Getting an Undergraduate Degree in Geography, but *Hopefully* Want to Become a Veterinarian

Sep 8, 2017
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I decided late in my college career that I want to become a Veterinarian. It's always been in the back of my mind to pursue a degree in Veterinary Science, but I'm already a second semester Junior in college with an almost completed Geography Degree. I've been looking into the pre-requisites for multiple DVM Programs, but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to complete 2 years of Organic Chemistry or 2 years of Bio-Chemistry on time before I graduate. I've already taken Stats during my Sophomore year for my Geography Degree, but most of the courses I've taken thus far have been Social Science based. I'm just starting beginner level Bio and Chem classes.

All I'm asking is for some advice as I go forward in my possible future career!

Thanks!
 

Lupin21

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I decided late in my college career that I want to become a Veterinarian. It's always been in the back of my mind to pursue a degree in Veterinary Science, but I'm already a second semester Junior in college with an almost completed Geography Degree. I've been looking into the pre-requisites for multiple DVM Programs, but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to complete 2 years of Organic Chemistry or 2 years of Bio-Chemistry on time before I graduate. I've already taken Stats during my Sophomore year for my Geography Degree, but most of the courses I've taken thus far have been Social Science based. I'm just starting beginner level Bio and Chem classes.

All I'm asking is for some advice as I go forward in my possible future career!

Thanks!
You should start by searching for previous threads about this topic. The search bar is in the upper right corner. I imagine most your questions will be answered via previous posters asking the same thing. :)
 

LyraGardenia

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I decided late in my college career that I want to become a Veterinarian. It's always been in the back of my mind to pursue a degree in Veterinary Science, but I'm already a second semester Junior in college with an almost completed Geography Degree. I've been looking into the pre-requisites for multiple DVM Programs, but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to complete 2 years of Organic Chemistry or 2 years of Bio-Chemistry on time before I graduate. I've already taken Stats during my Sophomore year for my Geography Degree, but most of the courses I've taken thus far have been Social Science based. I'm just starting beginner level Bio and Chem classes.

All I'm asking is for some advice as I go forward in my possible future career!

Thanks!
Two YEARS of organic or biochem sounds excessive, most schools just want two semesters. But there are plenty of people who decide later on that they want to go to vet school, and there's no harm in taking an extra year or two to finish undergrad (other than the cost, of course). Do you have any experience shadowing or working with a veterinarian? If not, I highly recommend getting on that ASAP. Not only will you need at least a few hundred hours of veterinary experience in order to be accepted to vet school, but I wouldn't recommend completely changing your plans around without having a true idea of what the profession is like.
 
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periwinkle1612

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I decided late in my college career that I want to become a Veterinarian. It's always been in the back of my mind to pursue a degree in Veterinary Science, but I'm already a second semester Junior in college with an almost completed Geography Degree. I've been looking into the pre-requisites for multiple DVM Programs, but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to complete 2 years of Organic Chemistry or 2 years of Bio-Chemistry on time before I graduate. I've already taken Stats during my Sophomore year for my Geography Degree, but most of the courses I've taken thus far have been Social Science based. I'm just starting beginner level Bio and Chem classes.

All I'm asking is for some advice as I go forward in my possible future career!

Thanks!

As people have stated, there is no way around taking the prereqs..so unfortunately you may have to take those as a post-bacc. Look into all the prereqs that each college requires though because not all are the same, so you may be able to limit the number of courses you take by focusing in on a couple schools. Hands on vet experience will also be key, so try to get a job as a vet assistant or shadowing.

I will say though--if you have GIS experience with your geography degree, definitely play that up!! Have you thought about doing research and gaining more skills in GIS? Theres a lot of work being done surrounding emerging infectious/zoonotic disease modeling as well as disaster and outbreak preparedness within veterinary medicine that uses GIS. It's a really great skillset to have and will look good not only as you apply to vet school, but also if you're going for specific types of jobs in vet med outside of practice such as in government or academia. This may be an alternative too if you decide to no apply to vet school. A lot of public health agencies (such as USDA Veterinary Services) hire GIS specialists who are still working on public health/veterinary issues.
 

ResoluteMike

Iowa State c/o 2021
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Look around too a bit on where you take your classes. I was able to take Organic 1 and 2 over a single summer. Depending on the school some will take a single semester of biochemistry. Biochemistry of Metabolism vs Biochemistry 1 and 2 for chem majors.
 
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SkiOtter

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As people have stated, there is no way around taking the prereqs..so unfortunately you may have to take those as a post-bacc. Look into all the prereqs that each college requires though because not all are the same, so you may be able to limit the number of courses you take by focusing in on a couple schools. Hands on vet experience will also be key, so try to get a job as a vet assistant or shadowing.

I will say though--if you have GIS experience with your geography degree, definitely play that up!! Have you thought about doing research and gaining more skills in GIS? Theres a lot of work being done surrounding emerging infectious/zoonotic disease modeling as well as disaster and outbreak preparedness within veterinary medicine that uses GIS. It's a really great skillset to have and will look good not only as you apply to vet school, but also if you're going for specific types of jobs in vet med outside of practice such as in government or academia. This may be an alternative too if you decide to no apply to vet school. A lot of public health agencies (such as USDA Veterinary Services) hire GIS specialists who are still working on public health/veterinary issues.
@vetmedhead weren't you doing something GIS-related this summer(?) or were talking about it for class?
 

vetmedhead

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@vetmedhead weren't you doing something GIS-related this summer(?) or were talking about it for class?
Lol I did do GIS work this summer. I was working on making maps showing us where the most of our zoonoses-infected animals were being picked up in the city and crossreferencing it to SES/average income/etc of residents, rabies vaccination rates of animals, and number of reported bite cases per capita in the same areas to come up with areas we should target for a mobile veterinary unit we wanted to start as part of our shelter's community outreach activities.

I was also working on a separate project with some researchers from Texas A&M specifically looking at sarcoptic mange cases, although I had broadened my data search a bit into a general overview of dermatitis cases in our shelter populations over time to see if there were any interesting findings (mostly our pit bull type dogs had a lot of demodicosis for some reason, like statistically significantly more? No idea why lol)
 

britzen

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If you are smart about how you make your schedule, you should be able to finish all of the pre-reqs in 3-4 semesters, and you should definitely be in a position to apply to vet schools next fall. I have a BA in a totally unrelated humanities based subject and came back this year to do a post-baccalaureate certificate. I actually just started taking pre-req classes in January 2017 and had enough done to apply to most programs for this admissions cycle. I'll have finished all of my pre-reqs in a year and a half starting completely from scratch, and you have about the same amount of time left before you graduate. You should definitely be able to make it happen!

The chem sequence is the slowest to complete, but I did/am doing Chem I (Spring 2017), Chem II (Summer 2017), Orgo I (Fall 2017), Orgo II and BioChem (Spring 2018). If you already started this Fall its definitely possible to be done with all of the chemistry you need in 1.5 years (Fall - Gen Chem I, Spring Gen Chem II, Summer - Orgo I & Orgo II, Fall 2018 - Biochem).

In any case, if you want to do it, just make it happen! It may delay your ability to get your geography degree by a semester depending how many requirements you have left for it, but you can always prioritize vet pre-reqs this year to make sure you are ready to apply next fall and then keep working on your geography degree next year.
 
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