Raptor exam by two women

Veterinary Leadership through Early Admission for Diversity (VetLEAD)

The profession of veterinary medicine provides countless opportunities to graduates. The University of Minnesota's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program prepares students to enter many exciting and rewarding career paths. Veterinarians care for companion animals, work with producers to support food-animal production, protect our food supply and public health, and serve an integral role in biomedical research. While the veterinary profession has much to offer, students of color are still underrepresented.

To meet the increasing demand for veterinarians and to promote diversity within the veterinary student body, the University of Minnesota has introduced the Veterinary Leadership through Early Admissions for Diversity (VetLEAD) program. VetLEAD creates a pathway into veterinary school for high-ability students at partner institutions. VetLEAD allows you to:

  • Gain VetLEAD program acceptance to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine as early as after two completed semesters of Florida A&M University (FAMU) or Alabama A&M University (AAMU) coursework
  • Complete your undergraduate pre-veterinary coursework at your home institution
  • Participate in summer independent study, research, and internship opportunities
  • Benefit from a mentorship with veterinary faculty and advanced students while finishing your undergraduate coursework
  • Obtain scholarships
  • Work with world-class veterinary faculty members and veterinary medical industry leaders

Meet Dr. Miranda Shaw, our first VetLEAD program graduate and Liaison

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Who is eligible for VetLEAD?

Any high-achieving FAMU or AAMU student who:

  • Is enrolled full time in a major and/or minor within the College of Agriculture and Food Science program at either Florida or Alabama A&M University
  • Has completed at least two semesters of full time enrollment at FAMU or AAMU by the end of the spring term 2024
  • Will have at least two additional semesters of full time enrollment remaining at FAMU or AAMU after the VetLEAD application is submitted and prior to graduation and/or DVM program start

Applying to VetLEAD

VetLEAD applications will be accepted starting Thursday, March 21, through 4:00 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

Applying for VetLEAD consists of three steps. All steps must be completed and all requested documents must be received by the application deadline of 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 2, 2024. Questions can be directed to Karen Nelson via email at [email protected].

Desired applicant characteristics

Well qualified applicants will possess many of the following:

  • FAMU or AAMU cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or higher
  • Strong grades in required prerequisite courses, such as introductory biology and chemistry
  • Past experience within the veterinary profession (volunteering, shadowing, paid position, etc.)
  • Past experience within an animal care setting
  • Involvement in extracurricular and community activities
  • Leadership experience

How to Apply

Step 1: Complete the VetLEAD application by 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 2, 2024. 

You can reference a list of sample questions here. When you are ready, enter your 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. 

Apply online

Step 2: Request official college transcripts be sent to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

This includes a transcript from your current institution AND all other colleges you may have attended, including those attended during high school or before attendance at FAMU or AAMU. Transcripts are needed even if your college credit transferred to FAMU or AAMU.

*Digital Copies can be sent to:
University of Minnesota
College of Veterinary Medicine
Academic and Student Affairs
[email protected]
*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: Identify at least three references (maximum six) who will submit an evaluation on your behalf.

Important! All references are due back by the application deadline of 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 2, 2024. The applicants are responsible for communicating the deadline to the reference writers and sending reminders as needed. Applicants submitting less than three references will be considered incomplete and therefore ineligible for consideration. References may contact us at [email protected] or 612-624-4747 with any questions they may have.

The VetLEAD application review is extensive and consists of several evaluation steps. Applications will be evaluated for academic standing once spring semester grades are posted (May 2024). Interviews for VetLEAD program acceptance will take place in late June/early July via video conference. Program acceptance will be granted to qualified students by mid-July, 2024. Students not selected for the VetLEAD program may still apply at a later date through the traditional admissions process.

Completing the VetLEAD program

To complete VetLEAD and gain admission to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the end of the fourth undergraduate year, students must:

  • Visit the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine campus
  • Complete all pre-veterinary coursework (pdf) with a FAMU or AAMU cumulative GPA of at least 3.40
  • Participate in a summer independent study, research, or internship opportunity

Students not meeting the criteria by the end of their graduation date from FAMU or AAMU will lose program eligibility. Ineligible students may apply to the D.V.M. program through the traditional admission process at a later date with no penalty.