Today’s Veterinarian

With a firm basis in the biomedical sciences, the veterinarian of today has an opportunity and obligation to help create and advance the body of medical knowledge that serves society. People have always had a profound interest in maintaining their animals’ health and welfare because of their dependence on animals for food, textiles, companionship, and sport. There are over 86,000 professional veterinarians in the United States today, about three-fourths of whom are engaged in private practice and one-fourth who work in various areas of government and corporate veterinary medicine.

Choosing A Major

The required courses and a proficiency in the sciences are essential to understanding veterinary medicine, but concentration in the sciences is not necessary for admission. Pre-veterinary students most often major in animal and poultry sciences, biochemistry, biological science, dairy science, or fisheries and wildlife sciences. Students who elect majors other than biological sciences or chemistry should include some courses in advanced biology or advanced chemistry in their undergraduate programs. Suggested electives include anatomy, genetics, microbiology, and nutrition.

  • Students in the College of Science can contact:
    Dr. Richard A. Walker, Associate Department Head
    2089 Derring Hall
    phone: (540) 231-6407
  • Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences can contact:
    1060 Litton Reaves Hall
    phone: (540) 231-6503
    e-mail: College of Agriculture and Life

Preparation & Application

Students seeking admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine must show evidence of intellectual ability and achievement, as well as personal preparedness for the program. Prior to entering the college, applicants must have completed 60 semester hours with a 2.8 minimum GPA on a 4.0 scale. Alternatively, students who achieve a GPA of 3.3 over the last two years of college work will be considered to have met the minimum entry requirement. Courses taken during these two years must be at the junior or senior level. Applicants must have taken the general examination of the Graduate Record Examination on or after October 1, 2002.

The following required courses must be completed by the end of the spring term of the year for which the application is being made:

8 semester credits each
Biological science + lab
Organic chemistry + lab
Physics + lab

6 semester credits each
Humanities/social sciences

Students must complete three semester credits of biochemistry before entering the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The majority of students apply during the fall of their junior year in college. It is not necessary to have completed a bachelor’s degree program before applying; however, most students will have completed three or more years at an accredited university by the time of matriculation.

To apply, students must follow the instructions on the current Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine admissions website,, and submit a completed Veterinary Medical Colleges Application Service (VMCAS) application prior to the year they seek admission. For more information, contact: VMRCVM Admissions Office, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061; 540/231-4699.

Admission to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine is awarded on a competitive basis. Applications by individuals from underrepresented groups are actively encouraged.

Career Opportunities

Although the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of animal diseases remains a major emphasis, the educational background of today’s veterinarian provides a perspective in solving medical, agricultural, and ecological problems. The need for veterinarians with specialized knowledge has grown during the past two decades in such areas as:

  • Animal behavior
  • Aquatic medicine
  • Comparative medicine
  • Epidemiology/public health
  • Laboratory animal medicine
  • Legal & environmental medicine
  • Marine biology
  • Nutrition
  • Scientific administration
  • Toxicology
  • Tropical medicine
  • Wildlife management

Note: This is a career path option at Virginia Tech. Undergraduate students will choose a major and receive guidance on the specific requirements of professional schools from an advisor.

For students interested in veterinary medicine, undergraduate study at Virginia Tech provides a solid academic background for graduate or professional school.

Related URLs

  • Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Advice on deciding on the profession, how to prepare, workshops for applicants, and more.