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Pre-Veterinary Medicine Curriculum


SDSU has an excellent pre-veterinary medicine curriculum that allows students to meet the basic science & other course requirements for application to Colleges of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) throughout the nation. SDSU also has the advantage of having departments that offer many complementary courses that can enhance your opportunity for acceptance into a CVM. Examples of such courses include: animal nutrition, feed technology, livestock reproduction, pathogenic microbiology, virology, immunology, production courses (both animal and dairy science), anatomy and physiology of animals, and animal diseases and their control.

The pre-veterinary medicine curriculum requires roughly 2 years (60 plus credit hours) of your undergraduate time. Most of the required and recommended classes are also included in related academic majors. Since the pre-veterinary program is not an academic degree, students are encouraged to work concurrently toward a specific B.S. degree during their pre-veterinary program. At SDSU, examples of B.S. degrees in related fields include: Biology, Microbiology, Wildlife & Fisheries, Animal Science, and Dairy and Food Science. Students also may major in unrelated fields such as journalism, music, etc. (A degree in an unrelated field will require more coursework.) The Veterinary Science department updates recommendations for pre-veterinary course requirements annually. Course requirements for academic degree programs elsewhere on the SDSU campus may be found at each department's website or in the SDSU General Catalog.

Once students have completed most or all course prerequisites, they may then apply to one or more CVMs, typically in the fall of their junior or senior year. Other requirements for application include sitting for the GRE standardized examination and completion of the national online CVM application, called the Veterinary Medical College Application (VMCAS). In many instances, students have to apply for CVM admission in multiple years before acceptance. Admission to colleges of veterinary medicine is very competitive and selective. Scholastic performance in pre-professional courses, standardized test scores, animal experiences, and extracurricular activities are used in the selection of candidates. A solid foundation in the sciences is basic to success in veterinary medicine, and scholastic achievement is used as a measure of this foundation.

South Dakota residents are granted reciprocity by the State of Minnesota and our students are placed in their "in-state pool" when applying to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. The Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine provides at least six slots for South Dakota students and the top six students (based on Iowa State's applicant ranking at the time of admission) qualify for tuition assistance through a contract with the State of South Dakota. Students selected for these slots pay the equivalent to Iowa in-state tuition, but are then obligated to return to practice in South Dakota for one year for each year they receive the assistance.


 2018-19 SDSU Pre Veterinary Curriculum guide 


Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Program Contact/Coordinator
David Knudsen, Professor
Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences
Animal Disease Research 1121, Box 2175

Pre-Professional Interest Area Information
The SDSU Pre-Veterinary Medicine program combines academic preparation, professional veterinary advising, and opportunities for gaining practical experience.  Each Pre-Veterinary student in the program is assigned an advisor who is a veterinarian from the SDSU Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences. Along with academic advising, this veterinary advisor will assist the student in the planning and preparation of an effective veterinary college application. The Pre-Veterinary Medicine program  does not offer an academic degree within the program. While in the program, students also pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related field. In addition to veterinary advising from the Pre-Veterinary Medicine program, the student is also assigned an advisor in the home department for their selected major.

Admission to colleges of veterinary medicine (CVM) is both competitive and selective. A solid foundation in the sciences is basic to success in the veterinary profession, as are less tangible skills gained during Pre-Veterinary Medicine preparation, such as effective leadership and teamwork skills, time management, and priority setting. Scholastic performance in science prerequisite coursework, scores on aptitude tests such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and achievement in campus and community activities are all used in the selection process for admission to a CVM. During the Pre-Veterinary preparatory period, animal health and veterinary experiences are important to the Pre-Veterinary Medicine student and highly valued by CVM admission committees.   This experience can be gained by volunteering or working at veterinary practices throughout the region, or through available part-time employment at the SDSU Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory or elsewhere on campus.

SDSU also offers an academic Animal Health Minor designed to benefit Pre-Veterinary Medicine program students by encouraging them to complete electives in biomedical sciences and infectious disease while here at SDSU. These courses foreshadow much of the professional curriculum at any CVM. By making at least some areas of study easier at the professional school level, the student’s eventual success in that curriculum, and as veterinarians, can be enhanced.

Possible Majors

  • Animal Science

  • Biology

  • Biotechnology

  • Dairy Production

  • Microbiology

  • Wildlife and Fisheries

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Suggested Coursework



Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Written Communication and Oral Communication: Credits: 9

  • Humanities and Social Sciences: Credits: 9 (including courses from three of the following disciplines: Anthropology, Art, Drama, Economics, Geography, History, Literature, Music History, Music Theory, Philosophy, Psychology, or Sociology)
    NOTE: music performance or foreign language credits are generally not accepted for CVM admission.