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What Do You Consider Necessary Pre-vet Courses?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Haitian Rat, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Haitian Rat

    Haitian Rat

    Dec 13, 2016
    I have a bit of a predicament
    Besides the pre-requisute courses that are required (e.g. biochem, inorganic chem, physics, etc), what would some of you pre-veterinary students consider a must in undergrad when it comes to science courses I can take at my discretion?

    Animal Physiology
    Animal behavior
    Animal nutrition
    Invertebrate studies

    I ask this because I have yet to make a decision on my undergrad colleges due to some of them lacking Animal Physiology, nutrition,and behavior. All of them have microbiological courses, but wouldn't the specific animal courses be much better options?

    Veterinary Graduate goal is Cornell btw.
    Any advice is a welcome at this point. Deposits are due May 1st.:)
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  3. Lab Vet

    Lab Vet NCSU c/o 2018!! 5+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    Do yourself a HUGE favor and take an anatomy course- ANY anatomy course (preferably with a cadaver lab requiring identification of structures), be it human, animal, comparative- or even a vertebrate morphology course. The details aren't important, the approach to learning anatomy is what's key.

    Other musts (aside from gen/organic chem, gen bio, and physics- all necessary; don't discount physics; fluid mechanics are important for CV/respiratory; an appreciation of newtonian forces is helpful for Ortho; Optics will give you a leg up in Ophtho):

    -Physiology; as much as you can; animal/comparative is nice, but human is fine as well for undergrad
    -Microbio; vriology and bacteriology
    -Cell biology

    Would be nice:
    -Nutrition- again, animal is nice, but if human is all you've got- that's ok as well. Better some foundation than none.

    Forget the animal specific courses for now. You want to enter whatever vet school you attend with a rock-solid foundation in core sciences. Animal specific knowledge will come later.
    LyraGardenia and Filly Bay like this.
  4. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2013
    You can take nutrition online at a few different schools if the school you pick doesn't have it. I'd personally pass on behavior since the info covered is so variable and often not necessary the stuff you think about when you think 'animal behavior.'
  5. Filly Bay

    Filly Bay Don't Panic Veterinarian Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2012
    The Barn
    Anatomy and physiology was probably the most helpful. Followed by micro, cell bio and immuno. Doesn't really matter if they are animal specific. My anatomy was human but in lab we had cat cadavers. Cells are cells.
  6. Coquette22

    Coquette22 Shinigami Veterinarian Silver Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    Biochemistry, histology and cell bio were the most helpful to me. I'm sure an embryology course would have helped too (though I shudder at the thought of any more of that course than absolutely necessary). I'll echo the statement that human is fine. A lot of it translates. My human histology course was a huge leg up.
  7. Glammyre

    Glammyre Formerly Zenny Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2014
    Anatomy and physiology were most helpful to me, along with virology.

    I'm curious about the animal nutrition - isn't that required by most veterinary schools anyway?
  8. Trilt

    Trilt love doc + puppy snuggler extraordinaire Veterinarian Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    Honestly... I don't think anything beyond the pre-reqs is "necessary" and would not select a university based on that. I had a humanities second major and most of my higher science courses were things like human-animal interactions, genetics in human affairs, captive and domestic animal management, etc. Things that double dipped requirements for me, and frankly, that I enjoyed more than intense science.

    You gotta be able to get through vet school for sure, but if your goal is gp it's much more about people than nitty gritty science... sure you might have a slightly easier time in some vet school classes if you have more background, but I really think it's minimal. And the load of material is simply so different between undergrad and vet school.
  9. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Plymouth, MN, USA
    Personally, I wouldn't take anything beyond the required pre-reqs. Everything you take adds cost. I don't consider anything additional to be a 'must take' class.

    I agree with other people that certain classes (like anatomy, etc.) could be useful ... but you definitely don't need them.
    SandstormDVM and batsenecal like this.
  10. Baer


    Aug 18, 2016
    I would assume anything close to what you would be taking in vet school would be a huge plus but not 100% required. I've taking vet anatomy with a lab, parasitology, physiology, pathology, and genetics (only a couple schools require it). A lot of schools require upper level science classes and they typically fill that so there is no harm in taking them.

    Nutrition is a bit of a gray area. It would help but there are online options that you could take. My school offers an in class nutrition but it's heavily based on livestock feed so if you're wanting a well rounded nutrition course or something more SA focused, it wouldn't cut it.

    People will say it'll add additional cost but once you're full time your fees almost always cap anyway. Might as well take a class that could help you later if you can handle the class load.

    Animal behavior at my school seemed like it discussed more on things like insect mating behavior than stuff dealing with traditional small animal (cat/dog) behavior. People liked the class but I gave it a hard pass.
  11. Haitian Rat

    Haitian Rat

    Dec 13, 2016
    Thank you so much for all these great tips!
    This has certainly made my pick easier.
  12. batsenecal

    batsenecal U of I c/o 2021 2+ Year Member

    Nov 22, 2013
    Savoy, IL
    Stained glass was absolutely necessary for me. It was a great stress reliever class and got me away from being around the same people all the time.

    Remember to have the for fun classes somewhere in there to help you learn how to handle intense stress. You'll need it in vet school.
    SandstormDVM likes this.
  13. Elkhart

    Elkhart wandering Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2015
    Agreed with LIS, Trilt, and bats. You really don't need to take anything beyond the pre-reqs. It's extra cost and time.

    That said, there are a few classes that might be slightly helpful in giving you some basic familiarity with concepts that you'll have to learn... but the pace in vet school is so much faster and the detail so much deeper for the most part that it may not get you as far as you think. I took what I still consider to be a pretty intense comparative vertebrate anatomy class in undergrad thinking that it might help give me a bit of a leg up come vet school. It didn't. We blew past what I'd learned in that entire class in maybe a month or two. And I'm still floundering in anatomy---I have been all year.

    On the other hand, having a histology class has helped make histophysiology in vet school a little bit more bearable and I find myself not struggling with differentiating structures as much as some of my classmates. Also, according to the professor, apparently a lot of students who go here for undergrad and take animal nutrition get considerably higher exam grades on average in our vet school nutrition class than those of us who didn't have that background. He even made a point to mention to me during last semester at an office visit that because I didn't go to ISU for undergrad and hadn't taken nutrition before, I "shouldn't expect to do as well". It may have just been an offhand, meaningless comment, I don't know, but I guess a few of my classmates have been told similar things by him and a couple other professors, so... :shrug: I passed the class and that's all I really care about.
  14. supershorty

    supershorty Minnesota c/o 2020ish 5+ Year Member

    Jan 14, 2013
    If you're at a university where there's a tuition cap after a certain number of credits, then I'd take physiology for sure. My undergrad phys class really prepared me for vet school phys well (I had a great prof in undergrad).
  15. cdoconn

    cdoconn Hydration Specialist. Pro-Quivering 2+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    You have to take some sort of humanities too right, for the application? I know okstate requires at least... 6 hours of humanities? So don't forget about them! They are fun/ required courses too!
    So I was able to balance out the rougher classes (ochem 1,2&lab, biochem 1,2&lab, physics 1&2) with classes I enjoyed (music courses).

    Check with your school to see that nothing else is required. OkState requires a nutrition course and a lot of schools don't.
    In terms of courses I enjoyed- I really liked the content of my physiology course (didn't really like the professor). I loved my animal nutrition course.

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