Mythbusting Admission to the University of Wisconsin Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students in the classroom
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students in the classroom
Prospective students looking to join the UW School of Veterinary Medicine’s next cohort of exceptional veterinary medical students can find important information about the admissions process, costs of attendance, financial aid, student resources and other details on our website and through the Office of Academic Affairs.

With dreams riding on admission to veterinary medical school, the last thing an aspiring veterinarian wants is to be confused by the process.

Applicants and their advisors or mentors often have questions regarding admission to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and we have answers.

First and foremost, says Jenna Henshue, admissions director for the SVM, a prospective student’s options are open when it comes to their undergraduate institution and major.

“There is definitely no preference or priority issued to one institution over another or to any one major with respect to admission to the SVM,” she says, noting that students can choose from a wide range of majors as long as the required coursework is completed.

A bachelor’s degree is not required for admission to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the SVM, however the majority of students admitted have a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have completed a minimum total of 60 semester credits of college coursework and are required to take the GRE General Test.

“If you can complete the prerequisites in three years of undergraduate study prior to earning your degree, that is an option,” says Henshue. Conversely, Hensue has sometimes been asked if more time spent in college preparation – such as a fifth year of undergraduate study – is better. She notes that she can think of only a few instances, for example if a student needs to significantly overhaul their grade point average, where this might be advisable.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student with dog
Applicants are encouraged to have 400 to 500 hours of diverse veterinary medical experience when applying for admission to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine.

With regard to experience with animals and veterinary medicine, prospective students are encouraged to pursue a variety of activities in many areas of the profession, but no specific minimum number of hours is required for admission to the SVM.

“Wisconsin does not have a published observation hour requirement,” says Henshue. “In advising meetings, I encourage applicants to have 400 to 500 hours of diverse veterinary medical experience when applying. Applicants who are at or above this number tend to be most competitive.”

Likewise, a formal internship or internship credit in veterinary medicine is not needed. Experience can be obtained through volunteerism, observation or work. Somewhat related, study abroad experience is not required of applicants.

What then, collectively, is considered in the application process? Each applicant is evaluated on the basis of their academic record, as well as non-academic components. Academic factors considered in the evaluation process are cumulative grade point average (GPA) up to the first undergraduate degree, GPA for required courses, GPA for the 30 most recent semester credits completed and GRE General Test scores.

Non-academic factors considered in the evaluation process include experience working with veterinarians, animals and other work experience; extracurricular activities; awards and honors; letters of recommendation; diversity of background, interests and experiences; leadership experience and potential; maturity; and written statements of professional and personal goals. Read more about admission requirements and selection.

For high school students considering application to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, the SVM Office of Academic Affairs is available to provide career and academic advising by phone or in-person. The office can also assist prospective students in planning the necessary college coursework prior to registering for classes as college freshman. To schedule an appointment, call 608-263-2525 or write to

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