Vet School Requirements Guelph

Last Updated on March 10, 2023 by

Do you love animals so much that you’re considering a career as a Veterinarian? The University of Guelph could be the school for you!

Ranked 7th in the world, 3rd in North America, and 1st in Canada, The University of Guelph offers a promising degree program: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). The OVC is accredited by the Canadian and American Veterinary Medical Association and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons of Britain. You can take it during both the Fall and Winter semesters, and it usually takes about four years to complete. But once you’ve got your D.V.M, you’re (almost) ready to practice veterinary medicine! To make it official, you’ll need to complete The North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). 

How do I become a Veternarian in Canada?

Veterinarians are doctors of animal health, which means you’ll have to undergo lots of rigorous training before you start practicing! The work can range from inspection, care, and treatment of livestock to household pets. All Veterinarians have to complete at least six years of university training and hold a license to provide both medical and surgical care.

We know that sifting through admission requirements can feel like a daunting and overwhelming experience. So, we’re here to breakdown the selection process and curriculum to make sure you’ve got everything you need to succeed.

How do I get into the D.V.M program?

The selection process for undergraduate applicants in Canada involves both academic and non-academic requirements. Prior to applying to the D.V.M. program, you’ll need to complete at least two years of an undergraduate degree including eight compulsory courses with a minimum 75% to be considered. 

Prerequisite Courses

  • 2 Biological Sciences 
  • 1 Cell Biology 
  • Genetics 
  • Biochemistry 
  • Statistics 
  • 2 Humanities/social sciences 

To boost your odds of being selected, you’ll probably want to provide a log of hours you’ve worked (either voluntary or paid) in placements such as clinics, laboratories, animal shelters, or other related settings where you’re under the supervision of a veterinarian. You’ll need to provide three referee assessments; two references must be from the licensed veterinarians that oversaw your direct animal experience. Keep in mind that your references should be individuals who know you in a professional and supervisory context, and can speak to your experience.

The final step in the selection process is an interview. The OVC admissions committee reviews and selects the top applicants. If you are selected, they will invite you to a formal interview before admission decisions are made. 

What does the curriculum look like?

Each year, you’ll complete a combination of theoretical courses and practical learning. Academics are broken up into three specific streams each year: Professional Values Stream, Fundamentals Stream, and Experiential/Clinical Stream. 

During your third year of the program, you’ll also complete a fourth stream of study where you can pick and choose various elective courses to broaden your learning. The final year of the program is largely spent gaining practical experience by completing rotations through different hospital services. You’ll be asked to do a Veterinary Externship where you must choose one of the following areas of expertise: Equine, Food Animal, Rural Community Practice, or Small Animal. Throughout your placement, you’ll be immersed in each phase of the animal’s care, from admission, to discharge and follow-up. 

Academic requirements

1) High School

In high school, choose the academic stream and take all the science, math and English prerequisites necessary.

2) College or University

  • To be considered for the DVM program, applicants must have completed a minimum of four full-time semesters (e.g. 10.00 credits at the University of Guelph) in an undergraduate bachelor’s degree program, as well as eight prerequisite courses.  This may be done at any accredited College or University and in any major of interest. Courses do not need to be completed in a specialized college or faculty, or in a designated Pre-Veterinary program.
  • All prerequisite courses must be completed by August 31 (for international applicants), and December 31 (for Canadian applicants), of the year prior to anticipated entry.  Applicants must present a prerequisite average of 75% or higher as well as an average of 75% or higher in the last two full-time semesters in order to be considered for admission. Complete at least two years (4 semesters) of full time studies of a Bachelor’s degree program. Full time is a minimum of five one-semester courses, for example 2.5 credits at the University of Guelph  or 15 credit hours at a US school. The prerequisite courses listed below must all be taken in a full-time semester.

Full-time Study Requirement

As a professional degree, the DVM program is a rigorous program with intense curricular demands.  Applicants need to demonstrate their capacity for high academic performance prior to applying to the DVM program, including strong performance in eight prerequisite courses completed during full-time study.

What is a full-time semester?

  • The definition of a full-time course load varies among institutions. However, for DVM admission purposes, a full-time semester is defined as a minimum of 2.50 credits. This is typically five courses at 0.50 credits each per semester. Note: For universities that use a 3.00/6.00 credit system, students must have a minimum total of 15.00 credits per semester in order to be considered full-time.
  • A course that runs the full year will have the credit weight divided equally and half applied to each of the two semesters in which the course is taken.
  • Field courses with a component completed outside of the regular semester schedule do not count towards the total credit weight of a semester.

Prerequisite Courses: 

All applicants must present eight (8) prerequisite courses as outlined below:

Biological Sciences1.00 credit (two semester courses or one full-year course, with recommended emphasis on Animal Biology)
Cell Biology0.50 credit (one semester course)
Genetics0.50 credit (one semester course)
Biochemistry0.50 credit (one semester course)
Statistics0.50 credit (one semester course)
Humanities or Social Sciences1.00* credit (two semester courses or one full-year course)* Students entering the D.V.M. Program should be able to operate across discipline boundaries recognizing the relevance of the humanities and the social sciences to their career choice. In selecting these courses from among those acceptable, the prospective veterinary student should consider topics such as ethics, logic, critical thinking, determinants of human behaviour and human social interaction.
  • Prerequisite courses can be presented from any full-time, acceptable semester.
  • Applicants will indicate which courses they choose to put forward as prerequisites when completing their Background Information Form (BIF) or VMCAS application.
  • Review the list of University of Guelph courses acceptable as prerequisites. Potential prerequisite courses offered at universities other than the University of Guelph should be submitted for approval before the course is taken.  

Required courses must be completed by the following dates in the year prior to anticipated entry:

  • Domestic undergraduate and graduate cohorts: December 31st
  • International cohort : August 31st
  • Courses will not be acceptable if they are repeats of previously passed courses.
  • Courses completed during professional programs and technical/certificate/diploma programs are not acceptable.
  • Courses may not fulfill multiple prerequisites. Each course can only be presented once.
  • All prerequisites must have a numerical or letter grade reported on the institution’s official transcript. Pass/Fail and Credit/No-Credit courses will not be used for admission purposes.

Acceptable Course Criteria

It is each applicant’s responsibility to ensure prerequisites are completed in acceptable full-time semesters and courses are completed at the appropriate level, as outlined below:

  • Students must consult their institution’s academic calendar when planning courses, paying particular attention to course sequencing prerequisites, anti-requisites, exclusions, and restrictions as noted in course descriptions.  Where registration rules are not followed, the entire semester is unacceptable. Examples: Successfully completing a course and taking a recommended prerequisite for said course in a later semester. Successfully completing a course and taking a listed restriction/anti-requisite/exclusion for said course in a later semester.
  • Repeating any previously passed course makes the semester in which the repeat is completed unacceptable. 
  • A person’s semester level is determined by the number of credits that have been earned plus those that are in progress. Once a person has reached twenty half-year courses (e.g. 10.00 credits at the University of Guelph), they are considered a third-year student.
  • Once students have reached third-year standing, a minimum of 60% of the credits in each semester must be completed at the senior level (e.g. third-year and above).            
  • A limit of one undergraduate course per semester is allowed during full-time graduate studies.

No course work from an unacceptable semester will be considered for DVM admission.  

Note: Courses taken during the Winter 2020 semester were uniquely impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • Winter 2020 will be considered a full-time semester for application to the DVM program, so long as it contains a minimum of 2.5 credits or 15 credits hours and has numerical or alpha grades in a minimum of 1.5 credits or 9 credit hours (e.g. ‘pass’ grades in a maximum of 1.0 credits or 6 credit hours will be acceptable).
  • Winter 2020 will be considered one of the last 2 full-time semesters so long as it is a full-time (minimum 2.5 credits or 15 credit hours) acceptable semester and has numerical or alpha grades in a minimum of 1.5 credits or 9 credit hours (e.g. ‘pass’ grades in a maximum of 1.0 credit or 6 credit hours will be acceptable).  Any course(s) presented as a ‘pass’ grade will be excluded from the calculation of the cumulative admission average. Similarly, any ‘pass’ course credits completed as part of a graduate program from the Winter 2020 semester will be excluded from the cumulative graduate program admission average.
  • Courses with a final grade of ‘pass’ cannot be presented as prerequisites (e.g. courses presented as prerequisites must have a numerical or alpha grade).

Course Evaluation Requests

Course evaluation requests are a complimentary service provided by Admission Services.  Course evaluation requests allow prospective applicants who did not attend the University of Guelph to confirm whether their proposed prerequisites are acceptable for DVM admission.

This service is not for University of Guelph courses.

Course evaluation requests are reviewed three times per calendar year:

  • January (deadline for submission is December 15th)
  • June (deadline for submission is May 15th)
  • September (deadline for submission is August 15th)


All course evaluation requests must include the following:

  • Proposed prerequisite(s) – a maximum of three courses per prerequisite may be submitted per course evaluation request.
  • One document that clearly outlines what courses are being presented as prerequisite options. Please include: institution, course codes, course titles, course descriptions, pre/anti-requisites, and any additional notes listed in the institution’s academic calendar.   See the suggested template for guidance.
  • The most current course outline/syllabus available for each course being submitted.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. Note: Individuals attending institutions that report courses by year (e.g. Trent, York, Brock, Nipissing and Laurentian) must also include a breakdown of which courses were taken in each semester.


  • Save all documents as PDFs and submit as a single zip file to attach to the email.
  • Please use the following naming system for files:


  • Email course evaluation requests to [email protected]
  • E-mail subject line: Course  Evaluation Request – Applicant’s Name

Requests containing all required information will be reviewed, and a reply will be returned no later than the end of the course evaluation month requested. Missing documentation will delay a reply/decision.

Course evaluation requests received after the due date will be reviewed at the next course evaluation period.

Any additional questions pertaining to admission requirements should be sent in a separate email to [email protected]

NOTE: We cannot accommodate specific deadlines (e.g., application deadlines, course registration, etc). Applicants should plan to submit a course evaluation request well in advance.


The DVM Admission Committee will consider appeals from individuals who have experienced extenuating circumstances and factors beyond their control, that have impacted eligibility of one or more semesters.

If you wish to seek approval to present coursework from an unacceptable semester (e.g. previously completed or planned semesters), you may submit an appeal to the DVM Admissions Sub-Committee.

Appeals are reviewed three times each year:

  • August (deadline for submission is July 1)
  • November (deadline for submission is October 1)
  • March (deadline for submission is February 1)

Note: All decisions will apply to the next year’s admissions cycle.


All appeals must include the following:

1) Appeals Form

2) Personal letter

  • The request must be clearly stated and specific to the semester(s) included in the request.
  • Grounds for the request must be explained (e.g., medical, family, personal challenges, extenuating circumstances).
  • Requests for permission to complete pre-requisites during part-time studies must include an outline of proposed semesters.
  • Requests related to full-time employment obligations must include an overview of work commitments and hours.  Working a minimum of 30 hours per week is considered full-time employment.

3) Supporting Documentation

  • All requests must be supported by documentation. All documentation must be independent and verifiable, and must be specific to the semester(s) included in the request. Employment letters must include the dates and average number of hours worked.

4) Unofficial Transcripts

  • All requests must include unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.


  • Save all documents as PDFs and submit as a single zip file attached to the email.
  • Please use the following naming system for file:




  • All requests must be submitted to Admission Services at [email protected].
  • E-mail subject line: Appeal – Applicant’s Name
  • Appeals should be addressed to: Chair, OVC-DVM Admissions Sub-Committee

Applicants will be notified via email of the decision pertaining to their request once the DVM Admissions Sub-Committee has reviewed the request.  Please note that submitting an appeal in no way guarantees that the request will be approved. 


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