Veterinary Food Animal Scholars Track (VetFAST)
Across the nation, a shortage of food animal veterinarians has emerged. Not enough veterinary students are training to work with dairy cows, beef cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, and goats. Rural areas are unable to fill vacant positions or add new staff quickly enough. Positions in the food industry are difficult to fill, and more staff with veterinary training is needed in state and federal agencies to protect the livestock industry from new diseases and help to ensure food safety.
To meet this demand, the University of Minnesota has introduced the Veterinary Food Animal Scholars Program, or VetFAST. VetFAST can allow students to:
- Gain VetFAST program acceptance to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine as early as after two completed semesters of U of M coursework
- Complete both a Bachelor of Science and DVM degrees in seven years rather than eight
- Benefit from mentorships with veterinary faculty and other DVM students
- Pursue summer veterinary and industry work opportunities
- Apply for special VetFAST scholarships
Who is eligible?
Eligible students must be/have/complete:
- Enrolled in one of the following degree programs:
- Experience working, caring for, and/or volunteering with food animals, including dairy cattle, beef cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminants such as sheep and goats, etc.
- Demonstrated a firm commitment to practice food animal medicine upon graduation from the U of M CVM.
- Complete the full VetFAST application. Applications are accepted one time per year and are due by the application deadline during spring semester. Applicants with a strong academic record and extensive food animal related experience will be asked to participate in an admissions interview.
In addition, students must meet the following:
- Completed at least two semesters at full-time attendance with coursework graded A-F, by the end of the spring term in which the application is submitted, while enrolled in an approved VetFAST program at the University of Minnesota.
- Will take at least 8 math and science prerequisite courses at the University of Minnesota.
- Will have at least two additional semesters of enrollment at the University of Minnesota after the VetFAST application is submitted and prior to graduation and/or DVM program start.
- Have not previously received a bachelor's degree
Competitive applicants will possess the following characteristics:
- A University of Minnesota Cumulative GPA of approximately 3.4 or higher
- Maintained full-time college enrollment of at least 12 credits per semester with no lapse in enrollment (summer semester enrollment not required).
- Pursued coursework consistent with admissions requirements for the DVM program, including introductory chemistry, introductory biology, English, algebra, pre-calculus, or calculus, and introductory courses in science including agriculture, biology, and veterinary medicine.
- Demonstrated experience related to food animal medicine. This included experience gained on a farm, participation in 4-H or FFA, or involvement in relevant activities during first and/or second year at the U of M. Demonstrated experience working with, volunteering for, or shadowing a food animal veterinarian.
- Can provide three letters of recommendation. At least one should come from a veterinarian who can speak to the applicant's potential for success within the food animal profession. Other references should be from evaluators who know the applicant from an educational or professional setting.
Applying to VetFAST
COVID-19 Related updates
We understand that COVID-19 has disrupted typical course instruction and delivery across the globe. We are therefore accepting courses with a grade of pass (P) or satisfactory (S) taken during spring semester 2020 and summer semester 2020. This includes prerequisite courses.
VetFAST applications will be accepted starting Friday, March 24, through 4 p.m. CST on Friday, April 28, 2023.
How to apply
Applying for VetFAST consists of four steps. All steps must be completed and all requested documents must be received by the application deadline of 4 p.m. CST on Friday, April 28, 2023.
Step 1: Complete the VetFAST application.
Complete and submit the VetFAST application by 4 p.m. CST on Friday, April 28, 2023. You can reference a list of the questions here (pdf). When you are ready, enter information into the online application. Please note that the application itself may take a while to complete online, so it's important to have your responses saved separately, in case the application website times out due to inactivity.
Step 2: Request official college transcripts be sent directly to the College of Veterinary Medicine from the issuing institution.
This includes a transcript from the University of Minnesota and all other colleges you may have attended, including those attended through PSEO in high school. Transcripts are needed even if your college credit transferred to the University of Minnesota.
*Digital Copies can be sent to:
University of Minnesota
College of Veterinary Medicine
Academic and Student Affairs
*Preferred method of receipt
Paper copies can be sent to:
Attn: Admissions Team
108 Ben Pomeroy Center
1964 Fitch Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
Step 3: Email a digital copy of your APAS or other University of Minnesota advisement report to [email protected]
- Please specify the following in the subject line: VetFAST Application, your first and last name, and the document title.
Step 4: Identify at least three references (maximum six) who will submit an evaluation on your behalf.
- At least one of the references must be from a D.V.M. who can speak to your potential for success within the profession.
- A sample list of the questions included in the evaluation form
- Each reference must fill out a standardized evaluation form
Important! All references are due back by the application deadline of 4:00 pm CST on Friday, April 28, 2023. The applicant is responsible for communicating the deadline to the reference writers and for sending reminders as needed. Applicants submitting less than three references will be considered incomplete and therefore ineligible for admission. References may contact us at [email protected] or 612-624-4747 with any questions they may have.
The VetFAST application review is extensive and consists of several evaluation steps. Applications will be evaluated for academic standing once spring semester grades are posted (late May 2023). Interviews for VetFAST program acceptance will take place in late June/early July. Program acceptance will be granted to qualified students in mid-July, 2023.
Completing the VetFAST program
VetFAST program participants must meet the following criteria in order to gain full admission to the DVM program:
- Continue to take animal production courses
- Complete all required pre-veterinary coursework
- Maintain a University of Minnesota cumulative, undergraduate GPA of 3.40 or higher
- Continue to participate in food animal related activities and experiences
Students not meeting the criteria by the end of their junior year will be deferred by one academic year. Students not meeting the criteria by the end of their deferred year will lose program eligibility. Ineligible students may apply to the DVM program through the traditional admission process at a later date with no penalty.