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Frequently Asked Questions

In order to apply to your program, what information am I to send to the school directly and to whom do I send it?

  • The GRE scores are to be submitted directly to Purdue University. Please use GRAD code 1631.  Scores will be transmitted electronically to our institution.

Does Purdue have a supplemental application in addition to the VMCAS application?

  • No. All necessary application material will be submitted through VMCAS.

What are the deadlines to submit my application and supporting documentation?

  • The VMCAS final application deadline is September 15.  The application service will not be available to applicants to apply after this deadline date.
  • All supporting documentation (GRE scores) must be submitted by September 15.

When should I take the GRE?

  • Test scores from the GRE must be submitted by September 15.

I have already taken the GRE once. Should I retake it since I did not score well on the test?

  • It is your choice whether to retake the GRE and attempt to improve your scores.  Our policy is that if you take the test more than once, all scores that you send to Purdue will be averaged.  Past experience would indicate that most applicants do not significantly improve their scores on the retake.

I am already enrolled in an international veterinary medical program. (This includes all non-US institutions.) Am I eligible to apply through VMCAS for admission to your school as a first year student?

  • No.  You already have a position in a veterinary medical program of study.  You would be a potential transfer student.  Our policy for transfer admission can be found on our website.  Our regular admissions process only considers applicants who would be first-time attendees in a veterinary medical program.

Are international students eligible to apply to the Purdue Veterinary Medicine DVM program?

  • Yes.  International applicants meet the same requirements as all other applicants with the exception of the standardized test.  If you are from an English speaking country, you will take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).  If you are from a non-English speaking country, you will need to complete the TOEFEL exam and the GRE.
  • Academic transcripts from international schools must be submitted to one of the organizations that evaluate international transcripts for equivalency.  Information on these organizations can be found in the information for the VMCAS application.

I am a non-traditional student. What procedure do I follow to apply?

  • Non-traditional applicants meet the same requirements as all other applicants.

I already hold an advanced degree. Will you waive the course requirements that I may not have completed?

  • No.  The required coursework is designed to bring all applicants to a baseline point to begin the evaluation process.  The admissions committee will then look at other factors of the applicant’s background.

Do the prerequisite courses apply to me now that I have a degree or have been out in the work force for a few years?

  • Yes.  All applicants must complete the prerequisite course requirements regardless.  These courses bring all applicants to a baseline level from which the Admissions Committee’s evaluation process begins.

How do I know if courses I completed at my campus meet the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine course requirements?

  • The course descriptions posted on our website are provided as guides for you and your academic advisor to determine which courses on your home campus most closely match our course descriptions.

What if the credit hours for courses on my campus do not match?

  • Credit hours for courses will vary from campus to campus.  Focus on whether you need only a one semester stand alone course or a two semester course sequence to meet the intent of our requirement.  Keep in mind that it is impossible for us to be familiar with courses on the hundreds of campuses around the country.  Your on-campus advisor is your best resource.

My basic biology sequence included genetics. Do I have to take a separate genetics course?

  • Yes.  You cannot double count a course to meet two different requirements.  A course devoted to the study of genetics will be more in-depth than a general biology course would include.

My campus offers a human nutrition course but no animal nutrition course. Can I substitute human nutrition for this requirement?

  • No.  The nutrition course must be animal-based.

How do I meet the animal nutrition requirement if my campus does not offer such a course?

  • There are a handful of Colleges that offer an online Animal Nutrition course that will meet this requirement.  The Animal Science Department here at Purdue University offers this web-based course for students to meet the requirement.  Contact Dr. Dale Forsyth at 765-494-4808 or dforsyth@purdue.edu to enroll in this course.

My campus does not offer a speech course. How can I meet this requirement?

  • If you hold or will hold a bachelor’s degree at the time of your entrance into Vet School, we will assume that you have fulfilled your campus’s communication requirement.  If you do not, you will need to complete a communication course as outlined in the course descriptions provided on this website.  If your campus does not offer a course that closely matches our requirement, then you will need to provide official documentation from your campus indicating how you have fulfilled this requirement.

Can I substitute courses (e.g. an animal course for a biology course)?

  • No.  The faculty of our college has approved the courses they believe to be the basic foundation courses needed in order for a student to be successful in our curriculum. 
NOTE:  Completion of required courses for one veterinary school/college does not guarantee compliance for another.  You must complete the courses for each veterinary college to which you wish to apply.

My school is on a quarter system. How does that equate to the semester system at Purdue?

  • Three-quarters equates to two semesters for our purposes.

How will AP credit count toward my coursework?

  • You may use AP credit to meet required coursework provided that the credit has been posted to a collegiate academic transcript and the subject area is clearly indicated for which credit was granted.

Can I have required coursework in progress when I apply to your program?

  • Yes.  You may have the last of your required coursework in progress when you apply.  In other words, your required coursework must be completed by the end of the spring semester prior to fall matriculation.  Courses may not be taken during the summer.  Our Admissions Committee has determined that summer session is too late for course completion and receipt of summer grades for finalization of admission for fall semester.
  • In addition you need to report on the VMCAS application in the appropriate section, and on the PVM Course Verification Form,  the courses you have in progress for fall semester and those you plan to complete during the spring semester.  This section needs to be completed thoroughly in order to avoid having a required course marked as deficient.

I have finished all my required coursework. Are there any other courses that I should consider?

  • Yes.  There is a list of recommended courses outlined on the website along with the required course listing and descriptions.

How do I establish residency to be considered in the in-state applicant pool?

  • The State of Indiana allows Purdue University the authority to determine residency status for the purpose of charging tuition and fees.  Establishing residency for this purpose is very difficult to accomplish and involves the predominant purpose for which you came to Indiana.  If your predominant purpose for coming to Indiana is education, then residency will probably not be granted; however; there are exceptions.  More detailed information can be found on the Registrar’s website.

Is there an absolute minimum amount of veterinary, animal and research experience required for applicants?

  • No.  We are seeking students from a wide variety of backgrounds and with interests in a diverse range of veterinary careers including private practice, academic, government, industry and research.  Your focus should be on the quality of the experience; not quantity.

What are some examples that would meet the animal experience requirement?

  • Animal experience can include work on a livestock farm, with a humane society, zoo or kennel, showing animals as 4-H projects, wildlife rehabilitation, and working with animals in other kinds of competitions or businesses.  Personal pets are not included.

What are some examples that would meet the veterinary experience requirement?

  • Veterinary experience is experience gained while working directly with a veterinarian.  This can range from on the job shadowing to working with a veterinarian as an assistant.

If I receive a "C" grade in a required course, is it worthwhile to retake the course?

  • A "C" grade is not a bad grade.  If you do retake the course, the two grades will be averaged which makes the net effect minimal.  You must retake a required course if you received a ‘D’ grade or below because you have not completed the course with an acceptable grade as defined by our Admissions Committee.

If I receive a poor grade in any course during my undergraduate career and retake it, will the poor grade be dropped from my grade point index?

  • No.  Your cumulative grade point index for our program is calculated using all grades received in your courses.

Since your program requires a minimum of 18 credit hours of rigorous courses each semester, what kind of undergraduate credit hour load should I be taking?

  • It is best if you carry a full-time undergraduate credit hour load i.e. 15-16 credit hours.  This will help you develop the time management and organizational skills and the successful study skills needed to be successful in our program.

What is the average starting salary for 2012 graduates from Purdue Veterinary Medicine and national from all Veterinary Colleges?

  • The average starting salary for the DVM Class of 2012 was $65,000.  The national average for that same time as $65,000.

What is the average debt load for students graduating from Purdue Veterinary Medicine as compared to the national debt average?

  • The average debt load for students who graduated in 2012 from Purdue Veterinary Medicine was $128,600.  The national debt average for that same time was $151,600.

What is tracking and when does it start?

Tracking is a characteristic of our curriculum that gives students the option of focusing their studies in the latter part of the curriculum on a particular group of species to gain more in-depth training.  Students who do not want to focus their studies can pursue the Mixed Animal Track which is the traditional broad-based approach.  All Purdue DVM students receive a broad education that will prepare them for careers in diverse fields of veterinary medicine. 

The first two and a half years of our DVM program provide a broad education in the basic and clinical sciences for the major domestic species (dogs, cats, horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs).  During semester 5, all students take core courses covering the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in these major species.  That same semester each student must select a track which will help them in choosing elective courses for semester 6 and will determine their required and elective courses in the fourth year.  There are seven tracks:  1) equine; 2) food animal; 3) small animal; 4) companion animal (equine and small animal); 5) large animal (equine and food animal); 6) mixed animal (all species); 7) non-practice (preparation for careers in research or industry).  Tracking allows students to obtain more in-depth training for the species with which they expect to work when they graduate.  The two most frequently chosen tracks have been small animal (35-45% of each class) and mixed animal (35-40% of each class). 

Because our curriculum provides broad training in the major domestic species, graduates are prepared to change their career direction if they choose.  PVM implemented clinical tracking in 1990 and extended tracking to the third year of the program in 1999 so we have many years of experience with this flexible curriculum. 

Does tracking affect performance on the National Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or the ability to secure a position after graduation?

Historically, our students have performed strongly on the NAVLE examination.  There has been no correlation between performance on the NAVLE and the student’s track.  Student performance on the NAVLE does correlate with class rank with students in the bottom quartile of the class being at greater risk of failure on their first attempt to take the exam.  Purdue students’ ultimate pass rate (percentage of students who have passed the exam by April of their graduation year) over the past 10 years has usually ranged from 97% to 100% with an average of 98.4%. 


Our students’ pass rate has exceeded the national average in most years.

Are live animals used to teach surgical skills?

Yes.  Currently basic surgical skills are taught to all third year DVM students using models, cadavers, and dogs and cats from humane societies that undergo neutering procedures during semester 5 of the curriculum.  Humane society animals that are spayed and castrated are recovered from surgery and returned to the humane society for adoption.  More advanced surgical procedures in small animal are taught during semester 6 electives using cadavers, cadaver parts and a limited number of purpose-bred dogs that are purchased for terminal surgical laboratories.  Beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2014, we will no longer be conducting terminal surgical laboratories in small animals.  These laboratories will be replaced with additional cadaver and humane society neutering laboratories so third year DVM students will still have experience with live animal and recovery surgeries but in the context of neutering procedures. 

Large animal surgery elective laboratories in semester 6 are taught using cadaver parts (e.g. limbs, skulls) and live sheep that are recovered from some procedures and then euthanized after more invasive procedures.  A limited number of horses are used for a terminal surgical laboratory.  There are no plans to eliminate survival or terminal laboratories from large animal surgery courses.

What is the caseload in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital like?

The Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital operates a Large Animal Hospital, Small Animal Hospital, Animal Emergency Service and ambulatory services.  We see primary care cases, as would be seen by your family veterinarian, and referral cases that are sent by other veterinarians in the state and surrounding states for care by board-certified specialists.  We also receive tertiary care cases that are complex cases, often referred by veterinary specialists, requiring the most advanced diagnostics and therapeutics.  Our caseload is diverse and provides a wealth of teaching material for our students.  The annual caseload of the Small Animal Hospital and Animal Emergency Service was 15,631 in 2012-13.  The annual caseload of the Large Animal Hospital was 1,863 in 2012-13.  The large animal in-hospital caseload is supplemented by a rich ambulatory caseload that in 2012-13 consisted of 3,006 calls during  which 22,218 animals were seen.  Last year we launched the Priority for Paws mobile surgical unit which travels to animal shelters to provide neutering services.  The unit is staffed by a veterinarian and veterinary technician who supervise veterinary medical and veterinary technology students as they provide surgical and anesthesia care to the humane society animals.  This is an outstanding learning experience for our students in which they gain extensive practical experience.  The Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory also has a strong caseload with 22,702 accessions in 2013.  

Who are the PVM faculty?

Purdue Veterinary Medicine has 118 faculty members the majority of whom are veterinarians.  The faculty is quite diverse coming from a variety of backgrounds and geographic regions.  We are fortunate to have specialists in most of the clinical disciplines which results in broad case exposure for our students.  The following specialties are represented by our faculty:  anesthesiology, beef cattle practice, behavior, cardiology, dairy cattle practice, clinical pathology, dentistry, dermatology, emergency and critical care, equine practice, internal medicine, laboratory animal medicine, microbiology, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, pathology, radiation oncology, radiology, poultry, preventative medicine, small animal practice, surgery, swine herd health, theriogenology, and toxicology.  Most of our faculty members have teaching responsibilities and are enthusiastic teachers who sincerely care about our students.  Many PVM faculty members hold leadership positions in professional organizations or are involved in international collaborations.  Some faculty members hold joint appointments with other departments on campus or are involved with private industry, all of which contribute to a rich learning environment for our students. 

Does PVM offer dual degree programs?

We offer DVM/MS, DVM/PhD and DVM/MPH programs.  The DVM/MPH program is offered in cooperation with the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.  Students must first be admitted to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and can then apply to the University of Minnesota for the Masters of Public Health program.  The majority of the MPH program consists of online courses and some veterinary school courses can be applied toward this degree.  Students pay resident tuition to the University of Minnesota.

A combined degree program (DVM/MS and DVM/PhD) is offered jointly by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Graduate School.  This program is designed to provide research training to highly qualified and strongly motivated students who wish to pursue academic and research careers in the biomedical sciences.  Students typically are able to meet the requirements of the DVM/MS degree in four to five years and the DVM/PhD degree in six to seven years.  Applicants must be admitted to the Graduate School following acceptance into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.  To be eligible for Graduate School, the veterinary student must hold a baccalaureate degree, or equivalent credits, and possess an outstanding undergraduate record.  Application to the Graduate School must be made through one of the academic departments of the College of Veterinary Medicine (Basic Medical Sciences, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Comparative Pathobiology) or a department in another college.  Subsequent course registration is the responsibility of the student, his/her major professor, and the academic department.

Students have a wide choice of research training opportunities.  Areas of research strength in the PVM include infectious disease and immunology, cancer, neuroscience, tissue engineering and orthopedics and animal welfare and human-animal bond.  Students may also pursue interdisciplinary programs through the School of Biomedical Engineering or other departments.

A research training program is tailored to the background and career goals of the individual student.  Veterinary students typically enter the MS or PhD program during the first two years of the veterinary medical program.  They will select a major professor and an advisory committee.  The student and his/her advisory committee will prepare a plan of study early in the program.  The plan of study can include a maximum of nine credit hours of DVM courses.

Graduate study may be scheduled during the summers after Year 1 and Year 2 of veterinary school.  Students in the DVM/MS or DVM/PhD program may enroll in the non-practice track of the DVM program to enable them to complete some research during the fourth year of the DVM program.  The student will typically complete the research program following receipt of the DVM degree.  Students with prior graduate research training are encouraged to apply to the combined degree program.  They may be able to complete their PhD as they finish their DVM.

For further information regarding the DVM/MS or DVM/PhD program, address inquiries to the PVM Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs.

What are the mean salaries for 2013 graduates?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) surveys graduating veterinary students each year regarding employment statistics and indebtedness and publishes the findings in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Below are the figures that have been reported for the graduates in 2013.

Practice Type

US Graduates

Private Practice


Corporate Practice






Food animal exclusive


Food animal predominant


Mixed animal


Companion animal exclusive


Companion animal predominant





Approximately 30% of graduates pursue internships and other postgraduate training immediately following graduation.  The median salary of AVMA-member veterinarians in private practice in 2012 was approximately $100,000.  Earning potential increases significantly for practice owners and board-certified veterinary specialists.

What is the mean educational debt of 2013 graduates?

Approximately 90% of DVM graduates have educational debt at the time of graduation.  In 2013, the mean educational debt of those US veterinary graduates with debt was $162,113 while that of Purdue veterinary graduates was $141,652.

What are off-campus blocks and who is eligible to take them?

The Off-campus/Adjunct Faculty Block program allows students to individualize and enrich their fourth year education by arranging off-campus experiences that are not available at PVM.  During their third year, students may request to take up to four 3-week elective blocks (depending on their track) with a mentor in an off-campus location.  Up to 60 off-campus or adjunct faculty blocks per class may be approved by the Curriculum Committee if it is determined that each proposed block offers a well-supervised rigorous experience that is not available at Purdue.  The range of experiences includes pet bird/exotic animal practice, zoo animal practice, intensive food animal operations, embryo transfer, and governmental and private pharmaceutical laboratory research.  The student is required to submit a detailed application outlining the proposed experience and its justification.  The mentor of the off-campus block provides a performance appraisal of the student and a grade of Pass or Not Pass is recorded for the block.