* One composition or writing concentrated course required; the other half may be satisfied with an English Literature or Public Speaking course.
** This should be a complete course in general biochemistry.
Prerequisite Course Policies and Forms
Invertebrate Zoology Medical Microbiology
Prospective applicants should complete a minimum of 90 semester credits by the time they enroll into the DVM degree program (a bachelors degree is not required). As the DVM curriculum is rigorous and challenging, preparation at the undergraduate institution with a reputation for academic excellence is preferred. For those who find it necessary to complete some coursework at a two-year college, at least 30 of the 90 credits must be completed at the upper division level at a four-year college or university.
Below find a recommended sequence of prerequisite courses:
English Composition and Literature
Biology(or Zoology) I and II with labs *
General Chemistry I and II with labs *
Organic Chemistry I and II with labs *
General Physics I and II with labs*
Biochemistry (half-year; lab recommended, but not required; 4 semester credits)
Microbiology with lab (half year; 3 semester credits)
* If on the quarter system, you will need 3 quarters to fulfill the full year requirement.
Since we require 16 semester credits of chemistry (general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry), it is important to begin chemistry in your first year of college.
The following college course requirements are prerequisites for admissions to the professional degree program in veterinary medicine and must be taken for a grade (not pass/fail or credit only). We accept AP credit with a grade of 4 or higher for General/Inorganic Chemistry and Physics. If you have AP credit for other prerequisite courses (or score lower than a 4 in Chemistry or Physics), you will need to take more advanced courses in the same subject area with a letter grade to fulfill this requirement.
English Composition & Literature*- Full year; minimum 6 semester credits or 9 quarter credits
Biology - Full year with labs; minimum 6 semester credits or 9 quarter credits
General or Inorganic Chemistry - Full year with labs; minimum 6 semester credits or 9 quarter credits
Organic Chemistry - Full year with labs; minimum 6 semester credits or 9 quarter credits
Biochemistry**- Half year; minimum 4 semester credits or 6 quarter credits; lab not required but recommended
Physics - Full year with labs; minimum 6 semester credits or 9 quarter credits
Microbiology - Half a year with lab; minimum 3 semester credits or 4.5 quarter credits
More detailed information about the prerequisite courses can be found at the links in the right sidebar.
Applicants occasionally have questions about alternative ways to complete certain pre-veterinary course requirements. The Admissions Committee has approved various alternatives to certain required courses. The list of required courses represents minimum requirements; many applicants will have taken more course work in these topics than is minimally required. The Committee recognizes advanced and extra-credit course work in these topics in granting bonus points for quality of academic program.
Cornell prefers prerequisite science courses to be completed in real classroom settings. A few distance education courses are acceptable although laboratories must be completed in a real laboratory, not a virtual laboratory or home lab kit. Since a distance education course may not have a real laboratory associated with it, our two prerequisites that do not require a laboratory (Biochemistry and English Composition and Literature) are good candidates for distance education. If you have questions about completing prerequisites through distance education, please contact: email@example.com
Prerequisite science courses should not be more than 10 years old (if prerequisite credits are more than 10 years old, we recommended that additional science courses be taken before applying). All prerequisite courses must be completed with a letter grade of C- or better (B or better for the Early Acceptance Program). Narrative or Pass/Satisfactory grades are not acceptable. It is possible to have up to twelve credits in progress at the time of application, provided that at least one semester of any two-semester series is underway. All requirements must be completed by the end of spring term of the year of intended matriculation. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to review the content of courses submitted in fulfillment of these requirements to ensure an adequate, current knowledge base.
Your cumulative grade point average (GPA) includes all college grades, undergraduate and graduate. Veterinary medical education requires strong academic abilities; therefore 50% of the total admissions evaluation is given for academic achievement and aptitude. A bonus of up to 5 percent may be awarded by the Admissions Committee for quality of academic program. Factors considered in giving this bonus are: enrolling in a challenging curriculum, carrying a full course load to completion, and exceeding minimum pre-veterinary course requirements.
Additional Courses you may find helpful
There are many undergraduate science courses that could help prepare you for veterinary school. It would not be feasible to take all or even many from the list on the right. We do not require any of these courses, but we encourage you to fit a few of these into your undergraduate program. Which one(s) should you take? The answer to that question depends on your interests, your strengths, your weaknesses and what your college has to offer.