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Veterinary school requirements in Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine

Pre-Admission Preparation


red square Academic Preparation


red square Academic Achievement and Aptitude


red square Description of Prerequisite Courses


red square Courses You May Find Helpful


red square Experience Working with Animals


red square Statement of Essential Skills and Abilities


red square Other Achievements





Academic Preparation


Prospective applicants should complete a minimum of 90 semester credits, preferably at an undergraduate institution with a reputation for academic excellence that offers the prerequisite courses as part of an accredited baccalaureate program. 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 in a four-year baccalaureate program.


The following college course requirements are prerequisites for admission 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 pre-requisites, it is expected that a more advanced course in the same subject will be listed with a grade in fulfillment of the requirement.


Subject  Minimum Total Semester Credits Minimum Total Quarter Credits
 English Composition *1 6
(full year with laboratory)
 Inorganic Chemistry (General, full year with laboratory) AP credit acceptable 6 9
Organic Chemistry
(full year with laboratory)
6 9
Biochemistry *2
(upper division) 
4 6

(full year with laboratory) AP credit acceptable



 General Microbiology
(with laboratory)




*1 one-half of this requirement may be satisfied with an oral communication course.
*2 This should be a complete course in general biochemistry.


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.


Cornell's DVM Admissions Formula

25% Overall GPA (all grades from all colleges)
25% GRE (verbal & quantitative only)
5% Quality of Academic Program
20% Animal/Veterinary/Research Experience
   (supported with Letters of Evaluation)
10% Non-Cognitive Skills
10% All Other Achievements & Letters of Evaluation
5% Personal Statement


*research experience may earn additional points in all of the above catagories except for grades and test scores


(No minimum GPA or GRE; highest of multiple GRE scores used; average GPA=3.70, GRE=1350/1600 from Class of 2003)



Academic Achievement and Aptitude

Veterinary medical education requires strong academic abilities, therefore, 55 percent of the total admissions evaluation is given for academic achievement and aptitude.


Cumulative grade point average (GPA) includes all college grades, undergraduate and graduate.


Scores from GRE tests taken more than five years before the application deadline will not be considered. The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6000, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000 (telephone 609/771-7670 for the Princeton office or 510/873-8100 for the California office).


We recommend to all pre-vets to practice for the GRE before taking an official test. The GRE has free practice tests available at Practicing for any test should help reduce test anxiety. The more familiar a test taker is with the test, the less likely the test taker will experience high levels of test anxiety. Cornell also has a policy of using your best test composite scores from multiple tests (even if your best scores in the various sections were not earned on the same test date) to help our applicants feel less anxious about any one test. If you experience test anxiety, you may leave an examine knowing you may return for a new examine without being penalized in Cornell's DVM Admissions selection process.


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 preveterinary course requirements.


Experience Working with Animals and with the Veterinary Profession

Animal, Veterinary, Biomedical Experience


An understanding of the veterinary medical profession and of proper animal care and husbandry are importantconsiderations for admission.  Veterinary medical experience is highly recommended, and the Admissions Committee looks for both breadth and depth.  Non-veterinary animal experience is also valued.  All experiences listed on one’s supplemental application must be supported by a letter of evaluation.  At least one letter should be from a veterinarian who is able to assess your understanding of the profession.


Veterinary Experience:


Experiences in veterinary practice, veterinary or biomedical research, public health, or other areas of the profession under the supervision of a veterinarian or research scientist are highly desirable, and should be listed as Veterinary Experience.  Competitive applicants normally have engaged in two or more areas (small animal, large animal, research, food animal production, exotic, aquatic, wildlife, zoological medicine, etc.) with substantial depth of experience in at least one area.  Successful applicants typically bring 400 or more total hours of veterinary experience.


Animal Experience:


Related animal experiences are also positively considered in the evaluation.  This may include working with livestock, breeding or showing various species, working at a zoo, aquarium or pet shop, or volunteering at an animal shelter.  Time spent performing animal care, such as cleaning stalls or cages in a kennel, veterinary practice, or animal shelter should be listed as Animal Experience.


Other Achievements and Character


The well-rounded candidate demonstrates achievement outside of academic and animal-oriented activities. The Committee values research experience, community involvement and any significant non-academic interests and abilities, as well as desirable personality characteristics of reliability, honesty, and dedication to service. These factors add another 10 percent to the evaluation and are based on the evaluations and essay.

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