Pre-Veterinary program

Become a veterinarian.

Veterinarians work in a variety of settings — clinics, zoos, farms, corporate, non-profit, and more — and with a wide range of animals, both domesticated and wild. In addition to an interest in animals, solid performance in science coursework is a requirement. 

Pre-Veterinary is NOT a major at UW-La Crosse. It is a statement of your intention to apply to veterinary schools. You will still need to select a major to complete your undergraduate degree. 

What do veterinarians do?

Veterinarians prevent, diagnosis and treat diseases, and help with disease prevention in animals of all types, from family pets to farm livestock and zoo animals. They also help control zoonotic disease, according to Learn more about becoming a veterinarian.


  • General Biology (BIO 105) 
  • Genetics (BIO 306) 
  • General Chemistry I & II (CHM 103 & CHM 104) 
  • Fundamental Organic Chemistry (CHM 300) or Organic Chemistry Theory I & II (CHM 303 & CHM 304); plus laboratory (CHM 302 or CHM 305)
  • Fundamental Biochemistry (CHM 325or Biochemistry I & II (CHM 417 & CHM 418) 
  • One advanced writing course (ENG 303, ENG 307, ENG 308, ENG 309), in addition to College Writing (ENG 110)  
Math & Statistics
  • College Algebra (MTH 150) required for CHM 103 
  • Elementary Statistics (STAT 145) or Mathematical Models in Biology (MTH 265) 
  • Fundamental Physics I & II (PHY 103 & PHY 104) or General Physics I & II (PHY 203 & PHY 204) 
Additional Recommendations
  • Comparative Animal Physiology (BIO 458) 

Declaring a Pre-Veterinary track will help you determine common requirements for veterinary schools in our region. However, each program's requirements vary. When selecting coursework, it is important to consult the websites of the programs to which you plan to apply.

Many professional schools do not accept prerequisite courses that have been taken online or at non-U.S. institutions; AP, IB, AICE, and community college credit policies vary by school/program.

GPA calculator available at the VMCAS website

For additional questions, reach out to Cord Brundage in the UWL Biology Department.

Grow through experience

Gain broad exposure

Shadow with veterinarians or veterinary scientists, work on a farm, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or participate in on-campus research.

Many aspiring veterinarians may not be aware of the wide range of alternative animal-related careers available. Some career path suggestions include animal rehabilitation, wildlife conservation, government roles with Fish and Wildlife, animal training (which can lead to opportunities in the entertainment industry), pet food, medical, and pharmacy roles, USDA positions, and jobs working with exotic animals. These can be rewarding careers for those passionate about working with animals.

Animal experience

Animal experience (or experience with no veterinarian involved) should not be with family pets, but should instead include experiences like 4-H projects, humane societies, animal shelters, zoos and aquariums, or any other experiences that get you hands-on experience workings with animals. Veterinary Medicine school is highly competitive and often requires students to have documented experience. While students typically need between 300 and 500 hours of relevant experience, accumulating around 1000 hours is recommended to enhance competitiveness. International or study abroad experience is not highly valued by admissions committees for Veterinary Medicine programs unless the student can clearly explain how the skills gained will benefit their career and studies in the U.S.

Veterinary experience

Veterinary experience (experience with a veterinarian Involved) may include any clinical, agribusiness, or other veterinary experiences gained under the direct supervision of a DVM of VMD. These experiences are and should be different from those under animal experience.

Research experience

Animal research is a great place to start but note that research in any field of study can provide a valuable experience and does not need to be limited to animal research. It is important that your research be under the supervision of a person with a DVM, MS or PhD. It is also important that your research experience goes beyond general maintenance tasks (e.g. feeding animals, cleaning cages, etc.). These experiences help students learn to apply the scientific method and develop problem solving and critical analysis skills.

Join the club

Visit the Pre-Veterinary Club's website on MyOrgs to learn more about the advantages of being involved and when they meet. 

Prepare to apply


Most veterinary medicine programs participate in the centralized application system “VMCAS." This is a single online site where you can submit most or all your applications. The admission "cycle" generally starts in January, and applicants should try to submit their applications as soon as possible after that (consult each programs' website to learn their application deadline). The importance of GPA varies from program to program, but a strong GPA is expected. Please view the sample application to get a general overview of the VMCAS application.


Some programs will require you to take the GRE exam. Check with each program to ensure you are aware of the testing requirement for where you are applying.

Selecting programs

To learn about the various programs where you might apply, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Member Map is a good place to start. Always then consult the individual programs' websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Students can select programs in VMCAS starting in May.


The VMCAS quick start guide has a general timeline that students can follow, with each cycle’s application opening in January. Students are encouraged to pay attention to the specific deadlines for each school, and submit applications two months prior to deadlines.