to complete the prerequisites. Most competitive applicants will be receiving their BS or BA before entering veterinary school.

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

 

 

Year 3

Fall

Spring

CHE 420

3h

Advanced science elective f 

3-4h

Advanced science elective f

4h

Courses to fulfill major 12-14h

Courses to fulfill major

8-11h

 

 
 


Strategies for Success
 

  • Students continue to apply strategies from Year 1 and Year 2.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to participate again in the Hatten Externship, which is offered each Fall. Students may participate in the Externship twice. Since students typically apply to veterinary school at the end of the Junior year, participation in the Externship as Sophomores and Juniors is recommended.

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

  • Students shoud begin the veterinary school application process during Junior year when you have completed or have a plan to complete the required courses before entering veterinary school (see below for application process). Most competitive applicants will be receiving their BS or BA before entering veterinary school.

 

Year 4 g

Fall

Spring

Classes to fulfill major, minor

15-18h 

Classes to fulfill major, minor 

15-18h 

 
g If pursuing baccalaureate degree from USM.


Strategies for Success

  • Students should be continuing with the application process and strategies for success from previous years. If the application was not begun in Junior year, applications should begin early senior year for delayed entry.

  • If applying after Sept. 15 in year 4, a "gap" or "glide" year will be necessary due to admissions timelines.

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

 

  

The Application Process

The application process may begin after the sophomore year, but typically begins in the end of the junior year.

  • Students apply through the Veterinary Medicine Colleges Application Service (VMCAS), which typically opens in June with a September 15 deadline. Official transcripts are to be submitted to VMCAS by September 15. 
  • Three evaluation letters are required, and at least one must be from a veterinarian.  These must be submitted to VMCAS by September 15.
  • Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale, both in the overall GPA and in the required sciences and mathematics courses; at no time may these GPA calculations fall below the minimum level. NOTE:  Successful applicants typically have GPAs of about 3.6 or higher.
  • No grade lower than “C” is acceptable in any required course.
  • Non-academic qualities of the student are part the of applicant’s evaluation – such as their personal character, familiarity with the veterinary profession, familiarity with animals, and other demonstrated good characteristics of the applicant.
  • Mississippi State University no longer requires the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) be taken for application to their veterinary medicine school. Many other veterinary schools still require the GRE be taken and scores submitted as part of their application process.

 

The Interview

Students are advised to practice their interview skills BEFORE attending their first interview. For interview preparation at USM you may use the online Perfect InterviewTM resource. You can also sign up for mock interviews through Career Services or the preprofessional office (contact information below).   

 

  

For More Information about a Career in Healthcare, Contact the Preprofessional Office

Dr. Jeffrey Evans 

Preprofessional Advisor 

jeffrey.evansFREEMississippi 

Phone: 601-266-4315 

Office Location: Bobby Chain Technology Center (TEC 100) 

Destiny DeLancey

Preprofessional Advisor

Destiny.reynoldsFREEMississippi

Phone: 601-266-4636

Office Location: Liberal Arts Building (LAB 212A) 

 

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