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Undergraduate Program

Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program

Veterinary medicine is the profession dedicated to protecting the health of both animals and people through the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of animal disease. Veterinarians are trained at the professional level in medicine and surgical procedures for multiple species over a four year curriculum at a College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Admission to these CVMs is competitive and requires intensive training in both basic and biomedical sciences, and typically takes 3 to 5 years of undergraduate study to complete and become eligible for application to a CVM.

Student with horse

South Dakota does not have a College of Veterinary Medicine. However, SDSU does have a pre-veterinary medicine program in which students complete their prerequisite coursework. This allows SDSU students to apply to any veterinary college in the country. Most of our students apply to regional CVMs, such as Iowa State University or the University of Minnesota. Today in the United States, more than 80,000 veterinarians are professionally active, providing a wide variety of services in private practice, teaching and research, regulatory medicine, public health, military service, private industry, aerospace and many other specialized activities. Tremendous opportunities exist for both men and women in veterinary medicine. Recent workforce studies have indicated that there will be an overall shortage of veterinarians for the foreseeable future, and even greater shortages in some segments of the profession, such as rural and food supply practice.

Students considering careers in veterinary medicine should take their high school's college preparatory courses. Credits should include all available courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Involvement in leadership roles, academic clubs and other extracurricular activities is encouraged. If possible, job shadowing experiences, volunteer work, and part-time employment with a veterinarian, or with other animal health related activities, should be started during your high school years.

For more information, please browse the veterinary medicine curriculum guide!

Career Opportunities

There are over 80,000 veterinarians in the USA. What do Veterinarians do? In short, they protect the health of animals and people. Veterinarians address the health needs of every species of animal and play a critical role in environmental protection, food safety, animal welfare and public health. As a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, there are a variety of ways you can participate in this effort. Everyone is familiar with the hometown veterinarian and what they do at the community level. However, veterinarians are also significantly involved with research and development of both human and animal health products, education, and public service. To learn more, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website and browse the Jobs section.