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tiny puppy getting examined with stethoscope; pre-veterinary medicine

Medicine Program


chalk drawing of a fish bowl with 3 fish in it and one fish that is jumping out of the bowl; image has a white overlay

Veterinary medicine is the medical science of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in animals.

It broadly encompasses all domesticated and wild animals and the wide range of conditions which can collectively or uniquely affect species. Doctors of veterinary medicine practice internal medicine and surgery. They also work to benefit human health and well-being through the monitoring and control of infectious disease transmitted from animals to humans, maintaining healthy livestock, and mental health by keeping pets healthy and long living. Much like human physicians, most veterinarians choose to specialize in some aspect of veterinary practice.

large dog getting blood taken by veterinarian; pre-veterinary medicine

What Should My Major Be?

Most veterinary profession schools do not require that you study a specific academic major. Many students choose Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry/Molecular Biology because there is significant overlap of major courses and pre-vet prerequisites. However, we recommend that if you have a passion in another area, you can and should major in that area.

male army personnel examining a kitten's eyes; pre-veterinary medicine
cute dog in vet's arms; pre-veterinary medicine

University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Most state veterinary schools give priority to students from their state. Illinois residents commonly apply to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine after having earned a bachelor’s degree. The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine requires a minimum of 8 semester hours of biological sciences with laboratories; 16 semester hours of chemical sciences including biochemistry (a minimum of 3 semester hours of laboratories is required); and 8 semester hours of physics with laboratories. Suggested electives include Anatomy, Physiology, Neurophysiology, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Genetics and Nutrition.

Alternatives to state schools are a few private schools. Please check with the schools you are interested in to find their specific requirements. Competitive applicants will also need a wide variety of experience with both large and small animals as well as experience working for several veterinarians.