Frequently Asked Questions

Veterinary Medicine

In addition to a sincere concern for animals, an aptitude for science, and good people skills, applicants must have a realistic understanding of the veterinary profession. It is expected that the applicant will have exposure to the profession through experiences with practicing veterinarians and/or veterinary researchers. Exploring the profession through these experiences is the best way to learn and understand what is involved in the veterinary profession and whether veterinary medicine is the right career for you.

The applicant is expected to have at least 200 hours of quality animal, veterinary and/or research experience from which the applicant should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the veterinary profession. The diversity, level of responsibility, and breadth of the experience is considered.   Diverse experiences are encouraged. This could include experiences with companion animal, equine, production animal, research, or zoological veterinary medicine. The goal of veterinary experience is to give the applicant a good understanding of the breadth and depth of the veterinary profession. Partial credit may be given for less than 200 hours of experience.  Pet ownership and educational coursework is not considered under experience.

A four-year undergraduate degree is not required to gain admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Students are eligible to apply once they fulfill the admissions requirements. By applying and being admitted early, a student could save 1-2 years of undergraduate tuition, housing, and other expenses and would be able to start their career sooner. Using this guide students can complete prerequisites in as few as four semesters.

The College of Veterinary Medicine does not determine residency. Residency is determined by the Iowa State University Registrar’s Office. For further information, please visit the residency webpage.

International students may apply and are considered in the non-resident/non-contract pool of applicants. Please see notes for international students.

Undergraduate Education

Undergraduate coursework, including the required pre-veterinary courses, may be taken at any accredited institution. Preference is not given to applicants who have attended Iowa State University.

General descriptions of the required coursework are included on the required undergraduate coursework webpage (Course Requirements). These should be used as guides to determine which courses at your institution will fulfill the requirements. If you have questions concerning a specific course, please e-mail Be sure to include the name of the institution, the course department, number, title and credits.

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Any required course taken as Pass/Fail or similar systems will not fulfill the requirement. Exceptions are made for coursework taken during COVID 19.

A grade of C (2.0) or better is necessary in all required pre-veterinary coursework. A grade of C- (1.67) or lower is not acceptable and will not fulfill the requirement.

No pre-veterinary requirements will be waived. A course taken for a grade or AP credit is required. The exceptions to this are the English composition and oral communication requirements. If you have a bachelor’s degree at the time of application and have met your primary institution’s general education requirements for English composition and oral communication, 3 credits of the English composition and the oral communication requirement will have been met. The primary institution must state that these competencies are goals of their general education curriculum.

AP credit is accepted for required coursework provided the AP credit has been accepted by a college or university for credit towards graduation. This should be clearly marked on the college or university transcript. In addition, a copy of your AP scores is required. This does not need to be an official copy from the college board but can be a photocopy of the results you were sent.

It is expected that pre-veterinary requirements have been taken within the past eight years. However, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. If you have specific questions, please e-mail

To convert quarter credits to semester credits, divide the quarter credits by 1.5. (Example: 10 quarter credits = 10/1.5 = 6.67 semester credits)


The most recent grade for a repeated course is used in calculating the GPA.

Didactic graduate coursework may be used in calculating the last 45 credit GPA.


The VMCAS application will be available early May. The ISU-CVM supplemental application will be available at approximately the same time. Both applications must be completed online.

ISU-CVM requires all applicants to complete an online supplemental application. It will be available in early May.

You may apply while still completing pre-veterinary coursework during the Fall and Spring terms prior to matriculation. You may take no more than two required science courses during the Spring term prior to matriculation. All other required coursework must be completed by the end of the Spring term prior to matriculation. You may not take any required coursework the Summer term prior to matriculation.

Up to six letters of recommendation will be accepted through VMCAS. Applicants are encouraged to ask for four required letters of recommendation in case an evaluator is not able to provide the evaluation by the deadline.


Visit our transcripts page for information on transcripts, including addresses and deadlines.

Please go by the VMCAS rules for submitting foreign transcripts.