General Frequently Asked Questions

What courses are required for pre-veterinary medicine?

A curriculum based on chemistry, biology, physics and liberal arts is required. Pre-veterinary advisors should be contacted for specifics, as they vary from college to college.

What courses should a student take in high school in preparation for studying veterinary medicine?

A good background in biological and physical sciences, mathematics, and English is of utmost importance since both pre-veterinary and veterinary medicine programs are based on these subjects. Furthermore, these subjects should allow students to score well on comprehensive college entrance examinations so they have a better chance of attending their college of choice.

How many years of study are required to complete the pre-veterinary program?

Most successful applicants attain a BS or BA degree prior to entrance to veterinary school. However, a majority of veterinary schools require 75+ credit hours in specific courses.

Once accepted into veterinary school, four years of course work are required to complete DVM degree requirements.

Is an undergraduate degree necessary for admission into veterinary school?

No. However, the majority of people accepted have completed four or more years of college.

In any professional program where the number of applicants exceeds the available seats, it is advisable to choose a degree program to complete concurrently with the pre-veterinary program. It is strongly recommended that a person in pre-veterinary studies select a degree goal early in their college career in a degree of their interest.

Does the undergraduate degree have to be in agriculture?

No. Any degree program that is of interest to the student is fine, as the required pre-vet courses are completed.

Students should choose a degree program about which they are passionate! This area of study should be selected based on future career interests in case the student does not become a veterinarian.  While a majority of UK’s pre-vet students are pursuing science-based degrees (Animal Science, Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology, Equine Science, Biology, etc.), individuals have been accepted into veterinary schools with UK degrees in Music, Business, Finance, Psychology, and History!

Where can a degree in veterinary medicine be obtained?

Under the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Plan, the Commonwealth of Kentucky cooperates with schools of veterinary medicine at Auburn University where Kentucky's quota is 38 entering students each fall and Tuskegee where the quota is two. Both veterinary schools are in Alabama. Legal Kentucky residents pay in-state tuition at Auburn, and a discounted tuition at Tuskegee.

There are currently 33 schools of veterinary medicine in the United States and five in Canada. Other American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited schools are across the globe. 

Can a person apply to more than one school?

Yes, providing that the student has met course requirements for each school. The average overall college GPA for accepted students is 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.

If a person has the minimum required grade point average, is there assurance that the student will be admitted?

No. In fact, because of the keen competition for the available positions, it is recommended that applicants have at least a 3.2 grade point average on all work attempted. Many veterinary schools have required minimum GPA’s which may be different for in-state and out-of-state applicants.

Veterinary schools are also looking for individuals who have an understanding of the profession based on at least 500+ hours of experience working with both small and large animal veterinarians; community service; leadership activities; excellent communication skills; and a strong work ethic!

Who is eligible to apply to Auburn and Tuskegee for Kentucky veterinary contract seats?

Only legal residents of Kentucky (no matter where they attend undergraduate school) who meet the academic requirements may apply under the contractual plans to Auburn and Tuskegee. Legal residency is determined by the Kentucky Council on Post-secondary Education at the time of veterinary school application (a year prior to anticipated entry). Contact your pre-vet advisor for details.

Legal Kentucky residents can also apply to any of the other 31 US veterinary schools as long as they meet the schools’ requirements!

Where have UK students been accepted to veterinary schools?

As of 2022, students have been accepted to 32 of the 33 US veterinary schools as well as AVMA accredited veterinary schools in Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Europe, and the Caribbean!

What are the criteria for selection?

A comprehensive study of an applicant is carried out by the selection committee in determining those who will be accepted. In order for a student to be competitive in gaining admission to a veterinary school it is necessary that a grade point average of 3.2 or higher be maintained on all college work. Courses in physical sciences, biology and mathematics are closely scrutinized by selection committees. A high grade point average is important but not the sole criterion. The student must be mature and able to work with people, as demonstrated by community and leadership activities. Animal and veterinary experience is necessary; large and small animal veterinary experience is highly desirable. In general, applicants must have one letter of recommendation from a veterinarian, one from an academic person, and one from a person of the student's choice.

Are reapplications considered?

Yes. Reapplication exhibits a continuing determination to be a veterinarian. Reapplication does not ensure acceptance, but students have been accepted after applying three consecutive years.

Is financial aid available for students in veterinary medicine?

Yes. All financial aid is administered by the Office of Financial Aid at each of the veterinary schools, with many students attending veterinary school obtaining graduate student loans.

Does Kentucky have a school of veterinary medicine?

No. There are no current plans for the establishment of a veterinary school in Kentucky.

Does UK provide assistance with vet school applications?

Yes! An upperclassman pre-vet advisor will guide students through the VMCAS application process and maintains a separate listserv for each year’s applicants to answer questions.  However, each student is responsible for complying with deadlines and application instructions!

What is the competition for admission to veterinary school?

In general, for contract or in-state applicants there are 3-4 students for every veterinary seat.  For out-of-state applicants, the competition can be 7+ applicants per veterinary seat!

For further information on degrees in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment:

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment,


(Pre-Vet studies is NOT a degree program.)

For further information on AVMA accredited schools: 

For further information on American Veterinary Medical Association: 

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For more information contact:

Ms. Colette Tebeau

Pre-Vet Academic Coordinator


University of Kentucky

Department of Animal and Food Sciences

804 W.P. Garrigus Building

Lexington, KY 40546-0215

Phone: (859) 257-7551