Preparation as an Undergraduate

Required Courses

The minimum required courses must be completed by the end of the spring semester (spring quarter) of the year for which admission is sought. Students are rarely accepted with only minimum requirements. Grades for required courses must be received by the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Student and Academic Affairs, by July 1.

Selection of Colleges

The Admissions Committee accepts credits and grades from any regionally accredited institution of higher learning recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. To ensure proper counseling and support, it is advised that undergraduate work be completed at an institution with an active pre-veterinary medical club.

Students enrolled in the University of Missouri are not given preference when applying for admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine unless they are participants of the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Scholars or AgScholars programs.

Undergraduate Majors

A student should select an undergraduate major based on their interests and talents.  Since many applicants are not accepted into veterinary medical college, a student should enroll in the school/college offering the degree major selected as a career alternative to veterinary medicine.  There is no preference or consideration given to any particular major as long as the prerequisite courses are successfully completed.

Type and Sequence of Undergraduate Courses

All applicants must complete sixty semester hours, including the required courses shown below in residence at a regionally accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to qualify for admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine. If a grade of D or F is made in a required course, the course must be repeated and a grade of C- or higher earned. Courses taken on the P/F or S/U grading system are not counted for admission.

Note: For Spring and Summer 2020 semester or quarter grades, a Pass or Satisfactory will be accepted as an exception for course pre-requisites requiring a grade of C- or higher.  Pass or satisfactory will not be accepted for any other semester or quarter at this time.

Grades completed during the Spring 2020 semester/quarter, taken as pass/satisfactory or for a grade A-F, will not be calculated into your cumulative GPA or GPA for last three full-time semesters, only toward your course load completed. Exceptions to this rule may be requested.

Only two courses being used to fulfill course pre-requisites may be pending completion in the spring/winter semester prior to matriculation. Final transcripts with grades for all course pre-requisites must be received no later than July 1 of the matriculation year.

Students may use credit by examination to substitute for pre-veterinary requirements only if their institution accepts those credits in lieu of a specific required course. Courses must be listed on a U.S. transcript. College registrar must submit score breakdown to VMCAS to be included with your application.

Course Semester* Credit Hours
Composition or Courses in
Communication Skills such as Speech or Technical Writing
College Algebra or
More Advanced Mathematics
(Requires Organic Chemistry Prerequisite)
Physics (must complete sequence I and II) 5-10
Biological Sciences**
(Example: Genetics, Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology)
Social Science and/or Humanistic Studies
(Example: economics, history, political science, literature, mythology, philosophy, sociology, psychology, foreign language)

* Multiply quarter credits by 0.67 to convert to semester credits.

**Biology Department courses that may be selected from zoology and botany or as required in foundation courses for a biology major. Animal Science courses do not qualify toward the 10 hours necessary in biological sciences except for those that are cross referenced in both departments or an equivalent arrangement as determined by the College of Veterinary Medicine.

NOTE: Whenever there is doubt as to whether a course will fulfill the requirements to apply, the applicant should contact the Admissions Manager, MU College of Veterinary Medicine, as soon as possible.

Elective Courses

The College of Veterinary Medicine faculty strongly encourage applicants to include as many of the following courses as possible among their electives. We have found that anatomy and physiology are especially challenging for students lacking a background in those subjects.

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Animal Reproduction
  • Anatomy
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Physiology
  • Business or Accounting
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Cell Biology
  • Any Biomed 1000-4000 level course at the University of Missouri.

Courses That Are Not Accepted to Meet Intended Requirements

Problems, topics, research, seminars or readings courses are not accepted for admission purposes.

College course credits acquired outside the United States are accepted for admission purposes only if they are credited with grades and semester credit hours on a transcript from a college or university in the United States.

Courses taken to meet requirements for a technical degree, such as vet tech or practical nursing degrees, are included in calculating cumulative GPA, but not when calculating last three semesters GPA or average course load.  In addition, courses taken while enrolled in these restricted technical degree program(s) are not accepted to meet minimum course requirements.

Requirement for Observation of the Profession

Applicants are required to spend a minimum of 40 hours observing one or more veterinarians actively engaged in their normal work environment. Required hours with a veterinary professional (engaged in small or large animal practice, public health, laboratory animal medicine or research) can be obtained while employed, volunteering or observing. Observation must be as a third person, not as a client of the veterinarian. Competitive applicants will have significantly more than the forty required hours.

Personal Attributes and Experience Desired

The Admissions Committee expects applicants to:

a. have experience working with a variety of animal species;
b. be familiar with the veterinary medical profession;
c. be community minded and have demonstrated leadership abilities;
d. be an effective communicator;
e. have developed time and stress management skills;
f. be sincerely motivated; and
g. have realistically evaluated their plans for financing their education since demands of the professional curriculum usually preclude part-time employment during school sessions.

Shortages of veterinarians are not evenly distributed within the profession. However, the Committee does not select students by the type of work they say they wish to do as veterinarians. Interests of students frequently change during their four years of professional studies.

Approximately 90 percent of accepted students have completed degrees. No preference is shown for applicants with undergraduate or graduate degrees.