So, you want to be an veterinarian?

Veterinarians tend to enjoy working with animals, people, and science.

While animals are the patients, the owners are great sources of information and require a good connection with their veterinarian.

Veterinarians give to patients through a caring and empathetic personality, as well as education and knowledge of all types of animals.

To become a vet, one must graduate from veterinary school.

Key Points

  • "Pre-Vet" is not a major. Major in any area of personal interest to obtain a degree in.
  • Being "pre-Vet" is an interest in addition to your major.
  • Veterinary Medical schools accept a variety of majors. You can major in whatever you are interested in as long as you complete the requirements.

Programs and Requirements

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, DVM

The DVM is 4 year professional degree. Students must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE).

Schools in Alabama

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine - Auburn, AL

Recommended Course & GPA Requirements

To be a competitive student, we recommend a 3.5+ cumulative GPA.

Pre-requisites of the below courses are enforced.

Schools look for these classes:
Hours NeededCourse NeededWhat to Take at UAH
8 hrs (w/lab) General Biology BYS 119 & BYS 120
8 hrs (w/lab) General Chemistry CH 121/125 & CH 123/126
6 hrs (w/lab) Organic Chemistry CH 331/335 & CH 332/336
8 hrs (w/lab) General Physics PH (101&102) or (111/114 & 112/115)
3 hrs Biochemistry BYS 361
3 hrs Cell Biology BYS 300
3 hrs Animal Nutrition Course not offered at UAH, can be taken online from Oklahoma State
6 hrs Electives Choose from:
  General Microbiology I BYS 321/321L
  Genetics BYS 219
  Immunology BYS 430
Courses positively adding to your application:
CourseWhat to Take at UAH
Anatomy & Physiology I & II BYS 313 & 314
General Microbiology I BYS 321/321L
Vertebrate Zoology BYS 317
Genetics BYS 219
Calculus MA 171
Statistics MA 281

Upper level science courses illustrate an interest in science and provide an in depth look into such subjects.

The above courses support required and suggested coursework for Alabama schools. The combination of courses are guidelines and specific requirements may differ amongst schools.


The GRE is a standardized, computer-based exam, testing on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

  • Verbal: Evaluation of written work, analysis of information obtained, and relationships among words and concepts.
  • Quantitative: Measures problem-solving skills; focuses on arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.
  • Writing: Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills; Ability to articulate and support complex ideas effectively.

Testing Centers

The GRE can be registered for through their list of testing centers and taken at a nearby testing centers in Huntsville. The GRE is offered multiple times of year. Register for the GRE test here.


The strongest way to increase your score is to take practice tests. In between each test, assess strengths and weaknesses, focus on improving weaknesses, and re-assess with another practice test. Many of the GRE Prep books and verbal flashcards on the most commonly used words on the exam may also be of assistance. Visit the GRE website for recommendations on preparation.

Timing and Organization

Take the exam after preparing. Most people do so around the Spring semester of the year they are planning to apply to professional school. Schedule a one-on-one advising appointment with the Pre-Health Advisor to discuss timeline of the exam with the application process.

Many programs have "rolling admission" deadlines; meaning seats at their school begin to be filled as soon as their application cycle opens. It becomes crucial to apply early.

Outside Class It's More Than Just Grades


What are you truly passionate about? What motivates you to make a difference in the world? This passion could be turned into a project, which showcases your characteristics as a person.

Health Care Experiences

What better way to make sure you want to be in healthcare than by shadowing? Gain experiences in a variety of settings and gain possible references. Consistent and committed shadowing will go a long way in not only making you a mature applicant, but making sure others see you as prepared.

Community Service and Volunteering

Working in healthcare means having a heart of service. This means wanting to give back to the community (in both health related and non-health related ways). Find something enjoyable and go forth! Spend dedicated and committed time in service areas. 

Keeping a Journal

Keep a journal and use it to record thoughts on your experiences. Activities come to life with reflection. Topics to consider writing about may include: Why one chose their profession, shadowing, or volunteering. This journal will be very helpful when it comes to writing your personal statement.


Research experience can provide you with the opportunity to work with faculty, learn skills beyond the classroom, use research methods, and engage in critical analysis. Research allows a better understanding between theory and practice using innovative and creative thinking.

Getting into professional school is not about accomplishing the perfect checklist. It's about truly desiring to be a better person and better future healthcare professional. It's a complex process and we're here to help!