Associate Professor of Biology
Coordinator: Pre-Veterinary Program
Coordinator: Program for Undergraduate Research (PURE)
Coordinator : Tamatha Barbeau, Ph.D.
Welcome to Francis Marion University's Pre-Veterinary Program!
of the pre-requisite coursework you will need to apply to most veterinary
programs in the United States you can complete in your 4-year Biology program
at FMU. If you have just enrolled at FMU and you are considering pursuing
a career in veterinary medicine, please come and introduce yourself and speak
with me. I can help guide you in your coursework and other activities that
will make you a competitive applicant to a veterinary program.
We have a Pre-Vet Club! Make sure and check it out to find out more. We usually meet once a month in each semester, but we have many group activities throughout each month. Come and meet other Pre-Vet students and network!
Click HERE for an FMU advising sheet customized for pre-veterinary biology students. In general, pre-veterinary students register as a Biology major (Bachelor of science) with a Chemistry minor with a focus on pre-veterinary coursework.
General Information on Pre-Vet coursework needed for applying to veterinary school:
General Education Coursework:
You will need to take all of the appropriate General Education courses (in Communications, English, Math, Social Sciences, and Humanities) as well as many science courses (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics). Some veterinary programs might want additional coursework in math (perhaps statistics or even calculus). It all depends on what veterinary program you anticipate applying to, because each vet school has slightly different undergraduate coursework requirements. Click the list of accredited vet schools above for a list of schools, links to their websites, application deadlines, entrance exams, special course requirements, and recommended hours of volunteer experience.
All of these courses required for your Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with Chemistry minor will fulfill prerequisite entrance requirements of most veterinary programs in the United States. You will need to complete introductory Biology courses (Biol 105 & 106) and their accompanying laboratories. You will also take a course in Plant Biology, Ecology, Cell Biology, and Genetics as part of your core Biology coursework. These all fulfill requirements of veterinary programs. You will also take a minimum of two 4-credit hour "Elective Biology" courses to complete your Biology coursework. For pre-veterinary students these biology electives are not clearly outlined in your student catalogue because the electives you need to take will depend on the admissions requirements (or recommendations) of the veterinary programs you intend on applying to. For example, University of Georgia's (UGA) veterinary program requires applicants to have completed Comparative Anatomy and Microbiology for entrance. In rare occasions, some veterinary programs might require courses not offered at FMU. University of Florida's (UF) veterinary program requires animal science and nutrition as electives. North Carolina State University's (NCSU) program requires a course in Nutrition. FMU does not (nor do the majority of undergraduate universities) offer specific courses in Nutrition or Animal Science. NCSU's DVM admissions website has listed 5 Universities that offer an online course in Nutrition that would satisfy their entrance requirements, and UF allows you to take an Animal Science course at UF the summer before admission. So you can see that with each veterinary program having slightly different requirements you must do your homework, with your advisor's help, while you are an undergraduate in order to make sure you complete all of the prerequisite coursework that your schools of choice want to see on your application.
As a pre-veterinary student you will need to take two semesters of Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 101 & 102), Organic Chemistry (Chem 201 & 202) and their accompanying laboratories. Lastly, almost all vet schools now require Biochemistry (Chem 404), which is only a lecture at FMU.
You will be required to take two semesters of Physics (Phys 215 & 216) and their accompanying laboratories to complete your Biology degree at FMU.
Declaring your Minor:
Please make sure that by your sophomore year you have declared your minor to the registrar's office. As a Pre-Vet student you most likely will declare a Chemistry minor because you have taken at least 19 hours of chemistry by the time you complete Biochemistry, and a Minor is 18 hrs in a selected area. However, not all Pre-Vet students are Biology majors. You might decide to take the approach of actually being a Chemistry major, and have Biology as a minor. This has been done before. Please talk to me if you think this is the approach you wish to take. We will need to work together with a Chemistry advisor to make sure you complete requirements for a Chem major, and take the required Biology coursework for the minor AND required for application to the Vet Schools of your choice. Please see the Administrative Assistant in the Biology office (LSF 204) to have this major and minor put into the system, or fill out the appropriate paperwork to do so.
When you become a Senior in Biology:
If you have earned up to 87 credit hours of coursework, and will become a senior Biology major, you NEED TO MAKE SURE to have a coursework review by the registrar's office in order to confirm that you are, in fact, taking the required courses and required number of credit hours in order to graduate on time. You should have a coursework review completed in the first semester of your senior year! There is nothing more upsetting and discouraging than being in your final semester, thinking you're going to be graduating, and finding out last minute that you're missing credit hours. Be responsible and make sure you have double checked everything!
Applying to Vet Schools
You and your advisor should begin talking about what vet schools you're interested in before the end of your Sophomore year. That way you can decide what extra coursework you need for the schools you're interested in. Also, check the list of accredited vet schools link above to find out the application deadlines for schools. Most vet schhools have a deadline in September or October ONE ENTIRE YEAR BEFORE you plan (hope) to enter the veterinary program. This means, for example, if you plan to enter a veterinary program next fall, you need to be preparing your application materials and have them completed (entrance essay, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores) the prior fall semester - and more likely the summer preceding that fall. This means you need to plan ahead!
What you need to apply to vet schools does depend on the vet school you apply to. So you need to scrutinize the entrance and application requirements for those specific schools to make sure you don't miss any details. IN GENERAL, most vet schools require you complete an entrance exam called the Graduate Records Exam (GRE). You will also need letters of recommendation. Do not wait until 2 weeks before the application deadline to request letters! Most people don't like to have only two weeks warning. Give people a good 2 months heads up about writing a letter for you. A letter from a vet you've worked with is viewed highly, and for some schools one letter from a vet is mandatory. You will also need to complete an application form, specific to that program. Most vet schools accept applications, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GRE scores through a centralized application service called the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). See the List of Vet Schools link above for more about VMCAS. Lastly, have you planned for the costs associated with applying to vet schools? It can add up. You have to pay for taking the GRE, having transcripts sent, and for applying to each vet school. Budget ahead of time for this as well.
For further information please contact me! We can discuss these things and more.
Written by Tamatha Barbeau, 2004. This web site is for educational purposes; if you own an image on this site and would like it removed or used with permission, or if you have comments, corrections, or suggestions, please contact me.