Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
The conventional wisdom — especially among the veterinary set — would have you believe that it’s tougher to get into veterinary school than medical school. But inquiring minds want to know: Does it really take more mojo to make it into a veterinary doctorate program?
I feel compelled to offer you a two-part answer: Yes, of course, it’s harder! Yet, all things being equal, not really.
Let me explain.
No professional program demands more of its prospective students. Consider the requirements that I’ve roughly outlined below, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They vary a bit from school to school, so it’s tough to be perfectly precise.
All veterinary schools require between 45 and 90 semester hours of undergraduate credits for application. For medical schools, 40 to 60 hours seems pretty standard.
Pre-veterinary coursework is fundamentally identical to medical school requirements, including general biology, genetics, cell biology, microbiology, calculus, organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, biochemistry and a mix of basic humanities courses. Depending on the program, prospective veterinarians are also tasked with coursework that includes animal biology, animal nutrition, food animal science, vertebrate embryology, zoology and physiology.
While medical schools require only the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), veterinary schools are all over the map on this. About 78 percent require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), 15 percent require the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT) and 7 percent accept the MCAT.
All veterinary programs require a certain number of direct-contact work hours with animals in a veterinary practice or a zoological, food animal or laboratory-based capacity. Many require hundreds of hours of experience before an applicant can qualify. By contrast, there's no such stipulation in human medicine, although it is undeniably and terrifically advantageous for applicants to offer similar credentials.
But here’s the thing: The acceptance statistics for medical school programs are impressive. According to U.S. News and World Report, only 9 percent of medical school applicants were accepted in 2010.
So how does that compare with the acceptance rate for veterinarians? There are 28 veterinary schools in the United States, and I was able to find 2010 acceptance rates for about 10 programs. Among them, the acceptance rates range from 6.8 percent to 34.9 percent, leaving me with the impression that the admissions rate is, on average, higher (and less competitive) for veterinary programs compared with medical programs.
So are pre-med students in a tougher spot, based on these stats alone? Do they have a steeper slope to climb?
Well, it’s complicated. But I dipped my toe, so I might as well swim.
The age-old argument between vet school and med school is a specious one. It’s an apples to oranges comparison given that there’s precious little overlap between students who choose the veterinary path versus the medical path. After all, it’s an odd bird who gets caught up in both snares.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Researchers have finally determined
what killed Knut, the world-famous polar
bear who suddenly died at age 4.
Looking for a canine who won’t leave a
trail of fur in his wake? We polled 249
experts on which dogs they recommend.
The inspiring new film, based on the true
story of a hoarder’s dog turned therapy
dog, opens nationwide Friday.
It can be hard to resist the wild-looking
Ocicat, with his short, spotted coat,
intelligent mind and playful…
The gentle, affectionate and sociable Selkirk Rex is a good traveler and excellent therapy cat.
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.