University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine

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Prospective Students

Preparation in Undergraduate College

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. Very few students are accepted with only minimum requirements. Grades for required courses must be received by MU College of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Academic Affairs, by July 1.

Selection of Colleges

The Admissions Committee accepts credit 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 acquired 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 some students 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

Students should be guided by the requirements of their degree majors and our pre-veterinary requirements. Catalogs and bulletins usually provide good direction, particularly with regard to required courses in the major. Students should consult their advisors about supporting courses and electives that will strengthen their majors.

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.

The following courses and credit hours must be taken 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.

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)
(Comprehensive Courses**)
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)
Minimum Total Semester Credit Hours

* Multiply quarter credits by 0.67 to convert to semester credits.
** 5 hours in only the first of a companion series in physics will not suffice.

***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 Advisor, MU College of Veterinary Medicine, as soon as possible.

Elective Courses

The faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine 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
  • Microbiology
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Cell Biology
  • Any Biomed 1000-4000 level course at the University of Missouri.

Courses That Are Not Accepted as Meeting Intended Requirements

Actual course selection should be rigorous and demanding. The student who has difficulty in the professional curriculum is usually one who has never been previously challenged academically. Rudimentary courses in science, usually described as “not for science majors” are unacceptable for the required courses to apply for admission. Animal Science courses do not qualify toward the 10 credit hours necessary in biological sciences except for those which are cross listed in both departments or an equivalent arrangement as determined by the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Problems, topics, research, seminars or readings courses are not accepted for admission purposes. No more than two 100% on-line per academic year may be used to meet requirements in biological sciences, physical sciences, composition or communications or social sciences and/or humanities.

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 on the P/F or S/U grading system are not counted 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.

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. Credit by examination must be given on a U.S. college transcript.

Courses taken to meet requirements for a technical degree such as veterinary technology or practical nursing are included in the cumulative GPA calculations. However, restricted enrollment technical degree courses are not accepted to meet minimum course requirements nor included in the last three semesters’ GPA or average course load.

Time Required in Undergraduate Preparation

Students accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine have usually completed an average of 120 semester hours - 60 hours more than the minimum number required for admission.

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. Observation must be as a third person, not as a client. (i.e., small or large animal practice, public health, laboratory animal medicine or research). The veterinarians observed by the applicant should be among the six invited external reviewers and can not be a relative by birth or marriage.

The Admissions Committee feels that applicants should:

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.

College of Veterinary Medicine
W-203 Veterinary Medicine Building
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-3554
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Last Update: July 17, 2017