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University Of Wisconsin Vet School Requirements

Last Updated on February 7, 2023 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

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University Of Wisconsin Vet School



The School of Veterinary Medicine offers a four-year professional degree program leading to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. The goal of the professional curriculum is to provide each graduate with a broad veterinary medical education and the skills necessary for the profession. The DVM degree offers graduates professional career  opportunities within private practice, academics, research, industry, the armed forces, government services, and others. The goal of the professional curriculum is met by providing

  • Instruction in the recognition of disease conditions based upon a sound understanding of the normal animal
  • Clinical experience to develop confidence and to prepare for a professional career
  • An understanding of career specialties to assist the graduate in the pursuit of research and/or specialty training in a postgraduate program
  • Opportunities to develop the problem-solving, interviewing, and interpersonal skills necessary to interact effectively with clients and the public
  • Instruction in basic managerial skills necessary to operate an efficient and cost-effective practice
  • The basis for the integration of veterinary medical skills into husbandry and management practices of food animal production
  • Opportunities to understand the relationship of veterinary medicine to public health concerns
  • The recognition of the importance of lifelong learning



High school students considering a career in veterinary medicine are encouraged to complete courses in biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and English composition in preparation for college-level courses required for admission to the professional program. High school grades are not considered in admissions process.

It is important to spend time with animals such as in zoos, shelters, 4-H, FFA clubs or any other activities that will help you learn about animals and the profession of veterinary medicine. We also encourage you to volunteer, observe or work in a veterinary clinic obtaining experiences in many areas of the profession. Keep track of all animal and veterinary medical–related experiences, which will be valuable when applying to the School of Veterinary Medicine.


One major does not have an advantage over another with respect to admission to the SVM. Students can choose from a wide range of majors as long as the required coursework is completed. We suggest that students contact the advising staff at the SVM prior to registering as college freshman for assistance in planning the necessary college course work.

As admission to the DVM program is competitive, students are encouraged to select a major that will provide career alternatives while completing requirements for admission to veterinary medical school.


Applicants for admission to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine must have completed a total of 60 semester credits of college course work.

The 60 credits of necessary college course work include 40-43 credits of required course work* plus a minimum of 17 credits of elective course work left to the student’s discretion. The 17 elective credits allow the student to meet personal and academic goals and objectives (e.g., focus on course work of interest, work toward a chosen major, or broaden one’s education) while preparing for admission to veterinary medical school.

*Students can have up to four outstanding required courses left to take but no more than two outstanding courses can be taken in the spring term prior to enrollment in the program. All required course work must be completed by the end of the spring term prior to enrollment in the program.

Official transcripts for Summer of 2020 and prior must be sent to VMCAS by September 15, 2021. Official Fall 2020 transcripts must be submitted to the School of Veterinary Medicine by January 18, 2022.

All required courses must have a minimum grade of C (2.0) or better to fulfill the requirement. Applicants become ineligible if they receive a grade less than C in a required course.

Courses taken after application will not be used in grade point calculations. Required courses must be taken from an accredited college or university on a graded A-F grading basis.

In the unique circumstance whereby courses can only be taken on a pass/fail basis, the campus must provide an evaluation of courses and a grade conversion. If no conversion is provided, a letter grade of C (2.0) will be assigned to calculate grade point averages.

If you attended an international school that was not part of an Education Abroad program, you must send a course-by-course evaluation report to VMCAS.

Transcripts and evaluation reports for non-U.S. and non-Canadian schools must be sent to VMCAS through World Education Services.


The Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS) Graduate Program offers a path to the MS or PhD degree. To qualify for admission, you must meet the minimum requirements of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School and of the CBMS Graduate Program.

Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Requirements:

  1. Graduate School Requirements: All applicants to CBMS meet (and preferably exceed) the requirements of the UW-Madison Graduate School.
  2. Grade Point Average: Although grade point averages (GPA) of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) meet the requirements of the Graduate School, most applicants accepted into our program have at least a 3.2 GPA.
  3. Graduate Record Examination: GRE Scores are Optional.  If you would like to have your GRE scores considered as part of your application materials, please enter your scores on the Graduate School application and have your official GRE scores sent by ETS to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Use institutional code 1846. No department code is needed.
  4. TOEFL: Students who received their bachelor degree in a non-English speaking institution must provide evidence of English proficiency. Additional details may be found on the Graduate School Admission Requirements page.
  5. Coursework recommendations: To ensure that all students have the background to complete the coursework required for the CBMS Graduate Program, we recommend that you have completed undergraduate coursework in the following three areas:
    • Biology:  Four courses distributed among three of the following areas:  biochemistry or physiological chemistry, genetics, structure and/or function of organisms, and populations or ethology of organisms.
    • Chemistry:  Two semesters of general chemistry including laboratory, plus one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory. The lab may be waived if biochemistry or physiological chemistry has been taken.
    • Mathematics:  Three courses distributed among at least two of the following: physics, statistics, computer science, or calculus, including differential and integral.


  • Complete the online application form from the Graduate School and pay the required fee.
  • Compile the following materials for the Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate  Program:
    • A statement of your personal goals. Please describe both your immediate and long-term professional goals as well as your personal accomplishments thus far in the pursuit of those goals. Also, since the CBMS Graduate Program is strongly oriented toward research, provide details about your research background and interests.
    • Three separate online letters of recommendation are required. Please follow the instructions from the Graduate School. The letters should be written by individuals who can accurately evaluate your potential for graduate study, and should also include current or previous research advisors.
    • GRE scores are optional: If you would like to have your GRE scores considered as part of your application materials, please enter your scores on the Graduate School application and have your official GRE scores sent by ETS to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Use institutional code 1846. No department code is needed.
    • TOEFL scores, if applicable, should be sent to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Use institutional code 1846. No department code is needed.
    • Transcripts: You must upload transcripts to the application site. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) institutions will be required upon acceptance and matriculation. International applicants must also provide official English translations of transcripts as well as proof of degree.
    • CV or resume that lists any academic awards, honors, and scholarships you received as an undergraduate, types and length of research experiences and authorship on any publications or posters and presentations should also be uploaded on the application site.
  • All completed applications will then be reviewed by the CBMS Academic Committee.
  • You will be contacted by the Graduate Coordinator and informed of the Academic Committee’s decision.
  • NOTE: You must choose and be accepted by a major professor in the CBMS Graduate Program before you can be admitted to the program. Please check the areas of research and the faculty trainers web pages for information on the various research areas in our program. Although the Graduate Program Coordinator will assist you in identifying a major professor, we have found that students can be placed more readily if they have contacted the professors themselves.

After you have been accepted by a major professor and have met all the requirements of the University’s Graduate School, you will be officially admitted to the CBMS Graduate Program. A letter notifying you of your official admission will be sent at this time. The majority of our graduate students (both international and domestic) are funded by research assistantships provided by the individual major professors. These students receive an annual stipend as well as health care benefits and paid tuition.

Required Undergraduate Coursework

Courses taken on other campuses to fulfill the above required course work should be equivalent in scope and content to UW–Madison courses.

Decisions on these course equivalencies and satisfactory completion of course requirements rest with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Admissions Committee. Applicants are encouraged to prepare themselves for the DVM curriculum by taking additional upper-level science courses such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, or cell/molecular biology. Applicants can work with the Office of Academic Affairs to determine if courses taken on another campus will meet the academic course requirements for the School of Veterinary Medicine.


The advising staff is available to meet with you by telephone or in person. Call (608) 263-2525 or email them at [email protected].

General Biology OR Zoology

A one-semester introductory animal biology course and a lab. 4-5 semester credits. General biological principles; cell structure and organization, genetics, development and evolution, and structure and function of physiological systems.

Genetics OR Animal Breeding

A one-semester lecture course. 3 semester credits. The principles and application of inheritance including concepts of Mendelian, population, and molecular genetics.

General AND Qualitative Chemistry

A two semester lecture series and a lab. 8 semester credits. The principles and the application of inorganic chemistry that provides preparation for continued study of chemistry.

Organic Chemistry

A one-semester lecture course that has general chemistry as a prerequisite. 3 semester credit. A foundational study of the principles of organic chemistry that satisfies the biochemistry prerequisite.


A one-semester lecture course that has organic chemistry as a prerequisite. 3 semester credits. A study of the principles governing biologically active molecules applicable to molecular biology and modern medicine.

General Physics

A full academic year semester of physics. 6 semester credits (2 semester lecture series or 3 terms at a quarter credit institution). An introduction at the non-calculus level. Principles of mechanics, heat and sound, electricity and magnetism, light, atomic and nuclear physics with applications to a number of different fields.


A one-semester introductory course. 3 semester credits. A foundational study in probability and distributions, sampling inference, hypothesis testing, linear regression, and analysis of variance.

English Composition OR Journalism

6 semester credits. Must include completion of a satisfactory score on a college English placement exam or an introductory English composition course PLUS completion of one of the following: an English composition or Journalism course, graded on the basis of writing skills, or evidence that writing skills were included in the grading of a specific college-level course.

Social Sciences OR Humanities

Any elective courses in social science or humanities. 6 semester credits.

Application Process

We are here for support throughout your application. Please come in and talk with us about your plans to apply! And please ask about our detailed Canvas course on applying! Sign up here.

Application Timeline

Below is a rough timeline for preparing your application.

The year that you apply

Research Schools. For a map of veterinary schools, visit the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). The AAVMC also publishes a Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements book each year.  You can purchase your own copy or visit our office.  For tips on choosing schools, visit our Selecting Schools page.

Make a list of your activities outside of class.

  • Hours, dates, locations, contacts
  • What your role was, what you learned

Identify possible letter writers.

Study for the GRE. Veterinary programs require the GRE.

Write personal statement. For tips on writing your application essay, check out our Personal Statements page.

Request letters of recommendation. Requirements vary by school.  In general, we recommend: one letter from a vet, one letter from a faculty member, and one non-academic letter.  For tips on how to build relationships with faculty, visit our Letters of Recommendation page.

Summer that you apply

Complete the centralized application. Veterinary schools use a centralized application called VMCAS.  The application typically opens in the middle of May.  Many schools review applications on a rolling basis, so it’s best to apply early.  The VMCAS costs $195 for the first program and $100 for each additional school.  The centralized application includes:

Complete school-specific secondary application. Veterinary schools require a secondary application unique to each school.

Interview. Most schools interview applicant finalists.  For help preparing for interviews, visit our Interview Preparation page.


  • January 1 for the following fall or summer semester
  • June 1 for the following spring 

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