USU is currently a partner in the Washington–Idaho–Montana–Utah (WIMU) Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine. Our veterinary medicine students spend their first two years in Utah and finish the last two years of their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at Washington State University. Currently, 30 students are admitted to USU’s program each year. With the creation of the USU College of Veterinary Medicine, students will be able to spend all four years in Utah. Eventually, 80 students will be admitted each year, with 40 of those being Utah residents.
Applications will open in 2024 for the fall semester of 2025 and the first class to attend all four years in the USU College of Veterinary Medicine. Until that time, USU continues to participate in the WIMU program.
The new college will accept qualified applicants from any college or university’s undergraduate program, just as USU’s School of Veterinary Medicine does now in the WIMU program. In its 10 years of operation, the program has accepted students who have studied at every higher education institution in Utah as well as many outside the state.
USU plans on offering a non-tracking program meaning that students select elective courses for interest, rather than select a track devoted to a single medical specialty or area of emphasis. The first year of vet school is devoted to learning about normal states of healthy animals while developing technical expertise in diagnostics, anatomy, principles of surgery, nutrition, and Immunology. The second year focuses on diseased states through the study of pathology, toxicology, virology, public health, and epidemiology, while furthering additional technical skills such as clinical communication. There are also electives in research, complementary and alternative medicine, and international veterinary medicine.
Third-year students continue to build a broad base of knowledge and focus on the study of medicine which includes courses in pharmacology, small and large animal medicine and surgery, theriogenology, and nutrition. In their fourth year, students participate in clinical rotations to practice the art and skill of medicine under the guidance of veterinary practitioners.
Even in the first two years, some students know they are interested in a particular specialty, while others take more time to find their interest. To help with that, there are student driven clubs that host activities. Guest practitioners and others are invited to do workshops and presentations on a wide range of topics including emergency care, nutrition, veterinary practice/business management, dentistry, exotic animals, wildlife, and more.
While the program’s requirements have yet to be finalized, they will be very similar to our current requirements as part of the WIMU program, which can be viewed on the website for Washington State University’s veterinary medicine program. The Veterinary Medical Application Service (VMCAS) is the centralized application service for accredited colleges of veterinary medicine. You can learn about becoming a veterinarian and the application process on the AAVMC website. Prospective students can also view the American Veterinary Medical Association’s guide to vet school admittance for tips and advice.
The USU School of Veterinary Medicine website lists courses first- and second-year students currently take at USU and includes a link to the curriculum for third- and fourth-year students at Washington State.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the USU College of Veterinary Medicine needed?
Utah has a robust agricultural sector and beef industry, but it also has 15% fewer veterinarians per person than the national average, placing it 42nd out of 50 in the nation. Even as the rest of the nation faces a shortage of veterinarians, especially for large animals, the demand is even higher in Utah. On top of that, there are only 33 accredited veterinary medical schools in the country.
What makes USU's program different?
The current USU School of Veterinary Medicine already stands out by providing students with hands-on large animal experience from the very start of their education. Facilities like the Animal Science Farm Complex and Caine Dairy Education and Research Center offer opportunities to work with, horses, cattle, goats, and more, while collaborations with Utah veterinarians provide broad and practical small animal experience. USU is also home to the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which serves veterinarians and animal owners throughout the state and provides students with pathology laboratory and research experience.
Will there be a veterinary hospital on campus that treats patients?
Students’ clinical rotations will be performed at veterinary clinics and hospitals throughout the state, and board-certified veterinarians on the college’s faculty will teach and supervise students at those locations. Veterinarians with various medical specialties will also work with students as they treat patients in clinics statewide and at other sites in the region.
How will students be paired with veterinary practices for clinical rotations?
Veterinarians will offer set periods of time where they can host and train USU students depending on the needs and availability of their practices. The university will coordinate with students to ensure educational needs are met, with some clinical rotations likely to be mandatory, while others in medical specialties will be available on an elective basis.
Where will students live during their third and fourth years if they’re working with veterinarians around the state?
The college plans to provide resources for third- and fourth-year students who require temporary housing during clinical rotations. Financial assistance for travel and housing will be provided based on distance from the Logan campus.
How much will the program cost?
Although there are no hard numbers yet, Utah State tuition for the College of Veterinary Medicine is expected to be similar to the current cost of attending the WIMU Regional Program and no more than mid-range compared to other universities. USU is intent on reducing the cost of a veterinary education while still providing a world-class educational experience.
Will scholarships be available to students?
USU aims to provide scholarships based on both need and merit. While it’s too early to offer more details at this time, the university aims to make its financial aid for the veterinary medicine program comparable to established four-year programs.
What is the expected growth of the field in coming years?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinarian jobs are expected to grow by 17% between 2020 and 2030 — well above the average growth rate of 8% for all professions.