Pre-veterinary medicine is a curricular focus for students who plan to enter a veterinary medical school program.
Pre‑Veterinary Medicine at Ship
Though most pre-vet students are science majors (most often in biology or chemistry), a pre‑vet student can major in virtually any discipline. Pre‑vet students are advised by pre‑vet advisors with regard to prerequisite courses required by veterinary medical schools, entrance exam preparation, veterinary school application procedures, and current trends in veterinary school admissions.
Science classes are small at Shippensburg University, usually having no more than 16 students per laboratory section. Seasoned professors, not graduate students, teach lectures and labs. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment is available to students, giving them hands-on experience with current techniques.
Shippensburg has a consistent record of placing qualified students into veterinary school programs. Pre‑vet advisors visit professional programs during the summer months to stay current with admissions procedures and standards. They attend conferences for health professions advisors where they meet colleagues from other universities and share ideas. This ensures our pre‑vet students receive accurate, current and comprehensive information. Pre‑vets are given “mock interviews” prior to the time they apply to veterinary schools. This experience provides the student with interview practice and gives the Health Professions Committee information on the student so a committee letter of reference can be written to support the student’s application.
At this time, Shippensburg University does not have any formal affiliation with a veterinary school. Pre‑vet advisors maintain close relations with admissions personnel at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine through visits to Penn’s campus along with visits by Penn’s Director of Admissions to Shippensburg University. Shippensburg students have been very successful in their admissions to the University of Pennsylvania over the last 20 years. In general, veterinary schools tend to be somewhat regional in their acceptance of students. Approximately 50 percent of the students in the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine are Pennsylvania residents. Tufts University takes 50 percent of their students from Massachusetts, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University takes almost all Maryland and Virginia residents. Programs that place emphasis on large animal husbandry (e.g., Purdue University) tend to be more open in their residency requirements. Students with exceptional credentials can be competitive applicants for many out‑of‑state programs.
Admission and Degree Requirements
The course requirements for admission to veterinary programs vary; however, certain common prerequisites include at least:
- 9 credits of biology
- 8 credits of physics
- 16 credits of chemistry
- 3 credits of calculus
- 6 credits of English
Exact requirements for a specific program are listed in the guide, Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements, held in the Health Sciences Office library in Franklin Science Center. Pre‑vet students are urged to work closely with their advisor, using this reference as a guide, as they make their undergraduate course selections. The biology-health professions curriculum enables the pre-vet student to schedule this course work along with other course requirements for the respective major.
A broad selection of courses is available within the biology and chemistry disciplines, and pre-vet students are encouraged to include some of the following courses among their electives:
- Comparative anatomy
- Animal physiology
- Cell biology
- Pathogenic microbiology
- Animal behavior
- Medicinal chemistry
Non‑science electives often selected by Ship pre-veterinary students include:
- Physiological psychology
- Medical anthropology
Pre‑vets have also taken courses such as animal disease and nutrition at Wilson College in Chambersburg via an agreement between the two institutions.
Competitive pre‑vets almost always have QPA’s of 3.4 or better, performed above average on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and completed internships in veterinary settings. Leadership, community/human service, and a willingness to volunteer contribute to the personal qualities of successful pre-veterinary students. Successful pre-vets plan a strategy early in their college career with regard to course sequences, preparing for and taking the GRE, internship experiences, and application to veterinary schools. They also communicate frequently with their pre‑vet advisor.
This frequently asked question is not something well answered by statistical data. Shippensburg University pre‑vet advisors consider acceptance of our students into professional school programs to be a very individual event, based on the credentials of each student. Qualified students have done extremely well over the last decade in being accepted into a variety of veterinary programs. Some of the schools that Shippensburg pre-vets have entered recently are:
- Colorado State University
- Ohio State University
- Purdue University
- Tufts University
- University of Pennsylvania
Faculty-directed undergraduate research is highly encouraged at Shippensburg. Each year, between 6 and 12 under-graduate science students present the results of their research at regional, state, or national conferences.
Pre-vet students are encouraged to participate in internship experiences within veterinary environments and attend on-campus presentations by veterinarians and veterinary medical school personnel. Practicing professionals and veterinary school admissions personnel are routinely invited to speak to the Health Sciences Club. The diverse health professional interests of Shippensburg University students enables pre-vet students to consider alternatives to veterinary medicine in the event they lose interest in the field or find they are not in a competitive position to make application to veterinary schools.
A number of veterinarians in the Shippensburg area are willing to accept students as interns and provide the students with direct, first‑hand exposure of the veterinary practice. Small animal, large animal, and mixed practices are available to students desiring internship experience.