Health Professions Advising

Leslie Bell
Interim Health Professions Advisor

Veterinary Medicine

Recent Hamilton students who have applied to veterinary medical school have had excellent success in the admission process, primarily because vet students tend to be highly committed, independent and well organized. Although they ordinarily apply broadly, in recent years Hamilton graduates have most often enrolled at Cornell, University of Pennsylvania and Tufts. Because there are only 28 accredited vet schools in the United States and Canada, and because many schools restrict the number of out-of-state students they will admit, admission to vet school is highly competitive.   Since the academic preparation required is not uniform for all schools, students preparing for the veterinary profession are encouraged to plan their program of study carefully and to use every summer vacation and January break to gain clinical experience. 

The consistent prerequisites for veterinary medical school include:

  • Two English/writing/comparative literature courses
  • Two semesters of Biology
  • Four semesters of Chemistry (including Organic I and II)
  • Two semesters of Physics
  • Two semesters of mathematics (we suggest Calculus I or II and Statistics)

Additional requirements may include:

  • Biochemistry (required by Cornell and Tufts)
  • Microbiology (required by Cornell and many other schools)
  • Genetics  (required by Tufts and several other schools)
  • Public speaking (required by Iowa State, Kansas State)

Careful planning will allow students to major in any discipline they choose, study abroad, and complete the requirements for veterinary school in time to apply in the fall of the senior year.

The GRE (Graduate Record Exam), the entrance test required for admission to veterinary school, should be taken no later than September 15 of the application year. The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) application is due online on October 1. 

The VMCAS application allows candidates to apply to all accredited veterinary schools in the United States and Canada, as well as to seven international schools, on one common application.

(Recent Hamilton graduates have discovered a wonderful opportunities in Canada; one graduate enrolled at Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada and another at Guelph University in Toronto.)

Students interested in veterinary medicine should meet with Leslie Bell early in their careers to draw up an individualized plan to complete all the required classes and establish a portfolio of clinical experience that includes small, large, and exotic animals, and to explore appropriate research experiences.

Extensive information, including the requirements for each US and Canadian veterinary school, is available from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.