Pre-Veterinary (BS)

Dr. Theresa Schenkel examining a dog's ear

Combine your love of animals and passion for science to create a meaningful career.

Becoming a Vet: Why Study Pre-Veterinary Medicine?

From caring for companion animals — our furry, feathered and scaled family members — to ensuring the country’s food supply is safe, veterinarians play an incredibly important role in society.

Pet ownership has more than doubled since 1988. Advances in veterinary medicine and nutrition, coupled with a bigger focus on preventative care, life expectancy for cats and dogs has risen. The Midwest, particularly, is seeing a shortage of livestock/food-animal veterinarians.

For these reasons and more, demand for veterinarians (DVM) nationwide is expected to increase 16% by 2029, and the need will be even higher in Indiana.

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Career Outlook & Success


national median salary for veterinarians (BLS, 2019)


100 Best Jobs in America (U.S News & World Report, 2020)


expected increase in demand for veterinarians in Indiana through 2029, higher than the national average growth (BLS)

Why USF for Biology Pre-Vet?

Nationally recognized for its high-quality, values-based health professions programs, the University of Saint Francis is an ideal place to begin your journey toward becoming a vet.

USF’s comprehensive, academically rigorous pre-vet curriculum, coupled with practical learning experiences and personalized advising, will equip you for the GREs, MCATs and, ultimately, for admission to a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM).

Research & Real-World Experiences

As a biology/pre-vet major, you will learn by doing through project-based courses, community service and even independent research. In addition to a strong science foundation, becoming a vet requires real-world experience with animals (and their owners!)

Off campus, you will participate in job shadowing and pursue internships at local veterinary practices and hospitals, including Northeast Indiana Veterinary Emergency and Speciality Hospital and Southlane Veterinary Hospital. Biology majors can also prepare for careers with animals through real-world experiences through internships at places such as:

  • Wildlife rehabilitation intern at Conservancy for Southwest Florida
  • Water’s Edge intern at Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium
Dr. Theresa Schenkel examining xray

Expert Faculty & Innovative Facilities

As you take courses across the disciplines, from animal nutrition to vertebrate physiology, you will engage with faculty-scientists and working practitioners with a diverse range of research interests, including:

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Cell biology
  • Community health education
  • Conservation biology
  • Invertebrate ecology
  • Mammalian cell culture
  • Wildlife biology
  • Zoology

Many of our natural and biological sciences faculty have even spent some of their research careers with animals: armadillos, black bear, freshwater mussels and shorebirds to name a few.

USF biology pre-vet majors will build much of their skills and knowledge at Achatz Hall of Science, a state-of-the-art facility with modern learning spaces and cutting-edge laboratories.

Campus & Community Involvement

USF students will find many ways to get involved on campus and in the community. Organizations that might appeal to biology and pre-vet majors include:

  • Pre-Professional Healthcare Honor Society
  • Chemistry Club
  • Eco Club

Additionally, you’ll often find biology and health sciences students, especially on exam-eve, studying together in Achatz’s meeting rooms and collaboration spaces.

Veterinary Jobs & Other Careers Working With Animals

Veterinarians most often work in private or group practice; however, becoming a vet can also lead to careers with animals in settings like:

  • Advocacy/public policy
  • Agriculture
  • Colleges and universities
  • Government agencies
  • Rescues/shelters
  • U.S. Military
  • Zoos and aquariums

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) offers an excellent veterinary jobs resource for students.

A bachelor’s in biology with a pre-vet focus can prepare you for other science- and health-related careers with animals — or people! USF alumni have found roles at:

  • Allen Veterinary Hospital – veterinary assistant
  • ARUP Laboratories – technologist in molecular biology
  • Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo – animal care associate
  • Texas State Aquarium – animal care technician
  • Padre Island National Seashore – biological science technician

Acceptance: Graduate and Professional Programs

Our biology/pre-vet students have been accepted at into doctor of veterinary medicine and Ph.D. programs at institutions such as:

  • Miami University (Ph.D. in ecology, evolutionary and environmental biology)
  • Ohio State UNiversity College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

USF had everything I needed. I knew the faculty, they knew me, and the instruction was one-to-one.

Dr. Theresa Schenkel ’99
Veterinarian and feline advocate, Pine Valley Veterinary Clinic

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Academic Plan

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