Pre-Veterinary Science and Medicine Program

Images relating to veterinary science

Advising Plan for BS in Biology – Pre-Veterinary
What Veterinarians Do?
Job Outlook
Required Courses
Student Stories

Related Links:

Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine
American Veterinary Medicine Association
FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine 
Careers in Veterinary Medicine 

The Preveterinary Science and Medicine Curriculum at Purdue University Calumet included the courses that are required to apply for admission to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree offered by Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.  This program is coordinated with the College of Agriculture Office of Academic Programs in West Lafayette.  The program emphasizes the biological and physical sciences that are foundations for successful study of veterinary medicine.  Also the curriculum includes courses in communication and social sciences.  A minimum of 70 credits with GPA of 3.0 (on 4.0-scale) or above and a competitive GRE score are required to apply for admission.  Admission to the DVM program is highly competitive and the interested students need to consult with the admission requirement of the veterinary school, which they intend to apply.

What Veterinarians Do

Veterinarians care for the health of animals. They diagnose, treat, or research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and animals in zoos, racetracks, and laboratories.  Typical duties are as follows:

  • Examine animals to diagnose their health problems
  • Treat and dress wounds
  • Perform surgery on animals
  • Test for and vaccinate against diseases
  • Operate medical equipment such as x-ray machines
  • Advise animal owners about general care, medical conditions, and treatments
  • Prescribe medication
  • Euthanize animals

Veterinarians in private clinical practices treat the injuries and illnesses of pets and farm animals with a variety of medical equipment, including surgical tools and x-ray machines. They provide treatment for animals that is similar to what a doctor would do to treat humans.

The following are common types of veterinarians:

    • Companion animal veterinarians treat pets and generally work in private clinics. About 77 percent of veterinarians who work in private clinical practice treat pets.
    • Equine veterinarians work with horses. About 6 percent of private practice veterinarians treat horses.
    • Food animal veterinarians work with farm animals such as pigs, cattle, and sheep. About 8 percent of private practice veterinarians treat food animals.
    • Food safety and inspection veterinarians inspect livestock and animal products and enforce government food safety regulations. They check for food purity and sanitation by inspecting food products, animals and carcasses, and slaughtering and processing plants. Others may work along the country’s borders in food safety and security, ensuring abundant and safe food supplies.
    • Research and teaching veterinarians work in laboratories, conducting clinical research on human and animal health problems. Some veterinarians teach at colleges and universities.

How much does a veterinarian earn?

The median annual wage of veterinarians was $82,040 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,910, and the top 10 percent earned more than $145,230.

According to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, average starting salaries for veterinary medical college graduates in 2011 in different private specialties were as follows:

  • Food Animal Exclusive $71,096
  • Companion Animal Exclusive $69,789
  • Companion Animal Predominant $69,654
  • Food Animal Predominant $67,338
  • Mixed Animal $62,655
  • Equine $43,405

The average annual wage for veterinarians in the federal government was $88,340 in May 2010.

Veterinarians often work long hours. Some work nights or weekends, and they may have to respond to emergencies outside of scheduled work hours. About 1 in 4 veterinarians worked more than 50 hours per week in 2010.

Job Outlook

Employment of veterinarians is expected to grow 36 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.  The need for veterinarians will increase to keep up with the demands of a growing pet population. Many people consider their pets to be a part of their family and are willing to pay more for pet care than owners have in the past. Also, veterinary medicine has advanced considerably, and many of the veterinary services offered today are comparable to health care for humans, including cancer treatments and kidney transplants.  There also will be employment growth in fields related to food and animal safety, disease control, and public health. As the population grows, more veterinarians will be needed to inspect the food supply and ensure animal and human health.

Required courses to be qualified for application to the Purdue W. Lafayette DVM program

BIOL 10100/10200    Introductory Biology I & II (8 credits)
BIOL 24400/24401    Genetics and Laboratory (4 credits)
BIOL 31600               Basic Microbiology (or BIOL 22100 Intro Microbiology; 4 credits)
BIOL 33000               Biostatistics (3 credits; or STAT 30100 Statistical Methods)
ANSC 22100              Principles of Animal Nutrition (3 credits)
CHM 11500/11600     General Chemistry I &II (8 credits)
CHM 25500/25501     Organic Chemistry and Laboratory I (4 credits)
CHM 25600/25601     Organic Chemistry and Laboratory II (4 credits)
CHM 33300                Biochemistry (3 credits)
PHYS 22000/22100    General Physics I & II (8 credits)
MA 22300/22400        Introductory Analysis I & II (Calculus; 6 credits)
ENGL 10400/10500   English Composition I & II (6 credits) or
ENGL 10800  Advanced Freshmen Composition (3 credits)
COM 11400                Fundamentals of Speech Communication (3 credits)
HUMANITIES (9 credits; 3 credits in each of foreign languages, cognitive science, and social science)

Student Stories:

Heather McCaslin, graduate of the program says “I feel very prepared for vet school after having completed the pre-vet program at PUC. In order to get the most out of this program, however, it is important be inquisitive and persistent. Deadlines are very important in this program, and at some point, it seems like all of your obligations begin to hit you at once with seemingly no one to turn to for help . Seek out your peers and your mentors because they will serve as your best advisors. Finding fellow pre-vet students will be extremely helpful because you all can collaborate when it comes to picking relevant electives (ie: Anatomy and Physiology, Immunology, Medical Microbiology), and you can verify deadlines throughout the application process. Without the patient advice, recommendations, guidance, and deadline confirmations from a local large animal veterinarian, a current DVM student, fellow pre-vet student, and a select few professors, I do not think I would have been able to complete the arduous VMCAS application process, let alone gain admission to my ‘top picked’ vet school. Your ability to utilize any and all of your resources will determine your success in this program.”